ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Should I Watch..? Die Hard 2

Updated on September 14, 2019
Benjamin Cox profile image

Benjamin has been reviewing films for sixteen years and has seen more action movies than he should probably admit to!

Poster for "Die Hard 2"
Poster for "Die Hard 2" | Source

What's the big deal?

Die Hard 2 (sometimes called Die Hard 2: Die Harder) is an action thriller film released in 1990 and is the second film in the series following 1988's Die Hard. For this sequel, director Renny Harlin took over from John McTiernan and the film is loosely based on the novel 58 Minutes by Walter Wager. The film sees Bruce Willis return to our screens as New York cop John McClane, this time fighting terrorists who have taken over Washington Dulles International Airport during a blizzard, which prevents a number of planes from landing - including one carrying his wife. Against all expectations, it almost grossed more than double the original film and further enhanced Willis's reputation as a movie action superstar.


3 stars for Die Hard 2

What's it about?

Two years after the events of the first film, John McClane is waiting at Dulles Airport to pick up his wife Holly who is flying in from LA for Christmas. Despite the snowy conditions, there are no real delays so John waits patiently in the airport bar. Noticing a couple of men in army fatigues carrying concealing weapons, John follows them into the baggage area and a shoot-out occurs. John realises that something bad is about to happen and contacts the airport security chief, Captain Lorenzo. But Lorenzo doesn't believe him and has McClane thrown out.

Meanwhile, a nearby church is being used by terrorists to execute an audacious plan. They cut power to the airport's landing lights and take over their air-traffic control tower, preventing a number of passenger planes from landing. Their goal is to release Latin-American dictator General Esperanza from custody and fly off to freedom and any attempt to take back control will result in the terrorists bringing down one of the planes. John, realizing that Holly is effectively being held hostage up in the air, has no choice but to take on the terrorists himself before tragedy strikes.


Main Cast

Bruce Willis
Lt. John McClane
Bonnie Bedelia
Holly McClane
William Sadler
Colonel Stuart
Franco Nero
General Ramon Esperanza
William Atherton
Richard Thornburg
Reginald VelJohnson
Sgt. Al Powell
John Amos
Major Grant
Dennis Franz
Captain Carmine Lorenzo

Technical Info

Renny Harlin
Steven e. de Souza & Doug Richardson *
Running Time
124 minutes
Release Date (UK)
17th August, 1990
15 (2013 uncut)
Action, Thriller
* based on the novel "58 Minutes" by Walter Wager, certain characters by Roderick Thorp
Sadler (right) is an effective villain but not especially memorable...
Sadler (right) is an effective villain but not especially memorable... | Source

What's to like?

As you'd expect, the action is pretty full-on and this time, it throws you pretty much straight into the fray. Willis is still a likable guy, popping off wisecracks at a similar rate as he blows away the bad guys. And of course, it still has that old-school feel to it - there is not a hint of CG to be found so all the stunt-work looks and feels pretty real. Of course, this film give McClane a whole airport to play in and sure enough, the action uses its environment well in the same way that the Nakatomi Plaza was almost a character itself in Die Hard.

It might sound as if I'm clutching at straws here and that's because Die Hard 2 is simply not as good as the first film, as if any action film has a chance. Stood alone, there's nothing at all wrong with the film - the action is great, the hero is not just a world-weary caricature and the story has a great pace to it, making it feel urgent and energetic. There are also some impressive action sequences including a snowmobile chase and a fist-fight on the wing of a plane while it's preparing to take off. But the magic is missing and McClane is already starting to move away from the desperate every-man he was in the first film and into an action stereotype.

Fun Facts

  • Black & Decker paid 20th Century Fox for a scene where McClane used one of their cordless drills but when the scene was cut, Black & Decker sued the studio. It was the first ever product placement lawsuit and was settled out of court.
  • The General is from Val Verde, the same fictional South American country that first appeared in Commando and later in Predator. Writer Steven E. de Souza invented the country so as not to get bogged down with legal technicalities whenever a script called for a South American country.
  • Denver was unusually snowless during filming so artificial snow had to be used instead. Ironically, it was supposed to be filmed at Moses Lake in Washington but production was moved due to lack of snow.

What's not to like?

Despite having all the ingredients to replicate the first film, Renny Harlin forgot to mix them properly. The baddies, led by William Sadler's neo-Nazi colonel, have a plan but not any motivation that I could see - why would these guys be interested in springing this general from prison? The airport is far too big for McClane to get personal with the villains so there's no real pay-off like you had when McClane and Hans Gruber meet in the first film. Willis' ad-libs feel a little too rehearsed for my liking, robbing the film of the sense of humour it once possessed.

I'm not surprised that they got it wrong - after all, Die Hard was a game-changer while this feels generic, rushed and slightly cynical. After all, what are the odds that McClane finds himself in the same predicament (and it is the same, despite the setting) and even at Christmas as well? The film mistakes action for improvement, knowing that the tense proximity between hero and villain from the first film can't be replicated in a whacking great airport. But Die Hard was about more than just the action - it had humour, charm, a baddie for the ages in Alan Rickman's Hans Gruber and a supporting cast that actually contributed to the film. Die Hard 2 has none of these things.

Willis goes from normal guy to Super Cop in "Die Hard 2"
Willis goes from normal guy to Super Cop in "Die Hard 2" | Source

Should I watch it?

For action film veterans, there's enough in this film to justify seeing it. McClane has already become the unstoppable cop and his noisy brand of justice is exactly what action movies need. But anyone looking for the humour, tension and charisma of the first film will be sorely disappointed - Die Hard 2 knows the notes but not the song, taking a much-loved classic and turning it into a bombastic but generic shooter.

Great For: alternative Christmas parties, action fans, snowmobile riders

Not So Great For: fans of the first film, people who don't like flying, airport security staff

What else should I watch?

True fans of the series know that Die Hard is the one to beat for all other action movies but what about the other sequels? Die Hard With A Vengeance is still quite good fun and finally sees McClane have nice weather although he has the city of New York to run around in and even Samuel L Jackson along for the ride. The two most recent films - Live Free Or Die Hard and A Good Day To Die Hard - aren't worth your time, money or effort as they ignore stunt-work and pyro and happily wander down CG Avenue. It still brings a tear to my eye to see McClane fall so low.

The fact that a lot of films can be pitched as "Die Hard on a..." or "Die Hard in a..." speaks volumes about how much influence the original still has - and how little imagination Hollywood screenwriters possess. Decent rip-offs of the formula include Under Siege which is Die Hard on a ship, Speed is Die Hard on a bus but better than that might suggest and Taken is Die Hard in Europe for paranoid Americans.

© 2015 Benjamin Cox

Soap Box

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)