In-depth synopsis Edit
While McClane is on suspension from the New York Police Department, his boss, Inspector Walter Cobb, brings him in after getting a call from a man who bombed an Bonwit Teller convenience store known as Simon. He wants McClane to walk into Harlem wearing a racist billboard sign. Cobb, along with fellow detectives, Joe Lambert, Connie Kowalski and Ricky Walsh, are driving McClane to Harlem in the police van. It is revealed that McClane is once again estranged from his wife Holly and has nearly become an alcoholic. Ricky reports that there were three killings in the Redhook section and 14 dump trucks stolen from the yard in Staten Island. McClane asked about yesterday's lottery number and asked Ricky if he still uses his badge number, which was 6991, as his number and Ricky nodded. As they pulled up to Harlem, McClane strips down to his underwear and remarks to Connie that she is the first to see him do this since Holly. Lambert tapes a gun on his back. Cobb tells McClane that the backup will 10 blocks away, which displeases him since it is too far from him. Cobb says that they don't do what they want, Simon will blow up another public place and it has to be him. As they drop McClane off and give him the billboard sign, Cobb says they will pick him up in 15 minutes, but McClane says he'll be dead in four. After the truck leaves, he walks in Harlem with the sign.
Then the street corner, shopkeeper Zeus Carver and his nephews, Dexter and Raymond, see McClane wearing the sign "I Hate Niggers" (or "I Hate Everybody" in some TV versions). Zeus tells his nephews to call 911 immediately as he walks toward McClane. Zeus tries to negotiate with him as he tells McClane to hide in his shop before a black gang near him can see him and kill him. Then the gang sees McClane with the sign. McClane then informs Zeus that he's a cop and tells him that the guy who bombed Bonwit Teller forced him to go to Harlem to offend some black people with the sign he's wearing or he'll blow up another place. Zeus tries to tell the gang that McClane is an escaped wreck job, probably from Bellevue hospital, but the gang doesn't buy it and they attack McClane. Then Zeus sees the gun taped on McClane's back and holds the gang back as they get into a taxi and escape. As they are in the taxi, Zeus, who got slashed in the arm by the gang, isn't thrilled that the gang are probably vandalizing his shop right now. McClane refers to him by Jesus, but the hostile Zeus corrects him. McClane tells the taxi driver to take him to downtown police station, which Zeus isn't too pleased about.
At the police station, McClane is tended at Cobb's office while Zeus is being treated in the bullpen. Dr. Fred Schiller, the police department's shrink, deduces that the caller known as Simon is probably is a textbook megalomaniac and wants control over McClane. Schiller tells McClane that it all has specifically to do with him and that Simon wants to pound him until he crumbles and kill him. Lambert remarks that McClane has a long list of enemies. Dr. Schiller says that Simon is probably not an alias and that Simon is his real name in some variation. Lambert finds one of the subjects name Robert Simon, a suspect of extortion and kidnapping. But McClane rules him out since the man was a bankrupted businessman who kidnapped his partner's daughter and the other guy is nuts. Charles Weiss, a bomb-squad expert, says that they found a bomb in a playground. He tells everyone that it's an epoxy-like binary liquid explosive device. Weiss demonstrates for McClane and the others, showing that when he mixes two liquids together and tosses a paper clip with the mixed liquid, it explodes. Weiss also says they'll get a warning when the red liquids pumps into the clear ones before it detonates. McClane asked Weiss how long before. The bomb squad officer says it could be 10 seconds or two minutes. But he says once it's mixed, be somewhere else when it blows up.
Lambert found a theft in Livermore Labs in the weekend and that 2000 pounds of liquids we're stolen. As Weiss talks about how the bomb will detonate, Officer Jane tells Cobb that Simon is calling. Then McClane, Cobb and Lambert take the phones as Dr. Schiller listens to the call. Simon ask to speak to Zeus, whom he called the Samaritan, as well. Zeus takes the call from Lambert reluctantly. McClane and the others learn that Simon is scrambling the systems to block the trace. Simon wants them to go to the phone booth near the subway station at 72nd Street and Broadway without police backup. Cobb, in an attempt to persuade Simon not to go after McClane, says that he dislikes McClane, saying that he stepped on too many toes in the NYPD, which got him suspended, that his wife Holly wants nothing to do with him and is two steps shy from becoming a full-blown alcoholic, though McClane claims he is one step. Cobb tells Simon that McClane is a toilet bug, which McClane isn't too thrilled about, and tells him to forget about him. But Simon declines and repeats the demand to have McClane and Zeus to go to the subway station in 72nd Street and Broadway.
