5 Movies That Accidentally Killed Innocent Characters
There's a reliable economics to movie character deaths. If a heroic character is going out, you can bet it will be with plenty of slow-motion shots of his eyes looking to the heavens. Villains are more of a mixed bag. Hans Gruber snapped off enough clever one-liners to earn some extreme slow motion as he plummeted to his death, while the bad guys who tried to kill Vito Corleone in his hospital bed got coolly dispatched with a mouthful of pasta halfway down their throats. But occasionally, a movie chooses to kill completely innocent characters in the most horrible way possible for no discernible reason. For instance ...
A Paralyzed Mutant -- X2
Like all X-Men movies and comics, X2: X-Men United is about what a bunch of assholes able-bodied humans can be to our differently abled mutant peers. And no character bears the brunt of our assholery more than Jason Stryker. His father is the movie's mutant-despising villain Col. William Stryker, who sends Jason to Professor X's school because he thinks it's one of those gay-to-straight conversion camps for curing people of their superpowers. When he learns that Professor X is teaching Jason to embrace his power (creating controlled hallucinations in people's minds), he blames himself for doing a terrible job researching the school and learns to love his son for what he is. Or that's what he would do if he wasn't the worst father in the world. In reality, he yanks Jason out of his self-actualizing environment, lobotomizes him and uses his son's brain as the joystick in his quest to destroy everyone who has the nerve to be disgustingly abled like him.
"Well, I might be biased, but I think that's the best Christmas card photo we've ever taken."
And that's before we even get to the fact that Jason's in a wheelchair, which is what the X-Men universe does when someone with telekinetic powers needs to seem more sympathetic.
OK, so Jason doesn't exactly pull off "sympathetic" so much as "Donnie Wahlberg's character in The Sixth Sense, as played by Crispin Glover." But you'd probably look a little washed out, too, if your Dad was using your brain to kill an entire race of people just because they remind him of you. Jason is a character who is built to be pitied, not hated. He's no more responsible for his actions than Master Chief is responsible for having worse aim when you're drunk.
As the climax closes in, Jason's dad is using his brain to trick Professor X into killing all the world's mutants. The X-Men figure out what's going on just in time, and Nightcrawler teleports to Professor X's side to find him sitting across from Jason in the belly of a crumbling dam.
"Thank goodness for the Protagonists With Disabilities Act, eh?"
Unfortunately for Jason, the dam is about to disintegrate and kill everyone in its general vicinity, he's in a wheelchair and he's spent the last hour helping his dad screw with the only people who could save him. Fortunately for Jason, there's a clear precedent for this sort of scenario that says you always take pity on the pathetic bad guy who's being taken advantage of. If you've seen The Goonies take pity on Sloth or The Karate Kid take mercy on Johnny Lawrence, you know that Nightcrawler's next move should be to lift Jason out of his wheelchair and tell him "It's not your fault" while a bear hug teleports them both to safety.
So what does Nightcrawler do?
Guys? Guys, it's not funny anymore.
Either because they forget that Jason is handicapped and therefore can't escape or even move, or because they just don't care, they just leave Jason to helplessly sit there as the entire dam collapses in on him.
It's not like they didn't have the time. A few minutes later, the X-Men are still escaping, and they take the time to offer to save the life of Jason's father -- the guy who was manipulating the mutant they just left to die. When Stryker tells them to go screw themselves, they just move on. The movie remembers to apply its core message of compassion for mutants and mankind to every single character except the most pathetic and helpless of them all.
But to be fair, he did have stupid hair, and he deserved to die for that.
A Bank Full of People -- Fast Five
Fast Five took a bold new step in cinematic not giving a fuck. By forgetting about the fictional world of underground drag racing and focusing on a ridiculous heist, the movie parked itself firmly in the realm of gloriously stupid action spectacles like The Rock. But one thing The Rock knows is that you go out of your way to show that your reckless car chase isn't killing the many, many innocent bystanders it totally would in reality. When Sean Connery steals a Hummer and drives it like a speeding tank through San Francisco, he does so while screaming at people to get out of his way the whole time.
We're pretty sure that's either Sean Connery's real o-face or his pooping face. Maybe both.
When a cop car speeding after him crashes into a cab, the movie makes sure to show that the driver is standing outside at the moment. The fact that the movie does it with good old-fashioned racism reminds you that we're still dealing with Michael Bay.
"How do we make sure people know this guy's the cab driver, while at the same time promoting ridiculous stereotypes?"
The Fast franchise is new at this, and the characters aren't great at keeping words straight in their heads anyway. So in the film's climactic scene, when Vin Diesel and Paul Walker drag a giant wrecking ball of a safe between their two cars, it's bad news for everyone: the presumably full cabs that get slammed into at full speed ...
