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Die Hard 2: Die Harder
review by Zach B.
Running Time: 123 minutes
Starring Bruce Willis, William Sadler, Bonnie
Screenplay by Steven E. de Souza and Doug Richardson
Based on the novel "58 minutes" by Walter Wager
Directed by Renny Harlin
Retail Price: $29.98
Disc One - Audio Commentary with Director Renny Harlin, THX
Disc Two - "Die Harder: The Making Of Die Hard 2"
Documentary, Featurette, "Villain's Profile" Featurette,
Four Deleted Scenes, Interview With Renny Harlin,
Behind-The-Scenes Vignettes, Storyboard Sequence, Visual
Effects Breakdown, Trailers, TV Spot
Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby
Digital 5.1, English DTS 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French
Dolby Surround, English Closed Captioning, English
Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Scene Selection (28 Chapters),
THX Certified, Two-Disc Set
Released: July 10th, 2001
Also part of the "Die Hard - The Ultimate Collection"
Ah, sequels. Seems like "Die Hard" could be a sequel
right? Let's face it: the first one was successful with
fans, critics and at making money, it involves good
characters and features a lot of violence that is sure to
appeal to some key demographics. Yeah, I think "Die Hard"
could be a sequel. And it obviously was if you read the the
title of this review.
"Die Hard 2: Die Harder" takes place exactly one year
after the original. Christmas Eve, a lot of terrorist bad
guys, returning characters, action, explosions, scares,
guns... sounds like the original, right? Only this time it's
with planes. So, John McClane is meeting his wife at the
airport in Washington D.C.
(*COUGHreplacedforachristmaspartyCOUGH*) when you guessed
it, trouble errupts. Terrorists led by Colonel Stuart
(William Sadler) take control of Dulles Airport's landing
system. Of course, people are going to die and get hurt if
their demands to free a drug lord are not met. However,
McClane's wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) is circling over head.
With limited fuel, guess who has to save the day?
"Die Hard 2" has drawn comparisons with the original, and
when you think about it, they are pretty similar, but I
still think they have their differences to make them stand
on their own. This sequel at least sort of mocks the same
occurances, so at least Fox doesn't think we're all idiots
who go in and eat up anything they serve us. Still, since I
was a big fan of the original I thought this sequel was an
incredible continuation. What I liked was how the plot was
really kept consistent and a lot of the great supporting
characters from the original returned when you may not have
expected them to. There is also some more memorable dialogue
in addition to even greater action sequences that seem to be
on a bigger scale. Add in some great confrontations, nice
twists and some great, thrilling scenes and you have one
Once again, Bruce Willis returns as John McClane and he's
great. He adds more to character since McClane has added
conflict between the bad guys and those around him, not to
mentuon an even smaller amount of time to work with. Dennis
Franz is great as Captain Carmine Lorenzo who just adds more
to McClane's troubles. Sadler as Stuart is excellent with a
nice meaness and toughness, and old favorites such as
Bedelia, William Atherton and Reginald VelJohnson return.
Too bad Carl Winslow has such a small role.
Harlin's directing skills here are top notch and the
editing is nicely done so we don't lose any of the action.
Considering the film was shot and edited quickly, it's
mighty impressive. Personally, I think "Die Hard 2" is
Harlin's best film yet... I don't think what he did mostly
after was so good, but I consider "Cliffhanger" an
Complete with a "Simpsons" cameo (YES!), "Die Hard 2" is
a sequel that doesn't quite live up to the original, but
still a great movie in its own right complete with some
spectacular stunts and sequences.
The THX certified is an improvment over the original
release's non-anamorphic transfer. Thankfully, this time
aroumd, the transfer is anamorphic and in the original
aspect ratio of 2.35:1. While I was a little disappointed
with the "Die Hard" Five Star Collection transfer, I was a
bit skeptical about this one. It really blows it out of the
water and they really cleaned this transfer up, it was quite
a nice surprise. Colors are perfectly saturated and black
levels hit the mark perfectly as well. I didn't notice much
grain and some blemishes as they pop up here and there, as
well as shimmering, but they go fast and aren't major so no
one is really going to notice them. I noticed some slight
edge enhancment too, but still, nothing that is really
distracting. This definently ranks as one of Fox's best
transfers ever and is sure to please.
