Die Hard

Question: When Karl and Hans shoot all the glass in the office, why didn't they follow the blood trail left by John and then kill him?

Answer: Karl wanted too, but Hans said, "Forget him, we got what we wanted." The detonator caps, to blow up the of the top building. They were on a tight schedule, to use the explosion, killing the hostages, leaving the police to think the terrorists were killed. Despite everything McClane did, they still thought of him as an annoying distraction, not worth their effort to find him.

Question: What's with the scene where the cops drive towards the Nakotami building, but then turn around? Didn't Hans order 911 to be called so the FBI could be called out?

Answer: It was all about timing. Hans' plan did require having the police and the F.B.I. involved eventually, but John McClane set off the fire alarm before Hans was ready for the authorities to intervene. That was why Hans then ordered Eddy, the terrorist impersonating the security guard at the front desk, to call 911 and cancel the alarm.


It was just the Fire Department that responded.

Question: In the scene where McClane kills the first terrorist,why doesn't he just shoot him? He wastes bullets and risks his life by fighting him. He's got a gun on him at point blank range,it would've been so much easier to just shoot him.

Answer: As it is said during that scene, John is a cop, he won't shoot unless its neccessary. He is smart enough to try get information first. You can't get any information from a dead terrorist. Then when he tries to use force, the struggle eventuated. John actually didn't mean to kill him, he just so happened to be holding onto the right part of his head as they were rolling down the stairwell.


Question: When McClane kills one of the terrorists and sends him down the elevator, why the elaborate plan to send him down? He hits the buttons for floors 31 and 30, hits the stop button, props open the doors of the elevator and floor 32, crawls out, then flips the swith to run. As long something is in the door, it won't close. Why didn't he just put a chair in the doorway, put the bad guy in the elevator, hit floors 31 and 30, exit the elevator and remove the chair?


Chosen answer: He wants to ride on top of the elevator. If he did it the way you propose, he'd have to time it just right to reopen the doors on his floor and get on the roof without the elevator being too far down. By riding down in it, he allows himself to stop it past the point where the open doors on 32 will interfere with elevator operation, get out on 32, hit the switch to start the elevator again and still get on top before the elevator begins to descend to 30. It's all a matter of timing.


Question: Karl was hanging more than 5 yards off the ground for more than 6 seconds, and nothing indicated he was alive. So who removed him from the chain to the ground, and how did he not die?

Athletic Jason

Answer: Well the obvious answer to the first question is he simply unhooked himself from the chain. And the second, his neck simply didn't snap. So he was hanging in such a way that he was still able to breathe.

Quantom X

That I find hard to believe because with what was shown he was not moving and had the appearance that he's dead.

Athletic Jason

Because he was knocked unconscious by the jolting of his head.

Quantom X

Answer: Don't forget, Hans blew the roof up so the chain mechanism probably got blown up as well, meaning Karl would have plummeted back down to the floor.

Question: Why would an exploding helicopter take so long to slide down the side of the building? Enough time for McClane to get down to the party area?

Answer: This is a movie, not reality. The doomed helicopter's descent was deliberately slowed down on film for a visually dramatic effect. It is also timed so it coordinates with McClane's movement and better serves the plot's pacing. It is also not necessarily linear, timewise, cutting back and forth at different points to show what is happening.


Sorry not adequate explanation. Hundreds of action movies are made regularly the world over they don't make these sorts of errors. Insufficient explanation.

There was no error. It was a deliberate artistic choice by the filmmakers to achieve a desired visual and dramatic effect, regardless of real-life physics.


Question: John McClane's wife calls herself "Miss Gennero." Later in the movie her children are being interviewed on television - but how could Hans Gruber possibly know these are her children? And how does he connect her and the surname "McClane"?

Answer: He sees her reaction to seeing them on the news; he can tell she knows them, and from this, it's not a big leap to the conclusion that they are her children. Then, the reporter says to her daughter, "Your mommy and daddy...", but Holly has claimed to be single and her husband is not among the party guests, so he further deduces that she must be married to John McClane, or if nothing else that she's avoided mentioning her husband for a reason. A look at the downturned photograph on her desk confirms his suspicion.

Question: John is heard running and moves into a room, and he locks the door. After Karl and the other bad guys run, they see the door is locked. The logical conclusion is that the guy they heard running locked the door, so why not shoot the door open?

