Watching the Die Hard movies has been interesting. For one, I learned that I have never actually watched any of the Die Hard movies from start to finish before now. I’m not sure how I managed that, saying as how I was alive during the late 80s and early 90s. If I had to guess, I’d say my mother had something to do with that. For years she didn’t let me and my brother watch Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom because the heart-ripping scene was “too violent” in a futile attempt to protect her children from totally awesome gore. So Bruce Willis running around popping terrorists like tick tacks probably was a little above the violence threshold.
A few months… or so? ago, I reviewed Die Hard, which was also the first time I watched that movie in its entirety. Suddenly, as if by magic, Die Hard 2: Die Harder appeared on Netflicks and I knew what I had to do because, to quote Homestuck (and honestly, is there any time when I’m not quoting HS?), “we are motherfuckin entrenched in this bitch.”
Bruce Willis returns as down-on-his-luck cop John McClane in this sequel. It is once again Christmas Eve (time marches ever onwards) and this time McClane is chilling at an airport, possibly in LA, waiting for his spunky
sidekick wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) to return from wifeland. Wifeland, for posterity, is the mythical land that wives visit when they are absent. It is also something I am making up because A) I have no idea where the hell Bonnie was supposed to be and B) it is a largely irrelevant plot point. All you need to know is that the love interest character is on a plane, which is in the air, being all… aerodynamic and shit.
McClane quickly runs afoul of a local police, who get on his bad side when a horrible, bastard, unreasonable cop writes McClane a ticket and tows his car out of a clearly marked no parking zone. McClane tries to talk his way out of the ticket because, hey, he’s a cop too! He shouldn’t be expect to follow laws that affect the normal, common folk, right? But the evil cop tells him to get bent and gives him the ticket anyway.
Turns out the airport is having a big day. The United State’s infamous War on Drugs has started to pay big dividends (proving that Die Hard does, in fact, exist in a different dimension than the one we live in) and that the undisputed king of heroin (Franco Nero) is due to be brought through by some military types on the way to trial. What do you mean, Christmas Eve seems like a bad time to do this? The man sells HEROIN, okay?! He needs taken down!
Actually, here’s where the biggest disconnect is for me in the movie. I’ve seen some drug lords moved through the police system over the past five years working in the news industry. None of them look anywhere near as composed and dapper as Gen. Ramon Esperanza. Just take a look at this pleasant bastard! He doesn’t have so much as a dark circle under either of his eyes, his skin is suspiciously free from pock marks, and his beard has been meticulously maintained. Heroin is a hard drug, one that transforms the user into a hobo after repeated use. Not as quickly as meth, but you’d think that the man who is being heralded as the heroin kingpin of all the land would have at least SOME sign of his body going straight to hell.
Anyway, back to the Willis. McClane stumbles across a couple of goons messing around in the luggage room at the airport and murders one of them right up. This puts him in direct conflict with the local police even more who don’t like that fact that McClane, as an off duty, out of jurisdiction cop, is trying to get them to shut down the airport on the busiest day of the year. While sure, most of the action revolves around a basic plot of McClane shooting and/or stabbing terrorists, I found his interaction with the police to be more compelling. I think this is because it is so over the top and stereotypical of good cop action films that I couldn’t help but laugh. When you stop to think about it, Die Harder really helped to define those stereotypes to begin with.
Be prepared for a lot of lines about how McClane is a WORTHLESS LONER who thinks he is a HOTSHOT but he is in fact a CIVILIAN ASSHOLE even though McClane is obviously, from the start, one of the most dedicated people to the cause, and the most effective. Granted, he is also a worthless loner, hotshot and civilian asshole, but you have to root for him because he is the main character, and McClane is still an unstoppable avatar of death. We’re supposed to feel slighted when McClane is not privy to military and police discussions, because man you just KNOW he is the only dude who can stuff a terrorist full of murder. How can they not SEE THAT.
After his run in with the jerks in the baggage room, things get a little out of hand and weird. Terrorists start threatening to crash planes in exchange for heroinman. These guys are serious business, though I either never got a full explanation of why these military types were so gung ho for heroin or I glossed it over entirely while drawing comics about Megaman. Whatever, I never claimed to be a professional. To make a long story short, McClane has to murder everyone to make sure his wife doesn’t get plane crash’d.
The action is in line with the first Die Hard, though it seems a bit more stretched out. McClane isn’t trapped alone behind enemy lines anymore, which is a problem saying as how the police and army haven’t gotten any more effective since the first film. There are tons of explosions and near misses for McClane, but as always you know he’s going to be just fine. You can’t just kill Bruce Willis! He is dating the fifth element in the future.
Again, you’ve probably seen Die Harder before, because its just one of those movies you’re supposed to see. But hey, go watch it again. It may be a Christmas movie, but watching terrorists go down in a whirlwind of bullets and in gratuitous over the top explosions is something fun no matter what time of the year it is.