Die Hard 2 (1990)
December 5, 2018 6:29 PM - Subscribe

Off-duty cop John McClane is gripped with a feeling of deja vu when, on a snowy Christmas Eve in the nation's capital, terrorists seize a major international airport, holding thousands of holiday travelers hostage. Renegade military commandos led by a murderous rogue officer plot to rescue a drug lord from justice and are prepared for every contingency except one: McClane's smart-mouthed heroics.
posted by the man of twists and turns (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
This is the only Die Hard movie that I've seen, and even though it was before I started flying regularly, I knew that it was pretty dumb to assert that any of the planes flying into Dulles couldn't have landed at any of the numerous other airports in the region.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:47 PM on December 5


Not my favorite of the Die Hard films because duh, but the scene where they figured out the guns were filled with blanks always stuck out to me.
posted by Carillon at 9:52 PM on December 5


I defend this installment if for no other reason than William Sadler is in it. Yeah, in fact, definitely no other reason.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:58 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]


Yeah, Sadler's great, both as Sloan in DS9 and as Death in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:28 AM on December 6


I like Die Hard 2 for a number of reasons:

William Sadler of course.
Fred Thompson is at peak "good authority" for his career.*
The whole Valverde concept used across multiple movies of the late 80s and early 90s.

*-My brother and I juxtapose Fred and Hal Holbrook, Hal being "bad authority" due to all the movies he did in the 70s, Deep Throat, the bad cop in the 2nd Dirty Harry movie, Capricorn One, etc.
posted by Fukiyama at 9:01 AM on December 6 [1 favorite]


I always felt one of McClane's lines of dialogue should have been the tagline on the poster: "How can the same thing happen to the same guy twice?"
posted by Servo5678 at 9:43 AM on December 6 [1 favorite]


This is the only Die Hard movie that I've seen, and even though it was before I started flying regularly, I knew that it was pretty dumb to assert that any of the planes flying into Dulles couldn't have landed at any of the numerous other airports in the region.

Do yourself a favour and do see the original - it's a solid movie that (IMO) still holds up great plus it features Alan Rickman as the villain.

I read somewhere that the basic script for Die Hard 2 was initially written as a vehicle for either Stallone or Schwarzenegger (maybe a sequel to Commando?), and then recycled into a Die Hard sequel. This is why this film feels more like a traditional action film when compared with the first one. I also think the big thing missing from this is the claustrophobia of the first film; McClane is largely tied to the airport, sure, but the first film built the pressure by having him trapped inside with the bad guys, with limited resources.

Anyways, it's a perfectly serviceable film, and I hold no ill will against it. I like Dennis Franz bringing his asshole cop character to the big screen!
posted by nubs at 11:55 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]


68/70 on RottenTomatoes, 4 stars and 16+ from CommonSenseMedia

"If your idea of a good time is watching a lot of stupid, unpleasant people insult and brutalize one another, this is right up your alley. "
"'Insane bloodlust, gratuitous profanity, zero logic'"
Roger Ebert: Because "Die Hard 2" is so skillfully constructed and well-directed, it develops a momentum that carries it past several credibility gaps that might have capsized a lesser film.

DIE HARD 2 (1990)
It feels somewhat perverse to write, but setting a Die Hard sequel in an airport on Christmas Eve just feels correct in a certain way. Nobody likes to travel around the holidays; in fact, it often becomes one of the most nightmarish elements of attempting to see your loved ones on Thanksgiving or Christmas. But we do it because we care. The exploitation of that caring inadvertently adds a weird dose of mean-spiritedness to Col. Stewart's attack on Dulles International. He could've easily been holding your loving family members hostage in one of those hovering planes, while you hoped against hope that they can land that jet in the middle of this blizzard, and everyone can make it to the tree alive and well to open presents. It's become a cliche for movie nerds to say Die Hard is one of their favorite Christmas movies, but allow this writer to offer up a compromise: Die Harder is probably the better Chrismas movie, while McTiernan's Die Hard is still the superior overall motion picture.
Die Hard Is NOT A Christmas Movie, But Die Hard 2 Is
Hey, asshole! Yeah, you, the one who’s interrupting peaceful dinnertime with your family or your nephew’s softball game with nonsensical warbles about how Die Hard is a Christmas movie. Here are some words for you: shut the fuck up. No one wants to hear your shit, and, to be frank with you, you’ve become a burden on everyone you know and love. Die Hard is not — I repeat — NOT a Christmas movie, and if you think it is, you are the son of Hitler.