McClane sarcastically thanks Cobb for his vote of confidence. Dr. Schiller says that Simon spoke German, called it his Fort Knox and that he won't be talked down. Cobb reluctantly throws his shield at him. Zeus refuses to be part of it despite Simon demanding him to go and says that the only reason he saved McClane was because if a black gang killed a cop in Harlem, they would get 1000 trigger-happy white cops going a riot in Harlem. Cobb tells McClane to get him back. McClane asks Weiss where he found that bomb and Weiss replies it was found in Chinatown. McClane knows that he has to lie to Zeus and says to Zeus that the bomb was found in the park in Harlem in 115th street and St. Nicholas. Zeus reluctantly agrees to come along since he believes the bomb was found in Harlem.
McClane and Zeus are able to get to the phone booth in time. They pick up and hear Simon's voice. He tells them that there was a significant amount of explosives in the trash can next to them and if they failed to do what he said, he would detonate it. Simon tells them a riddle: "As I ws on my way to St. Ives, I met a man with seven wives. Every wife had seven sacks, every sack had seven cats, every cat had seven kittens, kittens, cats, sacks, and wives. How many were going to St. Ives?" Simon tells them that his phone number was 555 and then the answer to the riddle and if they didn't call back within 30 seconds, he would set off the bomb. Zeus begins to do the math and eventually comes up with 2401. McClane is about to dial the number but Zeus remembers that only one man was going to St. Ives, which meant that they had to call the number 555-0001. McClane calls the number and hears Simon's voice. However, Simon tells them that they were ten seconds late. Zeus and McClane run away and get everyone away from the trash can. However, a few seconds later, they look up and realize that the bomb didn't go off. They go back to the phone and Simon, chuckling, says that he didn't say "Simon says". He tells them that the bomb was in the 2 train and that if they didn't get to the Wall Street subway station in 30 minutes, the bomb would detonate and kill the train passengers.
Zeus suggests to send a fire truck to follow them through the traffic. McClane calls in to emergency dispatch using a fake officer down call to draw a ambulance to the 14th Street and 9th Avenue since the Roosevelt Hospital is two blocks from them. As they reached 9th Avenue, they followed the ambulance towards 14th Street since there is another hospital south of 14th street. When Zeus says that they have 18 minutes left to get to the phone booth, McClane takes a shortcut since they are probably close to a subway stop where a train would stop at. He tells Zeus to take the wheel and drive towards that phone booth by 10:20 while he tries to get that bomb. As he rushed for the train, McClane sees it just took off. He rushes out of the station and opens the grate. McClane jumps on top of the train, but slips to the side of it. He then kicks the window of the conductor side of the train and barely got in before the train light can hit him. McClane then takes a taxi and removes the driver of the taxi. Zeus says he used to drive a cab and was about to tells him the quickest route when McClane suddenly drives eastbound 72nd street. Zeus says the 9th Avenue is fastest way to get to Wall Street, but McClane says the best way south is through Central Park and drives in the park in the scenic route. Zeus is shocked about McClane driving in the crowded park as McClane horns people out of his way and was dodging trees and rocks. As they we're coming to 59th street, McClane uses a rock to jump over the park to Central Park South as Zeus screams out McClane's name once they we're on the street in a three minute timeline. But as they thought they could get there quicker, but the New York traffic problems in the area blocked them in.
As he is on the train, McClane searches around each car of the train for the bomb, much to the confusion of the communtors onboard. Then he sees a emergency phone box that seemed out of place and tells the person to come out of his seat. McClane finds the phone box is magnetized. Then he opens the box and found the bomb. Then he gets the box off the wall and heads to the back of the train. Once he got to the last train car, McClane tells the communtors to calmly moved to the other car. Then the liquids on it we're beginning to mix and McClane yells out to passengers to leave the car. Then he reaches to the back door of the train and breaks the window. McClane then tosses the bomb out of the car, just as it detonated. The bomb derails the last car and causes damage to the station and then falls to it's side near the entrance of the station. After a few moments, he climbs out of the car, laughing in relief that he made it through the explosion and that he was able to save many people as he could.
