Remember when we told you how in Star Wars, a single TIE fighter pilot saved the rebellion by colliding with Darth Vader before he could shoot down Luke? Turns out he wasn't the only remarkably inept bad guy who ended up doing the heroes a huge favor. For example ...
6RoboCop: Dick Jones Confesses to a Cyborg That Records Everything
The pivotal scene in RoboCop plays out like so: Through a combination of expert police work and being a robot, RoboCop tracks down the man who shot him earlier in the film. RoboCop finds out that the bad guy is working for Dick Jones, one of the top executives at OCP (the company that runs the police department). It turns out Jones ordered the assassination of fellow OCP executive Bob Morton as revenge for creating RoboCop and upstaging his own proposal for a technological law enforcer.
The problem is that as soon as RoboCop goes to arrest Jones, his body starts shutting itself down:
"If I can only act with my mouth, then by gosh it's gonna be the best mouth acting anyone's ever seen."
Jones, instead of just having RoboCop hauled out to a dumpster, patiently explains to him that he added a secret directive to RoboCop's program that prevents him from acting against any member of OCP management. During his villain monologue, he also admits to having ordered Morton's death -- but there's absolutely nothing RoboCop can do about it because of his programming. Finally, Jones sends his giant robot and a bunch of SWATs to kill RoboCop, because he can.
Holy shit. No amount of RoboCopping can get him out of this one.
Look! He's still human after all.
But the Villain Saved the Day:
Look, we know that flamboyant movie villains like to explain their master plan to the trapped hero -- James Bond has heard more confessed sins than your average priest. But boasting of your plan to RoboCop is like confessing directly into a security camera. He's a machine that records everything he sees and hears -- his memory is admissible in court as evidence.
And his fist is a flash drive.
We know Jones should have been aware of this because a) he was familiar enough with RoboCop's programming to insert a new directive and b) RoboCop was actually playing an audio clip of the killer shouting "I WORK FOR DICK JONES!" as he walked toward Jones' office.
Perhaps Jones was under the impression that if RoboCop dies all the files inside him stop existing, like someone who throws away a laptop full of incriminating porn because the monitor is broken. Following that analogy, the scene when RoboCop plays Jones' confession in front of the entire OCP board would be like the moment when the computer's owner finds out that one of his personal videos has 3,000,000 hits on YouPorn. Hey, Dick -- even if RoboCop "died," somebody could have recovered his hard drive (or whatever he has in there) and copied the files off of it to nail your ass.
Explaining the secret directive to RoboCop turned out to be a monumentally stupid decision, too: This is something that RoboCop couldn't have known otherwise, because this particular directive never shows up in his Robovision (unlike the others). When Jones is exposed, RoboCop more or less tells everyone at the board that he can't touch him because he's an OCP employee -- and so the OCP president kindly fires Jones on the spot to allow RoboCop to deal with him however he sees fit.
John McClane is a goddamn plagiarist.
If Jones hadn't told RoboCop that he can't hurt OCP executives, Robo probably would have assumed that the directive forbid him from hurting Jones only, regardless of where he worked ... which actually would have made a lot more sense as a directive anyway.
5Return of the Jedi: Emperor Palpatine Sucks at Setting Traps
At the climax of Return of the Jedi, Luke learns that his friends have fallen into an elaborate trap: The Emperor intentionally leaked the plans of the new Death Star to the Rebels while making them think that it wasn't operational yet. As soon as all their forces are gathered at the same place, they find out that it totally was.
As the Emperor put it, "Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design" -- yes, even meeting the damned Ewoks. The whole reason Han, Leia and the others went to Ewok-ville is that the Emperor secretly fed them the location to a shield generator supposedly protecting the Death Star, but that, too, was part of the trap.
In other words, the Rebels may think they're making some progress, but each victory just brings them closer to ultimate defeat. As they arrive at what they believe is their goal, they are essentially a woman tied up on the train tracks in front of an approaching train, only in this case the woman has tied herself there because she thought that's how you derail the train.
"If I had a mustache I'd be twirling it, but I am completely hairless."
But the Villain Saved the Day:
There's only one problem with that plan. As part of the trap, the Emperor makes the Rebels on Endor believe they're attacking the Death Star's shield generator. And as bait for said trap, he uses the actual shield generator. As a reminder, the Rebels have already blown up an unshielded Death Star before, and this one has a big-ass hole in the side. He knows it's completely vulnerable without those shields. It's like setting a mousetrap where the cheese is rigged to a bomb, and if the mouse doesn't eat it, you die.
They should have built a shield generator for the shield generator.
Sure, the Emperor had a bunch of Stormtroopers waiting to ambush the Rebels, but why even take that risk? Why not tell them the shield station was somewhere else? Like for example in any of the other eight nearby moons that don't have indispensable equipment in them, which they could've then blown to shit with the giant laser as soon as the Rebels landed.
OK, so telling them how to shut down the shield is one thing ... but did the Emperor also have to give them complete and accurate plans for the new Death Star? He could have easily fudged a few details, causing Lando to fly the Millennium Falcon into a wall.
"Well, GPS says to go right ahead, so ..."
When you think about it, the Ewoks did more to endanger the Rebel Alliance than the Emperor, since they delayed Luke's group getting to the shield generator with their off-putting hijinks, which could have been fatal to the fleets waiting for the shield to be taken down. That's right: The Ewoks are better villains than the Emperor.
As any Stormtrooper could have told you.