Only The Good Die Hard
Author’s note: Not quite a script, not quite a synopsis, this scriptment is a dynamic overview of the latest Die Hard story. The scriptment format is used famously by James Cameron (director of Titanic and Avatar). A couple quick movie terms: OS means "off screen" and VO stands for "voice over".
And now, everyone’s favorite smart-mouthed detective:
A truck speeds through the lion-toned high desert east of Los Angeles. Thousands of wind turbines stretch away like giant toothpicks in a yellow cake. They capture air currents and convert them to electricity.
The truck screeches in front of a windmill. A tall man, WASHINGTON, jumps out. He attaches a distinct shape to the behemoth stalk: A C-4 BOMB. Each of the hundreds of windmills in the array carry similar explosives.
In a seedy Los Angeles suburb, JOHN MCCLANE, 60s, rugged, sits alone at a bus stop. John’s shooting arm (left side) is in a sling. He struggles as he attempts eating from a takeout box of greasy noodles with his non-dominant hand: the life of a retired hero.
He eyeballs a drug transaction across the street. He stands to go over, but his phone rings; a call from his daughter LUCY.
LUCY Dad, where are you? I have to get to the airport.
JOHN Waiting for my bus.
LUCY I’m sending an uber.
JOHN How do you know where I am?
LUCY Technology. It’ll be there in three minutes.
The kid across the street shakes his head at the dealer and walks away without completing the transaction.
Another call buzzes on John’s smartphone. It’s from his longtime friend, AL POWELL. John picks up.
AL John, we’re on FaceTime. You gotta take the phone away from your ear.
JOHN This is a video of you?
The video feed shows Al’s numerous grandkids swinging gleefully on his wheelchair like a jungle gym.
AL Welcome to the Space Age.
JOHN The Space Age was the 60s. I don’t know what this is. I’ve lived past my time, Al.
JOHN (CONT’D) You sound the way I feel.
(re: John’s sling) You get that saving a kitten?
JOHN (CONT’D) Got in a little fender bender and my arm decided to shatter. Getting old ain’t much of a party, Al.
AL But somebody’s gotta do it.
The uber pulls up.
JOHN Says the man a beach surrounded with people you love. You got a real racket going, partner.
AL Whatever it means, you gotta find peace.
One of his granddaughters drops an egg onto the floor. Al hangs up.
We see the background wallpaper on John’s phone: a picture of a sunny-faced eight year old girl.
In the car, John talks to the driver.
JOHN We used to call ubers in New York by stepping out in traffic.
DRIVER You visiting from The Big Apple?
JOHN A couple years back I retired and moved here for my daughter’s family.
As they arrive at John’s destination, his daughter LUCY MCCLANE (38) is rolling a suitcase out the front door while juggling a phone call.
LUCY Yes, Miss Valerie, there’s been a change of plans and my Dad is going pick Neely up. He just got here. Let me turn on the camera.
MISS VALERIE is a pretty, young African-American woman. She and her class of third-graders are in the food court of a cutting edge space facility. Lucy points the phone at John.
MISS VALERIE Hello, Mister McClane. It’s truly an honor to speak to you. Our field trip ends at four, so we can release Neely to you then.
JOHN Can I see her?
The teacher smiles and hands the phone to NEELY, the girl from John’s phone background. John lights up on seeing her.
JOHN Hi Buttons. Remember when you say “Grandpa”, it makes Pawpaw feel old.
NEELY I know.
She smiles mischeviously.
JOHN We get to spend the weekend together. How’s that sound?
JOHN See you soon, Buttons.
NEELY Love you...Grandpa!
She hangs up.
JOHN Grandpa. She gets it from her mother.
As John hands the phone back to Lucy, she sees his Sig Sauer 320 X-Carry concealed pistol.
LUCY Why are you packing if you can’t even hold a gun?
John gives her a look that says “don’t push it”.
JOHN The driver said the uber was for Lucy McClane. Why are you still doing that?
LUCY You should be proud I kept the family name.
JOHN You kept it because you started your marriage with an out.
LUCY Speaking of broken marriages, anything you want me to tell mom when I see her?
JOHN Your mom’s a fighter...
Lucy’s uber pulls up.
LUCY Whatever you gotta say to her, don’t wait til it’s too late.
Lucy rides away in the uber. She pulls a freshly-printed APARTMENT RENTAL APPLICATION from her attache case. The address for the apartment IS IN CHICAGO. Lucy fills it out guiltily, looking back as the car pulls away from her home.
John walks towards the house.
In another part of town, a burly guy, JASON, stands in the shadows of a stop and shop mart.
He observes a nearby gas station. He’s in his late forties. His civilian clothing looks vaguely tactical.
A frail, elderly woman parks her Cadillac in front of the gas pump and goes inside to pay. Jason steps into her car and drives away.
John’s son-in-law, MATT FARRELL, is watching a YouTube clip of a polished but sincere man as John walks into the house. The man on the screen is DALTON MONK.
DALTON In just six hours, Xperion’s crypto partnership with the US Treasury will go live.
JOHN Who’s the suit?
MATT Dalton Monk. Billionaire space entrepreneur?
Matt clicks ‘refresh’ repeatedly on a crypto-currency news website.
MATT (CONT’D) He’s a crypto currency guru.
JOHN I still don’t speak computer.
MATT I forget you haven’t learned anything since Kennedy. Just like you have the dollar or the euro, crypto is a digital form of currency, but coded with a built-in ledger so it can’t be forged or replicated.
JOHN Make believe money.
MATT Since we left the gold standard, all money is imaginary. The US Treasury commissioned Dalton Monk to make a crypto that will replace the dollar entirely. They’re going to convert ten percent of U-S-D to U-S-D-C, or us-duck, every ten years, with the first part starting today.
MATT (CONT’D) When it goes live, I’m gonna get in on it, and when us-duck triples, our family will be millionaires overnight.
JOHN You won’t get rich off monopoly money.
MATT Compared to what standard, your resplendent police pension?
John sees a Star Wars pillow on the couch and a blanket on the floor next to it.
JOHN You know you don’t have to sleep there when she travels.
MATT I don’t know, man, it’s like we don’t even have a relationship anymore. I think I’m losing her, John.
JOHN I can tell you how to kill a marriage. Keep on not listening. Keep on doing things you say are for the family but ignore her real needs.
MATT As always, you have the worst advice.
John picks up a unicorn backpack.
Matt tosses them over.
MATT Don’t total my car too. And don’t change my presets again.
JOHN It’s hard to take pride in a guy who doesn’t recognize good music.
A techy guy, NICHOLAS SHAMORDIAN, works at a computer in a modern facility. Dalton Monk walks up to him.
DALTON Everything set for the launch?
NICHOLAS We’re on track, Mr. Monk.
DALTON We couldn’t have done this without you, Nick.
Nicholas pulls up his iPad. He looks at a live drone feed showing Washington emplacing C-4 on windmills. Nicholas closes his iPad guiltily.
A semi truck speeds down the highway. The logo across the truck reads XPERION. Safety decals plaster the sides with warnings of “jet fuel” and “highly explosive contents”. A lanky man with a shaggy blond bowl cut sits in the passenger seat. His name is GERTLANDER. He wears a dirty crew neck T- shirt and a two-sizes-too-large blazer. Glasses make his dark eyes distant and hollow.
Washington waits along the highway. The semi truck stops. Washington looks up at Gertlander.
