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We don't often pause to think about the faceless civilians who get killed in movies. Star Wars would be pretty damn depressing if we spent the runtime trying to wrap our heads around the idea that billions of people were killed when Alderaan exploded, instead of watching all the pretty colors in the lightsaber battles. But there are some movies that go so far out of their way to ignore these deaths that we can't help but wonder about the mental stability of the writers.

6
Ocean's Eleven

What You See

In order to rob a casino, Danny Ocean and his many superfluous accomplices need to bring down its security system. They accomplish this by stealing and using a "pinch," which according to Don Cheadle is a device that "unleashes an electromagnetic pulse which shuts down any power source within its blast radius." It works, they get inside the vault, and everything goes according to their needlessly convoluted plan.

But Wait a Minute ...

The electromagnetic pulse didn't just knock out power in the casino; when they set it off, there's a quick shot of the entire city of Las Vegas going dark. The movie then cuts to the inside of the casino they're robbing, where we see people trying to steal chips at the black jack table, and other fun varieties of chaos they intended. So how did the rest of the city do?

Well, keep in mind that according to our merry band of thieves, the electromagnetic pulse doesn't just turn the lights off -- it shuts down every power source within it's blast radius. When the plan is devised, we're told the city will temporarily be plunged into the 17th Century, which is great if you're stealing money, and bad news if you're, say, on life support in a hospital.

Hospitals have back up systems that come on during a power outage, but so do casinos. The pinch is being used because it takes those out. Hell, if we're talking every power source, everyone with a pacemaker is dead on the spot. But at least they weren't one of the poor bastards in helicopters and passenger planes, now making an increasingly less-than gradual descent into Las Vegas.


According to Ocean's Eleven, the biggest danger is chorus lines veering off course, kicking thousands of audience members to death.

Ocean's Eleven isn't the only movie to gloss over the casualties of a power outage. Live Free or Die Hard features the entire East Coast losing power, but the consequences are magically eliminated when the bad guy gets shot. The remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still also tries to end on a happy note, despite the fact that the entire world gets hit with an electromagnetic pulse. But it's especially noticeable in Ocean's Eleven because the charming heroes are the ones responsible. It's hard to root for the thieves once you realize they won't let innocent lives stand between them and their loot. The sequel to Ocean's Eleven shouldn't have been about the casino owner getting revenge; it should have told the story of the FBI hunting down the people responsible for one of the worst terror attacks in American history.


Which would have been way better than what we actually got.

5
Iron Man 2

What You See

A presentation at Tony Stark's expo by his arch-rival turns out to be a trap when the packed house is attacked by Mickey Rourke and his small army of killer robots. But Iron Man and his best friend manage to destroy the robots, kill the villain and save the show.


"Turns out stealing your armor was kind of a good thing. Tony?"

But Wait a Minute ...

The robot army split in two; half went after Iron Man, and half went on a murderous rampage in a crowd of panicking civilians. Not a lot of attention was focused on the latter. Stark passed on the more traditional superhero priority, "Stop the threat against innocent people despite great personal risk," and instead opted for the unorthodox "ignore the problem until it goes away" approach.


"You see, killbots have a preset kill limit. Knowing their weakness, I let them slaughter wave after wave of civilians until they reached their limit and shut down."

Iron Man does nothing to combat the robots attacking the civilians -- aside from pausing to save one little kid and belatedly suggesting that the drones should be lured to a less crowded area -- before jetting off again: "Lure the drones away! Great idea, Tony! Let's get started on getting these people to safety! You fly around and find us a safe area to evacu- or you could just leave! That's good too!"

Even if we ignore Iron Man's questionable superheroics, a lot of people were implicitly slaughtered. We don't see the bodies, because most of the time the focus is on Iron Man fighting off his attackers, but every second spent watching him spout wry witticisms with his charming smile is a second in which innocent people are being gunned down offscreen. Then, for good measure, the drones all explode at the end of the battle, presumably just to ensure that the wounded don't crawl away to safety. Man, who would have thought that Stark's plan of letting his suspicious archrival make a secret presentation at his deadly robotics expo would backfire?


"We're very sorry for the difficulties with that last presentation, visitors. Next up, Professor Razorface's KillSpider Armada!"

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4
Star Trek

What You See

The Enterprise and her fleet respond to a distress call from the planet Vulcan. Upon arrival, they encounter the film's villain, Nero, who wipes out most of the fleet, destroys the planet and kidnaps the Enterprise's captain. Nero then proceeds to attack Earth, but Kirk and the rest manage to stop him in the nick of time.

