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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Die Hard 2 can be found here.
It is Christmas eve, and LAPD Lieutenant John McClane (Bruce Willis) is waiting at Washington D.C.'s Dulles Airport to pick up his wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) on her way from Los Angeles. At the same time, a plane is arriving from the Republic of Valverde carrying deposed dictator and drug baron Ramon Esperanza (Franco Nero), who is being extradicted to the United States to stand trial on charges of drug trafficking. Meanwhile, a team of mercenaries led by Colonel Stuart (William Sadler) has contrived to shut down the airport's runway lights and its Instrument Landing System (ILS), forcing the arriving airplanes to circle the airport until they run out of gas. Sensing that something big is about to happen, McClane attempts to alert airport terminal police Captain Carmine Lorenzo (Dennis Franz) about his suspicions, but Lorenzo doesn't believe him. Consequently, McClane is forced to take things into his own hands.
Die Hard 2 (aka Die Harder), was based on 58 Minutes (1987), a novel by American writer Walter Wager. Roderick Thorp, the author of Nothing Lasts Forever (1979) on which the first Die Hard (1988) movie was based, was given credit for creating the characters. Wager's novel was adapted for the film by American screenwriters Steven E. de Souza and Doug Richardson. Die Hard 2 was followed by three sequels, Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), Live Free or Die Hard (2007) and A Good Day to Die Hard (2013).
McClane tells Marvin the janitor, "This is how I spent Christmas last year!", which clearly means the film takes place one year after the original film.
Because Corporal Telford (Patrick O'Neal) was essentially a risk, and needed to be eliminated. One of the major plot twists of the film is that the Blue Light squad, the U.S. Army Special Forces unit sent to deal with the situation, were in fact part of the operation to assist the mercenaries by helping them rescue Esperanza, due to the fact that the Blue Light section / team was composed of men, soldiers that had served under and were loyal to Colonel Stuart. There is a clue early in the film when Lieutenant Garber mentions a "last minute replacement" to Colonel Stuart after using his radio in an airport phone booth, presumably to contact Major Grant. This "replacement" was Telford, who later tells McClane he had been drafted in only the day before, as a necessity (Blue Light's regular radio operator having appendicitis). So as Telford was not in on the plan to free Esperanza, Major Grant had no choice but to slit his throat, a shocking and very effective way to reveal to the audience that Blue Light's duplicity and loyalty was to Colonel Stuart.
WZDC Reporter Richard Thornburg (William Atherton) had managed to tape a communication between Dulles' chief engineer Leslie Barnes (Art Evans) and the circling aircraft. Thornburg then went live with the tape, and his broadcast was being played on TVs throughout the airport, causing a mass panic amongst the people waiting in the terminal and even on the planes. Realizing what Thornburg was doing, Holly grabbed her seatmate's taser, broke into the lavatory, and zapped Thornburg in order to shut him up and perhaps to once again humiliate him.
Air controllers had already instructed all airplanes headed for Dulles Airport, outside of the Dulles approach, and those with sufficient fuel to divert to their alternate airports, leaving 13 airplanes within the outer markers, all beginning to run low on fuel. Those within Dulles approach were instructed to continue circling the airport until landing and communication systems can be restored at which point they will be instructed to land on a fuel emergency basis. When Barnes is finally able to restore voice communication (by using the outer marker beacons), he informs the circling planes that terrorists are controlling the runway lights, ILS system, and tower communications and that the pilots are not to obey any instructions sent to them on tower frequency unless accompanied by their own flight recorder access code. Although the movie does not provide any further explanations, it is possible that the pilots of those 13 airplanes (at least, those with enough fuel) took it upon themselves to divert to a nearby airport, assuming there were other nearby airports that hadn't also shut down due to the storm. Those without enough fuel to safely reach another airport were, of necessity, forced to remain in Dulles approach and continue circling. Other nearby airports in the DC area would include Washington National (which has since been renamed Ronald Reagan National) & Baltimore-Washington International (BWI). They were probably ruled out as potential landing sites because of the storm. The other major airport in the area would be Andrews AirForce Base, but it would have been too close to the storm system as well and it's the chief facility for Air Force One.
Presumably, Miller abandons it as he won't be able to get it through airport security, and it is later found and recovered by the airport police sweeping the area. An airport Police officer hands him both his gun and badge and says "here's your piece and shield".
