A major plot hole from the original Die Hard has finally been cleared up and the explanation makes perfect sense.
For years fans of the original film, which sees cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) pitted against a crack team of terrorists led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) who have taken over the Nakatomi Corporation Plaza, were been bugged by one minor plot hole.
It concerns the scene where Gruber, during a chance encounter with McClane, attempts to fool the cop into believing he is an innocent company employee.
McClane, somehow, almost immediately susses out that Gruber isn’t who he claims to be.
However, until now, fans have been mystified as to how exactly he managed to do that, given that Gruber’s “American” accent was, well, pretty darn convincing.
Thankfully Steven E. De Souza, one of the writers of the original movie, revealed all during a 30th anniversary screening of The Running Man.
Speaking to Slashfilm, De Souza explained that the reveal of Gruber was explained more thoroughly in the original cut of the movie.
In that version, the terrorist group that storms the Plaza start off their heist by synchronising some fancy Tag Heuer watches.
As McClane begins taking them down, one by one, he notices the watches. That’s what he notices when he meets Gruber.
“When Bruce offers the cigarette to Alan Rickman, Bruce sees the watch,” de Souza explained. “You see his eyes look at the watch. That’s how he knows that he is one of the terrorists.”
The scene was ultimately deleted because of a continuity error which came about late in filming when De Souza came up with the idea of Gruber’s gang attempting to escape in an ambulance at the end of the movie.
Because no ambulance was visible in the original scene where the group synchronised watches, they had to get rid of the entire Tag Heuer led aspect of the screenplay.
As De Souza explains:
“Originally, they get off the truck, the camera craned up, you saw them in a circle and Alan Rickman says, ‘Synchronize your watches,’”
“They all put their arms out in a circle with the camera moving down and they all had the same Tag Heuer watch. If you notice, the first guy Bruce kills almost by accident going down the steps, he searches the body, looks at the IDs.”
““[Director] John [McTiernan] says to the editor, ‘Get the scissors in there. Cut as soon as you can when they get off the truck so we don’t see there’s no ambulance.’ Now without ‘Synchronize your watches’ all of these moments where Bruce looks at these guys’ watches makes no sense.”
But while one of Die Hard’s big plot holes has been filled, fans are still waiting for an explanation as to why McTiernan opted against the badass rocket launcher roulette ending he originally filmed for Die Hard with a Vengeance.
We may be waiting a long time for that one.
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