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Die Hard 2: YOU’RE A LOOSE CANNON, MCCLANE

The first time it happened he was surprised. The second time it happened he was REALLY surprised.

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!

The heroin goes straight to his thighs.

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.

THE MEDIA MIGHT THINK YOU ARE HOT SHIT BUT I AM FAT AND UNDERPAID.

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.

It keeps happening!!

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.

BOOM (harder)

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6 Responses

  1. The best part of this movie was when someone got killed with an icicle. It’s my least favorite of all the Die Hard films though, including the 4th one.

    I think heroin kingpins don’t actually use heroin, which is how they get to be kingpins in the first place,because everyone else around them is all drugged up.

    • I remember growing up everyone in my neighborhood was always very concerned about icicles. Like, the first thing you have to do when you see one was to knock it down (which is hilariously addictive and is thus something I am compelled to do even today). It occurs to me that the Die Hard icicle murder may one of the reasons that was a thing? Who knows.
      I agree, Die Harder was not as good as Die Hard. It seemed a little… boring? compared to the first one. I am pretty pumped for Die Hard with a Vengeance, though. When I put “Die Hard” into a google image search it came back with infinite pictures of a COP CAR CRASHING INTO A HELICOPTER. I am very excited to see this go down, even if I am like 20 years too late to the party.

  2. Wait. You’re actually telling people to watch this movie? Die Harder, aside from being a title worthy of a Steven Segal movie, is far and away the worst movie of the series. So much so that I hesitate to relate it to the series at all. The plot is so full of holes you’d think McClane was using it for target practice. But what little plot remains you have completely botched in your synopsis.
    First and foremost is the location. Washington D.C.. Hence the snow. LAX has a distinct lack of snow storms on Christmas Eve. The Heroin king pin plot point was some sort of contrived homage to the war against Colombian Drug Lord Pablo Escobar. Escobar, like all evil geniuses, made it a point not to partake in his wares. Hence the stylish look. In fact, hardly anybody in Colombia did coke at all until the late 90’s. Which is why the hunt for Escobar was funded by the U.S. Why should Colombia care if he’s ruining American’s lives? The movie was released at the height of Escobar’s power and almost three years before he was shot in the head by Colombian soldiers. So while it may have been culturally relevant at the time, the fact that it has nothing to do with terrorists, or SPOILERS Alan Rickman’s death and subsequent avengance, really sets it apart from the other three movies and not in a good way.
    Which brings me to my next point. The car crashing into a helicopter is in Live Free or Die Hard. Die Hard: With a Vengance does feature a helicopter, but not the one from the Google image searches. As Blue Shoes can attest to, when doing a Die Hard marathon, this one is far and away the most painful, even if it does feature a certain former Presidential candidate turned spokesman for old people products.
    Also, in my neighborhood the fear of icicles stemmed from A Christmas Story. Though my sister and I didn’t see that movie until high school so we only broke them off to eat them like popsicles or stab each other.

    • It sounds like the only plot point I “botched” was the fact that he was in Washington DC, which is, as I said in the article, irrelevant. As is that whole Pablo Escobar thing. No one is looking for subtleties in a Die Hard movie. Plus anyone watching the movie today isn’t going to care about a 20 year old heroin lord that we may have arrested or at least looked at through binoculars once or twice. And I thought a plot full of holes was just how the Die Hard movies roll. That’s certainly the impression I got two movies into this.
      And yeah, once a group of dudes who may have once been in the military start hijacking airports, making demands and killing people, they become terrorists. That’s kind of how that works.
      Die Harder was not as good as Die Hard. I have not seen numbers three and four so I can not yet peg it as the “worst in the series.”

      • To be fair, the last time I saw the movie was 9 years ago or so I’m a little fuzzy on the details but the point is it’s not only a bad Die Hard movie it’s a bad movie. A movie whose only redeeming qualities include Bruce Willis and explosions. Maybe that’s enough for some people, but I prefer a little more cohesive substance.

      • Wait, there’s more to the Die Hard franchise than Bruce Willis and explosions? Die Harder was indeed a bad movie. But it’s a bad movie you have to watch, because that’s just what you do with certain franchises.
        Like seriously, after the Phantom Menace why did we watch the Clone… attack… one and the third one where Darth Vader was all “NOOOoooooooOOOO” knowing full well they were probably going to be shit?

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