This is not an opinion piece. This is 100% factually accurate:

Die Hard 2 fucking sucks.

Anyone who’s worth a damn will tell you that the two best Die Hard movies are Die Hard and Die Hard with a Vengeance (that’s the third one, for all you cretins out there). Out of the four Die Hards (to date), these are the two that were directed by John McTiernan. This is not a coincidence. In fact, if you look the word McTiernan up in the dictionary, you might find something like this:



1. American film director and producer.

2. the only person who should be allowed to direct a Die Hard movie

3. Slang  . the motherfuckin’ man

4. too bad he’s in jail

McTiernan expressed interest in directing Die Hard 2, but was busy doing The Hunt for Red October at the time. Since the studio didn’t want to wait for him, they went ahead and hired Renny Harlin, whose previous movie was A Nightmare on Elm Street 4, and would later go on to give us Cutthroat Island, Deep Blue Sea and Exorcist: The Beginning (all coming soon to the Criterion Collection, I’m sure). So just how does Die Hard 2 suck? Let me count the ways:

  1. It’s just a big, horribly contrived retread of the original. Christmas season again? Check. Putting McClane’s wife in jeopardy again? Check. Shoehorning Reginald VelJohnson and Sleazy Reporter Guy into the plot again? Check. McClane butting heads with the local police force again? Check. McClane having to single-handedly take out the bad guys because the police just stand around holding their dicks? Check. But hey, at least he got to keep his shoes this time.
  2. The villain sucks. We’re introduced to him while he’s doing naked ninja moves in his hotel room, and (somehow) it’s all downhill from there. Also, he looks like a bird.
  3. Dennis Franz, whose police captain character is so goddamn annoying, even The Mac Guy in Live Free or Die Hard had a hard time competing.
  4. Where’s the fucking humor? McClane is way too serious for way too much of the running time, and of the few one-liners he does have, a couple sound awkward and suspiciously dubbed in. Even Hans Gruber and his cronies had their share of wisecracks in the original, which brings me to:
  5. The bad guys have no personality. They’re just a bunch of faceless goons (aside from Robert Patrick and John Leguizamo, who have a combined screen time of about 45 seconds), and a few of them look so much alike, you can’t even tell them apart. Also, their grenades seem to take a whole 30 seconds to explode, so they might wanna look into buying better ones.
  6. The annoying blond reporter. I guess having one annoying reporter wasn’t enough?
  7. No Run-D.M.C.. C’mon son.

So there you have it. It’s got a few competent action scenes and probably the best finale out of the four, but it’s still the weakest one (yes, even weaker than Live Free or Die Hard – see the footnote essay at the bottom if you want an explanation). Curiously, at the time of its release, Roger Ebert gave Die Hard 2 a much more positive review than the original. I wonder what he thinks about it nowadays?

**When I saw Live Free or Die Hard in the theater, I thought it was a fairly entertaining Bruce Willis action movie, but a shitty Die Hard movie. I could get past a bald Bruce Willis pretending to be John McClane once more, I could get past the jarring stylistic and visual changes that director Len Wiseman brought to the look of the movie, I could even get past the Mac Guy and all the lame computer hacker shit; what I couldn’t get past was the fact that the studio neutered the movie to obtain a PG-13 rating. Willis initially defended it by stating that the violence would still be as intense as ever, but he was missing the point; this was to be the fourth installment of a decidedly R-rated franchise, where many of the funniest and/or most memorable bits of dialogue involved some degree of profanity. It’s bad enough that John McClane lost all his hair, now he’s also gotta watch what he says?

However when the movie hit DVD, it was also available in an unrated version. Slapping an obnoxious “UNRATED” sign on a DVD cover has been pretty par for the course for Hollywood these past few years, and many people (rightfully) assume it just means a measly minute or two of additional footage. With this one, however, we got almost an entirely different movie. The scenes are mostly the same, but all of the language is rightfully restored (including the iconic line at the end, which was predictably butchered in the PG-13 version). And though it’s still a corny action movie with too many outlandish stunts (and directed by Len Wiseman, which means everything has an unnatural blue tint to it), at least you feel like you’re watching John McClane again. And it’s still better than Die Hard 2.**


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