DIRECTOR: Renny Harlin
May Contain Spoilers!
After the runaway and surprise hit that was Die Hard (1988), John McClane (Bruce Willis) is back, this time waiting for his wife to arrive at Washington’s Dulles Airport for Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, a well armed group of mercenaries led by William Sadler, take over the airport, cut the power to the runway lights and communications to planes and effectively hold the airport to ransom. Their target is in the rescue of General Ramon Esperanza (Franco Nero), a drug lord/dictator who is being flown to the U.S. for trial. There are similarities in tone to the real life Oliver North/Noriega Iran-Contra Affair which had been unfolding around this time.
Based on a Walter Wager novel entitled 58 Minutes, but not as faithful as Die Hard to Roderick Thorp’s, Nothing Last Forever, Renny Harlin has taken over the reins, as John McTeirnan (Die Hard) was off making Hunt For Red October (1989), he brought a more intense level of action and violence to film and in doing so, lost some of the fun and humour which had already been established. Still very entertaining and very much in keeping with the original, Willis is back but not in quite the same way. The beauty of Die Hard was that it followed the model of a lone man forced to contend with overwhelming odds to save the woman he loves as well as his own survival.
This plot was much broader in scope, with a massive airport and set pieces such as plane crashes and snowmobile chases, none of which would have been possible in the first film. As such, McClain (Willis) is not on his own. He has many allies and the “Die Hard” concept begins to be weakened. He gets beaten up and fights the good fight to bitter end but he has to shoehorn himself into the plot more than in the first film which was a text-book example of brilliant screen-writing. Contrivances begin to creep in here, as do knowing references to “The same shit happening to the same guy twice”.
Good point, John.
Still a very entertaining sequel and recommended, but it does lack the intensity and tightness in scripting that the first film offered but I feel that the change in tone and differences in plotting are well within acceptable guidelines. We don’t want the same shit again and seeing McClain get shot up and beaten to a pulp whilst blowing up 747’s is always going to be cool.
But with the terrorist’s taking aircraft and crashing them theme, I very much doubt that this film would have been pitch the same way today, following 9/11, but 1990 feels like a much more innocent time in terms of action movies.
A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD (2013) is released in U.K. Cinemas today!