How It Changes
But something starts to happen as one's Christmases come and go. Whether it's all of the real terrorist sieges you've seen play out on the news during your life or just your own experiences with life's unintended consequences, you start to ask: is John McClane really the good guy?
And what if my family really doesn't like my cranberry-and-garlic eggnog?
After he sees Hans Gruber's gang of terrorists executing a hostage, Mr. Takagi, McClane goes wild, picking off terrorists one by one and ignoring the pleas of the professional counter-terrorism experts to let them handle it. And, of course, McClane turns out to be right: the terrorists planned on killing all of the hostages, and his murder-actions are effective in saving them.
But step back from cinematic happy-ending conventions and ask: how easily could things have gone differently? What if Takagi was the only guy Hans and company planned on killing? How could McClane be sure that Hans wouldn't react to the dead terrorist in the elevator by executing random hostages every five minutes until McClane gave himself up? The terrorist siege could have just as easily ended with a lawsuit against the NYPD, with McClane in court and facing the tearful family of that woman whose boobs we see at the beginning, asking him why he taunted the terrorists into shooting their daughter in the head.