The original Die Hard is a classic. That's a gross understatement. It's arguably one of the best action movies of all time, and some (myself included) would declare it one of the greatest movies ever made. For real, there's not an ounce of fat on it, no single moment you can point to and say, "Yeah, but that one thing is bad." It's flawless. The Die Hard sequels are another matter. None match the perfection level of the original, though many debate the merits of the movies that came after Die Hard. Does Die Hard 2: Die Harder have the most problems? Watch this video, then join the discussion:
CinemaSins loves taking movies to task, and they find a lot to rip apart in Renny Harlin's Die Hard 2: Die Harder. A lot of the critiques are based on the era in which this movie was made. Like Die Hard 2 was supposed to account for the fact that airport terminals had payphones, or beleaguered cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) used a pager. Other Sins, according to the video, made a lot more sense... like the two terrorists needing to pass a box to each other in broad daylight, even though the team has been together all morning. That's pretty damn funny. I never realized that, and it's pretty dumb.
All of that being said, I think CinemaSins doth protest too much when it comes to Die Hard 2 because, outside of the original, I think it's the best story in the series, and the only time one of the Die Hard sequels came close to replicating the elements that made the first movie so successful. Die Hard 2 is the best Die Hard, and it isn't even close. Believe it or not, this is a debate that rages in the CinemaBlend offices, and we pick up the baton and run with it every couple of weeks, just to get into a heated debate. It's always a lot of fun.
Listen, I hear all of you screaming right now. Here's why I love Die Hard 2 more than Die Hard With a Vengeance (the only other option in a debate, because no one's picking Live Free or Good Day in any "Best of Die Hard" discussions). For starters, like in the first one, McClane is contained to a single environment. He can't leave Dulles and the surrounding area because his wife's in a plane that's at the mercy of the main terrorists. The minute Vengeance expanded its playing field to the borough of Manhattan and, later, Canada, it lost all of the inherent suspense that comes with a Die Hard story.
Secondly, John McClane is a lone wolf. He doesn't deserve a partner. He's the only one crazy enough to stand up to bad guys the way that he does, so saddling him with Zeus -- like most of With a Vengeance -- made no sense. For those who don't know, the script for Vengeance was originally going to be worked up as a Lethal Weapon sequel. That's part of the reason why it's two characters racing the clock to find a bomb that might be in a school.
Also, the idea of John McClane is that he's in the wrong place at the right time. Terrorists don't PLAN on McClane being someplace. Their plans are foiled because McClane happens to be there. Simon (Jeremy Irons) inviting McClane to his heist, all but guaranteeing it would fail, made no sense. It's almost as bad as the silly water-jog challenge, or McClane surfing on the top of the dump truck. Yikes.
But this discussion can rage on for days (and likely will). Maybe we'll resume it when CinemaSins does Die Hard With a Vengeance. Until then, weigh in below. What's the best Die Hard sequel?