Tag Archives: Die Hard 2

A Week In Film #290: DRY

Die Hard 2 title screenDie Hard 2
“Just the fax, ma’am”, wrong man/wrong place/wrong time, blah blah blah. Way to fuck up a franchise before it’s got going!

Cinderella title screen
Disney biznizz, girls need a Prince Charming to sweep them off their feet and save them, etc. Still, nicely put together fairy tale cartoon, the boy enjoyed it.

30 Minutes Or Less title screen
30 Minutes Or Less
Silly but enjoyable one about a slacker pizza delivery guy and his teacher pal (Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari) who get embroiled in a heist-under-duress plot engineered by idiot spoiled brat Danny McBride. Fun nonsense from Ruben Fleischer.

Burn After Reading title screen
Burn After Reading
Minor but not unenjoyable Coen Bros flick, with George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton, John Malkovich, Richard Jenkins, David Rasche and JK Simmons each playing either angry, bamboozled, unjustifiably confident or just plain stupid in a MacGuffin-laden plot about spies and secret documents and blackmail and betrayal.

A Week In Film #190: Harwood trial & tribulations

Hodejegere AKA Headhunters
Norwegian crime thriller that really motors it for the first half, but then stalls, losing a lot of the emotional momentum. A shame really, because the story is rather tasty: successful recruitment consultant Roger (Aksel Hennie) is also an art thief; but his big score looks like being his ruin. Some really good action sequences, some fun characters, but unfortunately it starts to fall apart midway and never really recovers your interest. Nevertheless, Morten Tyldum is clearly an accomplished director.

Sweeney 2
The second theatrical feature to spin off from the successful TV show about the coppers who take on armed robbers. This time the script comes from series creator Ian Kennedy Martin and his brother Troy (Edge Of Darkness, The Italian Job), and it’s directed by Tom Clegg, who went on to helm McVicar.

Unlike the previous big screen outing, which revolved around a fantastical international corruption scandal, this one is rooted in the grimy nuts and bolts of a Flying Squad investigation into a particularly brutal gang of blaggers. Led by Ken Hutchison (who despite hitting the big time as the bad guy in Straw Dogs never really capitalised on his potential), they will stop at nothing and for no one – so it’s up to Regan, Carter and the boys to stop them. Some of the plot twists are rather silly, and the Maltese thing is never really explained, but the beauty of this ugly picture is in the character work – we finally have a chance to find out more about the others in the team. Oh, and it’s a lot swearer than the telly version.

Fighting Mad
Early Jonathan Demme directorial effort for Roger Corman, and a nice treat it is too. Peter Fonda returns to the Arkansas horse ranch he grew up on after the failure of his marriage, taking his young son with him. Soon the idea of a rural idyll disappears as a greedy coal baron uses terror to get his own way in this sleepy valley. But bow-toting Fonda isn’t going to take it lying down…

Brings to mind all those A-Team episodes where they go in and help out some dustbowl community against avaricious developers and a corrupt local sheriff’s department, or Road House. Neither technically brilliant, not that well written, but with affable performances, some wit and moments of excitement.

Black Hawk Down
Yanquis liberal imperialism meets Third World intransigence. Put aside the distasteful politics of it all, and the barely two-dimensional portrayal of the hordes of ‘Skinnies’, and it’s a wonderfully efficient war movie. Bloody hard to keep track of who’s who, though, and loud as a car crash.

Good points: Eric Bana as a Delta Force operator (though what’s with his ‘I’m just a tourist enjoying a latte in downtown Mogadishu” spy shtick at the start?), Ewan McGregor as a desk bound Ranger put into the thick of things, and a veritable Ellis Island-worth of British and Euro actors – many pre-superstardom, like Tom Hardy – pretending to be Murkans.

Bad points: distinct lack of any attempt to understand Somalia, the civil war or its people; similar lack of Somali characters; using actors of West African or Caribbean heritage to portray the few foreground Somali characters we ever hear from; even squeezing in anti-Asian sentiments with disparaging comments about Malaysian and Pakistani UN forces.

Diên Biên Phú
Indochina War veteran Pierre Schoendoerffer returns to the site of one of France’s biggest military defeats, which helped precipitate the fall of the Fourth Republic.

It’s slow moving, chronological, incremental stuff, and largely without sentiment. It also has Donald Pleasance as an Anglo-American journalist reporting on the two month-long siege from Hanoi, whilst being generally a bit of a colonial arse and speaking in appalling French (even my philistine ears could hear that). Some pretty amazing recreations of the real battle – full vista stuff, thousands of extras etc.

Die Hard 2: Die Harder
Plus: “Just the fax, ma’am, just the fax”; William Sadler as Colonel Stuart; Val Verde; Dick Thornburg getting tazed on a plane.

Minus: No fucking tower block; Marvin; worst ambush ever; IT’S DIRECTED BY RENNY HARLIN.

A Week In Film #106: Back From The Big City

Die Hard
Can’t beat a bit of John McClane versus Hans Gruber action. John McTiernan ramps up the action and keep the pace going even more frenetically than he did on Predator, Willis rocks the sweaty vest look, and Rickman masters big screen performance first attempt, no run up.

Die Hard 2: Die Harder
Of course, if you want to nearly ruin a franchise, and Joel Schumacher isn’t available, you call in Renny Harlin. Despite swiping all the best tropes and twists from the first film, D2 just never hits the same stride, and drags like a mofo.

Weird Science
Not John Hughes’ best, but fun (though you do have to turn off the gender politics part of your brain if you’re going to enjoy it).

Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith are really good as friendless-but-for-each-other high school geeks who decide to get Doctor Frankenstein on Barbie’s arse (with the help of some 1337 WarGames-style h4x0r skillz) and create their own perfect woman. Why they ended up with Kelly LeBrock is anyone’s guess, but hey ho. Bill Paxton is lolworthy as dickhead older brother Chet, there’s Robert Downey Jnr and the guy from Vamp as more popular, hip boys from school, plus the biker gang invasion bit, complete with Mad Max 2 dude and the lumpy-headed fellow from The Hills Have Eyes.