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No Die Hard sequel comes close to matching the quality of the original: not 2, not 3 and not 4. They’re all failures in comparison. So, instead of analyzing which movie is best able to rub together Hans Grubers’ shattered fingers to create tiny sparks, we should be analyzing which of the sequels is actually (somewhat) enjoyable to watch, and the only clear answer to that question is Live Free Or Die Hard.
John McClane is a brilliant character. More than just about being weak and human, which are elements that we’ve before in many other characters, McClane has this amazing punished by life quality, where reality just seems to keep kicking sand in his face. And yet each time he just stands up, wipes his face clean, pulls off the one-liner that only he can, and walks away.
To me, the original Die Hard and its immediate successor are, for all intents and purposes, Die Hard 1A and Die Hard 1B. None of the sequels can match John McTiernan’s initial masterpiece. It is standalone perfection. But the only sequel that came close to delivering on the Die Hard experience was Renny Harlin’s Die Hard 2: Die Harder, and it isn’t even close