5 Movie Villains With Really Stupid Master Plans
Every movie villain seems like they have it pretty together -- a brilliant plan, a cunning mind, a proven desire to solve problems by killing them dead. Why, if it weren't for the indomitable will of our hero, they certainly would've gotten away with replacing all the world's garden hoses with snakes. But sometimes, you'll find moments in your favorite films that make you reconsider that assumption. What you thought was the sinister mastermind failing in a fight against the forces of goodness suddenly looks a lot more like a head injury patient that wandered away from the ward getting beaten up by some jerk with great cheekbones.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - The Queen Chooses the Worst Poison Ever
The Queen wants to be the fairest in all the land, and is willing to crush anyone who stands in the way of her hotness. When she learns Snow White is lookin' pretty fly these days, the Queen immediately attempts to murder the girl, showing the brutal lengths she's willing to go to. In other words, if she was alive today, the Queen would almost certainly have her own show on Bravo.
After the Queen's first plan -- asking a random dude to murder an innocent girl -- somehow fails, she decides to take the matter into her own hands. She creates a poison apple that will put Snow White into a comatose state until she's awakened by "Love's First Kiss." The Queen reasons that the dwarves, thinking Snow White is dead, will bury her alive, thereby ensuring that no one will ever kiss her. Personally, we wouldn't rule out committed necrophiles, but we guess that's why we don't write for Disney.
So why did the Queen choose literally the worst way to take out Snow White, short of feeding her regular apples until she got too fat to compete in the high-stakes beauty pageants that apparently rule this realm? We get that the Queen is using magical poison in the film, and that maybe these side effects and qualifiers are listed on the fine print of that particular concoction. Hey, you know what's a lot like magical poison, but without all those loopholes? Regular goddamn poison.
Or a crossbow. Seriously, just a bolt to the wordhole, while singing "I'm the Queen, that makes this legal!" Boom, done.
Also, if Snow White's "eternal sleep" kept her beautiful, then how would that even solve the Queen's problem? The Queen isn't angry because Snow White is taking all her boyfriends, she's angry that Snow White exists. It would be like if you murdered someone you couldn't stand the sight of, then embalmed them and propped them up so they'd always be visible in your bathroom mirror.
RoboCop (2014) - Two Random, Powerless Goons Are Sent to Kill RoboCop
The 2014 RoboCop remake more or less follows the story arc of the original film. If you are not familiar with the story arc of the original RoboCop, kindly step the hell away from our website, for you are Unclean. All you need to know is that evil businessman Dick Jones is replaced with evil businessman Raymond Sellars, evil corporate mercenary Clarence Boddicker is replaced with evil corporate mercenary Mattox, and awesome robocop RoboCop is replaced with a shittier robocop.
Yeah, that's pretty much our reaction too.
After RoboCop disobeys orders and busts his own police chief for corruption, Mattox remotely shuts him down and moves him back to the OmniCorp lab. Sellars decides that he can make more money by pretending RoboCop went down in the line of duty, so he orders Mattox to kill him. Mattox tells two low-ranking guards to do the deed, because apparently the working environment at OmniCorp isn't big on personal responsibility. We see exactly how low-level these chumps are when they show up at the lab and find out they don't have security clearance to walk through the door.
The scientists in the lab reactivate RoboCop, who immediately incapacitates the two hapless guards and proceeds to carve a swath of destruction through the OmniCorp HQ that ends with him putting a bullet in Sellars. An evil businessman has once again been foiled by his only weakness: violence.
We don't blame Mattox for making someone else do his job -- we have interns feed us grapes while we dictate articles to them, so we're in no position to judge. But he needed to send someone who had access to RoboCop. The damn janitors probably had a better security clearance than those schmucks did. It's even more baffling when you remember that the movie's very first scene showed us that OmniCorp has the ability to designate anyone as a "Red Asset" that RoboCop's programming won't allow him to shoot. That means the guys who were sent to kill RoboCop were inexplicably not designated as being invincible against RoboCop, the only person who could stop them. And who has control over who gets to be a Red Asset? None other than Mattox, as he demonstrates when he finally confronts RoboCop himself.
RoboCop's buddy stops Mattox, and RoboCop later manages to override his programming and kill Sellars because something something the power of love. But none of that would have happened if they hadn't sent the two least-qualified goons in history to stop a robotic killing machine. Maybe they had terrible performance reviews, and OmniCorp simply has a very aggressive termination policy.
The Godfather Part II - Michael Sends a Big Shot on a Suicide Mission
Throughout the entire Godfather trilogy, the members of the Corleone Family are consummate murder professionals. They always act discreetly, minimize any possible link to the Family when they kill, and send the right guy for the job. The movies show us time and time again that the Corleones have an endless supply of eager young goons willing to prove themselves, so they know there's no need for the important people to put themselves at risk ...
... except for one murder in The Godfather Part II, when everyone involved decides to launch the worst plan possible, for no apparent reason.
