Die Hard 2 (1990): Breakdown by Rantbo
DIE HARD in an airport. The same shit happens to the same guy.
It’s Christmas time again, and you know what that means. Asshole consumers, shitty music and even shittier driving conditions (I take that back, the music is shittier). But, it also means the return of the heroic ass-kicking cop, John McClane. It’s two years after the Nakatomi Plaza incident, and boy how things have changed. Like for starters, Holly is now on a plane and John is the one waiting at a place about to be taken over by terrorists. See the distinction?
It appears as though in-between movies, John and Holly have made peace and are once again a couple. And though they have been apart, their reunion this Christmas promises to be a less awkward and certainly less dangerous one. Or so they thought… What they didn’t count on was a rouge U.S. Army Special Forces unit taking control of the air-traffic in a terrorist plot to have a South American dictator/drug-lord released into their custody. And seeing as his wife is in one of those planes, it’s up to McClane to compensate for the lack of badassness of the inept airport security squadron. Which he does. And it’s awesome.
DIE HARD 2 catches, by far, the most shit out of all the sequels. And I never really understood why. Sure, it’s pretty much a re-hash of the first one, but it’s a pretty fucking good re-hash. DIE HARDER was made for the fans (which is more than you can say for part 4), as most of the cast returns, it features even more hardcore R-rated action and is packed just as full with ridiculous situations and quotable one-liners.
Even the film realizes that it exists for no other reason than fan service and jump-starting a franchise. “How can the same shit happen to the same guy, twice?” Well, because it’s lucrative. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not any good. Quite the contrary, in my opinion. I love DH2. Sure, it’s not as polished and tight as the original, but what the fuck is? It is, however, a funner film to watch, as the level of action is so over-the-top and violently wacky that the internal audience question from part one, “Will McClane survive this hellish gauntlet and beat the bad guys?” gets replaced with, “How will McClane kill the next bad guy?”.
Now, some people (most) see the lack of unknowing hero-survival suspense as a negative, where as I view it as the opposite. Forgoing the tease of whether or not the hero will live and replacing it with how much ass can be kicked before the credits, allows me to just sit back and enjoy the badassitude of the situation. Because in knowing that the filmmakers won’t off McClane, a trade-off is made and that is: more dangerous situations and edge-of-your-seat escapes; more better-armed, better-trained, villainous henchmen bodycount fodder; and more ridiculous hindrances for McClane to sardonically bitch about while he saves the day. In other words, an excellent sequel.
The bottom line: you get to see Bruce Willis as John McClane, fucking bad guys up and narrowly avoiding death by fiery explosions for two hours. And that’s always a good thing—unless rated PG-13. But again, that’s a rant for another breakdown.
[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]
Bruce Willis is Detective John McClane. Twice.
This go around, we find out that McClane’s badassness from part one was not a fluke. In the first 15 minutes, he’s already fought two assholes, and managed to kill one of them via head-squish/electrocution. McClane is like a giant shit magnet. Wherever he is, that’s the place you don’t want to be, ‘cuz some people are going to die—hard.
After the events of Part One, we all saw how much of a one-man BAMF’n machine this guy can be, so come sequel time, we know that McClane is not going to stop until every sonavabitch is bagged and tagged. It’s reassuring and fun to see just how much shit a man will crawl through to achieve his goal of total destruction. I’d watch McClane write parking tickets in Plano, so watching him kill soldiers of fortune at an airport on Christmas is like a present in itself. Fuck the haters and redundancy be damned, McClane, you’ve done it again, you chain-smoking, vulgarity-spewing, villain-killing beautiful balding bastard.
[THE BODY COUNT: 264]
As this is the sequel, it’s only fitting that our hero’s body count be doubled for the occasion. But even that didn’t seem big enough, so they gave him another 3 on top of it. Why the fuck not? This is DIE HARD 2. They also upped The Bad Guy’s kill count by about 250%. No joke, Col. Stuart seals the fate of 230 himself by crashing a plane full of Brits. Eat your German heart out, Hans.
Which brings up a point, I’d like to address: I think some of the HARDER hate stems from the fact that the antagonist doesn’t quite add up to Hans in the villainous department. And even though Col. Stuart crashes that plane, the haters are somewhat correct—at least as far as charisma goes. But again, who can live up to part one? Stuart was way more evil than Hans and equally fucking great in his own way.
Anyways, one random kill also goes to an airport officer who manages to shoot a single merc without any help from McClane. He dies for it directly afterward, but he is the only good guy to score a point for the winning team besides John. Well done, Random Dead Officer! Oh, and Col. Stuart also “kills” a TV set with a remote-control quick draw—but I didn’t count it.
[MOST SATISFYING DEATH]
McClane stabs a mother fucker in the eye with an icicle. Director Renny Harlin must like seeing men be penetrated by sharp objects in the snow, as something very similar happens in CLIFFHANGER.
I like Renny Harlin.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
After McClane penetrates that bad guy’s ocular cavity with the water dildo, the following dialogue occurs:
McClane: “I guess I was wrong about you, you’re not such an asshole after all.”
Maj. Grant: “No. You were right—I’m just your kind of asshole.”
I can misconstrue that! But, there is little else as McClane barely has enough time to make sure all the bad guys are in body bags, much less find other men to fraternize with. Yes, once again the DIE HARD fails to give us the homoerotic tastiness so often seen in late-eighties man-sterpieces. Of course, this one was made in 1990. So, much like hair-metal and the cold war, the ultimate 80s-way gay was in its death throes. Then again, there is William Sadler’s ass…
Well—as long as there’s still European Power Metal, The Red Chinese and Man-Ass, there is still hope for a resurgence of the 80s style Action film.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
All the woman featured in HARDER are clever, witty and non-bimbos. Though Bonnie Bedelia’s hair still looks goofy as Hell. So, just like part one, this is a let-down that somehow I forgive in light of McClane’s awesomeness.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
McClane blows up an entire fucking plane full of baddies and repeats “Yippee-ki-yay, mother fucker.”. What more could you ask for?
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
Grenades thrown at McClane have a 32 second fuse. Which is convenient, as that’s exactly how long it takes him to avoid dying in an explosion.
[THE CHECKLIST: 17 outta 25]
[ ] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[X] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[X] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[ ] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[ ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[ ] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[X] Tis The Season [Christmas]
[ ] Torture Sequence(s)
[X] Unnecessary Sequel [DIE HARD: WITH A VENGEANCE]
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[ ] Vigilante Justice
*There’s one in the baggage sorting room, which is very warehouse like, so I’m going to allow it.