As McClane was tended by paramedics, Lambert says that there is only a huge load of cuts and bruises, a couple of concussions, a old man's pacemaker stopped working and a pregnant girl's water broke, but no one was killed in the bombing. McClane says that even they did make to the subway station in time, the bomb would go off no matter what and Zeus agrees with McClane. McClane also says that something doesn't add up. Then a woman came to him, saying that they are asking for him and Zeus.
As they reached a FBI van, Cobb introduces McClane and Zeus to Agent Andy Cross of the FBI and Agent Bill Jarvis, who says he's with another agency. Cross shows pictures of two men and asked McClane if he recognized them. McClane says he never saw them before. Cross and Jarvis asked McClane questions if he and Zeus we're followed in any way. McClane says sarcastically remarks that he felt such buring sensation and thought it was his toes. Jarvis states that McClane would be cooperative, since he's not all that cooperative. Cobb vouches that McClane will be cooperative if they share information with them. Cross says that they want to hear what he knows first. McClane then sternly says that a German guy who calls himself Simon is out there setting off bombs and is very angry with him for some reason and demands to know why. Jarvis then tells him the first man in the picture is Mathias Targo, a former Hungarian Army explosive expert, now does contract terrorism and is believed to be working with the Iranians. McClane asked who the girl with Targo was. Cross says that Targo's other half and that rumor is the Isrealis placed a bomb in their bed sheets. Targo wasn't at home, but they think maybe they killed her. Jarvis tells them the second man was a East German Army colonel who ran an an infiltration unit that specializes in speaking English and to mimic American accents. That all they got in the GDR medical records that he suffers from Migraine headaches. Jarvis says that his name is Peter Krieg. As all the information was revealed, McClane asked what all this has to do with him. The agent in the back of the van ask if the name Gruber mean anything to him. McClane flashed back to the memories of him killing Hans Gruber in the Nakatomi Plaza years before and says it rings a bell. The agent says that Peter Krieg was born Simon Peter Gruber and he was Hans Gruber's brother. McClane was shocked by the true identity of Simon. Cross says that Simon has probably got him on his hit list and will avenge his brother's death.
Then Simon was calling again and says that he can see Agents Cross and Jarvis in the van. McClane listens in on the call as Simon says that he planted 2,400 pounds of liquid explosives in one of the schools in Manhattan and it cannot be evacuated since someone will be watching. Simon says that the bomb will be detonated by radio at 3PM. Simon wants McClane and Zeus to go at Tompkins Square Park in 20 minutes by foot. Simon then says to keep off the polices as the bomb in the school might go off by accident if they used radios. Then Cobb tells McClane and Zeus to go to Tompkins Square Park and gives McClane his cell phone to call him on the switchboard. Then he and Zeus ran for Tompkins Square Park to get to the phone booth which was 2 miles away.
As they ran towards the park, Zeus wanted to know what happened in Los Angeles. McClane says he threw Simon's brother Hans off the 32nd floor of the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles and suspects Simon is pissed off about that.
As McClane and Zeus made it to the phone booth in Tompkins Square Park, McClane answers as he was catching his breath from a long run. Simon says to McClane that he's out of shape and that he barely made it. McClane asks Simon what he wants them to do. Simon only replies, "What has four legs and always ready to travel." before hanging up. Zeus tells McClane that riddle is a Elephant joke for kids and they see a water fountain with a elephant statue on it. Once they got to the fountain, McClane and Zeus see a suitcase bomb and two water jugs. McClane takes the suitcase and puts on the base of the fountain. Despite Zeus warning him not to open it, McClane opens the case and see that he just armed the suitcase bomb. Then Simon calls them and informs them the bomb has a proximity circuit to force them to stay close. Simon tells them the way to disarm the bomb is to fill one of the jugs, a 3 gallon and a 5 gallon, with 4 gallons of water and place it on the scale and it has to be precise because one once more or less will result in bomb detonating.
