Die Hard 2 lacks the inventivenes of the original but compensates with relentless action. The film [based on the novel 58 Minutes by Walter Wager] works for the most part as sheer entertainment, a full-color comic book with shootouts, brutal fistfights and bloodletting aplenty.
Minding his own business, John McClane (Bruce Willis) is in DC’s Dulles Airport to pick up wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) to spend Christmas with her folks. They’ve reconciled since the events in Die Hard and the Gotham cop has joined the LAPD. Unlike most domestic flights, the story takes off immediately, as terrorists seize control of the airport to free a Manuel Noriegaesque foreign dictator (Franco Nero) being transported to the US.
Director Renny Harlin does a creditable job with such a daunting large-scale assignment. But Harlin lacks Die Hard director John McTiernan’s vicelike grip on action and strays into areas that derail certain scenes, using slow-motion in early sequences and sapping their energy.