Athletic Jason

Answer: Karl might have done that, but Hans calls them off before he can. In any event, it would be easy enough to rationalize that the door was simply locked...plenty of people lock their offices when they leave.

The movie only showed the 1 way to get in that room is with an elevator, and since John wouldn't be able to use the elevator before they ran in it's a huge oversight that none of them shoot the door.

Athletic Jason

Question: When Hans is interrogating Takagi, why would he remove a silencer to fire the weapon indoors without hearing protection? Wouldn't it be more menacing to put a silencer on in that situation?

Answer: I think he's just subtly showing Takagi that he's in control of the situation - there's no need to hide behind a silencer, which they were using earlier. They've taken over and can do whatever they want, including loudly executing people. It's a very subtle power-play.


Answer: They used guns with silencers to access the building and take control swiftly and quietly. Now that they no longer need to do that he takes off the silencer. A silencer affects the gun's accuracy. It is also highly likely he wanted the people in the other room to hear the shot.


I had the same thought about Hans wanting the other hostages to hear the shot to instill fear and show how ruthless he truly was, like when Ellis was shot. I wasn't sure if Has and his accomplices were still on the same floor as the hostages when he killed Takagi.


Answer: Hans may be posturing to look less menacing. By removing the silencer and placing the gun on the table, he appears to be "disarming" himself, making Takagi feel less threatened and creating a false sense of security to relax him a little so he'd be more cooperative.


Question: How many hostages did Gruber take in total?

Answer: A head count was never given, but there appeared to be about 50 people.


Answer: When John McClane went to the roof to call 911, on the Walkie Talkie, he said that the terrorists were holding 50 or so hostages.

Question: When John sees a group of SWAT guys head to the building, why does he react by saying, "No, no, no!" Wasn't having the police come to help exactly what he wanted?

Answer: As you may have noticed in the immediate run-up to this, he has been trying to warn them against taking direct action. He has tried to tell them that they are fighting heavily armed and highly trained terrorists who are well-prepared to handle a small group of policemen overtly entering through the front door. So, he was saying that because he knew the SWAT men were about to get hurt, or worse, in their idiotic attempt to, as Dep. Chief Dwayne puts it, "kick ass."

Answer: He may have wanted the police to be there, but not to simply storm the building in a spontaneous, all-out assault without fully knowing who and what they were up against, lacking a strategic, coordinated plan or considering all the dangers and risk to the hostages.


Answer: Because that's exactly what Hans wanted the police to do. By entering they were making his plan easier.


Question: Can someone explain what the one Johnson agent meant to the other one when he said "it's like Saigon, ain't it slick?"

Answer: I don't remember the exact quote, verbatim, but using your wording, the proper punctuation would be "It's like Saigon! Ain't it, Slick?" The older Johnson is referring to Army Helo Ops in Vietnam. He's calling the younger Johnson "Slick", as a nickname. I believe the younger's response was something like "I was just a kid then" or something similar.


The younger one says "I was in junior high, dickhead". :-) Clearly not holding the older Johnson in especially high regard, or keen to make it clear he's not as old.

Answer: The elder Agent Johnson is a Viet Nam vet who excitedly says, "It's just like f***in' Saigon, eh Slick? The younger Johnson mockingly responds, "I was in Junior High, dickhead!" meaning he was too young to have served in that war. The older Johnson is comparing shooting at the terrorists (or just John McClane) atop the Nakatomi Tower to killing enemy soldiers from a helicopter in Nam. He is macho, has lost objectivity about the hostage situation, and is treating it like an arcade game. As pointed out in another answer, "Slick" is just a nickname, like calling someone "Dude."


Answer: "Like Saigon" could mean that under the circumstances, they were not likely to win or be successful in what they were trying to accomplish. Largely in the 1960s, the U.S. military was stationed in Saigon. While there, parts of the city were ruined or demolished by fighting. There was a lot of destruction in the Die Hard movie, and the situation seemed dire.


Question: In one scene, McLane turns on an electric saw to distract the terrorists. When he's having no luck finding shoes that fit, why didn't he just use the saw to cut the toes off a pair of shoes?