As they look in the elevator, they find tickets which is sending them to a home-team dugout in Yankee Stadium. Then they try to find what is 21 out of 42. Then as they try to find an nearest "A" train, Zeus tells McClane that some kid could find the bomb and McClane tells to get it. Then he see two kids stealing some candy and stops them. McClane tells the kid if he wants to go to juvenile hall for stealing a Butterfinger candy. One of the kid says that the cops are on to something and that they could steal city hall on Christmas. McClane then realizes that Simon is distracting the cops from Wall Street with the bomb at the school. Then McClane and Zeus burrow the kids' bicycles and head back to Wall Street bomb site.As McClane and Zeus work to solve the riddle to fill the jugs, McClane gets frustrated and Zeus assumes that McClane was about to call him a racist name. McClane argues with Zeus that he doesn't like him because's he's a racist that he doesn't like white people. Zeus replies that he doesn't like him because he's going to get him killed. With less then a minute left, McClane finally figures it out that there is two gallons in the 3 gallon jug and the other jug has full five gallons of water. Then if they pour one gallon of water from the 5 gallon jug to fill the 3 gallon jug full of water, it give the 5 gallon jug exactly 4 gallons. They carefully poured water to the 3 gallon jug and the 5 gallon jug down to 4 gallons and Zeus placed it on the scale. The bomb was then disarmed within 5 seconds and they both relieved that they disarmed it. Simon calls them and learns that they are alive. McClane offers a deal to find a school bomb. Simon tells him that he has 2 hours and 47 minutes to test his wits. McClane angrily informs that Simon that he has a bad hangover and demands to know where the bomb. Simon says the road to truth has many turns. He tells McClane to get an elevlope under the rim of the fountain and tells him to find out what is 21 out of 42 before hanging up.
As they rode back to Wall Street, they almost got hit by a dump truck, who sped away without stopping. Then McClane says that Wall Street does not have schools and asked if what got a huge load. Then he sees the Federal Reserve Bank building. He decides to head over there as he tells Zeus to return the bomb to the cops nearby.
As McClane entered the bank, he is met by Karl, one of Simon's men disguised as a Federal Reserve Bank marshal, greets him with feign polite and concern as he clothes look a mess. As McClane remarked that it is 'laundry day' and asked if there anything usual other than the explosion in the subway station, Karl uses the American accent and lies that there is really nothing usual and they had cops coming to them since the subway explosion. He takes McClane to the vault elevator, complaining about the heat in the bank. Karl introduces McClane to Otto, one of Targo's men disguised as a plainclothes detective. They got in the elevator, along with two more of Simon's men disguised as Federal Reserve Bank marshals name Kurt and Gunther. As they we're going down, McClane sees the badge on Otto's blazer jacket pocket and sees the badge number is 6991, Ricky's badge number. McClane realized that Otto and the bank guards are impostors. McClane then asks them about the lottery number the other night to avoid suspicion from Simon's men. As he says he's got the tickets, he fires his Beretta 92 pistol through his plaid shirt, killing Karl and Kurt. Gunther grabs McClane from behind as McClane pins Otto to the elevator wall with his gun. McClane head-butts Gunther him behind several times and kills him. Then Otto fires blindly while pinned to the wall by McClane. McClane lunges forwards and kills Otto, causing blood to soak the left side of his face.
As he got off the elevator sluggishly, McClane see someone coming to him and points his gun at him, which it was actually Zeus coming down the subway station to investigate. McClane was relieved that he didn't shoot Zeus by accident. He tells Zeus to take a look. McClane was cleaning the blood off his face with his plaid shirt. As he was doing so, he sees Ricky's body in the subway stairway and was upset that his friend is dead. When Zeus returned and that there is no one there, McClane says this is about a heist, not revenge. McClane shows Zeus a fallen gold bullion. Zeus takes a bullion, and asked McClane if Simon cleared out the whole room of the gold. McClane nodded. Just as Zeus says that in order to clean out whole room of gold, it would a strong vehicle to carry them. McClane realizes a dump truck would carry gold and realized that they stole the 14 dump trucks a day before. Zeus tells McClane that they almost got hit by a dump truck, which they realized that was one of their trucks. As they we're leaving the damaged station, McClane tells Zeus to put the gold bar down. Zeus refuses to do so, despite McClane that they won't let him keep it. As Zeus breaks the car window to get in the car, McClane asked if he can hotwire it. Zeus says he's the electrician and uses some kind of tool to jumpstart the car's ignition. Then they took off to find the dump trucks that Simon and his men are using.
