Stuff I Watch in December: Die Hard 2 (1990)

Happy Holidays and welcome! We are counting down the days until December 25th and, in that time, I will be reviewing each and every Christmas/holiday film I watch during the month. They’re mostly a selection of films in my own library or films and shows that have been recommended to me.

Please enjoy and leave a comment!

And if you missed any of our past reflections, take a look:

Holiday Inn (1942)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
White Christmas (1954)
Santa Claus (1959)
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (1972)
Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)
I Believe in Santa Claus (1984)
Lethal Weapon (1986)
Die Hard (1988)
Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)
Scrooged (1988)
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Home Alone (1990)

Our next film is…

WATCHING: Die Hard 2 (1990)

Die Hard 2

DIRECTOR: Renny Harlin, a Finnish director who would go on to direct the insane The Long Kiss Goodnight as well as one of the biggest box office bombs in history, Cutthroat Island.

WHAT IS IT?: With the success of Die Hard, you knew there’d be a sequel. And here it is.

THE PLOT: It’s Christmas at Dulles Airport and John McClane (Bruce Willis) is stuck waiting for his wife to fly in so that he can spend the holiday with her following their reunion in “Die Hard”. Little does McClane realize that he’s about to have another long Christmas Eve.

A group of terrorists manage to take total control of the Dulles air tower from a remote location outside the airport and threaten to crash the airport’s planes if they don’t allow a tinpot South American dictator to land there. With the police being a non-factor, McClane is the only thing that stands in their way.

WHAT DID CRITICS THINK?: The film got mixed to positive reviews from critics who noted the lack of freshness and preposterous plot — but who also praised the action. While Roger Ebert didn’t quite like the film, his colleague Gene Siskel called it one of the best films of the year.

WHAT DID I THINK?: The biggest, most bombastic box office success of 1988 was bound to see a sequel. Short of blowing up your theater seat, the film could NEVER truly meet the expectations of its audience.

That’s not to say it’s bad. It’s still a VERY fun film, very much in the Irwin Allen vein which helped inspire its predecessor and the film delivers more than once with some spectacular action sequences (the climatic battle aboard an Army plane is especially incredible) — but it’s also WHOLLY preposterous and requires you to suspend your disbelief. Plus, while William Sadler is a solid actor in fine form here, he’s a bit robotic as the film’s villain and lacks the style and wit of the late Alan Rickman.

Still, Die Hard 2 is some good Christmas viewing which easily scratches one’s action itch.

GRADE: B

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