We would probably react to danger on an action movie scale by locking ourselves in the toilet and peeing our pants until we passed out from dehydration. Which would be weird, what with the toilet being right there and all. But this isn't about us and our weak, childlike bladders. This is about some very real people who found themselves faced with extraordinary circumstances -- and reacted by ramping a flaming police car into those circumstances while muttering cool one-liners.
5 Bank Robbers Lead Massive Police Chase, Then Shoot Down a Helicopter
Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images
In 1980, five heavily armed men decided to rob a bank in Norco, California. Between them, the robbers came equipped with several automatic rifles, a few shotguns, various homemade bombs and devices, a massive cache of bullets, and, presumably, a Technodrome. The cops surrounding the bank were greeted with a massive hail of bullets, while the robbers used the cover to escape. But as they were speeding away, Officer Glyn Bolatsky dealt a fatal headshot to their getaway driver, sending their van careening into a light pole. Hopefully, somebody had the good sense to stand directly in front of the vehicle, so that they could dramatically leap out of the way at the last second.
"Hey, watch this."
The four surviving robbers leapt out of the van and sprayed bullets at Bolasky's car (he was hit, but survived) before piling into another vehicle and escaping. The Norco Police Department then sent everyone except the meter maids up against the Quartet of Mayhem. An armada of police cars began a 25-mile car chase, only to be taken out one by one by the robbers' hellish barrage of gunfire and homemade bombs. A whopping 33 squad cars were damaged or disabled, and the robbers even managed to shoot down a fucking police helicopter. It made an emergency landing instead of dramatically exploding midair, but still, once you start downing helicopters, it isn't even an action movie anymore -- that's a mission rejected from GTA V for being too implausible.
Even the Blues Brothers found it to be a bit excessive.
The robbers pulled ahead of the smoldering remains of Norco's police department and set up an ambush, because at that point they had forgotten the difference between "bank robber" and "crazed John Woo movie villain." One officer was killed in the opening salvo, and it seemed that yet another police department was about to be overrun by four maniacs with assault rifles. Then D.J. McCarty, an off-duty cop who heard about the shootout and realized they'd long since abandoned reality and stepped into Lethal Weapon world, finally arrived with the department's sole assault rifle.
As the robbers advanced on the cops, McCarty sprayed a wall of bullets over the hood of his car, forcing the robbers to retreat. His aim was haphazard and he didn't even know how to fire the thing at first, but that didn't matter. Clearly, the robbers realized this was the part of the fight scene where the good guys are finished taking an impossible beating, and proceed to rally to victory. So the tides dutifully turned, the robbers lost their steam, and were flushed out within days. Three of the culprits were thrown in jail for life for killing one police officer, wounding eight, and temporarily replacing the airspace of Norco with hot lead.
As well as receiving a small fine for breaking a little-known city ordinance forbidding automatic arms fire during work hours.
The fourth died in one final shootout with the police, because every good action flick needs a dramatic showdown.
4A Mossad Agent Stops Rocket-Wielding Terrorists With Only Seconds Left to Go
Majid Saeedi/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Golda Meir, the prime minister of Israel, had long been in the sights of Black September, the Palestinian militant group behind the 1972 Munich massacre. During her trip to see the Pope in 1973, they saw their chance: they'd take out her plane with surface-to-air missiles as it was landing. Mossad, the Israeli secret service, caught wind of the plot. But since Meir deemed the visit too important to cancel -- a little thing like impending death should never get in the way of meeting a guy with a seriously fancy hat -- they entered a frantic race to find her would-be assassins.
"Hey, are you hearing that weird feedback over the radio too?"
The day Meir was due to arrive, the terrorists had still not been found, and people were starting to get a little edgy. Mossad and Italian officials kept throwing more and more agents at the airport, until one team stumbled upon a van that was parked in a strange spot. A quick check of the car led to the two occupants instigating a short firefight, which ended with one dead PLO assassin and the discovery of a veritable arsenal of shoulder-mounted plane murder. Huzzah! Crisis averted!
Not quite. During interrogations, the wounded driver of the van revealed that his team was not working alone. Another PLO team was out there. They had no idea where it was. And Golda Meir's plane was less than an hour away.
Minerva Studio/iStock/Getty Images
"We could divert the plane, but that would require some other whole airport! And where would we find ... oh, right there."
A desperate search ensued, but they found nothing. Things were looking grim when one agent -- we'll call him Jock Bower -- spotted something strange about a food cart parked by the street: it had three stacks poking from its roof, but only one of them was smoking.
It wasn't much, but Jock Bower always trusts his gut. Like, seriously, he trusts the holy shit out of his gut. Armed solely with the knowledge that not all of the stacks on the food cart were currently smoking, he pulled a U-turn and rammed his vehicle full speed into the cart. The cart flipped over, pinning two of its five occupants underneath it and knocking the other three out cold.
"Shit, I wanted everyone awake when I started teabagging them ..."
A number of things should have happened at that point, all of them culminating in the death or injury of a bunch of food cart employees who just weren't using every grill that afternoon. But nope! Apparently we live inside an episode of 24 -- Mossad found missiles in the wreckage, arrested the occupants, and Golda Meir's plane landed safely. You're a loose cannon, Bower! But god damn if you don't get the job done.