But, now that I’ve got you here, allow me to make my case for why Die Hard 2 is the definitive Christmas movie of the Die Hard franchise.

What’s this? I haven’t even started to defend my take yet, and I can tell that you’re already squirming about all uncomfortable-like. Well, you sit the fuck down, and you read what I have to say. This is my time!
Why Die Hard 2 is a Better Christmas Movie Than Die Hard
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:39 PM on December 6


I read somewhere that the basic script for Die Hard 2 was initially written as a vehicle for either Stallone or Schwarzenegger (maybe a sequel to Commando?), and then recycled into a Die Hard sequel.

Indeed: my recollection is that both the 2nd and 3rd films were recycled (seems to me the third began life as a pitch for a Lethal Weapon movie), while the original was strictly speaking a semi-quasi-crypto-sequel to the 1968 Frank Sinatra movie The Detective — it was based on a subsequent book by Roderick Thorp about detective Joe Leland. It is entertaining to imagine the then-septuagenarian Sinatra taking the lead role in the Die Hard movies.

I think it is only the fourth and fifth that actually had scripts that were originally intended to be about John McClane. And they were both great.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:56 AM on December 7


Indeed: my recollection is that both the 2nd and 3rd films were recycled (seems to me the third began life as a pitch for a Lethal Weapon movie),

Die Hard 2 was adapted from a novel (58 Minutes) that came out in 1987, only four years before this came out, so it probably didn't spend a lot of time on anyone's shelf before it was attached to Die Hard 2.

The script for Die Hard 3 began life as a new movie called Simon Says, then became a Lethal Weapon sequel, then became Die Hard 3.
posted by Etrigan at 8:11 AM on December 7


SO MUCH SMOKING IN THE AIRPORT.
posted by hanov3r at 9:39 AM on December 7 [1 favorite]


I like this movie because I fly a lot and like airports, its realism or lack thereof notwithstanding. I will say, though, that it always bugs me that it clearly wasn’t filmed at IAD (Denver-Stapleton, maybe?)
posted by wintermind at 7:09 PM on December 8


Die Hard 2 was adapted from a novel (58 Minutes) that came out in 1987, only four years before this came out, so it probably didn't spend a lot of time on anyone's shelf before it was attached to Die Hard 2.


Huh, maybe I just got confused by the fact that the same fictitious country is used in both Commando and Die Hard 2 - Val Verde. That might be why I thought DH2 started life as a potential Commando sequel.
posted by nubs at 7:33 AM on December 9


The Val Verde connection is from scriptwriter Steven de Souza.
posted by Etrigan at 9:21 AM on December 9


My favorite part of DH2? The payphone McClane uses at the start has a PacBell logo. At Dulles Airport in DC.
posted by scalefree at 7:23 PM on December 9 [2 favorites]


As someone who generally doesn't recognize any of the Die Hards after 3, this for me is definitely the weakest of the trilogy. It's not that Willis isn't bringing it, or that it's not entertaining, but it just seems to miss out a little on the John McClane must suffer aspect of the others. Here he's something of a detective at work, figuring out what's going on, and then taking steps. In the others, he's much more at the will of the antagonists - be it skulking around a high rise sorely outnumbered or being forced to heed the beck and call of the bad guy with bombs (I just had my mind blown learning that 3 was originally a Lethal Weapon product - which also kind of explains Samuel Jackson's buddying up with McClane!).

Check out this video from Todd Vaziri's twitter on the model planes they made for this movie, it's awesome.
posted by Atreides at 1:40 PM on December 11


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