"Die Hard:  Under The Gun"

by Marlan Harris

John McLane is in trouble again.  It's always terrorists in every shape and size, and this time it's no different.  Trouble follows John around, along with his captain on the police force, and back-up always seems to get there too late.
This time it's the Los Angeles chapter of the Aryan National Brotherhood.  John's back in Cali but his problems never stop.  Skin heads have taken over a public building and they have John cornered in the parking garage.  Or at least they think they do.  You see, John still has a few bullets left and he's familiar with this kind of situation.  John is back where he's best under the gun.

(Additional plotting by Jeff West.)


Top 1/3.  Solid black, with gigantic, intimidating letters:


Middle left 1/6.  Close-up, overhead shot of recently shot TERRORISTS.  They are from the Aryan National Brotherhood, and the Nazi symbols and such on their leather jackets identify them as so.  They have been most obviously shot, pieces of their heads and brains lying about, a dark puddle of blood forming underneath them.  They have been freshly killed.

2. JOHN (CAP) (top of panel):  That's what you get, John.  "Sure, captain.  I'll take anti- terrorist detail.  The Los Angeles                         Aryan National Brotherhood chapter is inactive, right?  Sure.  Piece of cake."

Middle right 1/6.  Pull back, not far shot, but enough to reveal JOHN MCLANE standing over bodies of terrorists.  John's face is not completely visible, due to the distance.  Establish:  they're in a parking garage.  They are surrounded by rows of cars.  Barely noticeable in the background is a small sign that says 'LEVEL 5.' John is looking at the guns in his hands like he has never seen them before.  The terrorists' bodies are quite still.

JOHN, is, of course, John McLane/ Bruce Willis.  He has just barely survived a fight and it shows.  His shirt, if any is left at all, is in shreds and his trademark undershirt is soaked in blood and dirt.  There are cuts and lacerations all over his body but he still has that look of determination in his eyes.  His police badge hangs by a chain around his neck and he has a .45 in each hand.

3. JOHN (CAP 1):  Yeah, right.
4. JOHN (CAP 2):  Two days back on the force and I'm hip deep in it again.  Alone, tired

Bottom 1/3.  From the ground up we see it is John- dirty face, messed hair, a wild look in his eye.  In the distance and through the openings in the parking garage, we can see it's a beautiful day in the city.

5.         JOHN (CAP1):  And the only chance anyone's got.
6. JOHN (CAP 2):  Yeah, yeah, we've heard it before.


Top left 1/6.  Foreground:  body of TERRORIST, a walkie- talkie lying inches from his dead, blood covered hand.  His wounds, clothes, characteristics, and placements should jibe with one of the bodies from page 1, panel 2.  Background:  JOHN, his back to us, is walking away.  He is not overly crouched for action, just walking. Parked cars line up for as far as the eye can see.

1.  WALKIE- TALKIE:  --bzzt--  --bzzton Level 5.  Repeat, target on Level 5

Top right 1/6.  Close up on John's tired, dirty face as he looked back at the walkie- talkie (is not in the panel but acknowledge that John is looking back.  He is turning his head, the badge swings from his neck).  Yes, another great Bruce Willis close up shot.  The weight of the sound of the walkie- talkie fully hits him.

2. JOHN (CAP):  'Level 5'?  But that's where

Middle left 1/6.  Shot from behind of John as he quickly turns to look at the LEVEL 5 sign that is in the close distance.  Profile is visible, he is surprised.

3. JOHN (NOT CAP):  Shit.

Middle right 1/6.  Yet another of the famous Bruce Willis- ready for action face shots, maybe from below to make it different from panel 2 on this page.  He has both guns up and ready.

4. SOUND FX (near top of panel):  SKREEEEEEEEE
5. JOHN (CAP):  And here's the laughing boys now.

Bottom 1/3:  JOHN is in the foreground, perhaps in silhouette (to note distance).  Background:  a huge, black Hummer is tearing around the corner, past the parked cars, hitting a couple, and towards John.  through the windshield there are two guys, one driving, the other leaning out the window, shooting a submachine gun at John, but missing and hitting a few cars and the ground.

6. JOHN (CAP):  Bad to worse.  Story of my life.


Top 1/3.  TERRORISTS' Hummer in foreground, tires squealing, rushing toward John.  In the
    distance JOHN is ducking from the terrorists' bullets and returning fire.

