- Die Hard 2
Die Hard 2
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Renny Harlin Produced by Charles Gordon
Screenplay by Steven E. de Souza
Based on 58 Minutes by
Original characters by
Starring Bruce Willis
Music by Michael Kamen Cinematography Oliver Wood Editing by Stuart Baird
Robert A. Ferretti
Studio Silver Pictures
Distributed by 20th Century Fox Release date(s) July 4, 1990 Running time 124 minutes Country United States Language English
Budget $70 million Box office $240,031,094 
Die Hard 2 (sometimes referred to as Die Hard 2: Die Harder) is a 1990 action film and the second in the Die Hard film series. The film was directed by Renny Harlin, and stars Bruce Willis as John McClane. The film co-stars Bonnie Bedelia (reprising her role as Holly McClane), William Sadler, Art Evans, William Atherton reprising his role as Richard "Dick" Thornburg, Franco Nero, Dennis Franz, Fred Thompson, John Amos, and Reginald VelJohnson, who makes a cameo appearance reprising his role as Sgt. Al Powell from the first film.
The screenplay was written by Steven E. de Souza and Doug Richardson, adapted from the novel 58 Minutes by Walter Wager. The novel has the same premise but differs slightly: A cop must stop terrorists who take an airport hostage while his wife's plane circles overhead. He has 58 minutes to do so before the plane crashes. Roderick Thorp, who wrote the novel Nothing Lasts Forever, upon which the first Die Hard film was based, receives credit for creating "certain original characters", although his name is misspelled onscreen as "Roderick Thorpe."
As with the first film, the action in Die Hard 2 takes place on Christmas Eve. McClane is waiting for his wife to land at Washington Dulles International Airport when terrorists take over the air traffic control system. He must stop the terrorists before his wife's plane and several other incoming flights that are circling the airport run out of fuel and crash. During the night, McClane must also contend with airport police, maintenance workers, and a military commander who does not want his assistance.
On Christmas Eve, two years after the Nakatomi Tower Incident, LAPD detective John McClane waits at the Washington Dulles International Airport for his wife Holly to arrive from Los Angeles. Reporter Richard Thornburg, who exposed McClane's identity to Hans Gruber in the first Die Hard, is assigned the seat next to Holly. While in the airport bar, McClane spots two men in army fatigues carrying a package; one of the men has a gun. Suspicious, he follows them into the baggage area. McClane, in a confrontation, kills one of the men while the other escapes. Learning the dead man is a mercenary thought to have been killed in action, McClane believes he's stumbled onto some nefarious plot. He relates his suspicions to airport police Captain Carmine Lorenzo, but Lorenzo refuses to listen and has McClane thrown out of his office.
Former U.S. Army Special Forces Colonel Stuart and other former members of his unit set up a base in a church near the airport. They take over air traffic control systems, cutting off communication to the planes, and seize control of the airport. Their goal is to rescue Ramon Esperanza, a drug lord and dictator of Val Verde, who is flying into the US to stand trial. They demand a Boeing 747 so they can escape to another country, and warn the Dulles controllers not to try to restore control. Upon learning of this, McClane realizes his wife is on one of the planes circling above Washington, D.C. with too little fuel to be redirected, and will likely to crash if the terrorists remain in control. He prepares to fight the terrorists.
Dulles communications director Leslie Barnes heads to the unfinished Annex Skywalk with a SWAT team to establish communications with the planes. But Stuart's henchmen, disguised as painters and airport staff, ambush them, killing the SWAT team. Before Stuart's henchmen can kill Barnes, McClane bursts in through an air vent. In a gunfight, McClane kills Stuart's men. Stuart responds by using the instrument landing system to crash a plane, killing everyone on board. In response, a Special Forces team is called in, led by Major Grant. A two-way radio dropped by one of Stuart's henchmen tips McClane that Esperanza is landing. McClane gets there before Stuart's henchmen, but Stuart traps him in a plane and throws grenades into the cockpit. McClane escapes via the ejection seat. Barnes is then able to help McClane locate the mercenaries' hideout and they tell Grant and his team to raid the location. However, the mercenaries escape on snowmobiles during a shootout between Grant's team and Stuart's team. McClane pursues them, killing two more mercenaries and taking a snowmobile, but the gun he picked does not work. Stuart and his men shoot McClane's snowmobile, causing him to flee just as it explodes. He realizes that the gun contained blanks and that the mercenaries and Special Forces are working together.
McClane contacts Lorenzo to send out officers to intercept the plane, proving his story by firing at Lorenzo with the blank gun. Thornburg, after learning about the situation through a radio transmission from Barnes, barricades himself in the airplane lavatory and phones in a sensational take on what is happening at Dulles, leading to panic in the airport and preventing the officers from reaching the plane. After learning of this, Holly subdues Thornburg with a taser.