... the hundreds of cops in cars that get junked by the giant people-crusher the heroes are dragging behind them ...
... and any of the innocent people unlucky enough to be anywhere they have to make a turn.
They'll be OK. Counting the centripetal whip, it can't be going more than, say, 50 miles per hour, right?
The movie cuts away before anyone inside that bank is physically crushed by the vault, and the last time we see them, they're fleeing, so it's always possible that everyone banking that day has superhuman reflexes and made it out OK.
But there's one young lady who the movie seems to go to extreme lengths to make sure you know has been vaporized by our heroes. We first see her at the moment when Walker and Diesel see a chain of spikes ahead and decide they have to make a right.
We'll call her "Judeth Soonfucked."
That's Walker and Diesel's cars in the upper-left-hand corner. The cops in the middle distance are the ones that they have to veer right to avoid, and the woman in the foreground is standing where physicists would draw an "X" labeled "point of impact."
It might seem odd that they'd go out of their way to place an innocent woman in the path of danger, but this is the same trick we saw in The Rock. You raise the question of innocent deaths, and then show the bystanders miraculously escaping in order to put everyone's minds at ease.
But when we cut back to the same shot, she hasn't moved an inch. We see the cars narrowly avoiding her, but she's still standing in the geometrically worst possible place with regard to the giant steel block swinging behind them.
If the steel block doesn't get her, the ropes, flying glass and exploding bank should do the trick.
Not only does Fast Five not show her get out of the way, it gives her the old "out of the frying pan into the fire" death -- when a despised villain dodges the fast-moving train only to be killed more horribly by the train coming from the opposite direction that's made of razor blades. In this case, you can practically hear the woman thinking "What a close call. As long as those two cars that almost hit me aren't dragging a giant wrecking ball behind them, my innocent life has been spared."
And that's the last we see of her ... the cars are hanging a sharp turn directly in front of her with a giant safe clanking toward her at top speed. It is not, however, the last we see of the front of the bank.
Pow! In your face, anonymous Latina woman! Also, every other part of your body.
The movie acknowledges that they've just turned an innocent woman into hamburger meat by pausing the action so Diesel can shoot Walker a look of regret.
Though it should be noted that Diesel's look of regret is nearly indistinguishable from his look of "I'm farting silently."
Thousands of Lives -- Bruce Almighty
When God lets Bruce co-pilot the planet Earth and all of its moral and metaphysical concerns, his first move is to use his newfound power to get laid. One of the ways he goes about doing this is by pulling out some invisible rope and lassoing the moon closer, in order to impress his girlfriend, Jennifer Aniston.
Ladies: If your date ever literally lassos the moon, he is not God.
You have been drugged and need to seek immediate medical attention.
Those of our readers who keep up with the latest scientific findings may have heard that the moon controls the Earth's tides, and therefore could guess that moving the moon closer might cause some issues. Flooding, giant waves, super werewolves. Of course, that's just us reading too far into a lighthearted moment in a PG-rated comedy, right?
Actually, nope. The movie totally acknowledges just what hell Bruce has brought onto the planet Earth in his quest for mood lighting. After becoming the first woman ever to have her world rocked by the dick of God, Jennifer Aniston wakes up to turn on the news and catches a brief clip about a major tsunami in the Pacific.
"Wow, it looks like that part of the world got rocked by the dick of God."
The movie came out in 2003, less than one year before an enormous tsunami rolled on the Pacific, killing 228,000 people and splashing images just like that across TVs in the real world. Fortunately for humanity, God gave his powers to Bruce, who springs into action by ignoring the whole thing. In fact, other than a throwaway line by Morgan Freeman about how actions have consequences, there's no mention of this natural disaster for the rest of the movie.
"The American middle class is where I am truly needed."
We understand that God works in mysterious ways, but sacrificing thousands of lives in order to teach a Buffalo-area weatherman to shape up and not be a dick seems less mysterious than "bad at his job." At least now when children ask why God would let bad things happen to them, you can confidently answer that it's because God likes giving his power away to teach douchebags a lesson.
Holy shit, don't scare him; he's loaded!"
Some Guys the Green Lantern Got Fired -- Green Lantern
Superheroes are supposed to be the morally correct saviors of our society. That's why Batman refuses to kill the Joker, even though he's a murderous psychopath. We expect all our superheroes to use their great powers with great responsibility.
