Plot: What’s it about?
For the second year in a row, John McClane (Bruce Willis) is trying his best to spend the holidays with his wife (Bonnie Bedelia), but once again, lady luck is not riding on McClane’s shoulder. He is supposed to pick up his wife at the airport, and bad things happen to him before he even enters the building. As soon as he prepares to step inside, he sees that the car he drove, which belongs to his mother-in-law, is being towed away for being illegally parked. Once he does manage to get inside, his luck doesn’t improve, as weather has caused the flights all sorts of trouble. And to add to the tension of a jam packed airport on the holidays, the government is flying in a foreign drug lord to face the courts. While all the hustle and bustle is happening, a team of master terrorists are setting up base camp in a nearby church, and preparing for a mission to rescue the drug lord and get the hell out there. The terrorists have everything set up, they can control the control tower, they can control the runway, and no one knows how to stop them. But what they can’t control is one man, John McClane, who will not let anything, including an asshole security chief or an overbearing military commander, stand between him and his wife.
While sequels are not always a good idea, this one certainly is, packed with action and thrills. While the tension and solitude of the first are gone, the stunts have been taken up a few notches, which fills in the gap. The sheer scope of some of this stuff is amazing, and the visual and audial impact is huge. The scene with McClane inside the plane, when the terrorists are tossing grenades inside with him is a personal favorite of mine. I do miss the whole “one against many” concept, but there is still a lot to like with this movie. The pace is quick and fluid, and the action scenes are well planned and executed. This movie also continues many ideas and relationships from the original film, such as the asshole reporter and the McClane’s friend at the L.A. police station. The old woman aboard the plane provides some nice comic relief as well. While I don’t think this is in the same class as the original, it is a fun action ride, which is all you should expect from any Renny Harlin flick. If you like the series, this disc is more then worth your hard earned cash, so pick it up.
Renny Harlin was handed the directorial hat for this installment, and he does his usual turn, producing an action movie with no merits outside of action. The only aspect of character development here is the shreds of character that seep over from the first movie. I think Harlin is good at mindless action, but little else, and I am happy to say he was able to stick with the action here. Bruce Willis returns as McClane, which is good since no one else could come close to getting this role right. While he has some funny lines here, he lacks the depth shown in the first movie. So, Willis shows off his action skills more here, and does a fine job. Returning from the original film are Bonnie Bedelia (They Shoot Horses Don’t They, Salem’s Lot), William “I’m a master at playing assholes” Atherton (Bio-Dome, Ghostbusters), and Reginald Vel Johnson (Tv’s Family Matters). New members of the supporting cast include John Amos (The Player’s Club, Coming To America), Dennis Franz (Tv’s NYPD Blue), and William Sadler (Solo, Stealth Fighter). Also appearing in this movie is cult superstar Franco Nero, who starred in the classics Django and Django Strikes Again.
Video: How does it look?
Die Hard 2 is shown here in a non anamorphic widescreen transfer, which is framed at the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. This is about as good as you can get without anamorphic enhancement, with no gripes to speak of. The colors look good, flesh tones are the right shades, and no compression glitches appear. The darkness is dead on as well, no overly muddy shadows to be found.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is a Die Hard movie, so of course it has a kick ass audio track, which will light your system up all night long. Every speaker in the joint will be alive and screaming, so make your neighbors are out of town if you crank up the volume on this one. You can still make out the dialogue, so don’t worry about losing all the important verbal nuances. Right.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The disc includes a brief behind the scenes featurette, theatrical trailers for the entire series, and a slide show of stills from the film.