This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.
It’s time to look at the next installment in the Die Hard series. The first Die Hard was pretty solid and I’m happy to report that the sequel is also pretty good. While it’s not quite as good as the first one I would say that it’s on a similar level. It doesn’t really make any mistakes and is strong in all areas, but it just loses the head to head against the first one each time. Basically anything that Die Hard 2 did, the first one did better. No shame in that of course, the important thing is that the sequel kept it close.
The film starts with John heading to an airport and getting ready to meet up with his wife. Her flight’s taking a while, but John is there early to be ready for it. Unfortunately he notices a few terrorists messing around in the airport. He chases them off, but it looks like this is once again going to be a big conspiracy. These terrorists are trying to free their drug dealer from one of the planes and they intend to destroy everyone if their demands are not met. John has to try and stop them before too many people die, but will he be able to?
It’s always rough for the hero in a case like this because there are just way too many hostages and civilians. It’s really not very practical for him to save everybody and yet it’s hard not to let it affect him either. There’s one scene in particular where a bunch of people die. The film tries to get you to think they have a chance at surviving initially but you just know that they won’t. It would be a little too easy even if it would have been great to see them live. John saves a ton of people ultimately but the body count is definitely very high. This is definitely a large scale attack.
Part of why the situation goes so poorly is because people don’t like John here. The cops are portrayed as being incredibly arrogant and overconfident. In particular I’m talking about the captain. Captain Lorenzo seems to have a big beef with John. I suppose he doesn’t like all the attention McClane got, but he ends up being really petty about it. Keep in mind that lives are at stake and Lorenzo just wants to compare egos and talk a good game. It rarely feels like he has anyone’s best interests at heart and by the time he starts to shape up it’s too late. He isn’t the only one mocking John as the Army Special Forces does the same thing as well.
It’s not intentionally comedic, but it does start to scratch that surface as we get back to back to back scenes of everyone yelling at John. Everyone can’t stand the fact that he is trying to warn them and make plans to stop this situation before it gets out of control. They’re all just doing their best to get in the way. Some of these characters have decent reasons while others have none art all. It’s no wonder why the villains had such an easy time having their way with everyone here.
Ah well, at least John is a solid character as always. No matter how difficult the situation gets he continues to try to save as many people as he can. John has a lot of great plans and in a fight he certainly deals out a lot of damage. He takes out a ton of fighters all by himself and is basically a one man army. He manages to keep the humor up as well which makes sense to keep his spirits up. We don’t get to have as much banter with him on the comms this time though.
The villains are fairly generic. They want a lot of money and that’s really about it. The main villain has good strategy tactics and their competence never comes into question. Ultimately they aren’t all that memorable though. They’re just your average run of the mill villain group that you would expect to see in a movie like this. At least the villains weren’t bad. The standout one was probably the guy who knew karate and fought John. They had a pretty good back and forth fight before John’s brute strength was just enough to take care of business.
The film’s main weakness here is that it sometimes makes the villains look good by making the heroes look terrible in comparison. One big scene that comes to mind is when Lorenzo sends a group of agents over to fight like 3-5 terrorists. It’s a large group but they all walk single file so they just get mowed down. Most of them don’t even react as they get shot to death. How do you just get picked off so easily like that? It made no sense and I never liked the idea of everyone running in single file. That’s definitely the quickest way to get blown up in a situation like this. Everyone who isn’t John on the hero side looks terrible.
The fights in this film are definitely handled well. They’re pretty back and forth which is good since the villains aren’t just getting one punched as if they were nobodies. These are still serious villains who have been training quite a lot so they better have some level of skill right? Die Hard 2’s pacing is good so the scenes never drag on. Even when there is no fight going on the plot is moving forward. There are no points during the movie where it feels like things have come to a halt and that’s always good.
Naturally the film can get a bit violent at times. Most of it isn’t really on screen as you just see the scenes leading up to the grisly deaths. People get sawed to pieces and meet other such fates. One guy gets fatally stabbed on screen though which was a little surprising. That’s probably the most intense scene in the film. While the writing is solid the script can also get a little tricky with everyone developing a bit of a sailor’s mouth. Fortunately the TV version is good at fixing this.
There is one subplot here with the TV reporter from last time and John’s wife. While the reporter was definitely in the wrong last time and just being exploitative, he wasn’t bad here. He was actually one of the more entertaining characters as he tried to find out the truth. He did good in sniffing out the lies that were being reported. He did end up causing some panic with his reporting, but unlike the first case where it was giving out critical intel to the villains, here he is just giving the public a heads up. You kind of feel bad for the guy when he ultimately gets zapped. At least he was doing a better job of getting the news out to people then the government cover up that was going on.
Overall, Die Hard 2 is just a very good thriller movie. We get a lot of good fights and dialogue here. The stakes stay high as the planes get closer and closer while the heroes struggle to think of what to do next. There are certainly quite a few moments where you will have to suspend disbelief though which is common for thriller films and especially terrorist related ones. It feels like the good guys just can’t do anything sometimes and they act less like professionally trained individuals and more like bots. These scenes aren’t too numerous though and either way I recommend checking this out if you want to see a good action movie. It can get a little intense for sure, but it’s handled with a good amount of quality.