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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

12 Days of Christmas: Day 9 - Die Hard 2: Die Harder

Sam is back and there's gonna be trouble hey na hey ha.....Sam. 

"Oh man, I can't fucking believe this. Another basement, another elevator. How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?"

Last week at work, when frothing the milk for someone's extra hot decaf skinny latte I lost focus and accidentally splashed scalding milk on my hand - I was pained, burnt and really annoyed that the decaf skinny soya latte customer didn't give me a cursory "oooh, are you alright?" comment. But lightning doesn't strike twice... Does it? About 45 minute later I was once again frothing some milk for a double shot skinny cappuccino with no sprinkles when BLAM someone mentioned The Simpsons, I got distracted and KABURN I scalded myself again! Unbelievable. This one-two punch of being in the same aggravating situation not once! but twice! was infuriating. HOWEVER for the benefit of The Brothers Cinemazov and my good self it worked well, for it put me in the exact same mindset that John McClane is in in Die Hard 2 : Die Harder. One year on from the events at Nakatomi Plaza, McClane finds himself again in the middle of a total shitstorm that only he can avert.
So... Let us see, how Christmassy is Die Hard 2 : Die Harder? Very..? A bit..? Kinda..? Not at all..? Strap in... It's gonna be a bumpy ride. 
The Christmas Story Much like the first Die Hard, Die Hard 2 : Die Harder doesn't exactly have the most christmassyest of stories.  It's been a full year since John McClane had his Christmas Eve messed with by Gruber and his boys at Nakatomi Plaza. He's got Holly back and is waiting for her to arrive at Dulles Airport in Washington, McClane is pig sick of putting up with her in-laws and all he wants is to spend a casual, romantic holiday season with the lovely Mrs McClane. But if McClane were to have his ideal romantic Christmas break the film would be called "Lovely Break" or "Christmas Cottage Fun" not Die Hard 2 : Die Harder. The ringleader of DH2:DH is naked tai-chi enthusiast Colonel Stuart, along with other members of his elite and incredibly prepared unit they take over the air traffic control systems, cut off communication to the planes and seize control of the airport. Their goal? To rescue General Ramon Esperanza, a drug lord and dictator of Val Verde, who is being extradited to the United States to stand trial on drug trafficking charges. They proceed to crash a British plane piloted by Colm Meaney to show the airport chaps how serious they are - as per usual they didn't bank on McClane, the ultimate fly in the ointment.

McClane is imbibing a certain spirit of Christmas because he's putting himself through all this once again to save Holly, who is trapped on a plane with that really annoying reporter from Die Hard 1. That's pretty Christmassy I guess, going through hell and high water to do best by the ones you love at Christmas but story wise...story wise it really ain't all that Christmassy. 
1/5 The Voice of Christmas This one is a dead tie between McClane and Capt. Lorenzo. Other than the frequent mention of it being "Christmas week" and the flurries of snow on the runway there really isn't a lot of talk of Christmas. Capt. Lorenzo despite being a total dick throughout the film does end the film on a lovely Christmassy note - Carmine Lorenzo: Hey McClane! You get this parking ticket in front of my airport? John McClane: Yeah. Carmine Lorenzo: [Lorenzo tears ticket up] Ah, what the hell; it's Christmas! BOOM Lorenzo gets it, Christmas is a time to let bygones be bygones. McClane too totally gets it, he is ticked off that he has to, once again, thwart terrorist scumbags when all he really wants is a quiet tender normal Christmas with Holly - "Just once, I'd like a regular, normal Christmas. Eggnog, a fuckin' Christmas tree, a little turkey. But, no. I gotta crawl around in this motherfuckin' tin can." 

But if I had to pick the ultimate annoying kid at Christmas in DH2:DH it'd have to be Thornberg. Thornberg, the slime bag journo that everyone hates, the guy who jeopardised Holly's very life in Die Hard and who in this film causes mass hysteria, running, screaming and vase smashing when he sneakily does an expose broadcast from the plane's loo. He's such a "stupid, arrogant son of a bitch" that when the flight attendant finds out that Holly knocked 2 of his teeth out she rewards Holly with champagne. You know you're a scummy guy when the news of someone causing you pain is met with laughter and reward beverages. Even an old lady calls him an asshole. Amidst all the chaos and carnage and explosions that are standard for a McClane Christmas these two vague, fleeting instances speak out for what makes, or should make, Christmas Christmas. Other than that though there's no real Christmas voice action... Just quips and cursing and shouting. 


The Annoying Kid at Christmas Thornberg. Capt. Lorenzo. That WATW news lady. Major Grant. Col. Stuart. DH2:DH is chockful, to the brim, with dicks. There's oh so few people in this film that aren't massive dicks. Everyone spends a lot of time talking about how they know McClane and know what he did at Nakatomi Plaza yet rather than let him deal with it in his own renegade, loose cannon way they block him, stop him and yell at him. Poor McClane, he's just trying to help. He's no Ellis but he is definitely a massively annoying kid.
3/5 The Christmas Miracle
Ejecting out of a grenaded plane. Endless gunfights. Rigorous beatings. The obligatory kick in the face. Being shot. Being awfully close to fire, an awfully large amount of the time. Leaping out of things, on to things, past things. All the luggage carousel action. By the end of DH2:DH McClane is bloodied, battered, and beaten but still breathing. By all accounts McClane should be dead, maybe not dead but severely severely injured, maybe on a drip somewhere unable to profess his love for Holly in the snow but he's fine. Not a1, tip top condition but far less massively injured than he should be. A Christmas miracle if e'er there w'er one.
3/5 The Christmas Message Pt. 1. If this Christmas Day the life and well being of a loved one is being jeopardised by some communist terrorists you really very much should take a leaf out of McClane's book and do EVERYTHING in your power to subdue, maim and kill those terrorists whilst ensuring the survival of your aforementioned loved one. 
Pt.2. This Christmas season do like McClane and fill your festive activities with endless witticisms, quips and cursing. It seems to make McClane's Christmas all the more magical and Christmassy. Maybe it could do the same for you.

Pt.3. Whatever you do this Christmas, do like McClane does in DH2:DH and do it harder than you did it last year. Last year you ate 4 roast potatoes? This year go harder and eat 12. Last year you beat your little sister at Trivial Pursuit? This year go harder, challenge and destroy Stephen Hawking. Last year no one laughed at your bad Christmas cracker joke? This year go harder and do a full stand up routine at the table until you're given a regular panel spot on whatever show Sean Lock's on (Joe- on Point). 2/5 Additional Points -On Holly's stricken airplane in an attempt to settle the passengers down the captain suggests they put on a TV to calm them down. The show they put on? The Simpsons. Nothing chills ME out like The Simpsons. + 1-The fact that McClane's way of "waking up and smelling the 90's" and embracing the advancing technology is by sending a fax. + 1 -The lines in this film are amazing, go on iMDB, look at the quotes section. Every quote on there is an absolute winner. + 1 -McClane's laugh, scream, shout and cry of "HOOLLLY!!! at the film's thrilling finale is beautiful. + 1 15/25 

Conclusions "It's OK, I've done this before." Die Hard 2 : Die Harder is great. Not as good as Die Hard but still, pretty great. & unfortunately for Die Hard 2 : Die Harder whilst it is pretty great it is not, at all, whatsoever, a better Christmassy Christmas film than The Polar Express.  I really hope that the next Christmas film I cover for Cinemazov is actually really Christmassy. Fingers crossed.

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