That's why the latest Green Lantern movie was so baffling. In the movie, Hal Jordan is leaving a bar with his new Green Lantern ring, minding his own business, when suddenly he's confronted by three very pissed-off guys. We find out that Jordan cost these guys their jobs earlier and that they want payback. Outnumbered, Hal gets his ass handed to him for about half a minute before the men decide -- and this is important -- not to murder him.
Oh, tell us you weren't disappointed that the movie wasn't two and a half hours of just this.
But Hal Jordan, being the new superhero that he is, decides that he isn't finished with them just yet. He gets up and tries to swing a punch at one of them while they're walking away. He inadvertently activates his ring and sends the three men flying through the air and crashing into, and then through, various hard surfaces, including a goddamn brick wall.
We admit that we're not experts on bricks. They're supposed to be soft and breakable, right?
OK, but movies do this all the time. It shows you the guys getting their asses kicked by the good guy, and then it pulls to a wide shot to show them groaning in the rubble so you know they're all right. Green Lantern does go to a wide shot to show us the damage, but it forgets to reassure us that the characters are OK, instead having the guys who have just rocketed through a brick wall lay completely still like the dead bodies that physics says they should actually be.
At least they kept the bodies human-shaped instead of the loose bag of liquefied organs that they would be.
Those are the guys moments later, lying motionless. Bear in mind that the third guy was thrown through a brick wall. If that doesn't scream brain death, you've probably just been thrown through a brick wall and should get to a hospital in zero seconds, stat.
Unfortunately for you, you didn't suffer your brain death in front of a guy with the ability to fly at supersonic speeds. But these three guys could all be transported to the emergency room they all so desperately need by the accidental murderer who just did this to them.
Instead, Hal just expresses surprise at how easy it is to murder three guys at once, and then he's whisked away to the Green Lantern planet, where he gets to learn how to use his power to not accidentally murder stuff. We never see or hear from the three guys who got to be the crash test dummies in his superpower driver's exam.
But before you go feeling sorry for those guys, remember that they ganged up on Hal. Sure, it was because he cost them their jobs. And yes, they'd decided to take pity on him and were walking away when he ruthlessly murdered them. But, y'know, three against one.
At least he hadn't discovered his full powers yet. It could have been worse.
Dozens of New Yorkers -- King Kong (2005)
King Kong is the classic tale of a movie producer who discovers a giant ape, but instead of pissing his pants, manages to capture the thing and put it on exhibit. Because this movie is made for both male and female audiences, the writers were forced to thrown in a love story. So, taking the obvious route, they had King Kong fall in love with Naomi Watts.
Bestiality has never been so accepted.
Unfortunately for King Kong, and even more unfortunately for Manhattan, Naomi Watts boycotts the event where he's being showcased. When Kong doesn't see her in the audience, he escapes and goes giant ape shit on the city that never sleeps, thrashing around like a drunken sailor on leave in Legoland.
Realizing that he's the closest thing this movie has to an action hero, Adrien Brody springs into action. Brody knows that Kong will only stop killing everyone if he gets to Naomi Watts. He also knows that the giant ape hates him and will follow him if they make foreboding eye contact. So after commandeering a cab, Brody drives between Kong's legs and flashes his coldest ice grill while keeping his hands at 2 and 10 on the steering wheel like his driving instructor told him.
"Remember: Be alert! Accidents hurt!"
He and the beast make eye contact, and Brody hangs a sick U-turn and takes off across the city. His plan is apparently to lead Kong to the only thing that he loves, but unfortunately for Brody's status as a legitimate action star, his plan has more than a few details that are less than heroic. For instance, showing his face to the already pissed-off beast only pisses him off more. Consequently, every car that he and Kong pass along the way gets Donkey Kong punched in the way you don't bounce back from.
"Whoops, my bad!"
There's also the fact that he didn't have to make Kong chase him in the first place. If he knew where Watts was, he should have driven across town to find her and brought her back. That way, Watts actually gets to decide whether or not she wants to heroically flirt Manhattan out of a brand new asshole. Instead, Brody brings the beast to her, making it more of a virgin-sacrifice situation.
"Hey! Come back! I'm just trying to tell you that you left your blinker on!"
Most significantly, we're pretty sure driving a cab back and forth across town is easier and less damaging when you're not being followed by a gigantic angry monster. Even if you take the many, many people Kong kills out of the equation, we're pretty sure Brody would have been a less distracted driver. For instance, unless he's the worst driver ever, he probably wouldn't have pulled up onto the sidewalk and mowed down a series of innocent pedestrians.
Nobody ever said Adrien Brody would be good at this action movie thing.
For more dick moves from Hollywood, check out 6 Movies That Didn't Realize They Let The Villain Win and The 5 Most Easily Avoidable Movie Deaths.