1.  JOHN (CAP):  This is actually easier than it looks.

Middle 1/3.  JOHN dives between two parked cars, still firing at the Hummer.  The terrorists speed past him, but the passenger who is firing is on the other side and the driver is not firing back (since he's driving).  The bullets from John's guns blast away at the side of the Hummer.

2. JOHN (CAP):  These jerks can't maneuver in a cramped space like this.  By the time they turn around and come back, I'll                                          be long gone.
Bottom left 1/6.  From overhead.  JOHN's guns are smoking and a pained look is on his face as he hits the ground between the two cars.

3.  JOHN (CAP):  At least that's the plan.

Bottom right 1/6.  JOHN stands amongst the parked cars, both clips popping out from the bottoms of the guns.  The Hummer is in the background, trying a bootleg and hitting more cars.

4. JOHN (CAP):  Me and plans get along pretty well.


Top left 1/6.  JOHN takes off and is running toward us.  Over his holder in the distance is the Hummer, now turning around.

1. JOHN:  Let the backup guys handle this.

Top right 1/6.  From behind, JOHN is running toward a visible set of stairs against the far wall of the garage.  Out of the opening, clear blue sky and adjacent buildings.

2. JOHN (CAP):  I'm outta here

Middle 1/3.  From behind, towards a side angle, JOHN is ten feet from the stairs.  Through the opening in the garage is a barrage of gunfire from above, like from a helicopter (which it is, but the helicopter is not yet visible).  None of the fire hits John but he puts his hands up in surprise and an attempt to dodge the gunfire.  The bullets from above instead hit the parked cars, the concrete floor, and the rails on the stairs. 

3. JOHN (CAP):  That part about me and plans getting along well?

Bottom left 1/6.  From below.  JOHN dives in front of the wall in the parking garage and between two cars.  Through the opening above his head we see a helicopter rather close to the parking structure, ready for another round of fire when John pops his head up.  The helicopter is a standard battlecopter, with gun turrets and all.  In the distance we can see neighboring buildings.  John looks exhausted but still driven.

4. JOHN (CAP):  That was sarcasm.

Bottom right 1/6.  From behind JOHN's head, like looking over the barricade from outside.  He is between two cars.  His guns are in front of him.  One gun he has discarded to the ground, it lies dead on the floor between his feet.  The other JOHN holds in his hand, turned over, clip empty, and in his other hand he holds the clip from the gun, with only one bullet left.

5. JOHN (CAP):  Yeah.  Real FUCKIN' funny.


Top 1/3.  Another shot from behind JOHN.  In the close distance is the Hummer, driving straight toward him.  JOHN is still crouched between the two parked cars.

1. JOHN (CAP):  Here's the punchline now.

Middle 1/3.  Very narrow, horizontal shot of JOHN on the right side of the frame.  JOHN stands, appearing just over the tops of the cars.  He is taking a shot from his gun, one eye closed, his arms stretched out in front of him.  The bullet shoots to the left side of the panel.

2.        JOHN (CAP):  Rimshot.

Bottom left 1/6.  Forward shot of the Hummer.  JOHN's bullet shatters the windshield on the driver's side.

Insert 1.  From inside the Hummer, an angle from the passenger's side.  The bullet slams into the SKINHEAD DRIVER's head and splatters his brains out the back.

Insert 2.  The DRIVER's foot, in a big, combat boot, slams the accelerator to the floor.  The pedal is obviously being pounded to the floor.

Insert 3.  From the other side of the Hummer, like through the driver's window.  In the foreground is the SKINHEAD DIRVER, most of the back of his head missing, his forehead on the steering wheel.  In the background is his passenger, SKINHEAD PASSENGER, looking at his friend (the driver) in absolute horror.

Bottom 1/6.  A head-on shot of JOHN, like from the approaching Hummer's perspective.  JOHN is now trapped between the two parked cars.  His guns can't help him now, even if he had any bullets left.  His face would also be awash in terror, but he's way too damned tired.

3. JOHN (CAP):  The problem with this joke...

Other bottom 1/6.  From a lower angle close to the ground, JOHN jumps, in desperation, on top of one of the cars.  His arms are covering his head, in case it might help.  The speeding Hummer is now only feet from him, a heartbeat away from impact into a neighboring car- the one JOHN is jumping onto.

4. JOHN (CAP):  Is you can only tell it once..


Full frame splash page.  As if looking up at the parking garage from street level. 

The Hummer bursts through the garage's barricade.  Unfortunately, there was a car between the Hummer and the outside wall, so that car is pushed through the in front of the Hummer.  The other car, a cub-compact import job, is, of course, crushed to half its already tiny length.

