“Die Hard 2” pretty much takes the bones of the original and ups the ante. John McClane once again has to save his wife, Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), from terrorists, only this time they’re trapped at an airport rather than an office building. The villain, Colonel William Stuart (William Sadler), is made out to be even more deranged than Hans Gruber, at least on paper.
His introductory scene sees him performing Tai Chi while naked, immediately setting him apart from Gruber. Gruber was suave and sophisticated, and there’s just a little something unhinged about Colonel Stuart. This is seen in how he probably has the highest body count out of any “Die Hard” villain from what’s seen on screen. He manages to blow up an entire plane, killing over 200 passengers on board, without a second thought. And without McClane there, hundreds, if not thousands more, would’ve perished as he had other planes circling the airport, threatening to keep them there until they run out of fuel and crash.
Colonel Stuart is also the rare “Die Hard” antagonist who’s a physical match for McClane. As shown in his Tai Chi sequence, he’s a man who’s trained his body as well as his mind. Fortunately, McClane is more clever than he lets on, setting the former military man’s plane up in flames to take him out at the very end. McClane wins, but not before Colonel Stuart causes a lot of damage.