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6 Fictional Villains Who Accidentally Saved the Day

#3. Total Recall: The Bad Guys Don't Bother to Sedate Arnold

Near the end of Total Recall, Arnold Schwarzenegger's character is strapped to a chair and about to have his brain deleted. That's about as screwed as one can be. It's not just that the hero will lose; it's that in a few minutes he won't even exist because his mind will be replaced by an alternate personality (who happens to be a complete bastard).


"Tell me to go fuck myself."

The villain, Vilos Cohaagen, is basically the mayor of an Earth colony on Mars, but he's less concerned with mayoring and more with being evil. Cohaagen wants to destroy the rebels who are getting in the way of his greediness, so his subordinate (Arnold) volunteers to have fake memories implanted as part of a convoluted plan to infiltrate the group and kill their leader. And it works.

So basically, Arnold has been working for the villain for the entire movie and doesn't even know it. Everything that has happened up to the point where Arnold is captured has gone according to the (needlessly complicated but carefully executed) plan. The only silver lining here is that there's a pretty big chance that this is all a dream anyway.


"And for an extra $24.99, we trap you in a psychotic coma filled with busty mutants forever."

But the Villain Saved the Day:

At the last minute, Arnold breaks the restraints on his brain-erasing chair and kills everyone in the room. This, after patiently sitting there while Cohaagen gives his villain monologue explaining everything ... to a man whose brain he's about to erase anyway. This is what they did instead of, you know, sedating Arnold.

Cohaagen's scientists know that this extremely pissed off conglomeration of muscles is a trained killer, and they had more than enough time to put him under before they attempted to erase his mind ... but they just didn't bother. Because of that, this happens:

Arnold tears the chair apart and kills all the scientists with the pieces. Which, really, is the least you'd expect Arnold to do in this situation. If you've seen the movie, you might remember that Arnold had been successfully mind-wiped against his will once before -- that's because back then they took the basic precaution of sedating him. He did try to resist that time, but it only took one of those scientists a few seconds to give him a couple more shots and put him to sleep. So, what, was that the last sedative they owned?

Presumably Cohaagen knew about that previous incident (because, again, every single thing that happened in the movie had to be part of his plan), but despite this, and despite the violent deaths of several of his men at Arnold's hands, the only anesthetic method they employ in this scene is a condescending scientist telling Arnold to calm down.


"And don't force those restraints, please, they are extremely easy to break."

If all of this happened inside Arnold's head after all, his imagination leaves a lot to be desired.


We take that back.

And while we're on the subject of Schwarzenegger villains ...

#2. The Running Man: The Network Puts the Girl on TV (Instead of Killing Her)

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a former military pilot blamed for a massacre he didn't commit and, worse yet, the unwitting star of a future game show of Japan-level sadism. Arnold and two other convicts are sent into a game area where they are chased by a group of colorful killers called Stalkers. The winner is whoever manages to not die.


This is the most outrageous reality show they could conceive in 1987.

However, Arnold soon finds out that the corrupt TV government that pinned 200 murders on him isn't as trustworthy as it seems, since the "winners" of the show are killed anyway and stored in a warehouse within the game area. Although Arnold has come in contact with a group of rebels trying to bring down the corrupt officials (again), even if they help him escape the game he's still a wanted felon and the most hated man in the country.

Man, it sucks to be Arnold Schwarzenegger in the future.

But the Villain Saved the Day:

Basically, the entire reason the bad guys lost is Maria Conchita Alonso.


Cast in this movie so that Arnold's name wouldn't look exceedingly long in the poster.

She plays Amber, a woman working for the network whom Arnold briefly kidnaps as he tries to escape to Hawaii. Arnold is caught, but Amber starts believing he was really framed, does a little snooping around and finds a tape with footage that proves the entire coverup (including the part where the government is responsible for the deaths they're pinning on Arnold). Unfortunately, at this point Amber herself is discovered, and obviously they kill her right away because what she knows could bring down their entire organization.

Just kidding, they send her into the game.


"She discovered our horrible conspiracy! Let's put her on national TV."

Because they chose the least logical and most long-winded way of disposing of her, she and Arnold end up being rescued by the rebels and Amber hands them the stolen tape -- which is then broadcast to the public, proving that the government is evil. At this point the entire game-show-based totalitarian state crumbles, presumably, and everyone learns to live in peaceful anarchy.

Yeah, about that tape ... Amber was caught in the room with all the video files, searching through the cabinet where this extremely incriminating tape showing the military murdering hundreds of people was stored. And yet nobody noticed that the tape was missing. They knew she was there to steal that specific piece of evidence, but apparently they didn't even bother searching her, since she was able to carry the tape with her even after a full change of clothes.


She must have hidden it in her hairdo.

#1. Raiders of the Lost Ark: Belloq Doesn't Read the Instructions

By the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, it isn't just Indiana Jones who is screwed: it's the entire nonracist world. The Nazis are now in possession of the Ark of the Covenant, a biblical weapon of mass destruction that the film describes as capable of "leveling mountains and laying waste to entire regions" -- basically, it's like God's version of the Sim City "Disasters" menu.


Tornado + alien attack = Fresh real estate for the Arcology park.

The Ark had been safely stored in an Egyptian temple for thousands of years, until U.S. intelligence agents learned that the Nazis were interested in it and sent Indiana Jones to find it first. And now, because Indy got himself caught, the Ark is on its way to Adolf Hitler, who is probably already thinking of which army he wants to wipe out first.


"I'll show you, Canada."

Obviously we all know what happens next (melting faces, exploding heads, hiding behind the sofa), but that was probably an incredible stroke of luck, or maybe even God himself intervening to save humanity, right?

But the Villain Saved the Day:

Actually, all the horror could have been easily avoided -- if only one guy had paid a little more attention.


Not him, but we're legally required to show you this picture somewhere in this article.

Rene Belloq, Indy's evil French counterpart and the guy who convinces the Nazis to "test" the Ark before delivering it to Hitler, evidently knew enough about the artifact to wear the right ceremonial garb and speak the correct Hebrew words to get it open, but he forgot one important detail: don't freaking look inside or you'll be killed.

Why would Belloq know that part, you ask? Mainly because it's right there in the Bible. According to the King James translation: "And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter."


"Ohhh, so THAT's what 'smote' mea --"

Obviously Indy did his homework better than Belloq, because he knew he had to close his eyes to be spared by the Ark's power. Presumably Hitler himself would have known how to use the Ark, too, since he was the one who first learned about it and who sent the Nazis to Egypt to fetch it. Meanwhile, it looks like Belloq sort of skimmed through the instructions and called it a day.

In the end it all comes down to Belloq being shitty at his job, which isn't really that much of a surprise considering that his entire archeological method consisted of "following Indiana Jones and stealing the shit he finds."

Douglas A. McDonnell is a regular participant in our Photoplasty contests. If you're looking for something else to do, then check them out, and maybe submit an entry yourself.

For more supervillain gaffs, check out 7 Badass Cartoon Villains Who Lost to Retarded Heroes and 5 Batman Villains Too Lame To Survive a Single Issue.

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