Die Hard 2 (1990)


John McClane (Bruce Willis) has another run-in with terrorists on Christmas Eve, this time at Dulles Airport in Washington DC. McClane fights a rogue faction of U.S. military who sympathize with a deposed dictator being flown in for justice. Meanwhile, McClane’s wife (Bonnie Bedelia) is trapped on one of the many circling airplanes that are running out of fuel during a snowstorm.

The Die Hard sequel knows its premise is ridiculous and wears it like a badge of honor — probably the only way to proceed with a sequel to a film that wasn’t engineered for franchise. Renny Harlin takes the directing reigns from John McTiernan, employing similar long-lens cinematography, but camping up the action. The sequel is a lot like the original film, even bringing back the smarmy news reporter (William Atherton), who just happens to be on the same plane as Bedelia. Beloved cop Al (Reginald VelJohnson) makes a cameo appearance, but his character is otherwise replaced by a new one played by Dennis Franz.

As much as the film is similar, it also fails to measure up. William Sadler’s bad guy performance comes nowhere near as memorable as Alan Rickman’s infamous Hans Gruber, and there aren’t nearly as many character moments this time around. But hey, if you just need a little action to justify some popcorn munching, and you know the original Die Hard is untouchable, Renny Harlin and Bruce Willis will deliver enough shoot ’em ups, plane crashes, and snowmobile chases to satisfy.

With Franco Nero, Fred Thompson, and John Amos.

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