When it comes to making wise decisions, characters in a movie have a huge disadvantage: they don't know they're in a movie. The good guys wouldn't have been surprised by Darth Vader winning if they'd known from the outset they were in a movie called "The Empire Strikes Back."
But even then, you can't watch certain movies without realizing that these guys really should have seen it coming. Like...
"Don't worry, Mr. Denham, we'll get you on your way in a jiffy. Let's just have a look at that shipping manifest. Let's see... 12,000-pounds of bananas... 250-pounds of animal tranquilizers... 300-pounds of raging gorilla... What's that you say? Oh, yes, it looks like you're right. Thirty thousand pounds of gorilla. My mistake. Well, everything seems to be in order. Sign here."
Why They Had It Coming:
We understand that Denham was supposed to be eccentric and ambitious to the point of insanity. But he didn't sneak Kong back into the U.S. by hiding him in his suitcase. A whole lot of people apparently signed off on the deal.
Do you know why they don't let you just take tropical monkeys home with you whenever you feel like it? It's because that would be a REALLY FUCKING BAD IDEA. And we're talking regular-sized monkeys here. Seriously, go on vacation and try passing through customs with a screeching live monkey clinging to your back.
Sure, the guys in the customs office in 1933 New York weren't dealing with the same restrictions we have today, but a little bit of basic common sense should have told them that a motherfucking three-story ape is not an acceptable import. Really, taking any kind of giant monster through customs shouldn't be this easy, or even possible.
He was royalty, though.
But not in the King Kong universe. Just stop and think about all the people who had to go along with his plan to display a giant, rampaging monkey in front of a Broadway audience. The trucking company should have refused to transport anything that could conceivably beat one of their trucks in a fist fight. The police should have stopped him for transporting unsafe materials. The theater owner should have taken one look at Denham's plan, a plan to stuff hundreds of people into a room with a giant gorilla and then wait for something interesting to happen, and he should have told the man to go directly to Hell and take his monkey with him.
This is apparently a world where not only did dinosaurs not go extinct, but somehow lawyers and insurance companies did.
"Things are going well. I've released cryogenically frozen criminal, Simon Phoenix, to murderdeathkill my only enemy in all the world, and I've made sure to insert a program into this dangerous criminal's mind that makes it impossible for him to turn around and kill me, which he very much wants to do since I've been messing with his brain and treating him like the hired help, and also because he's a psychopath who pretty much wants to kill everybody."
Stallone threatening the least valuable part of Cocteau's body.
Why They Had It Coming:
"Oh, also he says that all he needs to complete his mission is for me to unfreeze a team of five fellow criminals from his old gang. Makes sense. What's that you say? The other murderers haven't been programmed with the 'don't murder me' safeguard? Eh, I'm sure it'll be fine."
There are all kinds of problems with Dr. Raymond Cocteau's plan to rid his utopian future society of the menace of graffiti, not the least of which is the issue of overkill, but his failure to protect himself from anything that isn't played by Wesley Snipes definitely tops the list. If the man who wants you dead asks you for the necessary supplies to make you dead, perhaps you should put a little extra thought into your answer. "No," for instance, might not be a bad choice.
Oh, come on. How can you say "no" to a face like this?
And even if you assume that giving an unfrozen crime lord from the past his own posse is a necessary risk, Cocteau already knows that people's brains can be fixed to make them not murder you. He already tried it, and it worked out just fine. What, did he fucking forget? Did he prematurely cross it off his "To Do" list by mistake?
Come to think of it, maybe Dr. Cocteau should have made the "don't kill Dr. Cocteau" programming mandatory for all the inmates in his cryogenic prison. You know, just in case of the incredibly unlikely event that something should ever go wrong with your warehouse of frozen psychopaths.
"I'll be the judge of that!"
"As it turns out, sharks have a protein in their brains which could lead us to a cure for Alzheimer's. Our scientists are already hard at work developing sharks with freakishly large brains. Oh, also their bodies are freakishly large. And their teeth and jaws. So! All we need now is someplace where we can house these deadly creatures and periodically poke at their heads with giant needles!"
Why They Had It Coming:
"Well, let's see, there's this abandoned submarine base in the middle of the ocean, totally isolated from civilization, with most of the structure underwater where it could easily be flooded. And there's a huge hole in the floor. Dear God, it's perfect!"
You know what might have been a better place for this lab? How about a nice little facility in the middle of Arizona, with a couple of big saltwater fish tanks? They didn't make these sharks so they could study giant super-shark behavior in a natural environment. The swimming death machines don't really need to be out in the actual ocean for this experiment to work. Being eaten alive does not need to be a common workplace accident.
Workplace safety aside, you have the bonus concern of what could happen if one of these monsters escapes, which actually happens in the opening minutes of the film. Here's an idea that might help you keep your killer fish from escaping: Don't put them out in the fucking ocean! We don't care how strong your fence is, it's still not as much of a deterrent as miles and miles of dry, shark-smothering land.
"Hey, good idea! And that would also be a perfect place to test our new air-breathing sharks and our prototype shark jetpacks!"