But Wait a Minute ...

All right, so Spock and the rest pause to mourn the destruction of Vulcan and the death of billions. Only for like, 30 seconds, but it's an action movie and they still have a bad guy to stop. It's understandable.

But what about the fleet that was sent to help Vulcan? Every ship that wasn't named Enterprise just got blown to pieces, with no word of survivors. And since the fleet was made up primarily of cadets and teachers (the regular fleet was too far away to help), our heroes just lost every single one of their colleagues and friends, yet nobody bats an eye. You can't argue that they were just faceless nobodies, either, because we saw some of them earlier in the movie -- like Uhura's green-skinned roommate that Kirk was having kinky interspecies sex with.


"But I had sex with her before she died, so I don't see what the problem is."

Almost the entire population of Starfleet Academy was wiped out in about a minute. That's going to make Kirk and Co.'s return home after the movie awfully depressing, and it certainly puts a damper on the awards ceremony at the end.


"Gee, where is everyone today? Ooh, right ..."

To make matters worse, Nero didn't exactly go down without a fight. The Enterprise stopped him, but not before he started drilling a massive hole into the ground beneath San Francisco Bay. You don't have to be a geologist to understand that having a giant pit blasted into the Earth is bad for the people living in the area, especially if that area is prone to earthquakes.


Like this, except a lot bigger, a lot deeper, on fire and right next to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Between Starfleet losing all its cadets and the likelihood that its San Francisco academy got sucked down into a portal to hell, the upcoming Star Trek sequel should realistically be about Capt. Kirk manning a recruitment station at his old high school for a few hours between bouts of grief-stricken sobbing.

3
Fight Club

What You See

Edward Norton's alter ego starts an underground boxing ring that eventually conspires to blow up the headquarters of several credit card companies. The buildings are destroyed in the middle of the night, because the only people inside are maintenance staff, and they all know about the plan and have evacuated to safety anyway.

But Wait a Minute ...

All right, so they evacuated the buildings. Great. But that's the only precaution they took, and we're pretty sure there's more than one step on the "responsible building demolition" checklist.

Just take a look at movie's final scene:

You see or hear about a dozen buildings go down, and every one of them is a massive skyscraper. Those are some pretty big explosions -- much bigger than what you'd see in a controlled implosion -- and that debris is not going to tumble into a bunch of neat little piles. It's going to be hurtling in every direction. Now, they couldn't have known how callous demolishing skyscrapers for laughs would look to everyone just two years later -- the movie was made in 1999. But for the sake of comparison, the rubble from the World Trade Center towers spread far enough to damage about 20 nearby buildings -- eight of them beyond repair. That was two buildings. This was a dozen or so.

So what was going on down at street level? Well, have you ever been downtown at night? The streets are far from deserted. Homeless people live there. Ladies of the evening ply their trade. Drunken college students wander from club to club, vomiting on their frat-bros as they go. And there's plenty of vehicle traffic as well: taxis, emergency services, cars delivering midnight falafel to your stoned roommate ...


This is Chicago at night. Notice how it isn't empty.

All of those people would have been crushed by the many, many tons of debris. Even if we're generous and assume that the Fight Club somehow managed to shut down several blocks' worth of road traffic without drawing suspicion, it would have been impossible to stop pedestrians from wandering around. Hell, even just the collateral damage from rubble hitting other buildings (like hotels, which are usually located where? That's right: downtown) would definitely be enough to rack up a pretty sizable death toll.

We guess the safety precautions the Fight Club took in the rest of the movie don't apply when their victims are faceless. Which is kind of ironic, considering that the film's message is about fighting back against a society that makes you faceless. Oops.


"Now remember, the first rule of Fight Club is to never, ever talk about all the thousands of people we just murdered to get out of debt."

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2
Batman Begins

What You See

In this origin story, Bruce Wayne trains to become a crime fighter, then uses his new skills to stop Gotham City from being destroyed by a really bad drug trip.

But Wait a Minute ...