McClane hitches a ride on a news helicopter that drops him off on the wing of the plane, and he blocks the ailerons with his jacket, preventing the plane from taking off. Grant emerges and fights McClane, but is sucked into the engine. Stuart comes out to fight next, and succeeds in knocking McClane off the plane, but not before McClane knocks open the fuel hatch. After landing, McClane uses his cigarette lighter to ignite the trail of leaking fuel, which travels back to the plane, ignites the rest of the fuel and destroys the jet, killing all on board. The other planes, circling in the air, use the lighted trail to land, and McClane and his wife are reunited.
- Bruce Willis as Lieutenant John McClane
- Bonnie Bedelia as Holly Gennero McClane
- William Sadler as Colonel Stuart, the main terrorist
- Art Evans as Leslie Barnes
- Dennis Franz as Captain Carmine Lorenzo
- Reginald VelJohnson as Sergeant Al Powell
- William Atherton as Richard "Dick" Thornburg
- Franco Nero as General Ramon Esperanza, the ruthless drug lord and dictator of the fictional country Val Verde
- John Amos as Major Grant, the head of Army Special Forces
- Fred Thompson as Trudeau
- Tom Bower as Marvin
- Sheila McCarthy as Samantha "Sam" Coleman
- Don Harvey as Garber, Colonel Stuart's main henchman
- Tony Ganios as Baker, Colonel Stuart's henchman
- Peter Nelson as Thompson, Colonel Stuart's henchman
- Robert Patrick as O'Reilly, Colonel Stuart's henchman
- John Leguizamo as Burke, Colonel Stuart's henchman
- Tom Verica as Kahn, Colonel Stuart's henchman
- John Costelloe as Sergeant Oswald Cochrane, Colonel Stuart's henchman
- Vondie Curtis-Hall as Miller, Colonel Stuart's henchman
- Mark Boone Junior as Shockley, Colonel Stuart's henchman
- Ken Baldwin as Mulkey, Colonel Stuart's henchman
- Colm Meaney as Pilot of Windsor Airlines plane
- Robert Costanzo as Sergeant Vito Lorenzo, Carmine's brother
The film exceeded all expectations by actually outdoing the massive box office success of the original. The film also received a reasonably positive critical reception; it garnered a 64% 'Fresh' rating, based on 45 film critic reviews, at the aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. Roger Ebert, while noting the substantial credibility problems with the plot, described the film as "terrific entertainment."
The film had a budget of $70 million and had a wide release in 2,507 theaters, making $21.7 million its opening weekend. Die Hard 2 has domestically made $117.5 million and $239.5 million worldwide, almost doubling that of the first film.
Production and promotion
Die Hard 2 was the first film to have a digitally manipulated matte painting. It was used for the last scene, which took place on a runway. Industrial Light and Magic supplied the film's visual effects.
Michael Kamen, the composer for the first film, also composed the score for Die Hard 2. Kamen reprises several music cues from his Die Hard score (most notably during the action sequences), as well as adapting Jean Sibelius's "Finlandia" (in a similar fashion to his incorporation of Beethoven's 9th Symphony into the score of the first Die Hard). The end credits of the film begin with the Christmas song "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" (performed by Vaughn Monroe), as they did in Die Hard.
Unlike the previous film, a soundtrack album was released by Varese Sarabande.
- Colonel Stuart (1:28)
- Baggage Handling (3:45)
- General Esperanza (2:11)
- The Annex Skywalk
- The Church (1:12)
- The Doll (3:48)
- The Runway (3:55)
- In The Plane (1:37)
- Icicle (2:53)
- Snowmobiles (2:40)
- The Terminal (6:08)
- Finlandia - Jean Sibelius (7:29)
- ^ "Die Hard 2 - Box Office Mojo". http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=diehard2.htm. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
- ^ The film's on-screen title is Die Hard 2, and the film's official website refers to it as such. The film's original advertising used "Die Harder" as a tagline, and many releases of the film (e.g.the 2006 DVD release and 2007 Blu-Ray release) came out under the title Die Hard 2: Die Harder. Several other official sources, such as the director's website and the Die Hard Trilogy video game, also refer to it as Die Hard 2: Die Harder.
- ^ Tom Sherak (commentator) (May 19, 1995). Die Hard with a Vengeance (DVD). Beverly Hills, CA: 20th Century Fox. Event occurs at 35:12. "Die Hard 2 actually, as I recall, did better than Die Hard 1, which is very unusual. Sequels normally do about 65% of their original, but this one just exploded."
- ^ Die Hard 2 at Rotten Tomatoes
- ^ Ebert, Roger (July 3, 1990), "Die Hard 2: Die Harder (Review)", Chicago Sun-Times, http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19900703/REVIEWS/7030301/1023, retrieved 2010-01-29
- ^ "The Greatest Movie Plane Crashes", Maxim.com
- ^ Leonard, Matt. "The History of Computer Graphics and Effects". Ohio State University Department of Industrial Interior and Visual Design. http://accad.osu.edu/~waynec/history/lesson14.html. Retrieved 2009-07-10.
- Die Hard 2 at the Internet Movie Database
- Die Hard 2 at AllRovi
- Die Hard 2 at Box Office Mojo
- Die Hard 2 at Rotten Tomatoes
Die Hard Films Video games Related Films directed by Renny Harlin 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s5 Days of War (2011)
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