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 ...
5Die 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.
4300 -- 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 ...