The 6 Most Idiotic Decisions by Authority Figures in Movies

Some of the most famous cinematic heroes are folks who didn't respect authority and liked to play by their own rules. Well, there's a very good reason for that -- authority figures, from police departments to federal agencies, aren't known for making the wisest decisions in movies. In fact, some of them are bafflingly stupid. Like ...

#6. Batman -- The Joker Announces He's Holding a Parade, No Cops Bother to Show Up

Different actors have played the Joker in different ways, but one thing that hasn't changed is the fact that the guy doesn't care much for money -- in The Dark Knight, he burns a huge pile of bills (with an accountant on top), and in Tim Burton's Batman, he hijacks the mayor's press conference to announce that he'll be holding a midnight parade in downtown Gotham City and throwing $20 million in cash at the crowd.

And sure enough, when midnight comes around, the Joker keeps his word and holds his downtown parade, to the delight of Gotham's citizens. Sure, he also tries to gas those citizens to death, but no one's perfect.

Now, here's the thing: By this point in the movie, the Joker is already a supervillain. Aside from, well, looking like that, he is wanted for killing people and making creepy-ass commercials. And here he has done the authorities a huge favor by telling them exactly where and when he'll show up next, and even makes sure to tell Batman to be there. And what do the cops do with this information? Absolutely nothing.

Watch the scene again -- not a single policeman is present, even though the parade literally passes right in front of City Hall. Were they all trapped in the sewers by Bane or something?


"Let Batman handle it. It's league night."

It should be mentioned that the most powerful figures in Gotham were present to hear the Joker's announcement, including the mayor, Commissioner Gordon, and District Attorney Lando Calrissian ...


What the hell are they looking at, anyway?

You'd think that, after being provided with such generous advance notice, Gotham PD would put themselves on high alert and cover the entire downtown area. We don't know how big the area is, but how hard could it be to spot the guy in the clown makeup traveling on a parade float, blaring Prince music and dragging a couple of gigantic balloons behind him?

And yet, the first we ever see of the cops is like 10 minutes later, after the Joker has had enough time to poison several people, shoot down Batman's plane, and take his girlfriend into a bell tower. They knew the parade would be at midnight. Why were they so late?


"Goddamn daylight saving time!"

#5. Die Hard 2 -- The Justice Department Wants to Pick Up a Deposed Dictator at a Commercial Airport

The plot of Die Hard 2 involves deposed South American dictator/drug lord General Ramon Esperanza being extradited to the U.S. to stand trial for his crimes/showcase his fantastic beard. Esperanza is put on a plane bound for Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., where he will be handed over to the Justice Department.


They've been after him since his mandingo fighting days.

However, the corrupt Colonel Stuart and his team of mercenaries decide to hijack the airport's network and hold all the airplanes flying overhead hostage until they can spring Esperanza from custody and flee the country. And what do you know, John McClane's wife is on one of those planes. McClane must now defeat Stuart and convince his wife that he isn't cursed (judging by her absence in the sequels, she didn't believe him).

Anyway, we've already mocked Colonel Stuart's needlessly convoluted plan, which hinges entirely on the area being hit with a blizzard ... but, um, why is the Justice Department picking up such a high-profile prisoner at a commercial airport in the first place, anyway?


"Never waste an opportunity for duty-free booze."

When we see the Justice Department guys, they are completely surrounded by reporters -- that was their best case scenario, the worst one being "some asshole kidnaps a bunch of planes to free the general." To compound their stupidity, they decide to pick up Esperanza at Christmastime, when Dulles Airport will be super busy and packed with people. This idea creates a ludicrous number of security risks, especially considering that the airport police is run by the most incompetent officer ever.


He spends most of his scenes trying not to swallow his tongue.

While it's obvious that the character of Esperanza was inspired by Manuel Noriega, the Panamanian dictator who was captured by American military forces and extradited to the U.S. a year before Die Hard 2 came out, the main difference there was that Noriega was transported to an Air Force base, not the same place you go to pick up your grandma, because that's just common sense.

So, if not for the piss-poor planning of the authorities, Die Hard 2 might have been the wacky story of John McClane dealing with his angry mother-in-law for causing her new car to get towed.


Die Hard 2: Park Harder

#4. Minority Report -- Tom Cruise Becomes a Fugitive, They Still Give Him Top Clearance

According to Minority Report, in about 50 years we'll figure out how to stop crimes before they happen by harnessing the powers of mutant babies. However, this system backfires on the PreCrime captain, John Anderton (Tom Cruise), when the precognitive kids have a vision of him committing a murder in 36 hours. Anderton is forced to go on the run as a wanted fugitive.


And that is officially the most convoluted reason for Tom Cruise to spend a whole movie sprinting.

At one point, Anderton decides to undergo an eye transplant so that he can avoid being detected by the city's retina scanners (which are freaking everywhere), but the doctor is nice enough to let him keep his old eyeball in a plastic baggie. This bit of sentimentality pays off later when Anderton returns to the PreCrime building in order to kidnap one of the precogs and uses his old eyeball on the retina scanner to gain access.


"No! I've seen what that hand does! Nooooooo!"

But, wait a minute ... why does Anderton still have access to the most restricted high-security area of the building? After becoming the city's most wanted criminal, you'd think they would have revoked his security clearance. Does this mean he can still use his parking spot, too?

But, you know, let's cut them a little slack on this one. It's only been about a day and a half since Anderton went on the run, and the PreCrime unit's been pretty busy trying to catch him. Maybe they simply didn't get around to revoking his clearance, or they didn't know he would be ballsy enough to go back to a building full of pissed-off cops.


It's not like they can see the future or anything.

However, once Anderton has been in and out of the building, knocked some people out, and kidnapped a kid, then revoking his access would definitely become a top priority, right? Nope. Later in the movie, his wife is able to just walk right into a containment unit and break him out by using his goddamn eyeball ... again.

Let's get this straight: Immediately after he goes on the run, Anderton can't even drive his own car (they disable it remotely), but weeks later, he can still release prisoners? And even worse, D.C. cops apparently didn't learn anything from that whole Die Harder situation decades earlier.

Recommended For Your Pleasure

To turn on reply notifications, click here

696 Comments

The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!