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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Die Hard 2
Die Hard 2
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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted January 4, 2000 | E-mail the Author
C O N T E N T
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A U D I O
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Highly Recommended
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There have been three "Die Hard" films already and I feel that "Die Hard 2" is the one that's most effective. In the first film, Bruce Willis's character John McClaine saved hostages from a skyscraper. The first film definitely had its share of great scenes of suspense, but there was a certain simple nature to the McLaine character as well as the script. There's no denying it's a classic in the action genre, but who says you can't improve on a classic?

This film stars Willis as McClaine yet again as he waits for his wife to land at Washington's Dulles airport. Yet again, evil is conspring all around him and a group of terrorists are planning to take over the airport to make it safe for an imprisoned drug-trafficer to land so they can free him. There was of course a certain terror to having fights take place at 100 stories up in the first film, but there's an intensity and a momentum to this film that more than makes up for it. Willis has some great action scenes, and we get some quicker, slightly better dialogue. There's also some good supporting performances by Dennis Franz and others.

This film feels quicker as well since it's expanded out into the world at the ground level as Willis runs throughout the country around the airport and through the pipes in the airport. There are more than a few little bits of plot holes, but director Renny Harlin(when he was actually doing good movies) has put together a really tight, solid film that has plenty of phenomenal action sequences, a solid script and an excellent performance by Bruce Willis.

Are they running out of energy for this series? I think that the idea of making this series more basic without the explosions in the possible 4th installment is an interesting idea, but if there will be another film, things need to be fixed from the 3rd film, which worked every so often, but felt long and didn't have a perfect script. "Die Hard 2", in my opinion, is where this series really came together and worked outstandingly. I think it works better than the "Lethal Weapon" series as well; Willis works here as one guy against the world and that's what made this series thrilling.

The Disc:
Picture Quality: Generally good. This letterboxed 2.35:1 transfer is not anamorphically enhanced, but the film is placed across a dual-layer disc for optimal space. That said, this is taken from a very clear print. There are no scratches that I saw in the transfer. Images are generally clear, but lack a certain sharpness and detail in certain scenes, the low-light scenes are where detail seemed lacking most. There are slight compression artifacts in some of the darker scenes, but there were no cases of shimmering. Again, this could have benefited from an anamorphic transfer to add resolution. Black level in the picture is good, but not outstanding. Contrast and color saturation is generally pleasing; flesh tones are well rendered and there are no instances where color bleeds. Shadow detail is decent. Keep in mind this film is 8 years old, but still, a 16x9 transfer would have added a bit to the quality of this picture.

Sound Quality: A force. Gunfire crackles throughout the film with great clarity and impact. The action scenes on this film have an incredible intensity, clarity and impact throughout.
Explosions deliver a powerful bass and defined impact and there's no distortion throughout during both the action and dialogue scenes. The music from Michael Kamen sounds excellent. Dialogue sounds clear and easily understood; the action scenes on this disc do sound wonderful.

Menus: Animated menus that look quite good. When you make a selection, it shows the shot of Willis's character ejecting from an exploding airplane.

Extras: Trailers from all 3 films and a *very* short featurette.

Layer change: The layer change at 1:08:19 isn't great. I usually don't notice the layer change on a disc, but I definitely did on this one. The disc came to a complete halt at 1:08:19(which is in the middle of a fairly intense scene) and stops(audio and video) for about a second.

THX: There is a THX trailer before the movie, but the short home video mastering version, not the "Tex" THX trailer or any of the other THX trailers.

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