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Die Hard 2 - Die Harder (1990)

Die Hard 2 - Die Harder (1990)

Feels like Bruce had a bit too many punchlines in this one made for just the purpose of being, like the Another basement, another elevator. How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?, and the head of the airport is a bit too passive - even though he originally seems like the only wise guy in the room. There are a few more notable acquaintances with short-lived roles (much like the limo driver Argyle from the previous movie) - like the receptionist, and janitor, and that... black guy in the control room? Not sure his role is every truly revealed. They're appreciated co-workers, and yet their roles here feel somewhat superfluous, like they're just there to add character, just like the punchlines are just made to punch. Just a few flaws I notice.

The crooks in this are as sinister and professional a bunch as in the former however, even if it seems to be patriotism that drives them rather than greed, something that conflicts a bit with the ideals of good and bad that used to be so clear. But of course, their patriotism here borders of fanaticism, and their willingness to sacrifice lives for their cause goes to show they're pretty bad guys after all. Villainous villains.

Just like with the last movie you'd better prepare for some clever twists, and Holly's in trouble this time too - though now a bit more indirectly, floating around in the skies above a locked-down airport as her jet goes low on fuel, and John does everything he can to manage the situation.

Again the bureaucracy thing comes into play, so John's not just fighting the bad guys but also the airport personnel, and cops, and all types of types really. Eventually they all bond a bit better, and start working together, but it's not only initially annoying with their lack of cooperation, but eventually also a bit lacking in authenticity. After all he's done: would they still shut him out like that?

The reporter from the previous movie making a repeat appearance felt like one other unnecessary detail too, as if he's just there so people have a suitable face to blame for the panic that he stirs. The other reporter's a more than viable replacement, but instead she ends up almost too kind - as if she's only there to show that reporters come in all shapes and sizes, and the guy on the plane's the real asshole.

The script? It's not bad, but a bit angled. For the fans. Just a bit. Just enough to bring it down from a high-class five, even though the action's as great as always. Robert Patrick is actually one of the villains I remember the most, even though he doesn't have a particularly big role. The rest of the cast all do a good job, but nobody's really as notable as the villains were in the last one - where each one had a special part to play. Not too sure about General Esperanza's Spanish accent either... is he really Spanish?

Overall, it's a flashy movie, with that kind of save-the-day despair you only get in the Die Hard movies. I think I'm figuring out the formula here, it has to 1) Be large and elaborate, 2) Have a reason for haste, 3) Have a (preferably personal) reason for John to save the day, and 4) Plenty of irony and punchline. Probably mostly the reason for haste. While most action movies have chase scenes, it's few where the entire movie is a race against the clock. No pause. That's what really makes these so captivating, I think. Re-reading this review it feels like all I focus on are flaws, but though it did have a lot of those compared to the former, it's still a great movie worthy the Die Hard name, with an elaborate plot, big action (the airport helps), authentic scenery, emotion, haste and plentiful punchlines. Great watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

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