WASHINGTON It’s done, boss.
Gertlander looks at the three Camelbaks slung across Washington’s back.
GERTLANDER What’s with the water?
WASHINGTON If you’re not hydrated, you die, boss.
GERTLANDER Get in.
Washington hops in the back of the truck.
Driving down the highway, John listens to Creedence Clearwater Revival. He saves the channel as a preset. He drives into an expansive parking lot.
The XPERION SPACE PORT is a mix of Los Angeles International Airport, a studio backlot, and Disney’s Tomorrowland. Its massive campus and space-themed attractions serve thousands of visitors every day.
John is in line at the TSA-style security on the way into the building. It’s finally his turn. He slides his concealed carry permit to SECURITY GUARD #1.
JOHN I’m carrying. Retired cop.
The guard moves his hand to his holster.
SECURITY GUARD #1 Surrender your weapon to me right now, sir.
JOHN Really? This place is just a big carney show.
John passes his pistol and an extra magazine to the security guard. The guard takes the bundle. He turns to another watchman.
SECURITY GUARD #1 You ever heard of a dinosaurs who liked spaceships?
The other guard snickers.
JOHN Trust me, pal. I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t getting my granddaughter.
The guard looks at the name on the concealed carry permit.
SECURITY GUARD #1 You know what they call a retired cop, McClane? A civilian.
John watches the security guard place the weapon inside a locked storage room.
JOHN Not a hero like you, Mall Cop.
Inside a small-town diner, MARCUS VILLARREAL, a good-looking, 30 year-old deputy sips coffee. His gun belt rests on the booth beside him. He tunes a radio scanner. The WAITRESS comes up. She has eyes for him.
WAITRESS Why are you always toying with that thing when there are real people to notice?
MARCUS Something’s going to happen in this town, and I’ll be ready.
A PANICKED MAN rushes inside the diner.
PANICKED MAN Sheriff, come quick, it’s an emergency!
Marcus throws his gun belt over his shoulder and rushes outside. An elderly woman named MAISY is calling for help. Her foot is trapped in a storm drain. Marcus sighs. The life of a small-town sheriff. He reassures her while working her foot out gently.
MAISY Thank you, deputy.
MARCUS You’re my favorite girl, Maisy, but you know if you didn’t cross the street at this spot, this might not keep happening.
The waitress pats him on the shoulder.
WAITRESS Something might happen, Marcus, but not today.
In the desert somewhere, two THUGS pull green flak jackets over their clothes. One walks to the back of a BORDER PATROL TRUCK. Inside, the real border patrol officer is bloody and unconscious. The thug pulls the official green cap off the downed officer and flips it onto his own head. The thugs set up a roadblock on the remote two-lane that leads to the wind farm.
John wanders around the Space Port, taking in the impressive attractions. He walks through a replica of a spaceship’s internal compartments. He looks at the clock on his phone. It’s 3pm. He walks around more exhibits.
A peppy young professional woman named JANNA approaches John.
JANNA You’re him, aren’t you?
JANNA You’re John McClane, the detective from Nakatomi and a thousand stories.
JOHN You weren’t even born when Nakatomi happened.
JANNA Papa was a Pulitzer journalist, and I’m the lucky size seven that gets to fill his shoes. He told me that when everyone else was cowering, a single shoeless man brought the terrorists to their knees.
She pulls out her phone and records a video.
JANNA (CONT’D) Detective McClane, you’ve been called the unluckiest man of all time. How do you feel about that?
JOHN I’m unfortunately still alive. I wish some of my friends had been that unlucky. You can stop recording.
Jason pulls the stolen Cadillac into space port parking. Soon he’s walking through security. He’s wearing headphones. Security Guard #1 pulls Jason’s earbud out.
SECURITY GUARD #1 You have to take these out when you go through.
Security Guard #1 holds it to his ear.
SECURITY GUARD #1 (CONT’D) You’re not even listening to anything.
Jason stares, eyes simmering.
SECURITY GUARD #1 (CONT’D) Mouthbreather.
The guard walks away.
Jason throws his earbuds on the belt then passes through the metal detector. Nicholas walks by and nods slightly, recognizing Jason as he retrieves his headphones on the other side.
A crowd begins cheering. They point upwards with their hands and cameras. John takes notice. On a glass catwalk above them, Dalton Monk walks out.
DALTON Welcome to Xperion, the world’s only wind-powered, commercial space port, the cradle of American technology.
JOHN Guy’s a real whiz kid.
DALTON When I was a child, I would stay up all night and stare at the glow stars on my ceiling. I promised myself someday I would look down from the heavens. I will live my final days on Mars and that’s a fact. If I’m going to spend eighteen months in a spaceship, I’m going to make it as safe as possible for you.
The crowd laughs.
Jason passes John. The two stare each other down, both sensing the other man as a natural threat.
DALTON (CONT’D) You’re about to travel into lower space commercially, an unattainable dream only a few years ago. Enjoy the trip, and we’ll see you all soon.
The crowd cheers. Dalton leaves the catwalk.
At home, Matt begins his crypto trading ritual: Tears open a bunch of airheads, pours an ungodly amount of Doritos into a massive bowl, scatters packs of Red Vines everywhere. He grabs a soda with a PICKER UPPER extended arm. He has the news on the background.
NEWSCASTER #1 When trading goes live, billions of US dollars will be stored on cutting-edge, cold server arrays below Xperion.
Dalton walks into his secretary’s office. She’s watching the same news channel.
NEWSCASTER #1 (CONT’D) In the newest twist in a case filled with corruption and bribery, many say the decision to grant bail to Pavel Gertlander smells of foul play.
DALTON I hope he gets a conviction.
SECRETARY He’s actually waiting on line one for you.
Dalton goes in his office and turns on the speakerphone.
DALTON What do you want, Gertlander?
GERTLANDER Let me rent one of your planes. I’ll make it worth your while.
DALTON I don’t aid criminals, especially ones who oppose everything I believe.
GERTLANDER You should reconsider.
DALTON Never, not at any price.
GERTLANDER Remember this little talk. When I gave you a chance.
Gertlander hangs up. Dalton presses his intercom.
DALTON Make sure security is on their toes.
Jason moves quickly down a maintenance tunnel. SECURITY GUARD #2 sees him.
SECURITY GUARD #2 You can’t be down here.
The security guard turns to point down the hall. Jason yanks his earbuds over the guard’s neck. The plastic sheathing shreds off, revealing a braided wire GARROTE. Seven seconds later, the guard is out. Jason commandeers a pistol. He pulls the body into a closet.
Jason sprints into a security control room and SHOOTS the two guards running the control panel.
He makes a call.
JASON (CONT’D) Ready.
The Xperion fuel truck stops at the east gate. The two guards on watch exit their booth. The truck driver, an Australian named CUDDY, smiles.
CUDDY Got some fuel for you.
Jason sees the whole thing on a security screen. He radios the security guards.
JASON Open it.
The gate lifts. Cuddy smiles pleasantly.
CUDDY Thanks, gents.
The truck enters the compound.
Jason waits at the loading dock. The truck pulls up. THIRTY WELL-ARMED SOLDIERS in black uniforms and state-of-the art weapons disembark. A soldier from India named VENKATESH, wears a military scarf and badly-drawn green camouflage face paint. Gertlander stops him.
GERTLANDER Is it National Dress Like an Idiot Day?
