|Die Hard 2|
|Directed by||Renny Harlin|
|Music by||Michael Kamen|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$240.2 million|
Die Hard 2[Note 1] is a 1990 American action-thriller film and the second installment in the Die Hard film series. The film was released on June 29, 1990 in the United States. The film was directed by Renny Harlin, written by Steven E. de Souza and Doug Richardson and stars Bruce Willis as John McClane. The film co-stars Bonnie Bedelia, William Sadler, Art Evans, William Atherton, Franco Nero, Dennis Franz, Fred Thompson, John Amos and Reginald VelJohnson.
The screenplay was adapted from Walter Wager's 1987 novel 58 Minutes. The novel has the same plot but differs slightly: a police officer must stop terrorists who take an airport hostage while his wife's plane circles overhead, and has 58 minutes to do so before the plane crashes. Roderick Thorp, who wrote the 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever, upon which Die Hard was based, receives credit for creating "certain original characters", although his name is misspelled onscreen as "Roderick Thorpe".
As with the first film, the action in Die Hard 2 takes place on Christmas Eve. McClane is waiting for his wife to land at Washington Dulles International Airport when terrorists take over the air traffic control system. He must stop the terrorists before his wife's plane and several other incoming flights that are circling the airport run out of fuel and crash. During the night, McClane must also contend with airport police and a military commander, none of whom want his assistance.
On Christmas Eve 1990, two years after the Nakatomi Tower Incident, former NYC police officer John McClane now working for the LA Police Department is waiting at Dulles International Airport for wife Holly to arrive from Los Angeles. Reporter Richard Thornburg, who had exposed Holly's identity to Hans Gruber in the Nakatomi Tower, is assigned a seat across the aisle from her.
In the airport bar, McClane observes two men in Army fatigues behaving suspiciously and pursues them into the baggage area. After a shootout, McClane kills one of them, Oswald Cochrane, while the other escapes. Learning Cochrane was believed to have been killed in action while serving in Honduras, McClane tells airport police captain Carmine Lorenzo, who dismisses his concerns.
Former U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel William Stuart and other former members of his unit establish a base in a church near Dulles. They hack into the air traffic control systems, sever communication with the planes, and deactivate the runway lights, leaving Dulles ATC unable to land aircraft. Their goal is to rescue General Ramon Esperanza, a drug lord and dictator of Val Verde, being extradited to the United States to stand trial on drug trafficking charges.
They demand a Boeing 747 cargo plane so they can escape to another country with Esperanza, and warn the airport controllers against restoring control. With his wife on one of the planes circling above Washington, D.C., with too little fuel to be redirected, McClane prepares to fight the terrorists, allying himself with a janitor, Marvin, to gain greater access to the airport.
Dulles communications director Leslie Barnes heads to an unfinished antenna array with a SWAT team to re-establish communications with the planes, but they are ambushed and killed in the firefight, though McClane rescues Barnes and kills Stuart's men. Stuart retaliates by crashing a British jetliner, killing everyone onboard. A U.S. Army Special Forces team led by Major Grant is called in. By listening in on a two-way radio dropped by one of Stuart's henchmen, McClane learns that Esperanza, having killed his captors is now landing his plane.
McClane reaches the aircraft before Stuart's men. Trapping him in the cockpit, they throw in grenades, but McClane escapes via the ejection seat seconds before they detonate. Barnes helps McClane locate the mercenaries' hideout, and they tell Grant to raid the location, but the mercenaries escape on snowmobiles. McClane pursues them but is stunned to discover the mercenaries' guns are loaded with blanks, concluding that the Special Forces team are in fact Stuart's subordinates.
McClane demands Lorenzo intercept the Boeing 747, the mercenaries' escape plane; but he refuses to listen and attempts to arrest McClane. Fed up, McClane shoots at Lorenzo with the mercenaries' blank-filled gun, proving his point. On Holly's flight, a suspicious Thornburg, monitoring airport radio traffic, learns about the situation from a secret transmission between Barnes and the circling planes. He phones into the news and broadcasts a sensational and exaggerated take on what is happening, leading to panic and preventing officers from reaching the escape plane, until Holly subdues Thornburg with a stun gun.
