Please note: this kind of top ten is, somewhat obviously, going to be spoiler packed.
Considering death is pretty much the only thing we can count on in life, it’s surprising just how surprising being killed by a shark lunging out of a manhole can be. Sometimes those around you see it coming while you remain clueless; other times it’s a big old shock to all concerned. And then there are the times when – AIEEEE *thud*
“Oh my God, someone just dropped an anvil on that dude’s head!”
“Ew, gross. Lucky he’d just finished putting together this list of moderately surprising and out-of-nowhere movie deaths, hey?”
When Joe Pesci puts your head in a vice, you know nothing good can come from it. Still, who actually expects him to go through with it? He just wants information, and it’s not like a guy with a flat head can tell you much. Plus it’s a guy’s head in a freakin’ vice, they’re not going to show that in a movie are they? Oh geez, they are. And then some guy is going to film it off his television set for the whole internet to enjoy.
So you’ve kidnapped this ex-military assassin dude’s pre-teen daughter, and while the rest of your crew have bolted with the girl they’ve left you behind to explain the score to the justifiably pissed-off dad. Yeah, not the safest job in the world, but what’s he going to do? If he wants his kid back, he’s going to have to co-operate, right? WRONG.
8. Missing in Action 2
Chuck Norris is helplessly tortured in a Vietnamese death camp where US servicemen are still being held despite it being the mid '80s, until he gets word that the first Missing In Action
was totally ripped off to make Rambo: First Blood Part 2
. Enraged, he escapes into the jungle, kills off his captors, frees his buddies, then takes on the commandant in hand-to-hand combat, making sure that with every kick and punch he says ‘This is for Nestor!” “This is for Franklin!” “This is for Boogaloo Shrimp!” and so on. Having pummeled him into submission and reminded him of all the brave US troops he needlessly killed, Norris simply walks away, leaving the commandant behind in the ruins of his base. Then, when he far enough away, Norris pulls out a radio detonator, says “And this is for me”, pulls the trigger, and watches the whole base explode. One problem: the commandant can’t possibly hear him! After a guy beats you up and walks off, who expects to then explode five minutes later? What kind of payback is it when you explode for no reason?
7. Deep Blue Sea
Okay, so we knew the killer sharks were super-intelligent. But no one saw coming the bit where one jumps up through the floor (?!?) to eat Samuel L. Jackson. Then again, how smart is it to lunge through a manhole for a snack? Last time I checked most people don’t go around punching their fist through the cabinet at the 7/11 to grab a donut.
6. Tropic Thunder
We get it: if you make a rousing speech bringing a rag-tag bunch of misfits together, you’re pretty much dead the second you stop to take a breath. Just because this is basically the exact same scene as the one in Deep Blue Sea
only played for (more obvious) laughs (and set on land) doesn’t mean seeing Steve Coogan explode isn’t funny. Not that the clip seems to be up on the net anywhere, so just watch the trailer then mentally superimpose Coogan on the previous Deep Blue Sea
clip. Or rent the movie, it’s got to be a weekly by now.
5. Last Boy Scout
This film is pretty much the high water mark of making your action hero a total murdering sociopath, and even then the scene where Bruce Willis tells his captor (who has just punched a cigarette out of his mouth) “You touch me again and I’ll kill you” and then goes on to punch his nose through his brain is a little unsettling. Yes, Willis does actually warn the bad guy that doing it again will get him killed, but who kills someone for encouraging them not to smoke? Presumably the reason why they haven’t made The Last Boy Scout 2: Loosen Your Woggle
is because Willis would have to murder the entire Anti-Cancer Council in the opening scene.
4. Pulp Fiction
Okay, shooting Marvin in the face was a surprise for all concerned. After that, everyone spent the decade following Pulp Fiction
making bad crime thrillers that ripped off Tarantino’s dialogue, but hardly anyone bothered to rip off his ability to come up with plot twists that were actually surprising. Actually, even Tarantino has pretty much given up as far as plot twists go, unless you count killing Hitler at the end of Inglourious Basterds
. Which probably could have been included here – it sure was a surprise for Hitler, he expected a good six more months before he had to kill himself in the Bunker for getting pissed off at iSnack 2.0 or the AFL Grand Final reply or whatever that internet meme is about this week.
3. Remember Me
So the hunky vampire dude from Twilight
is hanging around New York having various anger management issues after the death of his brother, until he meets and falls for this cute blonde with her own issues and though for a while it looks like maybe they’re not going to make it eventually it becomes clear that the power of love is going to get them through which seems kinda thin for a movie plot and doesn’t really explain why it had to be set in mid 2001 because it’s hardly far enough in the past for a retro feel or anything and then OH MY GOD IT’S 9/11 AND HE’S ON THE TOP OF THE WORLD TRADE CENTER NOOOOO.
Fans of Joss Whedon’s previous work know that when it comes to killing off characters he doesn’t like to mess around. But what kind of sick bastard goes to the trouble of bringing back a much-loved TV series in movie form only to then go around unexpectedly bumping off cast members? I mean, c’mon man… that’s not right. It’s just not… no, I’m OK, I just got something in my eye here. You go on, I’m just gonna sit down for a moment and play with this, this… toy dinosaur *sob*.
1. Four Lions
This kind of top ten is, somewhat obviously, going to be spoiler packed. Occasionally this leads to guilty feelings: am I ruining a bunch of decent films by giving away what is often their most memorable moment? And then along comes Chris Morris’ Four Lions
– which is an amazing movie and the funniest comedy about suicide bombers you’re likely to see – and there’s the moment I was going to mention (where one of the crap team of bungling would-be terrorist suffers from premature detonation) right there in the trailer. Phew, lucky I didn’t reveal the chick from The Crying Game
is really a dude or anything.
Bonus readers' suggestion: Burn After Reading
Words by Anthony Morris. More at thevine.com.au