5 Badass Movie Heroes (Who Were Actually Just Really Lucky)

Hollywood movies are an alternate reality where every law of the universe operates differently from our own, from the amount of damage a human body can take to the dating standards of hot girls who inexplicably fall for clumsy nerds. In this dimension, even a hero who is specifically described as "down on his luck" will routinely defeat the overwhelming odds thanks to a long list of coincidences falling his way. Like ...

#5. Die Hard -- John McClane Blindly Throws C4 Down an Elevator Shaft, Hits Terrorists

We all know/have attempted to re-enact the scene: About halfway through the first Die Hard, John McClane has successfully contacted the police, and they're making their way to the office building where Hans Gruber and his group of long-haired German terrorists have set up camp. However, their raid is cut short when Gruber unleashes his secret weapon: a rocket launcher that his goons use to blast missiles at the SWAT cars.

"Is there a way we could make them die a little softer?"

The cops can't get anywhere near the building without getting blown to shit. But John McClane is nothing if not resourceful: He grabs a load of C-4 explosive that he borrowed from a dead terrorist, secures it to a chair using an old school computer monitor and drops it down an elevator shaft. What follows is one of the great moments in classic cinema:

The C-4 explodes upon impact at the floor where the missile-launching terrorists are, killing them and making the building a little less insanely dangerous. Thank God for John McClane, right?

The Blind Luck:

How did McClane know the C-4 would explode on that exact floor? He is on the 38th floor when he drops the explosives, and the hostages (including his wife) are on the 30th or so. He doesn't have a detonator switch to set the bomb off, so how did he know the chair would blow on the terrorists' floor as opposed to, say, landing on an elevator and getting carried up to some other random floor (like, say, the one where all the hostages are)? Hell, what's to say it doesn't bounce off the walls of the shaft at some point on the way down, blowing some key structural support and bringing the whole building down? Or at least a huge part of it?

Or, best case scenario, it goes straight to the basement and kills Argyle.

McClane does briefly look down the shaft to make sure the coast is clear, presumably, but one thing elevators tend to do is move up and down in a matter of seconds; he knows there are terrorists using the elevators because he just heard them. In fact, that's his entire knowledge of the situation: He heard an elevator go past, and from that somehow assumed that a) it had to be boarded by the terrorists who would later shoot those missiles and b) they stopped close enough to the ground level that the explosion wouldn't do any serious damage on the top floors where all the innocent people are.

"So ... dyin' hard or hardly dyin'?"

Wait a second, look at that screen shot -- how did that not set the building on fire?

McClane is visibly angry and talking to himself while he does his bomb drop, muttering profanity-laden one-liners at no one in particular -- clearly this guy wasn't in a right state of mind and didn't think things through, at all. We're guessing he woke up in his bed like two weeks later and said, "Did I really fucking do that?" then cried for the rest of the night. He was incredibly lucky that it worked out, but we guess we're all entitled to one moment of unbelievable luck in our lifetimes ... it's not like he went on to shoot down a helicopter with a car or something.

#4. 300 -- The Evil Politician Happens to Be Carrying His Bribe Money Around

Near the end of 300, the plot of the movie takes a break from all the slow-motion homoeroticism (slomoeroticism) to show the Spartan Council deciding whether or not to send King Leonidas the reinforcements that he desperately needs to stop the Persians from marching into Greece and killing everything there. As a reminder, there are currently only three hundred Spartans fighting off an army of over a million Persian warriors at Thermopylae.

Luckily, they have a dude who can hold aggro.

While Leonidas' wife, Queen Gorgo, is explaining to the council the painfully simple logic of "We should send the reinforcements or we're all gonna die," some douchebag called Theron accuses her of trying to seduce him into agreeing with her at this meeting, and also of sleeping with some old guy. The council is appalled and disgusted, judging by the series of gasps and mouth-hands that follow. A guard stands behind the queen, and everything indicates that she'll be taken away and Leonidas won't be getting his reinforcements.

However, Queen Gorgo diffuses the situation by stabbing Theron in the dick, causing a bundle of Persian coins to spill onto the floor. The council recognizes that he was a traitor, and Leonidas has his reinforcements sent. (And then he dies anyway, but that's beside the point.)