When compared to some of the more elaborate murders in the franchise, Michael's hit on the treacherous Hyman Roth is almost disappointingly simple. A guy just walks up to the heavily-escorted Roth in an airport and shoots him point blank. It's a suicide mission, and is treated as such by the assassin, who barely makes any attempt to get away before he's turned into a human bullet catalog by the police.
To be fair, the movie does explain why the plan is so dumb and suicidal: it's the only shot they'll have at Roth in between when his plane lands and when he's put into highly secure police custody. However, it doesn't explain why they decided to send Rocco Lampone for the so-simple-an-armed-monkey-could-do-it hit. If for some reason you haven't committed the entire Corleone family to memory, here's a handy chart:
You'll notice that Rocco's a high-ranking caporegime, and of the guys who are at the same rank or higher, two aren't trusted and the third is being phased out. In essence, Michael is sending his most valuable right-hand man on an obvious suicide mission that any of his expendable soldiers could have easily done. It's like Obama sending Joe Biden on a kamikaze mission to kill Osama Bin Laden. Sure, he could probably get it done -- there's a ton of crazy in Joe's eyes that says "murder is an old friend to me" -- but then you gotta explain to Congress why the Vice President died driving a flaming dump truck through the Bin Laden compound when Seal Team Six was sitting around playing dominoes.
Equilibrium - No One Frisks the Gun Master for Guns
In Equilibrium, a fascist government under the rule of the all-powerful "Father" forces citizens to take an emotion-suppressing drug. Anyone who fails to do so is met by the government's trained killers, the Grammaton Clerics, who use their nearly-superhuman "gun kata" abilities to murder the "sense offenders" and then burn any books or art they're hiding. It's basically Fahrenheit 451 disguised as The Matrix for the sort of audience that spells "Fahrenheit" phonetically.
Christian Bale's John Preston is the highest-ranking Cleric, and a legend in the government for his gun-wielding skills. But after he has to kill his partner for sense offending, he goes off his meds and secretly joins a resistance movement. They hatch a plan: Preston will betray their leaders, which will earn him a meeting with the elusive Father, whom Preston will then kill. This brilliant plan somehow goes off without a hitch and Preston is granted an audience with Father. He's told to give up his ceremonial sword, which he does...
...at which point Father reveals that the whole thing was a trap to get both Preston and the resistance. How clever, how sinister -- how can you compete with such an evil mind?! Preston has no choice but to, uh, pull out his guns and murder everyone in the entire building, including Father, because none of the Clerics who escorted and later ambushed him thought to frisk him for guns at the same time he handed over that sword.
And it's not like he was being stealthy. As the next scene shows, Preston brought not only two guns, but also two arm-length metal holsters and four bulky ammo clips, meaning the most basic pat-down or even a metal detector would have stopped him. Preston wouldn't have been allowed into City Hall to contest a parking ticket like that, but somehow he gets an audience with the supreme ruler who, remember, knows Preston wants to kill him.
So the bad guys get mowed down in a ridiculously one-sided shootout, the evil empire is overthrown, and society is liberated. All of which could have been avoided had the emotionless, logical, remorseless Clerics thought to ask the gun kata expert if he had any guns on him.
Terminator Salvation - Skynet Lures John Connor to a Terminator Factory, Attacks Him with One Terminator
After years of throwing murderbots directly at John Connor, the genocidal Skynet comes up with a sneakier plan. It sends a Terminator who thinks it's a human to lure Connor into a Terminator factory. The plan works perfectly, and Connor winds up in the heart of Skynet's territory, alone and cut off from his allies. Skynet then executes the final brilliant step in its master plan: sending a single, unarmed Terminator to kill Connor. Wait, what? Connor dispatches the Terminator within five minutes, because of course he does. He's been terminating Terminators his entire adult life. His skill at it is the entire reason Skynet wants him dead.
Keep in mind that this movie takes place completely in the future, so there's no "only one robot can be sent back" time travel etiquette. There's no reason Skynet couldn't kill Connor by literally burying him in robots. We even see another Terminator in the very same scene that's preoccupied with trying to murder Ensign Chekov and a little girl, instead of, say, the most important target in the entire war.
But why did Skynet bother with the whole bait-and-switch when it managed to get a Terminator right next to John much earlier in the movie? Remember, John only went to the factory on the advice of a Terminator who thought it was human. If Skynet can make a Terminator pass for a trustworthy human, why not just have one kill John as soon as it gets close enough? If you're thinking the only reason it got so close in the first is because it had no active intention of killing Connor, sure. That's a point. So put a Terminator next to Connor that makes killer "your mom" jokes, put a fucking bomb in its chest, and make it trigger on high-fives.
For more head-scratching plans, check out 6 Terrible Plans in Movies That Just Sort of Work Out and 6 Evil Corporations in Movies (With Terrible Business Plans).