Answer: There's no answer, though it would have been dangerous for McClane to go back and use a noisy saw. The dead guy's cohorts might be around and/or are looking for him and could hear the noise. McClane also had to move quickly to get the body into the elevator and down to the party floor, so he could gain info about the other terrorists. The shoes may also have been too tight and narrow as well as too short, making them unusable.


Question: After Hans kills Ellis he starts shouting over the radio at McLane saying "Where are my detonators?" The Police were listening in on the radio calls so why didn't they figure out that something was going to be blown up?

Answer: Simply knowing that Hans is looking for detonators doesn't really give the police any information they don't already have. He's got hostages and is threatening to kill them if the police don't do what he wants. Knowing that Hans has explosives doesn't mean that he's planning on using them to make his escape, he could just as easily want them to threaten the hostages.


Question: They say the wires for the electromagnetic seal "can't be cut locally" - how is that possible? I mean at some point the electricity for them has to come into the building, surely?

Jon Sandys

Chosen answer: I took this to mean that cutting the lines themselves wouldn't open the safe. The safe is designed such that the physical locks could be destroyed but the electromagnetic lock wouldn't open unless the power to the entire building was shut off.


But my point is they've got control of the building, including the basement/anywhere else. General power has to enter the building from the street somewhere, and I don't see how they wouldn't be able to just cut through a main power cable and achieve exactly the same result as a switch being flipped by a city engineer.

Jon Sandys

The city engineer shuts down an entire city grid. I think that has something to do with it. It's not as simple as cutting a power line or flipping a switch.


I get that's the argument, I just don't see how. Because eventually it has to come down to the building being connected to the city grid via...something, and I don't see why the bad guys couldn't just interfere with that "something" themselves. There's either a technical reason or it's a plot hole, but I'm not really bothered about the mistake aspect, it's more just a query my brain can't let go of and I want the answer. :-).

Jon Sandys

Answer: There's no mention as to where the cables actually enter the building. They could come in via the basement, there could be a separate utility room that can only be accessed from outside or the cables could simply be inside a wall somewhere. They'd probably need to find the building blueprints to find out where the cables come into the building.

Question: The armoured vehicle that gets sent in when the SWAT team are struggling to get in, before they're even attacked...what's that meant to actually achieve? If it's just meant to smash the doors, the men with guns could do that. And if not...will it just sit there?

Jon Sandys

Answer: I believe it is supposed to be that it was a precautionary measure and probably standard operating procedure to have it on site when dealing with a terrorist situation. To have it at the ready for if they needed it. Not only this, but a large armored vehicle like that could serve as physiological warfare to make the terrorist more fearful merely by it just being there. A show of strength. As for using it on the door, yes, guys with guns can smash those doors. But guys with guns are still targets to be shot at especially though glass doors. The armored vehicle can smash through it and get the men inside without exposing them to small arms fire.

Quantom X

But why send the armoured car into the lobby before being attacked? And why send it in in the first place? Once it's in the lobby it becomes a sitting duck. Easy pickings for when the occupants decide to disembark.


In some cases, maybe. But the vehicle itself still provides cover for the men in it. They usually would exit from the back or the top, and have that as something to hide against or shoot from. Also, most armored SWAT vehicles like that usually have a very high powered water cannon on the top that has the pressure of a fire truck. This can quickly subdue any hostile forces and knock their defenses down, giving the SWAT ample time to make their move while the enemy is still recovering. Not only this, but the vehicle can have inside more equipment the SWAT members can use, like throwing out smoke and flash bang grenades, or have riot shields as the exit. But this at least gets them inside and up where they can do good. If they tried to walk up to the door without cover, they would be easy pickings from small arms fire and snipers.

Quantom X

Good answer. I would add that presumably, the SWAT vehicle could be put in reverse, and once the front entrance was breached, it would back up. Also, this being a movie, it's shown that the overall police and F.B.I. response is supposed to be somewhat bungled, with different egotistical characters vying for control. Plot wise, it shows how well armed the "terrorists" are supposed to be by blowing up the SWAT vehicle with a missile, and how they anticipate and outsmart the police's every move. This is not reality.


Continuity mistake: When Hans takes Holly hostage, as she is sitting on the floor talking to Hans, as the camera goes from him to her, each time Holly's shirt is unbuttoned and open more so her bra and boobs are revealed.


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