Fox // 1990 // 124 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Chief Justice Sean McGinnis (Retired) // April 20th, 1999
They say lightning never strikes twice...they were wrong!
Bruce Willis continues his franchise in Die Hard 2: Die Harder. This disc, while not quite living up to the original, holds its own against the so-called competition.
Fox delivers yet again in the second installment of the Die Hard trilogy. Like the first in the series, this disc is THX mastered/certified. Also like the first, this disc is spectacular to look at, particularly given the fact that the transfer lacks anamorphic treatment. As I stated in my review of Die Hard, I am NOT saying this disc could not have been improved upon with an anamorphic transfer, because I believe it could have. What I AM saying is that this is probably about as good as a standard letterbox transfer can get.
Also like the first in the series, the disc includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that was quite well done. The soundstage was wide and deep. Vocals were very clear with directional effects and big bangs in abundance. I am struggling to find a way to differentiate between Die Hard and its offspring because it seems this disc measures up technically in almost every way to its bloodline. The comparisons are hard to ignore. What differs primarily is the storyline.
Fox has again partially delivered the goods in the extras department. Like Die Hard this disc contains a making of featurette, slideshow and theatrical trailers of all three movies in the series. Also like the first, I believe this to be a bare minimum of what I have come to expect out of extras on the small silver platters we all love so much. In the end the extras included on this disc are not enough to warrant a specific recommendation in and of themselves, but not enough to warrant a warning to avoid it either.
The real failure here is in the story. The plot was a bit too predictable, despite trying to throw in some twists and turns in an attempt to keep the viewer guessing about who the good guys really are. My other main gripe is the lack of a really credible antagonist. William Atherton just did not cut it for me. Not anything specific against him or his talent, but rather a weakness in the writing. Perhaps there was not enough background to really believe exactly what this guy was trying to accomplish, or why, for that matter. Maybe some more back story was in order. I don't really know. The bottom line is that this movie failed to measure up to both Die Hard and Die Hard With A Vengeance.
This disc, while not the must have of Die Hard, is certainly a welcome addition to any collection. The video is truly stunning, especially considering the circumstances under which it was shot (mostly at night or indoors). Sure I would have preferred some more comprehensive extras, but the real problem here is the story. In sum, a very good treatment of a pretty mediocre movie.
Acquitted on all counts except story. The prisoner is free to go!
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French)
Running Time: 124 Minutes
Release Year: 1990
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Original Theatrical Trailer