After seeing no dump trucks on the Brooklyn Bridge, McClane and Zeus see the trucks in The FDR and began pursuing them. McClane was about to call Cobb, but finds out the phone has been damaged during the fight in the elevator. McClane and Zeus try to figure out what's 21 out of 42 and talk when they will go to Yankee Stadium. Then a car comes out of nowhere and cuts them off, McClane calls the driver Hilary Clinton. Zeus suddenly realized that 21 out of 42 are the names of U.S. presidents since Hilary Clinton is the wife of President Bill Clinton. McClane remarks that Hilary would be the 43rd president. Zeus asked who the 21st president, but neither McClane nor Zeus who it was. McClane sees the car they are in is not the fast car. Then McClane sees another car with a cellular phone and forces the car to the abrupt stop to take the other vehicle. Before they we're about to leave, Zeus asked the carjacked driver who the 21st president was, but the driver angrily refused to answer and McClane took off right away.
McClane says the driver will be better when he sees gold bullion in the back seat of the car, much to Zeus' unhappiness. McClane then calls Cobb on the car phone. He tells Cobb the whole thing us not about revenge, it's actually a heist. McClane informs him that a large load of gold in the Federal Reserve Bank has been stolen and are heading north in dump trucks. Cobb asked in disbelief if McClane has been drinking again. McClane hasn't been since early in the morning. Then he informs Coob that the dumps are in the FDR, around 70th street and tells him to closes the East Rivers bridges and get helicopters in the area soon. Cobb says he's spread all over hell to find the school bomb. McClane tries to tell his boss to find out who the 21st president was since the bomb is at that school, but the line got cut off, which angers McClane as he continues to pursue the dump trucks.
Later on, McClane and Zeus see that they lost the dump trucks. Then Zeus sees a dump truck down the road. McClane drives through the wall from the highway and landed on the road. McClane then stops the truck and points his gun at the truck driver. As he opened the truck door, McClane asked the man is the truck driver and the man, Jerry Parks, is the truck driver. As he looked at the back of the truck, McClane ask Jack where he was taking the truck and Jerry says he was driving to the water aqueduct.
Later, Jerry takes McClane to New York City Water Tunnel No. 3 with Zeus driving behind them. Jerry tells McClane the water pipe goes about 60 miles that goes from Catskill Mountains to the Manhattan Island. When they stopped, McClane rushes over to the foreman and asked if there we're any extra coming through in the last few minutes. The foreman says he's going to write a few guys up because they tore up the tube and the workers are actually loading in the different area. McClane realized it's Simon men who opened the tube and was calling the police on the phone. He asked the foreman the map showing where the tunnels. The foreman shows McClane and Zeus that they run under the saw mill until they get to the cofferdam. After that, they the water down to the reservoir. As McClane asked if anybody get in and out. The foreman says there's a vent shaft every two miles. McClane asks he meant to get out by truck as he hung up the phone when he couldn't get through to the switchboard. The foreman says that he can get a the truck up to the cofferdam and to get there, follow the saw mill parkway about 20 miles away. McClane tells Zeus he'll meet him right there and has him go to Yankee Stadium since they less than two hours before the bomb goes off in the school, much to Zeus's chagrin. He rides with Jerry on his dump to the water tunnel.
As Jerry was driving McClane to the water pipe, he gives McClane information on Tunnel 3. Then they stopped when the dump truck was blocking their way. When Jerry was about to exit, McClane tells to stop since he knows the dump truck has Simon's men in it. He takes Jerry's hardhat and jacket and exits the vehicle. Then he posed as the aqueduct security guard name Mickey O'Brien as walked towards the truck. He says they got report a guy coming in with a eight reindeer as he fires his pistol at the truck's door, killing Nils and Klaus. He opens the door and Nils' body falls off as McClane jokes that the man coming in was Santa Claus. He searched Nils' body and finds a radio and 10 quarters. Jerry sees the body of Nils. McClane returns Jerry's hardhat and jacket to him. He tells Jerry to get hold of Cobb to get him down there and find out who the 21st president was. Jerry tells McClane that the 21st president was Chester A. Arthur and gives him the brief biography of Arthur. McClane says bye to Jerry as he took off to go after Simon and the others.
