What happens when a New York cop goes on Christmas vacation? Nothing, unless you're John McClane.
John McClane lands at LAX, horribly jet-lagged. He hates flying and remarks this to the passenger next to him, probably listed in the credits as "Asshole #1." Asshole #1 tells him "You wanna know the secret to surviving air travel? After you get where you're going, take off your shoes and your socks then walk around on the rug bare foot and make fists with your toes. Trust me, I've been doing it for nine years. Yes sir, better than a shower and a hot cup of coffee." This is our first use of Chekhov's Gun. Asshole #1 is shocked to see John McClane carrying a pistol under his jacket, and McClane retorts "It's okay, I'm a cop. Trust me, I've been doing this for eleven years." This marks the second use of said literary device. Throughout the rest of the film, you will see numerous other examples of by-the-book screenwriting. But this only pisses off those of us at Cracked who have not been published (see: David Wong). Unfortunately, no one kills the first asshole in the movie. You will have to live with his survival for the rest of your life.
On the plus side, we're introduced black limo driver (it's important for him to be black, otherwise he couldn't listen to Run DMC), Argyle, who proceeds to play some Run DMC while driving John McClane to see his wife at Nakatomi Plaza. When we enter Nakatomi Plaza, we find out about their state of the art security system, again for more foreshadowing bullshit. Then we get to see John McClane's hot wife and Ellis, the dude she's been fucking while John was in NY. This scene is shot to leave little question that Ellis will be one of the first killed by the terrorists. John then goes into his wife's office, gets in a huge argument and ruins Christmas, then takes off his shoes and makes fists with his toes. Which is always a stupid move to make if you're in either an action movie or a horror movie. As Jar Jar Binks would say "Yousa gonna die!" and then we would try to find a magic book with a curse powerful enough to give George Lucas what he truly deserves (instead of what he got: all of our money). Then Severus Snape and several unkown Death Eaters break into the Nakatomi building to do their terrorism. John McClane, being the most badass man in movie history, runs into the stairwell, hiding from the invading European Union (with a token asian). Alan Rickman then rounds up all the hostages in one room and interrogates the President of the company for their vault codes, because they're not actually terrorists, they're thieves! Holy shit, we here at Cracked would never have seen that coming, if the trailer hadn't ruined it. Killing the President of the Corporation totally shocks John McClane, because killing people is clearly something terrorists would never do, and no New York Police Officer could reasonably expect to ever see a person get shot. Thus, he plans a vendetta to kill every terrorist in Nakatomi, to the man. Which he proceeds to do over the course of several gunfights and explosions.
Then we see Super Asshole Ellis, which is similar to a Super Saiyan (see Dragonball Z), except instead of getting super-strength, you just get to pull insane dick moves. Ellis tries to negotiate with the terrorists (which has never worked in a movie, because that would be more boring than watching flies fuck), and proceeds to give terrorist leader Hans (Alan Rickman) enough personal information about McClane to deduce that Holly Gennaro is actually Holly McClane (thanks to the help of a wonderful journalist who decides to
ambush interview the McClane children). The terrorists then take the hostages up to the roof to blow them up, while Hans takes Holly down to rob the vault. John manages to blow up the roof, killing the FBI agents (who we don't care about, because the only authority character who doesn't suck is John McClane) and the terrorists on the roof. Then we get to the final showdown, John vs. Hans, America vs. Germany, vigilante vs. terrorist, naked chimpanzee vs. chimp in a suit (whoever came up with that needs a Presidential Medal of Freedom).
Then we get to see our hero meet the cop he'd been talking to (the dad from Urkel), who seems surprised to find out that he now has a black friend. But it doesn't last long, because not all the terrorists are dead. Until Reginald VelJohnson kills him. Now why the fuck couldn't he do that with Urkel? Whatever the reason, the credits roll and everyone lives happily ever after. Unless you saw one of the alternate endings.