At Dulles International Airport, John McClane(Bruce Willis) is waiting for his wife Holly(Bonnie Bedelia) to land. A while after he arrives at the airport, he feels that something's wrong. He follows two men into the luggage room. They both try to kill him, but he kills one and the other gets away. He gets the dead guy's fingerprints and faxes them to his friend Al Powell(Reginald VelJohnson) over in L.A. The man's name was Oswald Cochrane, and he had been officially dead for two years. John then realizes that someone is about to screw around with the airport, and he's correct. Colonel Stuart(William Sadler), a man who got "canned by congress", as McClane says it, and his team of ex-commandos have taken control of the airport, shutting down the Instrument Landing System and the runways. He then threatens to cause plane crashes unless the plane carrying Ramon Esperanza(Franco Nero) from Valverde (the fictitious country used in Commando (1985)) lands at a runway of his designation. The Chief Engineer and the airport's S.W.A.T. team unsuccessfully try to restore communications with the planes above. Because of this, Stuart crashes a plane. McClane must now try to defeat the terrorists and save his wife before her plane, and all the other planes, run out of fuel.