In Die Hard, Al Powell is told to check out Nakatomi Plaza, however, he wasn't told about someone calling in about the building take over or gun fire (McClane).

When he walks over from his car, we can see flashing lights on top the building, are those lights the gun fight between McClane and Karl? If so, why didn't he question the receptionist when he walked into the building?

Given the distance he probably didn't hear the gun fire, but the receptionist (who is really one of Han's men) won't know what's going on, and be caught off guard. Al could have asked if some type of construction was happening and if the receptionist had said yes, ask him what was being done - anyone working there for a long time would at least know what was being done on top of the building. If he said he didn't know about any lights, then Al could have investigated further.

  • 3
    Is it possible he just didn't see the flashing lights? It's been years since I watched Die Hard so I don't remember the scene in question.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Jul 14, 2019 at 18:27
  • 4
    After looking at those lights carefully during many rewatchings, I have long believed they are normal strobe lights on top of the building there to warn low flying aircraft. The building filmed for the movie is real (it’s not called the Nakatomi Towers building in real life of course) and exists in century city in LA, so it has to really have safety lights on top. Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 4:08

1 Answer 1


There's no indication he saw them.

The script doesn't indicate anything of that nature. Just that he sees the building


 Powell looks towards the horizon and up.
 There it is, Nakatomi, in all its gleaming glory.

Indeed, when he gets there..there is no indication that anything is amiss other than a "disturbance call"

Driving, alone. He starts up at the tower. It seems calm,
its glowing  lights matching the warmth of the holiday
decorations on the streets. Powell slows to a stop and
scans the premises. In the lobby we SEE Eddie, sitting behind
the desk. Powell reports to his radio.

   Guard inside. No signs of disturbance
       ...I'm going up for a closer look.

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