Die Hard 2: Die Harder ****

diehard2

I am pretty much the only person that I know who thinks this, but “Die Hard 2” is one of the best modern action films I have seen.  To me it has everything that makes an action film great.  The stunts and action sequences are all first rate and exciting, the performances are gripping, the direction is perfect, and the story is something we can care about.

The story follows John Mclean, played again by Bruce Willis, as he finds himself in another situation with terrorists.  Now I do realize that this is fairly unlikely considering he was in a similar situation during Christmas the year previous, but I was able to let that go pretty quickly. 

Mclean as you know is the wise cracking, ass kicking, terrorist foiling police detective from the original “Die Hard”.  In the original film he found himself isolated in a sky scraper battling would be thieves lead by the great Alan Rickman.  This time he is up against villains who are a little more bad ass.  This time they want to free a ruthless drug lord who is being extradited to the states to stand trial. 

They are lead by William Sadler, who is less in to entertaining verbal exchanges with Mclean as he is in simply killing him.  The terrorists are armed with the usual machine guns, grenades, and 2-way radios.  Their plan is to take control full control of the traffic control center of an airport.  They will impersonate ground control and trick planes in to crashing unless their demands are met.  How unlucky for them that Mclean’s wife is on board one of the air planes.

His efforts as usual, generate better results then the authorities.  He manages to engage the enemy in fierce non-stop gun fights and hand to hand combat.  This could have been routine but the director Renny Harlin finds interesting ways to show us the action.  At one point we have Mclean eject himself from an airplane before it explodes.  Our point of view is high above the plane as the chair ejects straight at the camera. 

I also loved the sequence where Mclean is dropped down on the wing of a plane that is about to take off.  How interesting that Harlin would then have Mclean engage in a fist fight right on the wing of the plane. 

We do not get movies like this nowadays.  Most action films use computer generated images as opposed to stunt work and visual effects.  In a time before CGI, this was and remains, one of the best.  “Die Hard 2: Die Harder” is an action masterpiece that deserves to be recognized as far superior to most other films of this genre, including the film that started the franchise.

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