Die Hard 2

Die Hard 2 (1990)

7 suggested corrections

(18 votes)

Factual error: It is impossible for a stream of burning jet fuel to follow a plane through snow and catch up. Not only is jet fuel extremely hard to ignite, almost as soon as the plane was off the ground the fuel stream would be too dispersed for the flame to climb up into the tank, and even if not it wouldn't burn fast enough to catch the plane.

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Suggested correction: If jet fuel was hard to ignite then it would be a poor choice of agent to power an engine.

You show very little understanding of how fuels work and you're confusing flammability with combustibility. Jet fuel has to be heated to over 100°F before it can combust. A trail of jet fuel on the snow would be too cold to ignite (which was the main point of the mistake).

Bishop73

Plot hole: The only reason the terrorists' plot can work is that the airports around Dulles are all closed to landings because of the violent snowstorm. If there were no storm, the pilots of the airliners in the holding pattern would simply divert to nearby airports when they started running low on fuel. If they were able to do that, the whole plot would simply fall apart. How were the terrorists able to count on the storm happening on the very day General Esperanza's flight was due to land? They didn't have any influence over the date of his flight. How did they know the storm would be so bad that all airports would be closed - except Dulles? I don't think they had any way of predicting the weather quite that accurately, and If the storm hadn't hit or had been even slightly less severe the pilots of the stranded airliners could easily have diverted to any one of half a dozen alternate landing sites, including a nearby Air Force base. They could do this without consulting or even contacting air traffic control. The whole plot falls apart from there - no hostages, no leverage, and who cares what happens to the people on Esperanza's plane? They'd have it shot down as soon as they knew Esperanza had killed the pilot and taken over the flight.

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Suggested correction: The terrorists in the film planned extensively for this operation, but the storm occurring may have just been a coincidence for them. They may also have had the plan waiting for a perfect opportunity, like a snowstorm. In the beginning of the movie, there's a news story on while the Colonel is exercising nude. The story says Esperanza's extradition has been long and drawn out, until a phone call from..." and he cuts the TV off. Given his connections, Colonel Stewart may well have been able to arrange a State Department call the week of a predicted snow storm. Esperanza's adherents may also have been able. Another scenario they may have had is to take the Air Traffic Controllers hostage (as they did) and have the other aircraft diverted for a supposed emergency, but the snowstorm worked out. Whatever the case, that element of the plot is an interesting discussion, not a mistake.

If the storm hadn't hit the pilots of the stranded airliners could easily have diverted to any one of half a dozen alternates, including a nearby Air Force base. They could do this without consulting or even contacting air traffic control. The whole plot falls apart from there - no hostages, no leverage, and who cares what happens to the people on the Esperanza's plane? They'd have it shot down.

The snowstorm was not part of the plan. Early on when the group of terrorists is sitting around the table about to exchange the package, Cochran is listening to a weather report and states that a huge storm is approaching, which makes the other men smile and one of them responds "God loves the infantry." The terrorists could still crash planes without the snow storm because they could impersonate the tower. The planes that are circling overhead are the planes that didn't have enough fuel to be diverted to another airport and that has nothing to do with a snow storm. The blizzard was simply fortuitous for the terrorists.

BaconIsMyBFF

The airliners we see could easily glide to any one of seven nearby airports from the airspace over Dulles, let alone fly there when fuel began running low.

That is a separate issue (and is indeed a mistake in the film) that doesn't really have anything to do with the blizzard. This film acts as if Baltimore Washington International or Richmond International Airport don't exist.

BaconIsMyBFF

And since they do, it is both a plot hole and a factual error. If they had called their fictional airport Springfield International, fine, but they didn't. They identified it as Dulles International which is within easy flying - or gliding - time to half a dozen other airports.

This is possible that other airports were closed due to bad weather.

Which necessitates the terrorists knowing that! They had to know the storm was coming for their plan to work. The stranded airlines could easily have diverted to an alternative even if that meant gliding, and they could do so without consulting air traffic control.

The terrorist obviously knew that. They are very arrogant and planned everything very accurately. They knew that other airports are closed because of the bad weather.

The airports were closed AFTER Esperanza's flight took off. The storm is an essential part of the terrorist's plans. Storms like the one we see can can diminish very rapidly or veer away from their original course (I have seen both happen) and cannot, ever, be counted on to the meticulous extent the terrorists do.

Factual error: Firing a full magazine of blank cartridges from an automatic weapon in the police station office as McClane does would be painfully loud. Nobody shows the slightest effect - nobody even winces. Some of the men wince slightly but their reaction is grossly underplayed. Obviously the sound was looped in later. (01:37:40)

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Suggested correction: What makes the loud bang from guns is not the explosion of the gunpowder, but the bullet itself breaking the sound barrier as it leaves the gun. It's very noticeable when a gun fires a blank because it's so much quite, as the only sound is the small pop of the gunpowder inside. It's little more than the sound of a firecracker, but even more muffled by being inside metal.

Quantom X Premium member

Makes you wonder this gun makes the same sound as a gun loaded with real bullets, then. You can't have it both ways.