McClane gets on a news helicopter that puts him on the wing of the taxiing mercenaries' 747. He shoves his coat in the aileron, preventing the plane from taking off. Grant and Stewart get out to subdue McClane, fighting until McClane pushes Grant into a jet engine, killing him. Stuart knocks McClane off the plane and frees its wing, but doesn't notice McClane opening the fuel hatch. McClane ignites the trail of fuel which leads up to the jet, causing it to explode. The circling planes use the fire trail to help them land. As the passengers are rescued, Holly and McClane happily embrace.
Additional cast members include Stuart's henchmen: Don Harvey as Garber, John Costelloe as Sergeant Oswald Cochrane, Vondie Curtis-Hall as Miller, John Leguizamo as Burke, Robert Patrick as O'Reilly, Tom Verica as Kahn, Tony Ganios as Baker, Michael Cunningham as Sheldon, Peter Nelson as Thompson, Ken Baldwin as Mulkey, and Mark Boone Junior as Shockley. Patrick O'Neal appears as Telford, Major Grant's radio operator.
According to Franco Nero, Joel Silver got the idea to cast him after he saw movie posters of Nero hanging in the office of their mutual accountant. Nero did not want to do Die Hard 2 because he did not like the script and he had committed to do the film Breath of Life. Finally, Silver scheduled Nero's scenes in such a way that the actor could do both films.
Die Hard 2 was the first film to use digitally composited live-action footage with a traditional matte painting that had been photographed and scanned into a computer. It was used for the last scene, which took place on a runway.
One of the writers of the screenplay, Steven E. de Souza, later admitted in an interview for the book Action Speaks Louder: Violence, Spectacle, and the American Action Movie that the villains were based on America's "Central American" meddling, primarily the Iran-Contra affair.
The film exceeded all expectations by outdoing the massive box office success of Die Hard. The film had a $62-70 million budget and had a wide release in 2,507 theaters, making $21.7 million its opening weekend. Die Hard 2 domestically made $117.5 million, and $122.5 million internationally, earning over $240 million worldwide, almost doubling that of Die Hard. The film was re-released internationally in 1993 and made $216,339 more, which totaled its gross to $240.2 million.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 69% based on 64 reviews, with an average rating of 6.28/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "It lacks the fresh thrills of its predecessor, but Die Hard 2 still works as an over-the-top - and reasonably taut - big-budget sequel, with plenty of set pieces to paper over the plot deficiencies." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 67 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
Roger Ebert, who gave the original film a mixed review, described the sequel as "terrific entertainment", despite noting substantial credibility problems with the plot. Jay Boyar of the Orlando Sentinel dubbed the film as being as disappointing a sequel as Another 48 Hrs. and RoboCop 2, and said,
Whatever small pleasure there is to be found in this loud dud is due mostly to the residual good feelings from the first film... As played by Bruce Willis, McClane is still an engaging character, even if he is much less amusingly drawn this time. Willis is in there trying, but the qualities that helped to make his character sympathetic in the first film are missing. McClane no longer worries openly about his personal safety, as he did in the original movie. His quasi-cowboy personality from Die Hard is all but forgotten - he has become more of a Rambo and less of a Roy Rogers. And though the filmmakers try to establish McClane as resistant to advanced technology, this promising idea isn't developed.[dead link]
Empire magazine rated the film three out of five stars, while stating, "It's entertaining nonsense that doesn't quite manage to recapture the magic of the original. Still, there are some nice moments here, and Willis is on solid ground as the iconic McClane."
The film had its DVD debut on 10 January 2000, followed by a 2-Disc Special Edition DVD in 2001 as part of the Die Hard Ultimate Collection DVD and re-released again in early 2005 as a Widescreen Edition and June 19, 2007, followed by a Blu-ray release on November 20, 2007 and a re-release on January 29, 2013.
...What did they spend that reported $62 million on making 'Die Hard 2'?
...'Die Hard 2' (1990), which also ran over budget and wound up costing a reported $70 million.
Die Hard 2 actually, as I recall, did better than Die Hard 1, which is very unusual. Sequels normally do about 65% of their original, but this one just exploded.