The second Die Hard (1990) has always been my least favorite Die Hard. It’s not a bad movie, but being a full-fledged Air Force brat, I don’t really take fondly to movies about airplanes. Throw in the fact that being stuck on a plane is pretty much my Room 101 (i.e., that which scares me the most) and you have a combination that makes for a less than pleasurable movie for me.
In this installment, John McClane is waiting for his wife to arrive at Dulles International Airport when he spots two men acting shifty. He follows said men, engages in some action sequences, kills one, and then berates the head of airport police – played by a pre-fame Dennis Franz – for claiming that they were merely baggages thieves. Of course, they can’t merely be thieves: they’re terrorists (wow, try writing that plotline today) bent on rescuing a drug load being extradited to the US. McClane’s stake in the mission? The terrorists have cut off communication between the planes and Dulles, which means none of the planes, including the one carrying Holly McClane, can’t land and have to circle the airport. Will they have enough fuel or run out? Oh no! (I have to wonder if, in a situation in which an airport is unusable, wouldn’t planes just fly to the next nearest one? Was the snowstorm the reason they didn’t? I don’t know…I try not to think about these things.)
[Side note: It seems that my Spanish is getting to a point where I’m able to differentiate accents, so much so that when the actor playing drug lord General Ramon Esperanza spoke in Spanish, I couldn’t place his accent and doubted whether he was Hispanic at all. Turns out I was right – he’s Italian.]
The film is not devoid of some enjoyable moments. Bruce Willis ejecting himself from a stationary plane and flying up into the air while the plane blows up behind him is a different take on the hero-walking-away-in-a-blaze-of-glory requisite action movie scene. And you have to love his gumption, jumping from a helicopter onto the wing of a moving plane and then proceeding to kick ass. These are the things I love about these movies. But given the choice, I’ll be watching installments 1 and 3. The fewer the planes, the better.