"We always knew you'd die from hogging all the dick money, McNulty."

The Blind Luck:

So, wait, Theron was accusing the queen of being devious ... and her response was to literally stab him with a sword, right in front of everyone else? Um, OK.

There's no way the queen could have known that Theron had chosen to bring his bribe to the meeting, and she sure as hell didn't know that he was carrying the coins in the general vicinity of his penis, otherwise she could have just said, "Hey, check out this guy's dick, it's stuffed with Persian gold!"

His hubris was an expensive crotch bulge.

If the council had any doubts that she was guilty, this should have been enough to clear that up, since it probably looked like she was just trying to shut him up before he said anything else. Sure, she could have tried to explain her innocence afterward, but it wouldn't have looked very convincing with the guy bleeding to death in front of her.

It was only the queen's astonishing luck -- and the fact that Theron was an idiot with a cock purse -- that saved the situation. Why would Theron carry the evidence of his treason into the meeting where he was planning to accuse someone else of being the traitor? Did he come straight from his treason deal? Was he between banks? Of course, the luckiest part wasn't that Theron was carrying the money, because that could have been from anything -- it's that he happened to be paid in coins that had the face of the King of Persia on them.

How exactly was he planning to spend these?

It's important to note that this scene appears only in the 300 movie by Zack Snyder and not in the comic it's based on. As much as we'd like to keep picking on Snyder, though, the next one was all in the comic ...

#3. Watchmen -- Nite Owl Guesses Adrian's Password

Toward the end of Watchmen, we learn that the recent string of superhero murders at the center of the plot is actually a tiny byproduct of a vast conspiracy headed by one of the heroes, Adrian Veidt, aka Ozymandias, aka "the smartest man on the planet." Even the extremely powerful and extremely naked Dr. Manhattan has been manipulated by Veidt, who tricked him into leaving the Earth by convincing him that his blue dong was giving people cancer.

Via Baldwall.wordpress.com
"I'm gonna have to go back for toilet paper."

The only two remaining heroes who aren't either the bad guy or on Mars decide to check out Veidt's office for clues about what the fuck is going on. After logging in to Veidt's computer, Nite Owl and Rorschach find evidence that Veidt is behind everything and travel to his Antarctic hideout to confront him -- leaving New York just in time to avoid an attack that kills half the city's population. This, too, was part of Veidt's elaborate plan to ensure world peace by uniting the countries against a fictional enemy (aliens in the comic, Dr. Manhattan in the movie).

Watchmen #12
"I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish
if we were facing a vagina from outside this world." -- Ronald Reagan

Of course, Nite Owl didn't just power on Veidt's computer and find the evidence right there in the desktop: He had to type a password first. Veidt wasn't stupid. The password turned out to be "Rameses II," the Egyptian pharaoh also known as Ozymandias.

The Blind Luck:

Hold on, Veidt used his own superhero name as his password?! The smartest man on the planet? Yep, and it took Nite Owl literally two tries to get it right.

Watchmen #10
"OK dude, now get on his Facebook and fill it with pictures of dicks."

In the movie it's even worse, because Owl gets the word from a book on Rameses that's right there on the desk. Right fucking there on the same desk as the computer loaded with incriminating files, sort of defeating the purpose of even having a password.

"Smartest and most careless man on the planet."

The luckiest part here is that Nite Owl even bothered trying to guess the password, when there was absolutely no reason for him to believe that it would be anything less than 500 special characters mixed into some sort of complex symbol sequence. We would have just said "Fuck it" and focused on trying to force his top desk drawer open.

Some fans believe that Veidt intentionally chose a shitty password so that his friends would find out about the conspiracy and leave New York before the attack, but there are two problems with that theory: a) It would require risking the entire conspiracy, since Nite Owl and Rorschach could have easily sent the incriminating info to the government or something and undermined the "alien attack" story, and b) this guy just killed 3 million people. He doesn't give a shit about killing two more.

You don't put your trust in a guy who dresses like that. You just don't.

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