6 Badass Characters You Never Realized Were Incompetent

Everyone knows that classic movie moment where Detective Guy HeroCop throws all the files off a desk in a rage, because The Zodiac Limb Bandit left another taunting murder riddle (this time, tattooed as a crossword puzzle on the mayor's severed head).

What the movies don't show you is the office peon whose marriage is falling apart because he has to stay until 11 p.m. daily going on a scavenger hunt for flying budget reports. Because, let's face it, someone like Dirty Harry is a pain in the ass to work with and probably sucks at every other aspect of his career that isn't directly related to shooting serial killers. This isn't a fluke, people -- many of the characters you know and/or love are secretly worse at their job than whatever dickwad co-worker you're picturing at this very moment.

#6. Ethan Hunt Is The Opposite Of Secretive

Paramount Pictures

The very first scene of the very first Mission: Impossible film involves Ethan Hunt interrogating a Russian agent while disguised in the series' signature rubber mask. After that, he infiltrates a party in the same manner, demonstrating once again how crucially vital these fake rubber faces are in covert situations. In fact, up until the first time he is disavowed by the IMF, Mr. Hunt is a regular George Smiley -- focused on the discretion that comes with being a spy. Then he's forced to blow up a giant fish tank and sprint away into the night like a maniac, and he never looks back.

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He uses the same technique whenever a girlfriend says, "... I'm late."

After that moment, Ethan Hunt spends the rest of the franchise slowly backing away from tactfulness like it's a drunk 9/11 truther at a dorm party. Each new action becomes more and more high-profile as he opts less and less to use the ever-helpful face-disguising masks in their most needed moments. By the end of the first film, Ethan has successfully shown his face to a train full of civilians before blowing up a helicopter and nearly crashing into the conductor.

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It's such a horrific event that we immediately see it on the news in the next scene ...

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"A crash happened. And now, sports. Sports happened."

... where Ethan and his friend are toasting a job well done and listening to The Cranberries.

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Because nothing says "thrill-a-minute action" like the soft-rock soundtrack from Milk Money.

Yes. Causing a shitstorm of destruction and nearly blowing your cover is declared a victory in this guy's spy book. It's something he continues to do throughout the series, never once thinking to mask his face while infiltrating the Vatican ...

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... spying on a guy who knows who he is and what he looks like ...

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... or even conducting the violent interrogation of a madman, something that ultimately puts his loved ones in danger.

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Anyone else find it weird that MI:3 turned out to be the King Kong Vs. Godzilla of Scientology?

It's like he's trying to make every endeavor either personal or so elaborate and thrill-seeking that covert operations are guaranteed to end up with a media-rattling stuntsplosion. Hell, the most iconic feat of the series involves Ethan sprinting vertically down the tallest building in the world like a shit-housed Spider-Man suddenly realizing he dropped his keys.

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Or Batman interrupting his daily climb because he suddenly has to take a dump.

This super-secret spymaster would be greeted by the Dubai PD and a slot on the front page of Reddit by the time he touched the ground. "But he was saving the world!" you note. This is true, but let's drop the pretense that Ethan Hunt is committed to the art of espionage in any substantive way. Dude's got an allergy to both cloaks and daggers. Ethan Hunt's not a spy. He's whatever the diametric opposite of a spy is, which makes him a, uh, Super Fucking Loud-Ass Adventure Man.

#5. There's No Way The X-Men's School Would Stay Open

20th Century Fox

Before the Muppet Babies redo that was the First Class series, the first X-Men team was formed when Wolverine and Rogue were brought to the X-Mansion, a compound for mutant ruffians to learn their skills far from the Muggle world. In the films, it's the X-Men's primary home base and serves as the their training grounds and living quarters. Also, it's a goddamn school. As in, an actual functioning school with proms and crap. You might've known this already, but I'm not exactly sure anyone has fully appreciated what such an arrangement entails. For instance, here's a scene where all the mutants are being dropped off by their parents at the beginning of the year:

20th Century Fox
Every parent had the same mutant power of being totally embarrassing and lame.

To reiterate, those are parents leaving their children at a boarding school. Meaning that this isn't some clubhouse for runaway teens; it's a place where adults are dropping their kids off to learn shit like fractions and where the vas deferens is. We see multiple scenes where our heroes are teaching students in a classroom setting. One of the first times we see Storm, she's doing a lecture on the Roman Empire ...

20th Century Fox
"And that's how quickly I would've drowned Caligula had he tried any of his crap on me."

