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>> Friday, February 22, 2013



How many days until police and EMT are able to get to the upper floors of the Nakatomi building and recover the body?  How long does it take for the Medical Examiner to perform his autopsy report and identify the body?  Is there a Mrs. Takagi?  And how many days, hours, weeks until someone makes the long distance call and tells her her husband is dead?  (Who has to make this phone call?  Do they speak Japanese?  Does Mrs. Takagi speak English?  Is there an interpreter on the phone?)  Does the caller have to inform Mrs. Takagi her husband is "probably" dead, and they need whatever medical and dental records she can send over to help the identification?  Did Mr. Takagi have any children?  Does Mrs. Takagi need to call them now and tell them their father is dead?  Grandchildren?  Are his parents still alive and who will call them?  Does Mrs. Takagi have to fly to the States to identify the body, or may a co-worker like Mrs. Holly Gennaro McClane make the identification?  How long until the body is released?  Who takes it to LAX?  Who meets the coffin in Japan?  How many attend the funeral?  Are Mr. Takagi's mother there, his father, any children, any siblings, in-laws, friends, colleagues, people he went to school with?

Does Mrs. Takagi wake up in the middle of the night and murmur something to her absent husband?  On the other side of the world, is Mr. John McClane looking out a window and wondering if he'd done something different, would Hans Gruber have killed Mr. Takagi?  Does Mr. McClane go home and pour himself a double and when his wife comes home, do they have silences that specifically aren't about Christmas Eve in the Nakatomi Tower?

Those police officers and EMTs who had to recover the body, if it wasn't lost in the explosion of the roof after all--how're they doing today?



3 comments:

TimBo Friday, February 22, 2013 at 8:39:00 PM EST  

2. 6 hrs, 3 days. Yes. 3 days, seven hours. (Bill Johnson. No. Yes. Yes.) No. No. No. No. Yes, Mrs. Takagi. No, no. 15 days. Mrs. Takagi and Akimoto Taiki. Mr. & Mrs. Takagi (his parents). Yes, yes, no, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

No. No. No.

Fine, thanks for asking.

TimBo Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 11:41:00 PM EST  

I went and watched the first 30 minutes and it turns out Takagi's family came to the US in 1939 and he has five children. No reason to return his body to or phone anyone in Japan. Some of my answers above may be slightly off.

But at least I tried, dammit!

Eric Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 7:38:00 PM EST  

It's been long enough since I saw Die Hard that I was afraid there were answers in the movie that I'd forgotten because Takagi is a minor character.

But of course that wasn't the point. What I was thinking when I wrote it was of just how much action movies really cheat when it comes to violence. Confession: I really enjoy violent action movies; but while reading Dave Cullen's Columbine it's been up near the top of my mind that the real victims of violence are the survivors, not the fallen--a commonplace, cliched observation that's completely forgotten when you're talking about a movie where an incidental character is killed to move the plot along and raise the story's stakes (in the case of Takagi, he at least gets this much weight) or often for no reason at all.

Takagi doesn't exist at all, and then he exists for a few minutes of screen time, and then he doesn't exist again and is forgotten nearly as quickly as he's introduced. And that's in a film that tries on many levels to be a fairly sophisticated and adult action adventure (in the first Die Hard film, at least, Bruce Willis gets to play a human being who bleeds and cries). And he's not the only one--you could talk about Ellis' family, or (if you wanted to really get serious) about Karl's. Or the nameless police officers who are killed or injured in the abortive storming of the building.

I'm not trying to freight a silly entertainment with more than it deserves. It's just on my mind right now and required some kind of expression, and I have a blog.

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