Yes, that part is in fact a mistake, that it's still that loud while firing blanks.

Quantom X Premium member

I have shot blank and live with the military. Both are loud, but sound different. More of a crack with live.

Blanks are very loud: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6PESH5LSE0

Suggested correction: Every person jumps/winces and cowers out of the way of the bullets, one other officer even draws his gun in response.

What has never made any sense to me about this is that in a room full of cops everyone just stands around watching McClane seemingly gun down their Chief and only one officer even bothers to draw his gun.

That could be attributed to shock, I suppose - no-one expects it to happen that brazenly.

Ssiscool Premium member

Probably because everyone hates the chief. I wondered about that too.

Factual error: After recovering a pistol from a slain baddie, John McClane explains to airport security that it's a "Glock 7" (in actuality a Glock 17) and says that it's made of porcelain that makes it "undetectable by X-ray." Excusing the fact that not only Glock, but no major firearms company has ever mass-produced such a weapon due to functionality issues, it doesn't change that the ammunition would still be visible on X-ray. The armorer for the production team pointed these facts out on set and tried to convince them to change this detail, but they filmed it with these mistakes anyway.

Alex Montenegro

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Suggested correction: Even polymer pistols have some metal parts; namely the barrel end retriever, and the magazine spring. And as you mentioned, the brass of the bullets and metal of the projectile. The slide could be in polymer but is not done in real world cause of safety issues. But it could be done.

Factual error: When the terrorist clears the nearly fuel-exhausted plane to land on the lowered ILS, the terrorist says, "Windsor 114, you are cleared to land on Dulles Runway 29, ILS." Problem is: There is no Runway 29 at Dulles. The closest runway alignment for a 290 degree heading is Runway 30. (00:53:35)

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Suggested correction: Runway numbers are based on the magnetic heading of the runway, and since the earth's magnetic field is in constant motion, a runway's magnetic heading can and does change over time. As an example, my local airport's main runway is 30/12, but 10 years ago it was numbered 31/13. Therefore, it is possible that in 1990, what is now runway 30 at Dulles was numbered 29.

Random guesswork isn't a valid correction. A simple google search will show that runway 30 at Dulles has been called that since it was opened in 1962. In 1990 there were 3 runways at Dulles: 1C/19C, 1R/19L, and 12/30.

Factual error: When McClane lights the fuel with the zippo, the flame trail is all wrong. There appears to be a thin strip of fuel which accelerates away from him. However, we have seen the Fuel spurted out in a wider less controlled manner from a wing tip that has to be at least fifteen feet up, in a wind, which would have sprayed it around further. There is no way it would light in the tight manner shown. (01:45:55)

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Suggested correction: The fuel would not light at all, so the tightness of its trail is really unable to be determined in this manner. Assuming jet fuel could light like that, it's possible that only the densest area would be able to catch, which would be the center of the trail... but again, Jet A is pretty hard to catch on fire.

Continuity mistake: When the army truck arrives at the 747 hangar, we see a line of snow on the ground behind it. The actual truck has no snow on it at all, despite its journey to the hangar.

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Suggested correction: Snow doesn't generally accumulate on a moving vehicle. Anything resting on the vehicle will blow off once it's in motion unless it's very wet and/or heavy.

As a truck driver, I can tell you that the conditions shown would have snow accumulating on a moving vehicle at least in some places.

Factual error: It is impossible for a stream of burning jet fuel to follow a plane through snow and catch up. Not only is jet fuel extremely hard to ignite, almost as soon as the plane was off the ground the fuel stream would be too dispersed for the flame to climb up into the tank, and even if not it wouldn't burn fast enough to catch the plane.

Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: If jet fuel was hard to ignite then it would be a poor choice of agent to power an engine.

You show very little understanding of how fuels work and you're confusing flammability with combustibility. Jet fuel has to be heated to over 100°F before it can combust. A trail of jet fuel on the snow would be too cold to ignite (which was the main point of the mistake).

Bishop73

More mistakes in Die Hard 2

Gen. Esperanza: Freedom.
[John McClane appears and punches him in the face.]
John McClane: Not yet.

More quotes from Die Hard 2

Trivia: Producers of the movie were concerned that actual terrorists could use the information in the film to disrupt airport/airplane communications in real life. Most of the "sensitive" information in the film is not only wrong, it is purposely misleading to prevent terrorists from attempting what we see in the movie.

Mark Bernhard

More trivia for Die Hard 2

Question: Just watched "Die Hard 2" for the ten-thousandth time. Finally occurred to me, WHY would a pilot use a burning plane crash as a landing light? "Oh, there's a burning plane crash down there! Must be a good place to land!" As far as I know, all air traffic is diverted to other airports when an aircraft crashes.

Charles Austin Miller

Chosen answer: The trail of fire from McClane lighting the jet fuel creates a visual marker that the pilots can aim for. Not the best situation, however, considering that they're low on fuel and that one other plane has crashed that evening already, the pilots decided to settle for the less-than-ideal method of guiding their planes in.

Captain Defenestrator

More questions & answers from Die Hard 2

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