Today’s Feature: HBO First Look – Die Harder: The Making of Die Hard 2 (1990) – Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990)
Die Hard is one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, action films of all time. Based on Roderick Thorp’s Nothing Lasts Forever and originally a sequel to his hit novel and film The Detective, Die Hard exhibits an intelligence and restraint not typical of the genre. Though a blockbuster at release, reverence for the film has grown exponentially over the nearly three decades since then. Die Hard has also become a Christmas tradition in many homes, as Facebook has made clear over recent years. Die Hard has gone from a fun action flick to a cultural touchstone. Amazingly ridiculous name aside, the same cannot be said for its first sequel, Die Hard 2: Die Harder.
In Die Harder: The Making of Die Hard 2, viewers gain some insight into the mentality behind the sometimes derided sequel. What is clear from the early minutes of the feature is that the production was focused on creating a bigger, badder film than the first and wanted to move this story out of a single location. You know, Die Harder, right? If nothing else, the film certainly achieves those goals, and utilizes some especially impressive effects work to do so. This documentary is very much promotional, so don’t expect a ton of inside dirt. Not unlike the film itself, the most interesting aspects of it all revolve around the stunt and effects work. There’s some truly impressive stuff here, and the audience learns that Bruce Willis did many of his own stunts. That seems to be the case in a lot of these eighties and nineties behind the scenes specials, so I’m a little skeptical. I mean, sure, he probably did some of it. Anyway, personally, it think the most interesting thing here is the creation of the miniature airport for the film. It is a massive model and with an expert mix of real footage, truly looks real throughout the film. You’ll get to see some of the specifics of its creation and manipulation in the feature, and that is well worth its 23 minute run time. Though listed on the menu as an HBO First Look, I couldn’t find any evidence that it was. It seems to be a standard promotional feature that once aired on weekend television. It even has bumpers in place for commercial breaks.
Die Harder: The Making of Die Hard 2 is available on the Die Hard 2: Die Harder Blu-Ray and Special Edition DVD releases.