Wednesday, July 13, 2011
DIE HARD 2
(July 1990, U.S.)
The Summer of 1990 was one of the most depressing summers I've ever had to endure. To begin with, I couldn't find a summer job and the one I did finally find was horrible. The car I was driving was a certifiable piece of shit. And, oh yeah, I was experiencing the horrible agony of being in love with the wrong girl. At the movies, crap like DICK TRACY, TOTAL RECALL and ROBOBCOP 2 weren't exactly doing much to lift my spirits. In fact, during that entire summer there were only two films that managed to put a big smile on my face and help me to forget my troubles for a while. The first was David Lynch's WILD AT HEART. The second was...you guessed it...DIE HARD 2! This sequel, in my opinion, actually surpasses the original in story and excitement. It's also probably the only good film director Renny Harlin has and ever will likely make in his entire career.
One of the interesting points about discussing almost any sequel is that it gives you the opportunity to frequently use the words, "this time". So, THIS TIME our great hero John McClane finds himself unwittingly involved in a terrorist plot at Washington Dulles International Airport while awaiting the arrival of his wife's plane. Oh, and of course, this is all happening on Christmas Eve again (perhaps McClane should try celebrating Hanukkah instead!). THIS TIME the terrorists have taken over air traffic control systems from a nearby church, cutting off communication to all the in-bound planes, and have seized control of the entire airport. Their goal is to rescue Ramon Esperanza (played by Franco Nero), a powerful drug lord and dictator of Val Verde, who is flying into the United States to stand trial. At one point, during a rather horrifying sequence, the terrorist leader Col. Stuart (played by William Sadler) uses an instrument landing system to deliberately crash a plane, killing everyone on board. You may find this hard to believe, but 21 years ago when I saw this in the theater, everyone in the audience actually cheered with excitement when the plane exploded. Since 9/11, nobody in their decent right mind would ever do that now (I hope). Guns blaze galore, shit explodes and it's an undenyable huge thrill from beginning to end. As you'd expect, McClane defeats the bad guys, saves the innocent and is reunited with his wife Holly. I have to say, though, the idea of Los Angeles reporter Richard Thornburg (played by William Atherton) who just HAPPENS to be on the same flight as Holly is too far-fetched for even my tastes to accept. It's necessary, I suppose, so he can once again open his big mouth to expose the horrible news for his own professional gains. Still...THE SAME FLIGHT???
Favorite line or dialogue:
John McClane (just before destroying the bad guy's plane): "Yippie-kai-yay, motherfucker!"