"Die Hard 2: Die Harder" features English Dolby Digital
5.1 and DTS 5.1 tracks (the original DVD release only had
Dolby Digital 5.1). Like the first "Die Hard" movie, there's
a lot of action sequences that will show off any home
theater system nicely (what? you were expecting a dialogue
driven movie?). Like the video, the audio is THX certified
as well. From the fantastic finale to some major explosions,
this movie packs quite a punch with the audio. Dialogue is
clear and easy to hear and isn't overpowered from some giant
effects. There is some nice mixing, and the Dolby Digital
and DTS are really neck and neck, but I have to go with the
DTS ever so slightly. Like the original, this is an action
movie with a lot of action, fights and sounds that really
pump up your speaks. .1 LFE extension is great and in the
end, no major complaints. English Dolby Surround and French
Dolby Surround tracks are included, but English subtitles,
English closed captions and Spanish subtitles.
Though it is a two-disc set and packed with features,
this re-release of "Die Hard 2: Die Harder" is not a Fox
Five Star Collection release but a special edition (I'm
guessing because it's not as packed as the original "Die
Hard"). Still, don't let that be a turn-off to you. There
are still some great supplements that will please fans of
The first disc features an Audio Commentary with
Director Renny Harlin. Out of all the Die Hard DVDs, I
enjoyed Harlin's comments the best. His accent may be a bit
of a turn-off to some, but you get used to it fairly
quickly. He starts off by talking about how he got to direct
the film, as well as some very interesting tidbits about the
production. He usually stays pretty screen-specific and
actually points about some mistakes the film has. Despite
the movie being well over ten years now, it's nice to know
he remembers so many little details about the production.
Don't miss this track, it's very entertaining as well as
informative. Also on the first disc is THX Optimode,
plus the usual Fox Promo trailer before the main menu.
Moving on to the second disc we have Die Hard: The
Making Of Die Hard 2 which lasts a good twenty-three
minutes and was shown on the Fox network all those years
ago. It has behind-the-scenes clips, a variety of interviews
and clips from the first movie as well as the second. It's a
bit fluffy, but a lot better then the usual featurettes.
It's presented in full frame and really has some interesting
production facts. The interviews include Willis, Harlin,
William Sadler, Bonnie Bedlia, among others including more
of the cast and crew. It's a nice watch.
The four minute Featurette was used for Fox's EPK
for the film, and also has behind-the-scenes clips,
interviews and clips from the movie. A lot of the same stuff
is in the TV special, so watch that instead.
You have Four Trailers, all in anamorphic
widescreen and why the section heading says "TV Spots",
there's only one in full frame. It's interesting how they
delayed the film from June 29th to July 4th.
In the Deleted Scenes section, you're treated to
four of them in non-anamorphic widescreen. They actually
look really sharp and are in two channel sound. They add up
to be around eight minutes, and these actually are expanded
or alternative scenes. They make nice additions.
An Interview With Renny Harlin is included and has
clips from the film, behind the scenes clip and the
interview seems to be on the set. William Sadler is also
interviewed for this, and why Harlin gets his name in the
title only is beyond me. This looks like an edited version
of what's in the featurette and making-of special.
Villain's Profile also has behind-the-scenes
clips, clips from the movies and a variety of interviews
with Harlin, Willis, Sadler and others. It's more making-of
stuff and kind-of fluffy. After seeing the other making-of
materials, this gets old fast.
Behind-The-Scenes and Storyboards has a four
minute featurette entitled Breaking The Ice which has
clips from the movie, more behind-the-scenes footage,
storyboard footage and interviews with Willis, Harlin and
others. It's interesting to see how this was exactly set up
and put together. The same goes for the nearly eight minute
Chaos On The Conveyer Belt which also has
behind-the-scenes footage, clips from the movie and
interviews. You really see Harlin hands on here which is
nice. This featurette relies more on actually
behind-the-scenes footage. I liked this one the best of the
two. The Story Board Sequence goes back and forth
between storyboards and the film clips which works nicely.
Finally, the Visual Effects section breaks down
the Ejector Seat scene (three minutes) with
storyboards, blue screen and the final shot. The Airport
Runway scene (nearly two minutes) has the paintings of
the sequence compared to the final composite shot. The
Chopper, Airplane Models and Wing Fight
show how they were made and setup to how they were all
completed for what's scene in the movie. Very interesting.
It uses split-screen often.
Finally, the animated menus really fit into the film with
some great transistions, sounds and graphics, just like the
first "Die Hard".
Though not as featured loaded as the original, there are
still some damn fine supplements for this sequel in addition
to a fantastic presentation and is worthy of a special
edition banner. This makes a great companion to the first
film and worth picking up. And while many argue it's more of
the same when put next to the first film, it's still a
really enjoyable ride.
(4/5 - NOT included in
(4.5/5, NOT an average)