The Hummer is also pretty well damaged, especially the front end, but it holds up better than the car.  Also recall that the Hummer's front window has been shot through.

JOHN is almost flying, like he is jumping off of the Hummer.  He is arms are above him, like he is attempting to be limp for the impact of the fall.  He is also close enough to the helicopter that he could possibly touch it, though it is not obvious.  He is also angled so that he might his the helicopter before falling.

The helicopter is very, very close to both objects- it seems to take up the entire sky.  The copter's turrets are firing away, tearing up the Hummer, but just barely missing John, firing around and about him.  AA

The action takes up the entire frame and the parking structure is visible in the near background.


Top 1/3.  From the helicopter's point of view, JOHN seems to be flying, but actually just close enough to reach the helicopter.  The expression on his face is determination and perhaps surprise, that he is able to do this.  Behind him are the Humbler, the other car, and debris from the parking garage falling to the street far below.  In the very near foreground, only a black silhouette, is the PILOT, with a very visible sub-machine gun.

1. JOHN (CAP):  You wanna hear another one?

Middle 1/3.  Looking up from Level 5, in the parking garage (below the helicopter and John).  JOHN Grabs onto the skid of the helicopter, within reaching distance of the door of the helicopter.  Inside the helicopter, the pilot is turning, looking down at JOHN, getting his gun ready.

Insert.  A very, very close-up from JOHN's point of view as the PILOT, a snarl on his face, levels' his sub-machine gun at JOHN.  The PILOT should fill the panel, giving it a claustrophobic and rather crazy feel (this might make up from the thinness of the panel). 

Bottom 1/3.  From maybe 50 feet up and out, level with the helicopter (looking at it dead on).  JOHN pulls himself up on the skid and grabs the wrist of the PILOT, just as the gun goes off.  JOHN is grabbing with his right hand and pushing the muzzle of the gun away from himself and the PILOT, and toward the rear of the helicopter.  The helicopter is already unsteady, with the PILOT trying to shoot JOHN instead of controlling it

Insert .  The fire from the gun shreds the back propeller of the helicopter, causing it to catch fire and explode in a second.


Insert 1.The helicopter spins out of control, heading straight for the street below (about 5 stories down or so).

Insert 2.  Very close-up of JOHN, still holding onto the helicopter's skid, but now looking terrified as the helicopter very quickly nears the ground.

1.  JOHN (CAP 1):  Only chance is to jump when the chopper is near enough to the ground.
2.  JOHN (CAP 2):  Have to time this just right.
3.  JOHN (CAP 3):  Only get one chance.

Bottom 2/3.  Gigantic explosion as the helicopter hits the ground.  JOHN is very hear in the foreground, the force of the explosion propelling him a great and powerful distance.

SOUND FX:  (Gigantic, explosive explosion sound)


Insert.  JOHN, on the ground, picks himself up.  He's now even dirtier and more scarred up then before.


Top 1/3.  From behind, JOHN is in the foreground.  JOHN pushes himself up off the ground.  In the near background is the CAPTAIN- a large, imposing black man, in his early 50's, the kind that seems likely to have an ulcer and is always drinking coffee.  He is in full riot gear, even though there isn't a riot.  In the further background are an assortment of cops and cop cars, all guns ready- way too late now.  In the far background, behind JOHN, is the very fresh wreckage of the helicopter, very exploded and pretty well on fire.  Well far enough out of the way.

2. CAPTAIN:  And just what in the ever-lovin', stark white name of our mother who art in heaven Sam Hill are you doin'?

Middle 1/3 (large panel).  JOHN in the background, CAPTAIN closer in the foreground.  JOHN is very obviously beat and beat-up.  He's in terrible shape but he'll live.  CAPTAIN is flailing his arms for effect, yelling and spitting.  In front of them are the car and wreckage dropped down from above (two pages ago).  The are some cops spraying foam on the smoldering wreckage.  There are other cops gathered around it, ready for anything, though the conflict is now over.

3. JOHN:  My job.
4. CAPTAIN:  YOUR JOB???  There are rules for policemen, John!

Bottom 1/3.  Last panel.  JOHN walks past the CAPTAIN, all the other cops, all the conflict.  He is walking down the street, into the distance.  The captain is continuing to yell and flail his arms in the foreground. 

5. JOHN:  That's what you keep telling me.
6. CAPTAIN:  (lots of words, yadda yadda yadda)
7. JOHN (CAP):  See, some people just don't get the joke.
8. CAP (bottom right):  THE END.