"Yippee-ki-yay, motherf*cker is one of the many one-liners that have graced the action film", he writes, "a body of work not known for its strong verbal tradition. Indeed, the delivery of the one-liner ranks among the most cherished rites of this ritualistic genre" (the line was penned by screenwriter Steven E. de Souza, who based his screenplay on the novel "Nothing Lasts Forever", originally a vehicle for Frank Sinatra!).
Or, as Bruce Willis explains to his protege Damon Wayans in Tony Scott's "The Last Boy Scout" (a film I'd place on a near-equal pedestal along with McTiernan's original "Die Hard"): "This is the nineties. You don't just go around punching people. You have to say something cool first..."
Who says film semiotics can't be fun? Read Lichtenfield's ode to the poetry of the four-letter word here.