DIE HARD 2 follows the bloody footsteps of wise-apple cop ‘John McClane’ into 150% spendier and 50% more profitable territory in 1990, two years after Bruce Willis introduced his tailor-made hero in the slam-bang audience-rousing opener, a pop action classic. This one, though, amps up the mean, isn’t nearly as clever (foul language gets a lazy workout) and takes casual casualties to a new blasé level of excess by blowing up an entire airliner full of innocent people. Kinda harsh for an evening’s entertainment.
Mercenaries take over the D.C. airport during Christmas with the idea of freeing a captured Latin American dictator (Franco Nero) on his way there. Guys supposed to be good ones turn out to be bad (likable TV star John Amos dumps his ‘Good Times‘ persona and goes full metal bastard), McClane’s wife ‘Holly’ (Bonnie Bedelia) is in jeopardy again, and William Atherton returns as the schmuck reporter ‘Dick Thornburgh’.
Reviews were mostly positive, and many fans seem to approve: we’ll pass this time. Instead of witty-cruel like Alan Rickman’s villain in the first thriller, the cold-blooded crew here are just vicious without any spicy flavor. Best scene is Willis’ spectacular ejection seat escape just before a plane blows up.
An expenditure somewhere around $62-70,000,000 was put to rest with a take of $117,500,000, which put it the 8th most-seen movie in America in 1990. That was just part of a worldwide booty haul of $240,247,000, nearly double what the original classic whomped up (with a “yipee-kai-yay…”). The next installment came five years later; Die Hard with a Vengeance was more fun.
Directed by Renny Harlin, who had success with Stallone in Cliffhanger (also extra-mean) but showed rather more flair by flopping with turkeys like Cutthroat Island and Driven. Giving testosterone heavy support are William Sadler, Dennis Franz, Fred Dalton Thompson,Vondie Curtis Hall, John Leguizamo, Robert Patrick, Mark Boone Jr. and Colm Meaney. 124 minutes.