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It lacks the fresh thrills of its predecessor, but Die Hard 2 still works as an over-the-top -- and reasonably taut -- big-budget sequel, with plenty of set pieces to paper over the plot deficiencies. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

A year after his heroics in L.A, detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) is mixed up in another terrorist plot, this time at Washington Dulles International Airport, where he is waiting for his wife (Bonnie Bedelia). That same night, South American politico and drug profiteer Ramon Esperanza (Franco Nero) is arriving in U.S. custody. McClane takes action when a treasonous ex-colonel (William Sadler) seizes control of the airport, threatening to crash every inbound flight unless Esperanza is freed.

Cast & Crew

Bruce Willis
John McClane
Bonnie Bedelia
Holly Gennero McClane
William Atherton
Richard Thornburg
Franco Nero
Gen. Ramon Esperanza
John Amos
Maj. Grant
Dennis Franz
Capt. Carmine Lorenzo
Art Evans
Chief Engineer Leslie Barnes
Walter Wager
Writer (Novel)
Doug Richardson
Screenwriter
James Herbert
Line Producer
Michael Levy
Executive Producer
Steve Perry
Co-Producer
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Critic Reviews for Die Hard 2

All Critics (64) | Top Critics (20) | Fresh (44) | Rotten (20)

Audience Reviews for Die Hard 2

  • Dec 27, 2020
    Even though I've seen the first Die Hard a few dozen times, every time I've sat down to watch Die Hard 2 I always sort of lose interest. Well, this Christmas I forced myself to actually watch the whole thing and I finally get why that was. Die Hard 2 is not a bad movie, but it suffers pretty hardcore sequelitis and at the end of the day, I'd much rather be watching Die Hard. It feels like when they were making this movie, they though about all the elements they needed for Die Hard they would have to bring back. The cop, that a-hole reporter, a charismatic terrorist…oh wait, what's that? Alan Rickman in the original Die Hard wasn't really a terrorist? And this new guy is entirely forgettable? Yeah, there's some attempts at recreation that just plain don't work, and that's one of them. In other ways they try to make it bigger. Bigger location, bigger threat. We're in an airport now, and as I said the terror threat is real now. But there was such a glorious simplicity to Hans Gruber that is lacking in this one. Something about a warlord and drug running? Honestly I didn't care. Now all that said, it is still a solid action movie of its time. The idea that the terrorists control the technology and can actually crash the planes is a genuine threat, and leads to some good set pieces. We get several shootouts, two of not being one very early in the baggage area that's pretty creative and even one on snowmobiles on a lake that I really enjoyed. Plus, this is back when Bruce Willis actually gave a damn, and his portrayal of John McClane is a lot of fun. Think of it this way: Die Hard is the steak, Die Hard 2 is the burger. The burger is good, nothing wrong with the burger, but that steak is just so much better. However, if you've been having the steak a lot, then sure mix it up and try the burger.
    Michael M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 15, 2015
    The sequel is not quite so enthralling as the first, but it was a much worthier second outing than most films of the same vein seem to be.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 21, 2013
    Not nearly as good as the first, but still a fun movie. Die Hard 2 hits all the beats you'd expect of it, and mostly does so successfully. The dialogue is as bad as usual, but that's not what you're here for anyway. It's a popcorn movie, and an enjoyable one at that. ~ C+
    Brad S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 04, 2013
    The first "Die Hard" was inspired by the novel "Nothing Lasts Forever", and this one is inspired by "58 Minutes", neither of which are related to each other, let alone John McClane, so for a while there, this series seemed to be on a mission to rip off as many thriller novels as it could. Shoot, as many action flicks as these, or at least this film rip off, I doubt that most people care, while the people who might care, due to their being downright in love with these films, are probably not smart enough to be big readers. I understand that these films make no pretense about being inspired by the novels in question, but I say, "rip off", because they're disrespecting "Nothing Lasts Forever" author Roderick Thorp enough by spelling his surname "Thorp[u]e[/u]" in the credits, and plus, I can think of a few people who would say that Walter Wager is being disrespected more just by their adapting "58 Minutes" to this in the first place. No, this film got fair reviews, and I subscribe to those sentiments, but come on, how bright can a film whose full title is "Die Hard 2: Die Harder" possibly be? They should have just said what everyone wants to hear: "Die Hard 2: John McClane vs. Django on a Plane Rigged With Explosives"! It's always nice to know that Franco Nero is alive, even if that reminder ironically comes in a film titled "Die Hard... 2: Die Harder" (That's such a lame subtitle, but boy, does it tell you just how hard people die in this film), and it's also nice when that film is entertaining. Yup, it's another fun little Christmas with the McClanes, but even though it's all fun and games when somebody's getting hurt, as surely as it was "hard" to ignore flaws out of the first "Die Hard" it is indeed "harder" to deny the flaws out of this follow-up (Are my puns lamer than this film's title yet?). It's debatable whether or not this film is as sharp as its predecessors, - which was still not as intelligent on the whole as it was in certain places - but it's decisive that this narrative has plenty of the natural limitations that secured the predecessor as underwhelming in a lot of ways, and are perhaps greater here, thinning out meat something fierce, and making matters all the worse by joining limitations in genuine bite with limitations in subtlety. If Steven E. de Souza's writing with Doug Richardson is more cartoonish and trite than de Souza's collaboration with Jeb Stuart on the predecessor's script, then it's just barely dumber, but the fact of the matter is that this effort has more than a few lame-brain elements in dialogue, characterization and overall storytelling that, on top of being kind of cheesy, are generic. Needless to say, there's plenty of laziness here, and it is most reflect in hopelessly predictable plotting that does very little, if anything at all to change up the traditional formula of action fluff pieces of this type and era, or even change up the formula from the previous film. In ways that are both good and bad, this film is way too similar to the original, only with less of what freshness there was in 1988's "Die Hard", in addition to an arguably less meaty story concept, though is at least sure to keep faithful to dragging. Almost ten minutes shorter than "Die Hard", this film is not as long, and therefore not as overdrawn as its predecessor, - whose potential for relatively extensive flesh-out is barely greater - but at just over two hours, it still takes longer than it should to tell a simple and even familiar story, and that does hardly anything outside of provide you with plenty of time to meditate upon the aforementioned shortcomings, both natural and consequential. The film subtly, but surely falls behind its predecessor, and let me tell you, I was still pretty underwhelmed by the original "Die Hard" that everyone remembers most, ostensibly because this film, being less meaty and fresh, is hardly memorable as anything more than a fun, but somewhat lazy piece of '80s/early '90s action thriller filler. Don't expect to walk out of this film remembering it all that clearly, but don't expect to walk into a totally fall-flat feature either, because in spite of many a limitation, the final product delivers on a fun factor that can even be detected in the thin story concept. As I've been saying time and again, this film's story concept is formulaic, as well as thin to begin with, and yet, this is still a fun premise, having only so much of the weight that was still lacking in the predecessor, but never losing so much momentum that it can't draw an entertaining narrative, with the fair bit of colorful intrigue that primarily powered predecessor. Of course, just as '88's "Die Hard" couldn't retain decency without director John McTiernan's reasonably inspired efforts, this film owes a lot of credit to director Renny Harlin for his bombastic, but well-paced storytelling, which sustains entertainment value through all of the aimlessness, especially when action kicks in. The action is hardly anything new, but it's ripe with explosive practical special effects to compliment tight staging, whose great deal of attention to damage done on the environment and even the lead, as well as some violence (Now that's what I call an "eye-cicle"; Ha-ha, ouch), reinforce a sense of consequence. Most all of the shootouts, brawls and, of course, plane threats carry quite a bit of tension, but in this thriller whose substance is limited, the action is mostly simply fun, and that really pumps up the entertainment value which drives the final product about as much as anything, including a worthy lead. I reckon most everyone is decent, but as surely as you can't see the original "Die Hard" with Frank Sinatra-I mean, without Bruce Willis, Willis delivers yet again as the driving onscreen force for this film, bringing back that classic action star charisma and presence, occasionally broken up by some effective dramatic beats to further build tension. Quite frankly, there is just not that much to compliment here, and what strengths there are seem to the exact same elements that you could compliment out of the predecessor, except here, the strengths aren't as fresh, if they were even all that fresh in the first place, resulting in a softening of bite. However, with that said, while the strengths in this film are diluted by their being so familiar, they were strong enough to give the predecessor a fair bit of momentum that carried it to decency, and no matter how much this effort treads familiar ground, it still carries that entertainment value with it, and while that's not enough to make a memorable thriller, it certainly gets the final product by as, at the very least, kind of fun, if you can get past all of the problems. When it's all said and done, more-or-less in the same way it was done and said before, natural shortcomings are stressed in concept by some lame-brain narrative elements, and in execution by a bombastic directorial atmosphere, genericisms and dragging, until the final product finally sputters out as underwhelming, yet not without being stabilized as entertaining by the lively direction, solid action and strong lead performance - courtesy of Bruce Willis - that prove to be enough to make "Die Hard 2: Die Harder" (Seriously, why?) a flawed, but fun follow-up. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer

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