As McClane was driving in tunnel, Simon was trying to contact Nils. McClane taunts him that Nils is dead as well as Klaus, which name he didn't know, and the four men in the bank. Simon says to McClane that the truck he's driving has $13 billion of gold bullion and asked if there's a deal for it. McClane tells to come out where he's hiding and he'll drive this truck on him. As he continued his journey to the dam, McClane stops when he sees one of the temporary bridges fell out of place. He tries to get it back up, but to no avail. Then McClane walks by foot. But suddenly sees a huge flow of water coming at him when Simon's men planted a bomb at the dam to drown him. McClane rushes back to the truck and tries to drive away from it, but the water was coming in too fast. As the huge wave of water hit the truck, McClane goes on top and grabs on the vent shaft as he went the over the truck. As he was climbing on the vent with the flow of water hitting him, the water pushes McClane upward in the manhole, which flows him out in the highway somewhere in the Catskill Mountains and lands on the water-filled ground near the manhole. Zeus, who was driving by and saw McClane flying out of the manhole, stops by. McClane asked if he went to Yankee Stadium and Zeus says there was nobody there. McClane asked Zeus if anyone was following him and Zeus says was just jerking them around. But then gunfire came at him and McClane ran to the car as Zeus immediately took off.
As McClane and Zeus were being chased on the highway at the Catskill Mountains by two of Simon's henchmen, Erik and Mischa on the pickup truck, they we're fired upon by them. As Zeus drives around the traffic on the highway, McClane fires back at the terrorists with his pistol as Erik fired at them with his. He tells Zeus that he found out who the 21st president as Chester A. Arthur, which horrifies Zeus since his two nephews are in the Chester A. Arthur Elementary School. Afterwards, McClane takes over the wheel for Zeus and says that Simon planted that bomb in that school to get his complete attention. McClane tells Zeus to find the fuse penal and pull out the anti-lock brake fuse. When Zeus couldn't find out which one it is, McClane tells him to pull all of them out. Once the fuse was pulled out, McClane tells Zeus to get down. Then McClane makes an abrupt U-turn and shoots down Erik and Mischa inside the truck with his pistol. Then the car hits the truck on the side and the car flipped over to the side of the road as the truck crashed harmlessly down to the other side of the road. Both McClane and Zeus survived without injury. As McClane and Zeus got out of the wrecked car, McClane looks at the truck with his pistol raised and finds both men onboard the truck are dead. As he checks out Mischa for clues, McClane tells him Zeus to find any aspirin in the glove box, but Zeus refuses because of the dead men on in the passenger seat. McClane finds 10 quarters on Mischa, just like Nils had 10 quarters. Zeus predicts that maybe they we're making long distance phone calls, but McClane says they are for a toll booth on a bridge.
As they were driving on a bridge, they spotted a ship carrying the dump trucks. Then they stopped on the bridge. Zeus asked if they should call the Coast Guard, but McClane replies that it will take them a hour to get there. Zeus says that they can jump to the ship, but McClane says it's too deep to jump onboard. Zeus says that they can make it to the crane of the ship, but McClane says the crane's cables will cut him in half if he missed. McClane pulls the truck's tow cables and, as the cargo ship went to the other side of the bridge, he and Zeus tossed the cable to the crane of the ship. Once the cables was attached to the crane, Zeus was going first since he is determined to save his nephews and McClane follows him as they climbed on the cables to board the ship. Then Zeus tells McClane that there's a sentry down below on the ship. When the truck's cable lines we're all the way pulled, the ship was pulling the truck. McClane and Zeus we're climbing down faster to the ship. Then the truck fell off the bridge, causing the cables with McClane and Zeus to go down. McClane grabbed the crane, but the cable went loose and McClane and Zeus fell to the ship's container box, but both of them survive the fall, despite getting hurt from it.
