(Note: I’ve been thinking about this movie a lot recently, and have decided I underscored it a little. So I have now edited my review below to reflect my modified opinion on it.)
After the classic that was Die Hard, it’s no surprise that there was a sequel hitting the theaters two years later. While more Die Hard is always a good thing, Die Hard 2 is kind of a rehash of the first movie, and ends up being a very fun movie, but not as good as the original.
A few years after the original Die Hard’s happenings, the aptly named Die Hard 2: Die Harder finds our old friend John McClane once again trying to get to his family for the holidays. Except this time, rather than trying to meet his wife (once again played by Bonnie Bedalia) at her workplace, McClane waits at an airport for her.
Unsurprisingly, McClane gets involved in another terrorist operation that, if not stopped, will result in the death of many innocent people; including his wife. Sound familiar? It should. Die Hard 2 uses almost the exact same formula of the original, and while not necessarily bad, it makes the movie feel less original and a little more stereotypical.
The plot this time around moves a lot slower than the original oddly enough. While Die Hard was firing on all cylinders for its entirety, Die Hard 2 takes its time, spacing out the action scenes throughout the film rather than playing them back to back.
While the slow pace shouldn’t be a bad thing, for a movie like Die Hard, the exposition heavy scenes seemed somewhat out of place. This is a movie that would’ve benefited from a little tighter plot, and more adrenaline throughout.
However, when the action does pick up and bullets start flying, things get much, much more interesting. Die Hard 2 excels at its action sequences, and every time McClane fires his gun you get a rush of adrenaline. The fight scenes are very well choreographed and executed, resulting in some truly riveting set pieces.
Die Hard 2 is great when it lets John McClane do what he does best; shoot people. And when the pace picks up and things start blowing up, the film excels and delivers some truly memorable moments that enliven the film’s somewhat formulaic plot.
Bruce Willis is still great as McClane, and it’s his amazing screen presence that keeps the film alive when the pace slows down. His dialogue is quick and witty, and while he’s still surrounded by some stupid characters, his endlessly entertaining persona keeps things from getting to dull.
I would’ve preferred the villain to be more than your average, run-of-the-mill baddie though. Colonel Stuart is not near as chilling as Hans Gruber, and he lacks that intense presence on screen that should make the audience really feel his villainy.
While he gets the job done, Stuart is a pretty stereotypical villain, and I would’ve like to see his character developed more.
Die Hard 2 gets a lot of things right, but it lacks the punch of its predecessor. Although it is burdened by to much exposition, when it delivers, it really delivers. The movie truly shines in its violent, exciting set pieces and there are some truly memorable moments. They’re just a little farther apart than I think they should be.