JT Film Review

42 – Die Hard 2 (1990)

Die Hard 2 REVIEW

4/5 stars

Director – Renny Harlin

Cast – Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, William Sadler, William Atherton


— follows Die Hard

— followed by Die Hard: With a Vengence


die_hard_two_ver2Action movies tend to have bad reputations, especially this one. Bruce Willis himself likes this the least of all the Die Hard movies. I myself find it hard to see why. This movie is fast, intense, and unusually intelligent for a movie of this type. Bruce Willis’ everyman hero is compelling and funny, and all the supporting characters are certainly well cast.

The story concerns John McClane as he comes into confrontation with terrorists, airport police, and Special Forces as he a) tries to stop a terrorist from rescuing a captured South American dictator, and b) tries to find a way to bring his wife’s plane (which is circling above running out fuel, by order of the terrorist) down safely to the tarmac. Sure the story is fairly unoriginal, but that’s not the focus or point of this movie. Bruce Willis and the action scenes (great ones, too) are the focus. This is a movie that says “I am an action movie. So let’s not get too serious, eh? Let’s have a blast.”

It sidesteps slightly the route of its predecessor, Die Hard, which aimed for a certain element of reality. This slight shift in tone happens to work wonderfully. It lets you ignore the more extravagant action scenes (fighting on the wing of taxing Boeing jet, etc.) and lets you just enjoy the ride.


A word about the performances: Bruce Willis returns to his iconic cop role, but this time he mugs up to the camera a bit too much. Apparently he was given more or less free reign with adding one-liners, and sometimes you can see him thinking of one, delivering it, and then almost cracking up afterwards. It certainly doesn’t ruin the movie, but it’s there. Bonnie Bedelia also returns as John’s wife, she is tough and clear headed (a great breath of fresh air for what is essentially the “damsel in distress” role), and Richard Thornburg returns with his obnoxious douche-bag reporter. He is a nice bit of satire, and is one of the highlights of the movie.

The villain is played by William Sadler. He is smug, ripped, and sarcastic, as all 80’s action movie villains should be. To the smart-mouth who points out that this movie was released in 1990, I say this is an 80’s action movie, with all that that entails. Except this one is actually quite good.


Die Hard 2 is fun, fast, and comparitively intelligent. Sure the story is pretty one dimensional. It’s an action movie. Shut up.



“Die Hard 2” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia



September 3, 2009 - Posted by | 4 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Action, Year - 1990-1999 | , , , ,

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