VENKATESH Just wanted to be mission-ready, boss.
GERTLANDER Venkatesh. You’re wearing green camouflage and a scarf. We’re in the desert.
VENKATESH It’s a shemagh.
Jason points Cuddy and SUNG, a muscle-bound Korean, towards the guard shack.
Cuddy and Sung drop off the dock. They creep to the guard shack. Cuddy holds up a pistol. Sung laughs at the pistol and lifts a beefy AR-10 RIFLE. Cuddy shakes his head in mock disapproval. They’re good buds.
They rush into the guard shack. From the outside, shots light up the windows.
Jason puts a flak jacket on and grabs a rifle.
Gertlander radios Nicholas.
GERTLANDER Set up the thing.
Nicholas carries a sophisticated cellular jamming device bristling with sharp antennas. He sets it up on a level above the food court atrium. He flips it on.
Janna is uploading the video she took of John to Instagram. The status bar freezes and her phone goes instantly from four bars to NO SERVICE. “Upload failed.”
Gertlander kicks through the door of the antechamber where Dalton’s secretary works. A group of soldiers follows.
The double doors to Dalton’s office slam open. Gertlander parades through, carrying no weapon. His soldiers follow.
GERTLANDER (CONT’D) Is Mohammed home? I’ve brought the mountain!
DALTON Gertlander, what are you doing?
GERTLANDER I still need that seat on your plane.
DALTON You can’t avoid a trial in space. When fuel burns out, you’ll be in a directionless vacuum.
GERTLANDER Let me worry about the destination. From now on, you’re my shadow.
Using commands on his iPad, Nicholas triggers an alarm. He speaks into a microphone.
NICHOLAS Ladies and gentlemen, this is only a drill.
His voice comes over the PA system.
NICHOLAS (V.O.) Federal regulations require us to perform frequent active shooter drills, so do not be alarmed if you see anything out of the ordinary. Please move outside. Unfortunately to ensure the utmost safety to our customers, we will remain closed for the rest of the day. Contact customer service tomorrow for a full refund. On behalf of all of us at Xperion, thank you.
Everyone begins moving outside.
Jason’s soldiers steal into the main atrium. Each soldier apprehends a group of civilians and moves them to the center of the room. Venkatesh grabs Miss Valerie. He corrals her and the class into the middle of the room.
Janna notices something happening and works her way into the crowd as a hostage. She starts a video recording and places the phone in her front shirt pocket.
John observes the uniformed men apprehending civilians. His detective instincts sense that something’s off. He slips into an “employees only” hallway.
A young FATHER holds his daughter close as he goes with his wife to their car. The girl looks back at the Space Port.
DAUGHTER Daddy, there are men with big guns.
FATHER They’re just practicing so they’re ready in case real bad guys ever show up.
The security guards wait for an order behind their desk. Their hands are on their weapons, but they are unsure what to do.
Sung approaches the desk, pointing his massive rifle at Security Guard #1’s face.
SUNG For each of you who resists, I’ll kill one hostage.
Security Guard #1 surrenders immediately. The other security guards follow his example.
A newscaster appears on Matt’s television.
NEWSCASTER #1 America’s transition to crypto currency has officially begun. Millions are trading their US dollars for digital code, causing the value of USDC to climb steadily.
Include snippets of famous financial gurus and their thoughts on crypto currency.
John moves down a maintenance hallway. He clicks his phone, but there’s no service. He sees an air duct. He considers it. Instead, he walks through a door.
A GUN BARREL shoves into John’s back. Cuddy speaks behind him.
CUDDY Let’s go, old fella.
John whips around: HIS ELBOW CATCHES CUDDY’S JAW.
Their fight moves into a massive chamber. They exchange blows on THE EDGE of a bottomless heat sink below the rocket launch pad. John knocks Cuddy’s pistol onto the platform.
At the same time in the basement, WASHINGTON rounds a corner. Someone shoots at him. He jumps back. Rounds impact dangerously close to him. He radios Gertlander.
WASHINGTON We got some gunmen fortified in the basement, boss.
DALTON They’re Treasury agents here for the currency exchange. It’s their duty to stop you.
GERTLANDER Then killing hostages wouldn’t make them surrender.
GERTLANDER (CONT’D) Washington, Jason is coming to meet you. Draw them out but don’t shoot at them. We can’t risk a fire in the server room.
The basement consists of two levels: the one right below the ground floor, where the servers are kept, and the unfinished one below that. The Treasury agents are fortified on the upper basement level.
Jason leads several soldiers downstairs. A handful of MEN IN SUITS crouch in cover, guarding a door behind them.
Still locked in his fight, John jumps for the pistol. Cuddy kicks it into the pit. Cuddy pounds John’s slinged arm.
Jason pulls on a gas mask then rolls a tear gas grenade down the hall. His men do the same.
The treasury guys stumble from the haze, choking and coughing. Jason knifes the first one. His guys easily bring down the rest without firing a shot.
John smashes his plaster cast against Cuddy’s head. There’s a crack; it’s not the cast.
Gertlander walks behind Jason. Venkatesh executes a wounded Treasury agent. Gertlander walks through the door the agents were guarding. Inside is a massive SERVER ROOM. A thousand shining lithium servers are daisy-chained together.
GERTLANDER (CONT’D) This is everything. This is where it’s all stored.
WASHINGTON Want us to pull them, boss?
NICHOLAS If we separate them from the grid at full power, they’ll lock us out.
WASHINGTON What makes you the expert?
GERTLANDER Nicholas is the one who wrote the original coding for US dollar crypto. In fact this whole thing was his idea. So if he says the only to access the money is a hard reset, listen to him.
WASHINGTON Why don’t we kill the power and take it now?
GERTLANDER We have a balancing act. The longer we wait, the more dangerous it becomes, yes, but the more Americans send their hard-earned money to these servers. Every second makes you richer.
Matt sets up the transaction on his home computer to trade dollars to crypto. He lingers over the “finalize transfer” button.
MATT Trade number one.
He clicks it.
Gertlander addresses his men.
GERTLANDER This facility has three planes that can reach supersonic in eight seconds. We will divide the servers equally across them. Once I have departed, you are free to take the other two ships wherever you choose.
DALTON We only had one flight scheduled today. That means there are only two pilots on deck.
GERTLANDER Count again, but this time don’t skip yourself.
In the main room, Jason shoves TWO PILOTS into the circle of hostages. All the prisoners sit on the ground. Neely climbs into Miss Valerie’s lap. The teacher comforts her.
John searches Cuddy’s body. He finds a radio and a sharpie. John uncaps the marker and writes the radio’s current channel on his cast then switches to a distress channel.
Marcus drives his police cruiser over dusty back trails. He turns the scanner on his radio while he drives. Nothing. He pounds the dashboard, visibly frustrated. He throws his radio out the window. It lands on a dune. Marcus cranks the music and drives off. John’s voice crackles over the abandoned radio.
JOHN (O.S.) This is a distress call. Any listeners come in, over.
Marcus drives over a dune, nearly crashing into the fake border patrol blockade. The two thugs open fire. Marcus swerves his car behind another dune. THUG #1 radios Gertlander.
THUG #1 Just made first contact.
GERTLANDER Which agency?
THUG #1 Looked like a sheriff.
GERTLANDER That was earlier than I expected. Pull back.
Marcus gets on the phone with a Border Patrol contact, BACCHUS.
