In the middle of Die Hard 2: Die Harder, Bruce Willis’ character John McClane angrily questions to himself, “How can the same s**t happen to the same guy twice?” He’s referring to a terrorist takeover of an airport where his wife’s (Bonnie Bedelia) life is at risk. Didn’t that exact same thing happen in Die Hard? Also, wasn’t that movie also set on Christmas?
Like many sequels, Die Hard 2 is practically a carbon copy of the original. Die Hard was such a fresh take on the action genre, taking an ordinary man and placing him in serious measures , that it’s been replicated so often (take Speed or the recent White House Down). Because of the movie’s success, 20th Century Fox could have just let John McClane enjoy his holiday season off, but the urge of millions of dollars was as offer the studio couldn’t refuse.
And yet somehow, as derivative as Die Hard 2 is, I still found myself enjoying the film. Maybe it’s because of the lively action pieces or the big sets, but I feel it has more to do with the fact director Renny Harlin puts energy into his movie. The sequel finds McClane out in a Washington airport picking up his wife Holly for the holidays when a group of terrorists headed by a CIA operative takes over the controls and turns off all the runway lights, threatening the safety of all the planes set to land. When McClane discovers the villain’s plan, he sets out to kill some bad guys while simultaneously butting heads with the chief of airport security (Dennis Franz).
Die Hard 2 is riddled with plot holes, the most obvious one is that couldn’t the planes land at another airport, and completely predictable but Harlin manages to keep the movie wildly enjoyable. There’s enough devotion to the special effects that it actually keeps the picture from collapsing completely on itself, plus it stars Bruce “I’m shooting terrorists” Willis, not Bruce “I’m just here for the paycheck” Willis.
While it’s a severe drop of quality from its predecessor and disobeys all laws of original storytelling, Die Hard 2 manages to be good entertainment, plus it’s Citizen Kane in comparison to the most recent installment.