As they got out off the container box, McClane and Zeus find one of Simon's men cut in half by the truck's cable lines. They moved the remains of that sentry out of the way. Then McClane says that they going to find Simon and beat the code for the bomb out of him. Then he gives Zeus the henchman's MP5K submachine gun. Zeus doesn't know how to use it, much to McClane's chagrin. McClane quickly shows him how to use it by chambering the gun. Zeus asks if that's it, and McClane says to pull the trigger, but try not to shoot himself in the foot. Then McClane tells Zeus to not be a hero and to come get him when he finds Simon.
McClane goes down in the below decks of the ship and avoids any men near them. Then he sees one of the men entered the stairway and slams him multiple times with the frieghter's heavy door, killing him. Afterwards, he goes to the ship's cargo hold that is full of containers. Then, one of the men said something to him in German and kills him. As he looks at him, he mockingly asked the dead gunman, "What was that?". Targo kicked him in the head from the container and translates that his henchman said, "Don't shoot.". Targo then tossed and kicked McClane around the cargo hold. The beaten down McClane find the chain attached to the container and trips Targo down with it. He proceed to beat Targo with the chain and incapacitates the contract terrorist.
He takes the machine gun from the henchman as well as his pistol and staggers out of the cargo hold and to the bridge. McClane calls out to Coast Guard on Bridgeport and gives them a mayday call. The Coast Guard tells him to stay on the line. As they said that, McClane sees the 2000-pound of liquid explosives being lifted and realizes that the bomb on the school was a fake. Then Simon and his men surrounded him on the bridge as McClane and Simon met each other face-to-face for the first time. Simon tells McClane that he's a soldier, not a monster, even he sometimes works for monsters and that the real bomb is on the ship. Then he sees that they also captured Zeus, who has a gunshot wound in his leg. As Simon was calling the Coast Guard, McClane says they told them to stay on the line. Simon laughs over that. McClane says to Simon that his brother Hans was an asshole. Simon agrees with him. Then Simon tells his men to escort McClane and Zeus below.
McClane and Zeus were handcuffed together on top of the bomb as it was being lowered to a cargo hold. Katya, the woman on the photo with Targo who turned out to be alive, was on top of them. As the bomb reached the cargo hold, Zeus asked Simon that they are going to blow all the gold on the ship. Simon says that's the idea. Zeus asked what all this has to do with killing McClane. Simon admits that, while he disliked Hans, killing McClane to avenged his brother was just bonus to him. As Simon was going to leave, McClane asked if he had any aspirins since he had a bad headache all day. Simon throws the bottle to McClane as it was no use to him before leaving the ship.
As Zeus regrets to McClane that he haven't saved him in Harlem and wouldn't be in their current position, McClane says that there is no gold on this boat since he's knows the Gruber family and the only better than blowing up $100 billion of gold is to make people think he did. He says that they are not going to die and asked Zeus if he was the locksmith as well. Zeus said he can do it if he can unlocked the handcuffs with something big enough. McClane pulls the splinter of the cable that was on the tow truck from his shoulder. With careful timing, McClane spits the cable to Zeus' hand and begins to the lock on McClane's handcuffs. As he was picking the lock, Zeus admits that he was starting to like him. McClane tells him don't like him since he lied to him about the bomb that they had found in Harlem was actually found in Chinatown. McClane says that lie was the only way to get Zeus to come with him. Zeus asked if he had a wife. McClane says that he and Holly are separated since she was in Los Angeles and he was New York. A year before, they had a fight on the phone and she hung up. McClane never called her back since then. Zeus was laughing that McClane threw away his marriage because he's too stupid to return the call to him. McClane says that Holly is a very stubborn woman. Then Zeus was able to pick the lock off McClane's handcuffs, freeing him. But Zeus dropped the cable. As McClane went to look for it, he sees the bomb was starting to beep. Despite Zeus' insisting McClane to go without him, McClane says he will not leave the ship with Zeus' death going on his conscience. As he sees the liquids in the bomb we're starting to mix, McClane uses a crowbar to cut through the pipes connecting the two liquids to the crowbar and hits the crowbar with two matching liquids to Zeus' handcuffs, cutting him free as well as injuring his hands. Then they quickly prepare to get off the ship.
They got to the main deck of the ship and were moving as quickly as they could. As they we're prepared to jump off the ship, the bomb explodes. Both of them were knocked into the ocean. After they were knocked out for the moment, both McClane and Zeus swan back up to the surface.