At the end of Bruce Wayne's training with the League of Shadows, he's asked to execute a prisoner to prove his loyalty. Shocked by this request (how could he have known something called the League of Shadows would be evil?!), he refuses to kill the man. This is a defining moment in his life: His rejection of lethal force is what separates him from the criminals he hunts down. And it's an ideal he unflinchingly sticks to throughout the- oh wait, he sets the building on fire to escape, which triggers a series of explosions that clearly kills several people. Then we see the entire building explode. You know, that same building where we just saw all the other prisoners still being kept in cages.


Pictured: Batman's idea of a nonlethal approach.

But hey, at that point he was still new to the whole superhero gig, so we guess we can cut him some slack. He got better at the no-killing thing by the end of the movie, right? Like when he stopped the elevated train the bad guy was on by getting Sgt. Gordon to, uh, blow up the tracks and send it plummeting to the ground in a fireball. That seems a little excessive. Couldn't he have just shut the train down, or knocked the bad guy unconscious, or done literally anything besides sending hundreds of tons of flaming shrapnel crashing into a populated area? (And it was populated; you see several people milling about, watching Gordon do his part).


"What do you mean, 'Why didn't I use the brakes?' What the fuck is a 'brakes'?!"

But even that pales in comparison to what the villains accomplished, which was to release a hallucinogenic gas, designed to incite people to murder in their fear and confusion, across the Narrows, an island region of Gotham City. Not only did the gas hit a large number of civilians, but the Narrows was also occupied by pretty much all of the escaped lunatics and serial killers in the city, as well as every member of the riot police. And the only cure for this gas would take weeks to mass produce. So, how does the movie resolve this nightmare situation?

It doesn't. At the end of the film, Gordon casually mentions that "the Narrows are lost" and that half the escaped mental patients are still on the loose. Batman says he'll round them up, because he's just all Batman like that, and that's the end of it. No details on what happened to, say, the hundreds of guys with automatic weapons who currently think all children are demons (remember the scene where a gassed policeman takes aim at a couple of innocent kids?)

So, uh, everybody on the island died, we guess? Gee, that's kind of a downer ending.


"Yeah, so ... that was the worst mass murder in history, but you got revenge on your old teacher, so we'll call it a wash."

1
X2

What You See

During X2's climax, the genocidal anti-mutant villain attempts to kill all the mutants on the planet with the aid of a special machine and a brainwashed Professor X. His plan is stopped by the genocidal anti-human villain, who then attempts to kill all the humans on the planet with the aid of a special machine and a brainwashed Professor X, before being stopped by the X-Men.

But Wait a Minute ...

Both plans come close to succeeding: During the mutant-killing attempt, we see the X-Men suffer paralyzing pain. During the human-killing attempt, the human villains go through the same terrible effects. Since both attempts are stopped, all the main characters survive ... but everyone else on Earth couldn't have been so lucky.

Remember, Professor X's machine is designed to reach out to every mind on the planet (we see people in the White House knocked unconscious by the attack, even though the machine is in northern Canada). The attack lasts only about a minute or so, but there are plenty of everyday activities that would end in devastation if those involved were rendered unconscious or otherwise inoperative for 60 seconds. For starters, there would be hundreds of thousands of traffic accidents. Most every pilot on Earth would lose control of his plane and come crashing to the ground. Don't forget about doctors in the middle of important operations. Skydivers would be screwed, too. Anyone out for a swim would drown. Dozens of couples experimenting with erotic asphyxiation would -- well, you get the idea.

Really, the only group of people who would have suffered no casualties would be the ones sitting at home and browsing the Internet.


Cracked.com: Keeping you safe from Magneto's villainous schemes since 1958.

And it gets worse. The X-Men are all young and athletic, yet they barely survive the attack. So what about the elderly? Infants? The infirm? If Wolverine -- a man whose body is made entirely of muscle, metal and invincible mutant cells -- barely resisted the mental assault, we doubt Grandma is making it through unscathed.


Although "killed by a supervillain's Mind Murder Machine" certainly beats "fell in the shower."

Add it all up and you have one of the greatest disasters in human history. Professor X's chat with the president of the United States at the end of the film doesn't sound quite as sympathetic when you realize the commander-in-chief is getting ready to address a nation in mourning.


"Humans and mutants must learn to coexist. Also, I'm super sorry about those mutants that killed off half the population yesterday."

For folks that should've stayed home, check out 6 Movie Heroes Who Actually Made Things Worse. And see how else Cracked is trying to keep you safe, in Your Mom Lied: 5 Common Body Myths Debunked.

And stop by Linkstorm to discover how Jack O'Brien used Professor X's mind machine.

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