Die Hard 2: Die Harder

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Details At A Glance

Category Action Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 1.33:1, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1990 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 118:21 minutes Other Extras Main Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-EPK (4:00)
Cast Biographies
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (63:24)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Renny Harlin
20th Century Fox
Fox Home Entertainment
Starring Bruce Willis
Bonnie Bedelia
William Atherton
William Sadler
Dennis Franz
Case Transparent Amaray
RRP $39.95 Music Michael Kamen

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement
Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Macrovision ? Smoking Yes
Subtitles Czech
English for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement Yes, mildly
Action In or
After Credits

Plot Synopsis

    Remember Die Hard? Well, John McClane (Bruce Willis) is back. Once again, he is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Once again, terrorists are threatening to ruin his Christmas. Once again, his wife, Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) is directly threatened as a result of the terrorist actions. This time, however, the action is spread across the entire Washington airport, and there are even more bad guys.

    John McClane is waiting for his wife's plane to land so they can spend Christmas in Washington with his in-laws. Unfortunately, at around the same time, a plane with an extradited drug overlord is also landing. I'm sure you can figure out the general gist of the plot from here on in - terrorists take over the airport in an attempt to release the overlord. Lots of shooting, explosions, stunts and general mayhem ensue as McClane single-handedly takes on the mercenaries. Throw in the TV reporter Thornberg (William Atherton) being his usual obnoxious self, Dennis Franz as Carmine Lorenzo, the bumbling airport police chief, and assorted other bit parts, and you have Die Hard 2.

    Die Hard 2 has more of everything compared with Die Hard. More bad guys, more outrageous stunts, more twists (and there is a beauty in this one that I won't spoil for you in case you haven't seen the film), and more action. Indeed, the action is such that you never have time to consider the implausibility of what you are actually seeing, and simply accept McClane's seemingly superhuman powers and indestructibility.

Transfer Quality


    I have yet to see a Die Hard movie that is a really good transfer. Both the first Die Hard and Die Hard: With A Vengeance were quite problematic with excessive aliasing marring the DVDs. Die Hard 2 is the best transfer of the lot, though it is not without its own problems.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced. The 20th Century Fox logo at the start of the movie is squeezed inappropriately, as was the logo at the start of the first Die Hard, however the remainder of the transfer is not unreasonable.

    The image varies in sharpness with some scenes super-sharp and others quite soft and ill-defined. Some scenes showed considerable grain in the image, but these were few and far between. Overall, however, the look is quite reasonable. Shadow detail is a little lacking, but in keeping with the age of the source material. There was no low level noise in the transfer.

    The colours are evenly presented, with consistent saturation throughout.

    There were no MPEG artefacts detected in the transfer. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of several shots with moderately severe aliasing; the airport lobby was problematic in this regard as were various venetian blinds scattered throughout the movie. Compared with the other two Die Hard DVDs, however, there was much less aliasing present in this transfer. A marked moiré effect was noticeable at 96:47. Film artefacts were generally small and unnoticeable except for one scratch vertically across the entire frame at 111:30.

    This is an RSDL disc with the layer change coming at 63:24. This is well-placed and not at all disruptive to the flow of the movie.


    I severely criticized the 5.1 remix of Die Hard, describing it as one of the worst 5.1 remixes I had ever listened to. Well, this has been totally turned around with the 5.1 remix of Die Hard 2, which is one of the best, most aggressive and most dynamic 5.1 remixes that I have ever heard and indeed is right up there amongst the very best 5.1 mixes that I have ever heard.

    There are two audio tracks on this DVD, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

    Dialogue was generally quite clear and easy to understand other than a few words here and there which got slightly drowned in ambient sound. Rarely, the dialogue would distort slightly, but this did not detract from the soundtrack at all.

    There were no audio sync problems with this disc.

    The score by Michael Kamen was a very orchestral score which was well-suited to the movie. Nothing particularly stood out, but the music certainly suited the on-screen action and helped to propel the movie along.

    The surround channels are used extremely aggressively by this soundtrack, with enormous acoustic energy coming out of both the front and rear surround speakers almost continuously. The action sequences are tremendously enhanced by a huge wall of sound that comes at you from all directions and pulls you right into the centre of the action. The dynamics of this soundtrack are tremendous, with absolutely massive explosions and gunshots peppered throughout the entire soundfield. One of the really great things about this surround soundtrack is that is does not collapse to mono whenever the action sequences are over - subtle ambience continues pretty much continuously throughout the entire movie. The music also aggressively uses the surrounds to good effect. Most importantly, the high fidelity sound of the surrounds was nicely integrated with the sound emanating from the centre speaker making the entire mix sound very coherent and convincing. This is in direct contrast to the problematic mix of Die Hard.

    The subwoofer got an enormous workout by this movie, and was active pretty much continuously. Integration with the rest of the soundtrack was excellent, with huge amounts of low end tacked onto the rest of the soundtrack without ever being too over-the-top or calling attention to itself.


    A basic set of extras adorns this disc.


    This carries some simple animation and audio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

Theatrical Trailer

Featurette - Electronic Press Kit (4:00)

Biographies - Cast

R4 vs R1

    The Region 1 release misses out on:     The Region 4 release misses out on:     The Region 4 version of this movie is the version of choice given the 16x9 enhancement.


    Die Hard 2 is a decent over-the-top action film.

    The video transfer is acceptable, and certainly by far the best of the Die Hard trilogy.

    The audio transfer is magnificent, and a stunning example of a 5.1 remix done right.

    The extras are basic.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
8th February 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Start SD-2010VNK, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO subwoofer