MARCUS Two of your guys just opened up on me like it was Gangland!
BACCHUS The only patrol in your area is Gatlin. He’s solo. Don’t blame me, Marcus.
Bacchus hangs up.
Marcus is perplexed then inspired. He rushes back for his radio.
John’s voice comes through.
JOHN (O.S.) This is a distress call. Any listeners come in, over.
MARCUS I’ve got you buddy.
JOHN (O.S.) I’m at the Space Port. We just got invaded. These guys are like a trained army.
MARCUS Who are you?
JOHN (O.S.) The unluckiest guy alive. You the sheriff they were shooting at?
MARCUS That’s me. They take hostages?
John peers at the circle of hostages and the ten soldiers that guard them.
JOHN Got close to a hundred holed up in the main building.
MARCUS I’m on my way over.
JOHN Listen, they’re on channel 500. But if you need to raise me, only do it on this distress line. Got it?
MARCUS Got it.
JOHN Call it in. And don’t do anything stupid. I’ll be seeing you.
John peers slowly around a corner. Venkatesh guards the storage room where John’s pistol is.
Marcus radios his dispatcher as he drives towards the Space Port, a solitary large white building in an otherwise unbroken desert.
John grabs the scarf and pulls Venkatesh’s face into his fist. Venkatesh gets a couple suppressed shots off.
Jason looks up at the sound of gunshots. He goes to investigate.
Venkatesh is losing the fight. John knees him in the stomach. When Venkatesh doubles over, John SLAMS his cast on the guy’s brain stem. That’s the end of Venkatesh.
John finds keys under the counter and opens the storage room. He recovers his own pistol and the extra magazine. He grabs zip-ties off a shelf.
Marcus pulls up outside the space port. The massive parking lot is empty. The place is eerily quiet.
Inside, John picks up Venkatesh’s Fabrique Nationale pistol and compares the 5.7 millimeter bullet with a 9 millimeter from his own weapon. They are ridiculously unmatched.
JOHN (CONT’D) Doesn’t anybody use American calibers?
John stuffs Venkatesh’s pistol into his satchel and goes on.
Sung patrols through the maintenance halls. He comes across Cuddy’s body. Sung transmits to Gertlander.
SUNG Cuddy’s down! Come in, Gertlander! Cuddy’s dead!
John is still in the storage room. He writes “Gertlander” at the top of his cast, ranking the bad guys. He puts “Cuddy” near the bottom and crosses his name out.
GERTLANDER Stop it. Come see me. You will not fall apart over the radio.
John comes through the radio. He pulls an ID card off Venkatesh and crosses his name off too.
JOHN Your boy Cuddy didn’t put up much of a fight.
Sung grips his rifle, seething.
SUNG I’m going to kill you!
GERTLANDER Let the grown-ups talk.
Gertlander is in Dalton’s office while a soldier guards Dalton in the background.
GERTLANDER (CONT’D) With whom do I have the pleasure?
JOHN Gertlander, what is that, Dutch?
GERTLANDER If you reduce me to genetics, yes, the part of my family that my name comes from is Dutch. Who and where might you be?
JOHN No, I got a question for you. Why you doing this, Gertlander? You a middle child?
Gertlander exits the office and motions for Dalton and the guard to follow.
GERTLANDER Fleeing. The US doesn’t like when you hack their servers and sell state secrets to the highest bidder.
JOHN I heard something about that. You leaked a couple thousand classified docs.
GERTLANDER Try a couple hundred thousand. And you must be some military washout gun nut who can’t just live your adventures through TV like a normal person.
Marcus listens to John and Gertlander’s conversation.
JOHN I wasn’t military, but I actually have taken to watching the old cowboy movies again.
GERTLANDER What, like Roy Rogers?
JOHN Life’s a little more complicated than that. Chuck Bronson’s my guy. I like to see him wail on his harmonica while he gives bad guys a beating.
GERTLANDER Maybe the bad guys aren’t who you think they are.
A convoy of California Highway Patrol and Border Patrol vehicles screech to a halt in front of the Space Port. Bacchus arrives in one of the trucks.
The officers deploy into a hasty blockade and move their weapons to cover the front. The ranking patrolman, CAPTAIN DAVROW, approaches Marcus.
DAVROW Are you the one who called me?
MARCUS Yes, sir.
DAVROW Great work. I got it from here.
Meanwhile, Jason finds Venkatesh’s body at the front of the building. He transmits to Gertlander.
JASON Vee’s down.
Jason looks out the large glass foyer.
JASON (CONT’D) Company outside.
GERTLANDER I’ll be down in a minute. Let me know if they try sending anyone in.
Jason speaks into his radio.
A sniper team of men stands by.
SNIPER We’re ready.
JASON Get in place.
Davrow watches through binoculars as the enemy sniper teams set up on the Space Port’s roof.
A knot of Jason’s soldiers walks through the basement, ignoring the servers they pass. They’re moving the canisters of jet fuel. They use a staircase that goes down from the server room to the unimproved foundational level of the building. They start stacking the containers.
Gertlander passes through the central atrium, moving towards the front of the building. The hostages huddle in the middle of the room. Neely has tears in her eyes, but she stares Gertlander down. He comes up to her.
GERTLANDER What’s your name, sweetie?
GERTLANDER Well Neely, if you’re brave and don’t cry anymore, I’ll take you to get ice cream on the other side of the world. Would you like that?
NEELY My grandpa says not to talk to strangers.
GERTLANDER But your grandpa isn’t here.
Miss Valerie moves between them.
MISS VALERIE I’m here.
Sung pulls her off roughly. Neely starts screaming at the top of her lungs.
NEELY Stranger danger!
Sung raises his rifle to club Neely. Gertlander grips Sung’s arm mid-air.
GERTLANDER Leave them. We have more important things to do.
Sung gives him a defiant look.
GERTLANDER (CONT’D) We’re going to need hostages to leave.
The two thugs from the fake Border Patrol checkpoint drive in the back gate, now manned by two of Jason’s soldiers. Thug #1 approaches Jason.
THUG #1 Where do you want us?
Jason points up.
JASON More overwatch.
Gertlander studies the police cars in front of the building.
GERTLANDER It’s just a show of force. They’ll move off soon. But we need our own demonstration.
The soldiers grab the security guards and separate them from the rest of the hostages. They move the guards into a conference room with windows facing the outside.
Davrow looks on as the second sniper team takes the roof. He turns to his LIEUTENANT, an all-American look.
DAVROW Get our counter snipers ready. And prep the men for an assault.
LIEUTENANT We got our own troubles.
He points to a quickly-approaching helicopter. The bird touches down far too close to the police cars: the updraft knocks the headgear off the policemen.
The passenger, ARNOLD STARR, Lieutenant Governor of California, hops off the chopper like he’s royalty. He strides up to Captain Davrow.
STARR We’re positive they’re not conducting a drill?
DAVROW The body in the foyer is pretty convincing.
Starr glares at him.
DAVROW (CONT’D) ...sir.
STARR What are their demands?
DAVROW They’re not responding. There’s something interesting, too. We have a wildcard in the mix. There’s a guy inside.
STARR Is he one of ours?
DAVROW As far as we know he’s just a voice on the radio.
STARR So he could be playing you.
DAVROW Could be, sir. They’re started putting sniper teams on the roof. We can’t assault if they’re up there. Can I have my sharpshooters clear them?