As they rescued and treated on the shore, Lambert came to them. McClane asked if they got Ricky's body out of the subway station. Lambert sadly nodded that they found him. Cobb asked McClane if he was alright. He says he's still got a headache and asked if the authorities are mad at them. Cobbs replies to him not to worry about them at the moment since they are busy with the salvage operation. McClane says that there is no gold out there, which was proven correct as the ship was actually contained scrap metal. McClane feels that Simon beat him and Cobb corrects that Simon has beat everyone in the police department. Zeus informs McClane that, even they didn't get Simon and the gold, he lost because they're alive. Zeus tells Lambert to give McClane the quarter so he can call Holly, much to McClane's chagrin. McClane prepares to call Holly. As he took the aspirin for his headaches, McClane finds out it came from the border town in Quebec and Simon is probably heading there with the gold. He quickly leaves the call to stop Simon.
Later that night, they have found Simon's hideout in a warehouse in Quebec where Simon took the gold at. Then McClane and Zeus see Simon making out with Katya from the helicopter. As the Canadian police surrounded the area, McClane calls out on the radio, asking Simon if he came at the bad time, which Katya fires at them with the pistol. Zeus laughs that she is mad at them. As McClane and Zeus see semi trucks going to battle the police and they are forced to surrender, an another helicopter appeared and fired at them. McClane only finds the Smith & Wesson Model 36 pistol and fires four shots at the hostile chopper. Then the man on the helicopter fired at them again, damaging the chopper. Although the pilot landed the chopper somewhat safely, McClane tells everyone to get out before the helicopter starts shooting at them again. As he was trying to help Zeus, who was stuck on the chopper, the hostile helicopter appeared again. McClane realizes that Simon is on that helicopter and tells to get Zeus out of the down chopper as he goes on to distract Simon.
As McClane was moving away from the chopper, Simon fires his M60 machine gun at him. McClane ran for cover at the cars. He sees that he only has two bullets left his gun and mutters to himself that he had no idea that Canada can be this much fun. McClane tries to find a good shot at Simon while moving away from a chopper. As Simon looks at his enemy at the eye and preparing to finish him once and for all, McClane sees that his chopper is above the electrical line. As he prepares to fire at it, he says to Simon "Say hello to your brother." Then McClane fires his last two round at the electrical line. It causing to fall on the rotor of Simon's chopper and destroying it, killing Simon and Katya onboard. As McClane watches the burning wreckage of the chopper, he says to his fallen enemy "Yippee Ki Yay Motherfucker" as he was content that he finally got his enemy at last.
As McClane was walking towards Zeus, laughing in exhausted triumph for finally killing Simon. McClane sarcastically asked if they should call the fire truck for Simon's destroyed chopper, but Zeus tells him to let Simon cook. Then McClane realized he left Holly hanging on hold. Zeus tells her to call her back, although McClane doubts how it will turned out as she is 'a very stubborn woman'. Zeus deduces that she had to be if she stayed married to him, which gets McClane to let out a small laugh as he prepares to call Holly back while the cops clean up the mess.
There is an alternate ending to the film that revolves around McClane being fired from the NYPD after the FBI suspected him of being in on the robbery. Cobb tried to save McClane's pension and McClane traces a bottle of aspirin to a pharmacy near Bristrita, Hungary. McClane heads to Hungary and meets up with Simon Gruber at a tavern. Simon attempts to call some of his henchman, but McClane pulls the cellphone out of his jacket, implying that he killed them. Simon is then forced to play a game of "McClane Says", where McClane asks Simon all of Zeus's nephews' favorite riddles. Simon gets them all right and has to turn a small rocket launcher with every turn, similar to Russian Roulette. Simon is stumped, however, when McClane asks what he should have brought to save his life. Simon guesses the antidote to the poisoned brandy, but McClane proves that that is the wrong answer. McClane pulls a Heckler & Koch P9S pistol on him and forces him to turn the rocket launcher one more time and press the trigger. The rocket launcher fires and kills Simon, whereupon McClane reveals that the answer to the riddle was a flak jacket, a protective vest that protects against grenades and would have saved Simon's life from the short range rocket blast. McClane says "Yippee Ki Yay, Motherfucker!" as he walks away from the scene.