Where Baker and Thompson acquired the utility company uniforms they use to get into the church is never shown. Where the henchmen who ambush the SWAT team on the Skywalk get their uniforms, though, is shown in a deleted scene, which according to the script happens after Baker kills the custodian. Two painters stop their van in a service area complaining about the pressure being applied to them to finish their work on time. Suddenly, O'Reilly and Sheldon show up, O'Reilly with a suppressed pistol in hand. The first painter turns and is shot in the head. His partner turns to investigate the noise and is shot as well. O'Reilly and Sheldon then shove the bodies in back and lock the doors, and O'Reilly radios to Stuart, "This is Alice. We're down the rabbit hole."
This is the order in which people are killed: (1) The SWAT sergeant (who says, "Hey asshole, what do I look like to you?" to be greeted with O'Reilly's reply of "A sitting duck!") on point is the first to be killed, shot in the face by O'Reilly with a pistol. The deaths of the remaining four SWAT officers all happen within 30 seconds, but this is the way they go out: (2) SWAT officer #2 is firing at Sheldon on the scaffolding with a shotgun. Sheldon shoots him dead with a submachine gun. (3) SWAT officer #3 shoots Shockley, who is thrown back against a row of payphones and crumples dead. (4) SWAT officer #4 is standing on the sidewalk railing when Mulkey shoots him with a submachine gun. (5) Mulkey then turns and shoots SWAT officer #3. (6) SWAT officer #5, the only one remaining, is shot dead by Sheldon while firing his rifle and attempting to draw his pistol. (7) As O'Reilly creeps up on a vulnerable Barnes and puts a pistol to Barnes's neck, McClane pushes a ventilation grate down on him. While O'Reilly catches it, McClane fires his pistol until one bullet enters O'Reilly through his chest and exits out his back. (8) While McClane is pinned down under the scaffolding by Sheldon, he pushes it over. Sheldon falls off, then is crushed by one of the platforms. (9) Mulkey steps onto the moving sidewalk just as McClane starts it up. He sees McClane's pistol on the walkway and makes a sprint to grab it, but McClane gets it first and empties the full magazine into Mulkey. Noticeably the SWAT team are able to kill one of the ambushers.
He was able to lure the young soldier guarding him close enough to grab him and strangle him with the chain on his shackles. In an earlier scene, Esperanza asks the kid for a light for his cigarette. Though he probably didn't attack the kid when he first asked him, he likely would bide his time for the duration of the flight. When they were getting close to Washington, Esperanza probably asked him for another light. The kid was careless, and Esperanza was able to pounce on him and choke him to death.
It's a fictional country. Val Verde translates to "Green Valley" from Spanish.
Major Grant (John Amos) and his troops meet Esperanza and Stuart in Hangar 11 where their 747 sits waiting for them. McClane asks WNTW reporter Samantha Coleman (Sheila McCarthy) for a lift in their helicopter in return for giving her an exclusive story. As the 747 taxis down the runway, preparing to take off, the WNTW helicopter hovers just above it, allowing McClane to leap out onto the wing. He blocks the wing flap with his jacket, forcing Grant to come out on the wing in order to remove it. McClane overpowers Grant, who is sucked into the engine and ripped apart. McClane opens the airplane's fuel cap, and gas begins to leak on the ground just as Stuart comes out on the wing and knocks McClane off. McClane pulls out a cigarette lighter and ignites the trail of fuel. As the 747 leaves the ground, the burning trail of fuel causes the plane to explode. Meanwhile, the pilot of Holly's airplane notifies the control tower that they are out of fuel and must attempt an emergency landing. The pilots of Holly's plane see the fuel trail on the runway and use it as a guide to land the plane. The rest of the circling airplanes follow suit. As the passengers begin exiting the plane using the evacuation slide, McClane runs up calling Holly's name. When Holly sees him, she runs into his arms. In the final scene, Marvin (Tom Bower), the airport janitor, offers them a ride off the tarmac just as Captain Lorenzo drives up in his squad car. Lorenzo tears up McClane's ticket, because "...it's Christmas!"
John McTiernan was offered the chance to direct this sequel, but declined, in order to direct The Hunt for Red October. Renny Harlin had worked on pre-production for a third Alien film for Fox for about a year or so in 1989 before walking away due to its troubled development stage. Instead of directing Alien 3, Harlin was offered Die Hard 2 (1990) by producer Joel Silver who had previously worked with Harlin.
Compared to the workprint, the common known R-rated version lacks some plot sequences, as well as some violence, that probably were required for the US R-rating
A detailed comparison between the R-rated version and the unrated version can be found here.
To get the rating of 15 by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), almost any violent scene needed to be shortened. Moreover the word "fuck" has been removed from the audio track and replaced by less crude words here and there. The uncut version got the 18 rating and is also available. A comprehensive list of what is missing from the 15-rated version can be found here, partway down the page here.
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