... which means that every single one of these characters has all the duties of a private school teacher. Right? That includes teaching full semesters, hiring a custodial and kitchen staff, and working toward a real diploma for these kids to graduate with. I can't stress enough how weird these movies get when you realize that a British mind-sorcerer is trying to run a state-accredited high school but keeps getting interrupted by a magnet man hellbent on race war.

Yes, when he's off firing eye lasers, Cyclops is presumably missing parent-teacher conferences and grading homework. Entire classes no doubt had to be canceled because one of their teachers died saving a rocket jet from a dam collapse. What I'm getting at here is that this is a terrible school where the student body is routinely put in danger (and is likely scoring in the negatives on their Regents exams).

20th Century Fox
This is their version of quiet study time.

I mean, shit, in X-Men 2, the government invades the mansion after the president of the United States is shown a schematic revealing the X-Jet hiding under the basketball court. Now, you could blame the movie's sinister government cabal for revealing this detail, but it's a pretty reasonable reaction. Why would a goddamn prep school need a souped-up Lockheed SR-71? How does every parent not pull their student after the POTUS declares war on the school? Can Xavier not educate hungry minds at a separate location from where he's also training immortal drifters to decapitate giant robots? The first thing Wolverine does in the X-Mansion is stab a teenage student in the chest during a berserker night terror ... and they employ this man as an educator.

20th Century Fox
Imagine what he does when he catches a kid chewing gum.

Remember: Save for a few students like Iceman and Kitty Pryde, the majority of these kids aren't going to join in on the mutant uprising. Most of them just want to graduate and go to college while learning how to keep their mutant powers under control so they don't wig out and level a supermarket. But they're barely going to be able to score a GED when their art teacher is having an apocalyptic god-war on Alcatraz Island, and all their art supplies have to be purchased by a headmaster who was recently disintegrated by an evil psychic bird. All that, plus the fact that every pubescent hormone sack in that school is forced to sit in long classes with an impossibly attractive teacher who can read their minds.

20th Century Fox
Wait ... which character did you think I was referring to?

#4. Nero's Crew From Star Trek Would've Mutinied Immediately

Paramount Pictures

Speaking of time-travel reboots -- J.J. Abrams' Star Trek franchise began when a terrier-faced Romulan named Nero overshot his time travel and accidentally killed Captain Kirk's father.

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Nailed it.

According to Old Man Spock in the first film, Nero went full tilt after his home planet Romulus was destroyed by a supernova star in 2387. Spock, having failed to stop the planetary holocaust in time, accidentally created a space rift with some jazzy goo called "red matter" -- the substance he intended to use to prevent Romulus' destruction if only he could've estimated his travel time more precisely and hadn't needed to stop every 15 space minutes to void his elderly bladder. Nero uses the very red matter to go back in time to 2233, where he waits for 22 years before eventually destroying Vulcan in 2255 -- his logic being that since Spock failed to save his planet, he will in turn wreck Spock's planet like some kind of giant space baby.

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"If I can't have a world to live on, nobody can!"

So, Nero captured Spock to make him watch his planet explode for not saving the destruction of his ... which doesn't occur until 2387. If you're paying attention, you realize Nero traveled back to 2255 to detonate Vulcan, which means that his home planet Romulus hasn't actually exploded yet. It won't happen for another 150 years. That means that, during the entire 12-year span of Nero's search for Spock, Romulus has been quietly hanging out, holding their weird Romulan dicks and being blissfully unaware that everything around them is going to vaporize a century later.

Hey Nero, here's a revenge plot for you and your tribal tattoos: Go save your idiot planet. The only reason Spock failed before is because he didn't make it in time. You have the red matter and a 150-year head start, knuckleface! Why are you wasting literal decades, putting bugs in people's ears and murdering Winona Ryder, when you could save your other-world wife and kids a full century before they're even born?

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Work first, insect torture second.

This seems as good a time as any to point out that Nero is the captain of a giant ship filled with other Romulans, all of whom presumably have yet-to-be-conceived friends and relatives waiting for them back on Romulus.

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"Hey, want to save our civilization and be hailed as heroes?"
"Nah, let's spend the next 20 years masturbating in the dark."

How in the world wasn't Nero mutinied the moment he sharted out his elaborate scheme with everyone else? Did no one on the ship realize their Doc Brown advantage meant everything they loved had yet to be exploded in a galactic firestorm? Otherwise, I can't imagine a work environment with a more scathing suggestion box than this.

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David Christopher Bell

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