|Die Hard 2: Die Harder|
|Written by Abbie Bernstein|
|Tuesday, 01 February 2005|
Yes, John is having another fun holiday season almost single-handedly battling terrorists. This time, his enemies are an elite squad of ex-military types seeking to free a Noriega-type dictator/drug dealer from U.S. custody. The villains take over an entire New York City airport, but John is not about to let them get away with their plans, especially as his beloved Holly is in one of the aircraft that will go slamming into the ground if the situation isn’t quickly resolved.
Director Renny Harlin and writers Steven E. de Souza and Doug Richardson, working from a loose adaptation of Walter Wager’s novel ‘58 Minutes,’ actually pick up the pace from ‘Die Hard 1.’ By the time Chapter 1 is over, they’ve established John’s current situation and the impending arrival of the Central American heavy. By Chapter 3, they provide us with a shootout, which has good gunshot sound effects but overamplified punches. Chapter 10 provides an even better shootout and there are visually and acoustically spectacular crashes in Chapters 12 and 25.
Thanks to a smart storytelling style and Willis’ air of energetic exasperation, even the dialogue sections seem to speed by more swiftly. Bill Sadler makes a worthy adversary. Reginald VelJohnson and William Atherton are both back in their roles as, respectively, helpful LAPD cop and hindering star journalist. There’s also a whole horde of terrific supporting performers -- Dennis Franz of ‘NYPD Blue’ as a boneheaded airport cop, Fred Dalton Thompson as a wise air traffic controller, even Colm Meaney as an airplane pilot -- to further liven up the proceedings at every turn.
Like the original ‘Die Hard,’ ‘Die Hard 2: Die Harder’ is available as part of a boxed trilogy or separately. Also like the original film, it has supplemental materials that aren’t mentioned on the packaging, including cast biographies, still frames from the film and a "making of" featurette. The ‘Die Hard 2’ mini-documentary is an improvement its predecessor, if only because it makes much better use of statements from the participants rather than relying on generic-sounding narration.
‘Die Hard 2: Die Harder’ is one of those rare, welcome sequels that augments rather than dilutes the qualities that made a franchise possible in the first place. It’s not especially deep, but it is satisfyingly fast and loud while maintaining a reasonably complicated plot. All of this adds up to good fun.