Going into the fight, Mike Tyson was the undefeated and undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. He held the WBC, WBA, and IBF titles. Despite the several controversies that marked Tyson's profile at the time, such as his abusive relationship with Robin Givens; the contractual battles between manager Bill Cayton and promoter Don King; and Tyson's departure from trainer Kevin Rooney; Mike Tyson was still lethal in the ring, scoring a 93-second knockout against Carl "The Truth" Williams in his previous fight. Most considered this fight to be a warm-up bout for Tyson before meeting up with then-undefeated number 1 heavyweight contender Evander Holyfield. Buster Douglas was ranked as just the #7 heavyweight by Ring Magazine, and had met with mixed success in his professional boxing career up to that point. His previous title fight was against Tony Tucker in 1987, in which he was TKOd in the 10th round. However, a string of six consecutive wins gave him the opportunity to fight Tyson.
John McClane is an off-duty cop gripped with a feeling of déjà vu when on a snowy Christmas Eve in the nation's capital, terrorists seize a major international airport, holding thousands of holiday travelers hostage.
Hick handymen Val McKee and Earl Bassett can barely eke out a living in the Nevada hamlet of Perfection, so they decide to leave town -- despite an admonition from a shapely seismology coed who's picking up odd readings on her equipment.
Hypochondriac Joe Banks finds out he has six months to live, quits his dead end job, musters the courage to ask his female co-worker out on a date, and is then hired to jump into a volcano by a mysterious visitor.