Die Hard 2: Die Harder Review

Colin Polonowski has reviewed the Region 2 DVD release of Die Hard 2

What do you get if you take the original Die Hard and move it to an airport? Well, unsurprisingly the answer is Die Hard 2!

John McClane is back – once again taking on the terrorists. Unlike the third installment in the series, Die Hard 2 even keeps some of the other characters from the original – all in their familiar roles, at times its quite amusing to see them carry on as they did in the first film!

William Sadler makes a good villian – although he probably doesn’t give the same impression of ‘evil’ as both Alan Rickman and Jeremy Irons do in the other two movies.

The action quota has been upped a bit. Instead of the confined spaces of the first movie, this time we have a far more open battlefield and this has been used to good effect. Not only do we get the edge-of-your-seat tense moments that made the first film so enthralling, we also get more of the gunfighting and the obligatory explosions.

While Die Hard 2 doesn’t really further the genre in the same way as the first, it is still a worthy addition to the series.

The Disc

As with its predecessor, Die Hard 2 features an anamorphic picture. While this puts it several rungs above its counterpart on the picture quality front there are still a number of things stopping me from giving this disc a rating of more than three. Firstly, it may be anamorphic but this doesn’t detract from the fact that there are still number of artifacts. Early on in the film when Bruce Willis is trailing two of the terrorists, there is a lot of smearing. Fast moving objects seem to leave several ‘ghosts’ as they move across the screen. For a movie made in the nineties (albeit right at the start of the decade), this isn’t good enough and by now we should be seeing almost perfect DVD transfers on every disc.

Thankfully, the soundtrack goes some way to making me forget the picture. All five channels are used to good effect, and as with any good action film the sub gets a good thrashing. I’d even go as far as to say that, if turned up loud enough, the soundtrack on this disc is every bit as good as it would be in the cinema – your neighbours may not agree with me though!

Once again, the biggest let down is the lack of extras – a trailer and a short featurette don’t really cut it. Thankfully Fox have seen fit to give us the full uncut version of the film so I’m not going to give them too much grief on this one aspect!


While not quite up to the standard of the Die Hard DVD – in terms of both the film and the disc, this is still a must by to anyone who enjoyed the film when it first hit the cinemas. The makers obviously had a much bigger canvas to work with and this is evident throughout the film.

I personally don’t really think the disc does the film justice. Fox can produce some top quality DVD transfers when they try and while I wouldn’t say this one is bad, its certainly no better than average. That said, it still beats the Region 1 release by a good margin – so I’d go for this one every time!

Colin Polonowski

Updated: Feb 27, 1999

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