STARR Assault? The Federal government sanctioned Xperion as international territory. Opening fire would be like sending Marines to Mexico. I won’t have that story on my hands.
MARCUS Then you’ll have blood on them.
STARR Who are you?
MARCUS Me and that voice on the radio are the reason you’re here. I’m Sheriff Villareal.
Bacchus stands up from behind his truck.
BACCHUS Deputy sheriff.
STARR Listen, deputy. You may want to John Rambo this thing, but the blood will be nothing compared to the media storm.
MARCUS That should be your next campaign slogan.
Marcus storms to his car and drives off.
Two soldiers carry Venkatesh’s body past a conference room. Security Guard #1 sees it. He approaches one of his guards.
SECURITY GUARD #1 I know who did that. I know who he is.
Marcus hops a chain link fence around the perimeter of the Xperion property. He approaches a small outbuilding. He radios John.
MARCUS Is it always such a thankless job?
JOHN (O.S.) Sometimes more.
Marcus jimmies the doorknob until it clicks open.
MARCUS I’m Marcus. You got a name?
JOHN Call me Harmonica.
A staircase leads to a lower level. Marcus enters a roomful of ventilation pipes that point towards the Space Port.
MARCUS It’s about to get weird, Harmonica.
Security Guard #1 now sits in a separate room. Two soldiers watch over him. Gertlander walks in. He takes in Security Guard #1 with contempt.
SECURITY GUARD #1 The thorn in your side. He’s a retired cop. McClane.
GERTLANDER Thanks, bud.
Gertlander keys his radio.
GERTLANDER (CONT’D) Come in, Mr. McClane.
JOHN That’s Detective McClane to you.
GERTLANDER So I hear. I have a little friend of yours.
JOHN What are you talking about?
Gertlander holds up the radio.
SECURITY GUARD #1 Hey, McClane.
JOHN What did you say to him?
SECURITY GUARD #1 Just the truth: that you’re a crotchety old retired cop trying to be relevant in a world you don’t understand.
JOHN Shut up. He’s going to kill you and everyone else. Shut your mouth and don’t say another word.
GERTLANDER Looks like we struck a chord.
Gertlander considers for a moment.
GERTLANDER (CONT’D) I won’t kill you.
Gertlander walks outside the conference room and straight up to Nicholas.
GERTLANDER (CONT’D) Nick, I appreciate that you reached out about this opportunity, but you have to show the other guys you’re really on the team.
Jason holds out a pistol. Nicholas hesitates.
GERTLANDER (CONT’D) Kill him.
Conflict shows on Nick’s face, but he sees that he has no choice. He grabs the gun and rushes into the room. He pulls the trigger. CLICK. The security guard jumps for Nicholas, but Jason rushes in and pins the guard facedown on the table.
Gertlander picks up the gun and laughs. He transmits the entire thing.
GERTLANDER You forgot to take the safety off. It’s okay, everyone does it. Try again.
Nicholas disengages the safety. He pulls the trigger. The loud BANG surprises Nicholas. He drops the pistol. The security guard hits the floor the same time as the gun. Dalton watches in horror.
GERTLANDER (CONT’D) Did you hear that McClane? Stay out of my way. You don’t even have to turn yourself in. Sit this one out and more innocent people won’t die.
Gertlander cuts off his transmission then nods to Jason.
JASON Do it.
In the other conference room, the soldiers turn their guns on the security guards. It’s a slaughter.
Starr watches through binoculars as the guards are killed.
STARR We’re deaf out here. Find what channel they’re on!
Marcus crawls through ventilation ducts. His movement kicks particles into the air and his eyes. He chokes and coughs.
MARCUS Just the excitement I was looking for.
Gertlander inspects the interior of the plane he’ll use to make his escape. Dalton is by his side.
GERTLANDER You know at the speeds this plane is capable of, we’re less than thirty minutes from China.
GERTLANDER They don’t have extradition with the US. You know you can still get the death penalty for treason? What is this, the 1600s?
DALTON You’re an animal. You deserve it.
GERTLANDER I love the hypocrisy. We’re the “freest country on earth”, but we kill you for a contrary opinion.
DALTON Rationalize it however you want, you’re still a traitor.
Outside the building, a SWAT team arrives along with fire trucks and ambulances. The snipers on the roof report on the new activity.
Gertlander sits at Dalton’s desk. Sung, Washington, Jason, Nicholas, and a few others stand in front. Dalton is being guarded on the side.
GERTLANDER Stand by. We’re going to have a small interruption in power. I want you to start prepping the planes as soon as it comes back on.
SUNG I’m loading my share of servers first.
Nicholas and Gertlander exchange an in-the-know glance.
GERTLANDER That’s fair. Now everyone clear out of here.
The men disperse from the meeting. Unnoticed by all except Nicholas, Gertlander slides a flash drive into Dalton’s computer. He stands up and Nicholas takes the seat.
Nicholas types a few commands on the computer. He nods subtly at Gertlander to show that his task is complete.
GERTLANDER (CONT’D) You’ve done a great job so far, Nick. Now how about giving us some redneck fireworks.
Nicholas pulls up the drone view of the windmills. He presses a button on his iPad.
Out in the desert, the C-4 on a windmill DETONATES. More and more turbines erupt into pillars of flame and smoke. The combined shockwave whips up a SANDSTORM. The thick dust cloud obscures any hope of vision on the highway. SEMI TRUCKS AND CARS COLLIDE.
All the lights in Xperion shut off. The hostages are scared and nervous. Miss Valerie holds Neely close.
Matt sets up another transaction on his computer.
MATT Transaction number two.
The website goes dead. “Server offline”.
MATT (CONT’D) What? No!
Matt starts typing feverishly. He researches the cause of the blackout. Soon he’s reading through the actual block chain coding for USDC.
Gertlander walks up to the roof to observe the devastation in the distance. He looks down on the blockade.
GERTLANDER Get me a line out there.
A capable but slightly geeky AIDE runs up to Starr.
AIDE Sir, I think it’s them.
Starr snatches the phone.
STARR I don’t know who you are, but I’m tired of this radio silence. You need to tell me what your demands are right now.
GERTLANDER You have nothing I want. By now you’ve seen what I’m capable of. Try anything, and I blow the building, and a tenth of America’s economy with it.
Gertlander hangs up.
Sung and few other soldiers lift servers from their mounts. John watches them from around a corner.
Lucy arrives at the Chicago airport. The television monitors are choked with stories of the wind farm explosions. She calls John.
John’s ringtone BLASTS through the basement. He puts it through to voicemail and sprints back up the stairwell.
The men drop the servers. Sung leads them out to investigate the ringing.
Upstairs, John hides as Sung and the others pass. He moves into a stairwell and heads upstairs.
Starr orders most of the emergency personnel at the blockade to help with casualties on the highway. The police cars and emergency vehicles peel away. Only a skeleton force remains, including Starr and Captain Davrow.
Gertlander leaves Dalton and the soldier in the secretarial antechamber. Looking around, he slips back into Dalton’s office and pulls the flash drive from the computer.
The building’s backup lighting turns on. Gertlander blinks painfully. A gun pushes into his back. John McClane.
Gertlander turns around, sliding the flash drive into his pocket slowly. Upon seeing John, he starts laughing.
GERTLANDER (CONT’D) I should have known you were that McClane! I read your profile in Time. But they used a much younger picture.
JOHN Shove it, Dutch bag.
