UNpopular Opinion: Die Hard 2
Written by:Alex Keen
THE UNPOPULAR OPINION is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATHED. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Enjoy!
I’m going to get this sentence out of the way immediately: my favorite DIE HARD film is DIE HARD 2: DIE HARDER. This has nothing to do with the other films in this series being substandard (okay, maybe LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD is shitty). This has everything to do with the DIE HARD 2 kicking ass.
The character of John McClane was born in the original DIE HARD, it was in DIE HARD 2 that he proved to be more than a one trick pony.
The crux of why I love DIE HARD 2 is pretty simple, the events of the original DIE HARD are somewhat plausible. However, the fact that something similar happens to McClane again in DIE HARD 2 (and to an even more exaggerated degree) is just outright impossible. It is the impossible and the implausible that I revel in. The lunacy of this happening in real life is on the same level as having to battle a horde of the undead with a shotgun, a Chevy, and some primitive screwheads as your back-up. It just wouldn’t ever happen.
Here are just a few examples of the awesome shit that happens in DIE HARD 2. First off, McClane starts the action off by taking part in a shoot-out in the luggage sorting area. Not only that, but he just randomly kills a dude in there. He barely gets in trouble for it and continues to run around the airport with a gun! While this is a commonplace trope for action movies, DIE HARD is supposed to be somewhat close to reality.
Next up is the revelation that American Special Forces are behind the central crime about to be committed. Not only that, but their goal is to rescue a crazy South American general?! Not only that, but he’s calling the shots for this crew. First off, how the hell did this happen and how did these military dudes go so corrupt.
Did I mention that William Sadler plays a ninja who warms up in the nude?
Finally, one of my favorite pieces of silliness is the snowmobile fight. Now on the surface a snow mobile fight in a movie doesn’t seem too bizarre right? However, for those of us that live near Washington, D.C. around Christmas time, there are a couple of things screwed up here. First, the average snowfall in D.C. in December is less than 4 inches. Second, the highest average monthly snowfall is just 7.5 inches. From my rudimentary research, this amount of snow is not really enough to a) justify using a snow mobile or b) justify even owning a snow mobile. What did someone think this was Alaska?
Did I mention that William Sadler plays a ninja who warms up in the nude? You can’t tell me that when Bruce Willis saw the rough cut of this movie that he didn’t laugh his ass off. I know I sure do each and every time I watch this.
All the same, it’s the goofy ridiculousness of stuff like this that make me really enjoy watching DIE HARD 2. I recognize that someone probably took these decisions seriously; but, apparently no one had the balls to think things through.
What makes the ridiculousness more palatable was the legendary personality of John McClane. In the midst of all this silliness, Bruce Willis brings to life a character that has resonated for over 20 years and will continue to do so for another 50 years to come. He gets to blast the brains out of some bad guys, fist fight with a ninja, and talk shit like the coolest cop on the force. While the character of John McClane was born in the original DIE HARD, it was in DIE HARD 2 that he proved to be more than a one trick pony.
Finally, the last thing I really love about DIE HARD 2 is the final scene. After McClane lights airborne jet fuel to blow up an airplanes (hells yeah!), he limps over to a recently landed airplane to find his wife, Holly. At the top of his lungs, McClane shouts “Holly!” This bit gets me every time. I just sit on my couch rocking back and forth, tissues in hand, weeping like a complete sissy. McClane has saved the day again and found the love of his life, what couldn’t be better?
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