GERTLANDER Don’t you want to know why I’m doing this?
JOHN Not especially.
GERTLANDER America was the “land of opportunity” when my grandfather arrived. He died in poverty. So did my father. America takes the best of the world and works them to death on the promise of a dream that will never come true. So I say, If you can’t join ’em, gut ’em.
JOHN Not if I stop you.
GERTLANDER Like a good little cowboy.
JOHN Draw, Gertlander.
GERTLANDER I don’t do guns. I prefer delegation.
John backs up into...JASON’S STRANGLE-WIRE! Jason pulls hard.
John smashes his head into Jason’s face. Jason lands on the cell phone jammer, crushing it to bits.
Janna’s phone starts RECEIVING NOTIFICATIONS. She livestreams the fight between John and Jason three stories above her.
Jason kicks John over the safety railing. John flies through the air, falling all the way to the ground floor, landing on his back.
Jason points his rifle over the edge and shoots several times. One round tears through John’s right thigh. John rolls into cover and rushes down the maintenance hall. He collapses inside an elevator and hits the button for a top floor.
Janna waits til the guards are distracted them sends a hurried text to “paul, editor”:
“Check my Insta now!”
Matt is so deep in crypto research that he doesn’t hear the news story in the background.
NEWSCASTER #1 We’ve just received word there is a terrorist attack in progress at Dalton Monk’s Southern California Xperion Space Port. We have up-to- the-minute video coverage from embedded reporter Janna Masterson who is livestreaming the entire event from her Instagram account.
Outside, the aide looks up from an iPad.
AIDE Sir, the cell network is back.
The same news story shows the video of John fighting Jason.
NEWSCASTER #1 The falling man has not been identified, but the current theories are that he is either a security guard or a rogue citizen.
Marcus drops out of the conduit. He navigates across the east side of the runway, moving slowly and cautiously.
MARCUS Come in, Harmonica.
John tends his wounds in an abandoned control room high up in the Xperion building.
JOHN Yo, I’m here. Any messages?
MARCUS Just one: if you run across a handsome Latino around here, don’t shoot him.
JOHN That’s the best news I’ve heard in a while.
MARCUS You holding up all right?
John connects three zip ties end-to-end and tightens them into a tourniquet above his wound. He grits his teeth through the pain.
JOHN It’s been a pretty crappy day so far.
MARCUS We’ll grab a couple cigars when it’s over.
JOHN You want to know something? I smoked for a million years but I’m not the one who got cancer.
MARCUS The wife?
JOHN She’d make sure you know it’s ex- wife.
MARCUS Do you guys still talk?
JOHN No, and it’s my fault.
MARCUS Maybe you should fix that.
JOHN I always promise myself I will, but then... How’d you join the force, Marcus?
MARCUS Brother got blown up overseas when I was in the academy. Promised I’d keep his memory by making sure the bad guys got theirs on my watch. But in an unincorporated hole with 600 residents, I never really did anything.
JOHN If you are what I think you are, you won’t need to look. Calamities will require you.
At the blockade, a radioman scans through C.B. channels. He lands on the channel with John and Marcus.
MARCUS I’m expecting to run across some of that trouble any second now.
Starr takes notice and grabs the microphone.
STARR Deputy, did you disobey my orders and go inside the compound?
JOHN Who is this?
STARR You’re speaking with Lieutenant Governor Arnold Starr.
JOHN Put your dad on the phone.
Marcus laughs and pumps his fist.
STARR While Governor Marvin is at the climate summit in Japan, I am the acting governor.
JOHN I bet you sit on your hands until it’s too late.
STARR What gives you the right to lecture me?
JOHN I know enough to know who you’re dealing with. Pavel Gertlander.
STARR The leaks Gertlander? He’s going on trial next week.
JOHN Not if he gets on a plane today.
Starr turns to his aide.
STARR Get me everything you can on Gertlander.
(into radio) Frankly, our hands are tied.
JOHN You power hungry jerks never listen to the guy on the ground, and that gets people killed. Stop being reactionary. Do something, Starr!
Starr is flustered. The men and women all around him are looking at him.
STARR What are you looking at? Get back to work!
On the runway, Jason drives a large truck filled with jet fuel. He backs down a ramp, moving it inside the foundational level of the compound.
Marcus approaches a side entrance to the main building. He radios John.
MARCUS Should we link up?
John sees Jason driving the truck down below.
JOHN Can’t right now. Stay out of trouble.
The aide pulls Gertlander’s file up on a screen. He briefs Starr on it.
AIDE Apparently Gertlander is a dark web genius. It’s probably where he got his army. He’s the guy behind Rooster.
STARR What’s that, some cyber terrorist thing?
AIDE It’s Amazon for the dark web. You get the same products, movies, protein powder, phone chargers, but everything costs fifteen or twenty percent less because there’s no sales tax.
STARR Nothing is tax free.
AIDE Crypto is taxed on the honor system. The only way someone knows your socks are falling down is if you tell them. He made hundreds of millions before they froze his accounts.
Gertlander lords over the space port, watching over the hostages from the walkway above them. The prisoners are restless.
Nicholas supervises two soldiers as they fuel the planes.
GERTLANDER How much longer?
NICHOLAS These things practically breathe fuel. Thirty minutes at least.
GERTLANDER Make it faster.
A couple soldiers walk by Gertlander carrying servers.
Dalton looks in pity on the hostages. It gives him courage.
DALTON You really think China won’t turn you over to their largest trade partner?
GERTLANDER China wants a commercial space program. The American who stole America will touch down with a craft that does 11,000 miles an hour. I’m everything they ever wanted.
DALTON How can you still consider yourself an American?
GERTLANDER You know, you say you love your country, but you’re scheming to abandon it just like me.
DALTON America is the people inside it. Where we go, we take America.
GERTLANDER I plan to take America too. The difference is that you pretend to be a moral giant while laundering money for the biggest secret keeper in the world.
DALTON We should broadcast out strategy? Tell everyone our plans all the time?
GERTLANDER A little transparency never hurt anyone.
(into radio) How’s that fueling coming?
NICHOLAS Working on it.
GERTLANDER Once we’re in the air, we will have a whole thirty minutes to debate before landing in Beijing.
DALTON I won’t fly.
Gertlander jumps up, enraged.
GERTLANDER I’ll grind your body to powder and bury your ashes so deep it’ll take a million years for a single atom to leave the earth.
BULLETS IMPACT near Gertlander...THE SHOTS ARE FROM MARCUS. One of the nearby soldiers ducks near Gertlander and holds a server in front as cover. Gertlander screams at him.
GERTLANDER (CONT’D) Lithium is explosive, you idiot!
Gertlander rips the server from the soldier’s fingers and pushes him out of cover. The soldier goes down under the hail of bullets.
Gertlander’s guys return fire on Marcus. In the confusion, Dalton vaults over the balcony and lands on twisted legs.
John rushes over to Dalton and throws him across his shoulders. He runs to cover then puts Dalton down.
As soon as they’re safe, Marcus sprints to the stairwell and descends.
Dalton tries to move his legs. It’s painful. He puts his phone on constant vibrate.
DALTON Hold it on my leg.
DALTON The vibration isn’t painful so it’s not broken.
JOHN You’ll come out all right, whiz kid. You need to hide somewhere.
He puts Dalton into a custodial closet.
Janna releases a video of John saving Dalton.
The video comes up in the background at Matt’s house.
NEWSCASTER #1 Another video from on-the-scene reporter, Janna Masterson.
NEWSCASTER #2 Have you ever seen footage like this?
NEWSCASTER #1 Never. I expect she will win every award in journalism for this.
NEWSCASTER #2 The falling man has been identified as controversial retired police detective John McClane.
The name grabs Matt’s attention. He looks up.
NEWSCASTER #2 (CONT’D) You can see him saving billionaire Dalton Monk in this newest footage.
At the blockade, the aide runs up to Lieutenant Governor Starr holding an iPad. The same news story plays.
AIDE Sir, we know who the wildcard is. You’re not going to believe this.
John’s radio comes to life with Starr’s voice.
STARR (O.S.) McClane, stand down. You’re acting criminally. This is obstruction of justice.
JOHN Career politicians are experts on justice now?
John switches his radio off.
A soldier parks a hand cart loaded with lithium servers in front of the sleek space planes. Soldiers unload servers from the cart and carry them to two of the three planes on the runway.
SUNG Where you going with yours?
SUNG I’m gonna buy Thailand.
Nicholas looks on, uninterested.
SUNG (CONT’D) You gonna put your share in Gertlander’s plane?
NICHOLAS What? Oh yeah.
Sung looks at Jason then shrugs.
Nicholas grabs a couple servers and puts them in the passenger area of Gertlander’s plane.
Though soldiers are steadily moving them, over eight hundred of the original thousand servers are still in their mounts inside the server room.
Washington works on a project in the lower basement. He emplaces an explosive device on one of the many jet fuel canisters. He moves into the corridor.
WASHINGTON The hotspot is good to—
He and Marcus turn a corner at the same time.
Washington draws his pistol on Marcus: they both get a shot off.
Gertlander is walking past the hostages on the first level. He hears the shots through the radio.
Washington goes down, dead. Marcus is hit in the left arm. He tears the material off his cargo pockets and stuffs the wound.
GERTLANDER Come in. Washington?
John crosses “Washington” off the list on his cast.
Gertlander yells at Jason to find Dalton.
John comes through the radio, taunting Gertlander.
JOHN Ever feel like everything’s falling apart on you, Gertlander?
Neely recognizes John’s voice.
Miss Valerie pulls her hand across Neely’s mouth. Gertlander stops.
Only two guards watch the hundred hostages now. One hits Miss Valerie and the other pulls Neely off. Gertlander carries the girl away screaming.
He runs into Sung and Nicholas.
GERTLANDER He’ll be coming. We have to go now.
NICHOLAS It’s not at full fuel.
GERTLANDER We have to risk it.
SUNG The servers aren’t loaded!
GERTLANDER Then go back and get them!
Sung runs back to the basement. He grabs a stack of servers. He jumps in an elevator and presses the ground floor. The doors open.
John’s rifle SMASHES Sung in the face. They fight inside the elevator, which goes back down. John is winning the fight.
The elevator unloads them in the lower basement. Jason sees the fight and joins in. He and Sung pummel John.
Marcus charges up a stairwell, blasting bad guys as he goes.
At the same time, Dalton huddles in the custodial closet, scared.
John breaks free from the fight and SHOOTS SUNG. Stray rounds strike an electric box.
Cascades of sparks light up fiber optic strands in the exposed wall.
Marcus exits the stairwell onto the roof. He blasts one enemy sniper team before they can react. The other team takes cover. They shoot at him. A round impacts the stairwell door, deforming the metal frame.
Jason hammers John’s wounds, gaining the advantage.
Finally, Jason grabs an antenna from the broken jamming array and SPEARS JOHN BETWEEN THE FIRST AND SECOND RIB.
John goes down, bleeding from the side. Jason holds the long weapon over John’s chest. It’s a moment of victory for Jason.
Marcus works around the other sniper team. He shoots one guy. Thug #1 knocks the gun away. He and Marcus start brawling.
John sweeps Jason’s leg and Jason hits the ground hard. John whips a fiber optic cable around his neck and chokes him to death.
He puts two shots through Jason’s head.
JOHN Not this time.
Marcus reaches the gun first and blasts the bad guy. Exhausted, Marcus slumps down.
John collapses on the ground, weak from blood loss. He shakily pulls out his phone. He facetimes Lucy.
Lucy’s mother, HOLLY GENNERO (60s), reclines in a hospital bed next to her.
LUCY Where’s Neely?
JOHN With the teacher. Let me speak to your mother.
Lucy puts the camera on Holly.
JOHN (CONT’D) Holly, you were the best thing to happen to a bum like me. I never said I’m sorry enough. I love you, and I’m sorry for all the grief I caused.
HOLLY I never resented you as much as you resented yourself, John. I forgive you.
JOHN Thanks baby. Give me back to Lucy.
They transfer the phone.
JOHN (CONT’D) Luce, listen. I fought my whole life but I never fought for my family. You love Matt. Promise me you’ll fight for him.
LUCY I will Daddy. I love you.
JOHN I love you, Sweetheart. Goodbye.
When he hangs up, the background picture of Neely comes up. John cries a little and touches her face.
JOHN (CONT’D) Pawpaw’s here.
He gets up with effort. He tightens a ratchet strap around his arm, pinning it to his wound. He’s only partially successful at slowing the bleeding.
Matt calls John. The news is on Matt’s TV.
MATT John, tell me you have her.
JOHN Going now.
MATT Wait. Something doesn’t make sense. I reviewed the blockchains. Whoever wrote the code put in an intentional fluke so an unlimited amount could be withdrawn from the exchange.
JOHN It’s about monopoly money?
MATT No, he did a bait and switch. While everyone was worried about the crypto on the servers, he used a flaw in the code to transfer the actual dollars somewhere else. If he walks, it’ll be with 160 billion dollars. John, do you know what happens if the economy is devalued by that amount overnight? The great depression would be a blip. America will be over.
John walks painfully through the lower basement floor.
JOHN What would they need for that?
MATT A USB, a computer on the same server, and a hard reset.
JOHN (Realizing) ) That stick. He’s got 160 billion on the stick in his pocket. You did good, Matt.
John turns a corner and what he sees stops him. A mountain of jet fuel canisters is laced with frizzy red detonation cords.
JOHN (CONT’D) I gotta go. I’m proud of you, son.
John runs towards the stairwell.
Gertlander moves through the building while taking a selfie video. He drags Neely with one arm.
GERTLANDER My name is Pavel Gertlander. If you shoot me down, you’ll burn one tenth of the US economy.
He tilts the camera down to Neely.
GERTLANDER (CONT’D) And my little friend here.
He hands the phone to Nicholas.
GERTLANDER (CONT’D) Send this out.
NICHOLAS To who?
Gertlander grabs the girl and moves toward the rear exit.
Starr is watching Gertlander’s video. Captain Davrow looks through binoculars.
DAVROW Sir, we have a visual on him. He’s moving towards the back of the building. This is our last chance.
STARR Stand down. You heard him, he’ll blow the building if we move.
Captain Davrow is upset with this order but keeps it contained.
Marcus radios Davrow.
MARCUS Roof’s clear, Captain.
Davrow nods. He turns to his lieutenant.
DAVROW Send them in.
STARR That’s against my orders.
DAVROW I won’t let innocent people die because you failed to make a decision.
Starr shrinks back.
DAVROW (CONT’D) Send them in.
Davrow’s men and women begin their assault.
Dalton is huddled in the closet watching the video of Gertlander and Neely on his phone.
DALTON Do something, Dalton.
He stands and goes out.
John runs up a stairwell transmitting on the radio at the same time.
JOHN It’s a double-cross. It was never about the servers. We gotta get the people out!
Marcus hears the transmission. He runs to the stairwell door. It’s jammed.
Captain Davrow hears the call and so does the PATROLMAN leading the assault. He looks back at Davrow for guidance.
DAVROW Go, go, go! Get those people out!
The policemen start sprinting forward. They take down the lower level soldiers effortlessly.
As Gertlander approaches the building’s rear exit, Dalton appears in front of him, blocking Gertlander’s escape.
DALTON You did all this for money?
GERTLANDER Self-preservation. But killing America? Bonus.
DALTON You’re just a thug.
Gertlander SHOOTS DALTON IN THE STOMACH. Gertlander whispers in his ear.
GERTLANDER There’s a wonderful trauma center in Beijing. We’ll be there in thirty minutes. Or you can let yourself die here. Are you ready to fly?
Gertlander moves towards a plane, carrying Neely in front of himself. Nicholas screens behind Dalton.
NICHOLAS They’re gonna snipe us!
GERTLANDER Then give us cover. Blow it.
NICHOLAS There’s innocent people inside.
GERTLANDER It’s you or them. BLOW IT!
Still running, John blasts the two remaining guards watching the hostages.
JOHN Everybody out, now!
John shepherds the crowd through the back doors.
Nicholas taps the screen of his iPad. Explosives attached to the jet fuel canisters begin to blow. The remaining servers explode in waves.
The crowd rushes onto the runway with John on their tail only a moment before THE ENTIRE BASEMENT BLOWS!
MARCUS JUMPS FROM THE ROOF.
The shock wave knocks the escaping hostages over. The assaulting police officers are knocked to the ground.
The main Space Port collapses into rubble.
STARR My God.
Gertlander rips the fuel line off the plane and orders the two soldiers to cover him.
Dust hangs in the air.
The police get up, unharmed. The hostages slowly begin to stir.
John desperately searches the crowd.
John turns someone over. It’s Miss Valerie.
MISS VALERIE He knows who she is. I tried to stop them.
She points to the plane.
John slings his bag and sprints across the tarmac.
Everyone begins to recover. Janna stands, unharmed. The policemen and paramedics hurry to help the hostages.
Gertlander is securing Neely to a seat in the passenger section of the plane. Nicholas puts Dalton into the pilot’s chair and straps the safety belt across his wound.
DALTON How could you?
Nicholas looks down.
TWO SHOTS CRASH OUTSIDE. A desperate voice follows them.
JOHN (O.S.) Gertlander!
Nicholas grabs a pistol. He points it at the door.
The dutchman pulls out a gun and lifts Neely to shield his face and torso.
GERTLANDER I’m here, John.
John steps in holding his Sig Sauer pistol in his right hand. With a hole through his leg, blood oozing from his side, and his left arm in a sling, John looks like a wreck.
GERTLANDER (CONT’D) You haven’t failed, John, not yet.
Gertlander hides a little further behind Neely. John considers the little girl and her big, crying eyes.
GERTLANDER (CONT’D) You can still save her. What do you care if I win? Shoot yourself in the mouth and I let her go.
John can see he’s beaten.
GERTLANDER (CONT’D) Nothing business, it’s just personal.
John moves his pistol away slowly until it’s nearly pointing towards himself.
JOHN What did I say about calling me that, kiddo? Pawpaw’s gonna be fine. Now look away, sweetheart.
She turns away.
John moves the gun to his mouth slowly, deliberately.
Gertlander orders hungrily.
GERTLANDER Do it!
John inhales. Then, JOHN MCCLANE PULLS THE TRIGGER.
CLICK! There are no rounds in John’s gun.
Nicholas tries to shoot, but nothing happens. HIS SAFETY IS ON!
John grabs the FN pistol HIDDEN IN HIS SLING, spins his body, and shoots twice through the cloth: one hits Nicholas in the chest. Gertlander gets a shot off that impacts John’s shoulder. John’s other shot finds one of Gertlander’s kneecaps. The pain makes John and Gertlander both drop their guns.
Gertlander screams and releases Neely. John’s body gives out. He crumples on the ground. Neely runs to him.
She clings to John.
JOHN Run outside, baby.
NEELY I want to stay with you.
Gertlander stands. He grabs one of the heavy lithium servers and limps towards John.
JOHN Let the girl go!
He lifts it above John’s head to smash him.
GERTLANDER It’s over, Harmonica.
John rolls over Neely, shielding her with his body.
Marcus appears at the doorway.
Yippee ki-yay, mother—
He shoots the server and it explodes, CONSUMING GERTLANDER’S UPPER TORSO AND HEAD IN A FIREBALL. The explosion rocks John’s body, but Neely is unharmed. Gertlander collapses next to John: lifeless.
When the smoke clears, John looks up.
MARCUS Good to meet you, Harmonica.
John turns to Neely.
JOHN Marcus is a good guy and he will take care of you. Go with him.
NEELY I love you, Pawpaw.
JOHN I love you, Buttons.
John kisses Neely’s cheek. Marcus picks her up.
JOHN (CONT’D) Have the paramedics see her.
Marcus turns to go.
JOHN (CONT’D) Marcus—
JOHN —You did something.
Marcus rushes Neely outside.
John takes the flash drive from Gertlander’s body. John tries to get up, but he has no strength. He’s still losing blood.
Two paramedics rush into the plane. John points them to Dalton.
JOHN (CONT’D) He’s in trouble.
John rests his head back down.
JOHN (CONT’D) You’ll be all right, whiz kid.
The paramedics speedily dress Dalton’s wounds and rush him outside.
John closes his eyes. His side keeps bleeding.
For the first time since we’ve seen him, his expression is peaceful.
Dalton stands in front of a crowd of reporters. He’s in good health. Behind him is a sleek, massive new space plane.
DALTON This is the prototype ship that will take us to Mars.
Dalton breaks a bottle of champaign. On the side of the plane, in letters twenty feet high, is its new name: McClane.
Inside a police station, the camera tracks through a sea of black clothing. Everyone is there: Neely sleeps in Matt’s arms. Lucy takes Matt’s hand and lays her head on Matt’s shoulder too. Miss Valerie stands in the crowd. Marcus is there in his police dress uniform. His left arm is in a sling.
At the same time, in her apartment, Janna cries as she writes up a news story named “The Luckiest Man: The Life of John McClane”.
Holly sits at the front of the assembly. An oxygen tank helps her breathe.
At the funeral, Captain Davrow, hands a valorous medal to Marcus.
MARCUS Thank you, Lieutenant Governor.
Marcus transfers the medal to Sergeant Al Powell who is dressed in a ceremonial blue police uniform.
Al moves his wheelchair up to the wall and stands shakily. He touches the wall like he’s leaving an old friend. A new bronze star adorns the wall of the fallen. Al hangs the medal.
AL We never deserved John McClane. He was one of those great man you meet once in a lifetime. John died exactly as he lived, sacrificing himself. John, we love you. You showed us that in a world of selfishness and chaos, true heroes, and the memory of them, die hard.
On the wall, an inscription reveals the dedication of the newest memorial star:
“John McClane, Hero, 1955-2019.” Fade out on the words.
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