6 Reckless Acts Of Child Endangerment By Action Heroes
Every action hero has to have his sidekick. Holmes has Watson, the Lone Ranger has Tonto, and Liam Neeson has that voice that leaves his enemies soaked in fear piss. Those are all excellent choices when it comes to picking an action movie companion. You know what would make for a way less excellent choice? A kid. We know this to be true because it's happened time and again in action movies, and not once has it come off as anything other than an uncomfortable situation that would've prompted an immediate call to the authorities in the real world. For example ...
Batman Is Basically A Child Murderer
Batman and Robin are the action hero pairing by which all others must be judged. They're also a social services nightmare waiting to happen. Let's talk about how Batman is a horrible guardian to his wards. This is a grown man putting children in costumes and using them to fight other grown men. If you don't see the folly in that, ask yourself one simple question: How many Robins have died?
Dick Grayson and Tim Drake made it to adulthood, at least. I can't say the same for Jason Todd, Stephanie Brown, or Damian Wayne, however. Yep, Batman's own flesh-and-blood kid got killed serving as Robin. That's the level of irresponsibility we're looking at here. Sure, those three came back eventually (comic books, what can you do?), but still, we're looking at three-fifths of Batman's Robins ending up dead.
"Hey kid, there's something I should probably tell you."
That's insane. One or two dead kids is acceptable under most state laws. Three means you get to skip the audition line and proceed directly to filming your episode of Forensic Files.
And at some point, shouldn't alter-ego Bruce Wayne have to deal with all of this? All these kids were his legal responsibility. How does he get away with having three of them murdered and not wind up in jail? Here's a theory: Batman is in cahoots with Gotham's Child Services Department. There's too many orphans in the city and having Batman recklessly get them killed or maimed is the cheapest way to deal with it.
Here, we see the Joker saving Gotham thousands of dollars.
Honestly, given how adept he is at fighting crime, it's a way more plausible explanation for all those dead Robins than shitty childcare skills.
Newt Got Stuck With The Worst Possible Person In Aliens
When Aliens picks up, it's over 50 years since the first film and Ripley's 11-year-old daughter has now died of old age (in her 60s, no less, so the computers in those movies aren't the only things that are weirdly outdated now). But lucky for her, she picks up a surrogate daughter in Newt. It's not so lucky for Newt, though.
When Ripley finds her, she's been successfully surviving, alone and unarmed, in Hadley's Hope for at least a month or so by living in the vents. Meanwhile, as soon as she links up with Ripley and her Colonial Marines, they manage to almost get her killed a half-dozen times in about 72 hours.
"Please put me back. Seriously, I'll be fine."
First, there's the scene where Ripley drives an armored car, with Newt inside, at high speed into a nest of aliens to save Hicks, Hudson, and Vasquez.
Later, she shoves Newt out of the way, back into a room full of Xenomorphs, to climb into a vent first. Ostensibly it's so she can look for creatures, but come on, that kid had been vent-living for weeks. Surely she knows how to navigate away from them.
And all that's before she accidentally drops Newt down a sewer tunnel and lets her get kidnapped by one of the aliens. That, in and of itself, wouldn't be so bad since it was an accident, except that leads to Ripley's greatest sin against childkind.
While escaping from the alien queen, Ripley and Newt find an assload of eggs. Instead of quickly getting Newt the hell out of there, she stops to set fire to everything because ... well, no reason at all, really.
"We're probably both going to die, but god, this is cathartic."
It's completely pointless. Thanks to the fusion reactor failing, the whole facility is literally about five minutes from going kaboom. And not a little kaboom -- a freaking huge nuclear explosion that would easily vaporize every living thing in the colony. So she foolishly risks Newt's life for some good old petty revenge and just barely makes it onto the rescue ship.
This also leads to the queen making her way onto said ship, which means that Ripley has to open the airlock in the same room as Newt. She'd have been sucked right out into space, too, if it weren't for Bishop, the half-android, grabbing onto her.
Of course, it's all moot anyway, since she dies in a shipwreck before the opening credits of the next movie. C'est la vie! That's French for "spoiler alert," I believe.
Arnold Just Does Not Give A Fuck In Last Action Hero
In Last Action Hero, a kid named Danny is sucked into his favorite movie series -- a schlocky action blockbuster saga named after its hero, Jack Slater (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in both the movie's universe and in real life). Danny pairs up with Jack to solve a crime in his fictional world before the action shifts to the real world. In either world, however, Danny's lucky he didn't end up getting scraped off the sidewalk.
Now, in fairness, Slater's world is very different from ours. People don't feel as much pain, there are cartoon cats, and every woman is a supermodel. You can still die, however, and several people in the film do. Danny even realizes that he's not invulnerable, despite being a main character, when he plays chicken with a car while he's on a bicycle. Specifically, because he's the comic relief, and is thus disposable.
"PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO KILL ME!"
Yet, all the same, Arnold lets him tag along while he engages in car chases, is blown up, and shoots just a whole lot of people. He even gives Danny a gun (which Danny does use), asks him to drive the car (Danny doesn't, but only because the car is destroyed), and tells him to operate a fucking crane. "Don't let kids operate heavy machinery" is one of those rules of child care that shouldn't even need to be written down anywhere. You should just know better.
The "no guns" thing too, I suppose.
And here's the thing: It doesn't stop when they get back to the real world, where things are way more dangerous. Slater is more than capable of taking care of Benedict (the dimension-hopping villain played by Tywin Lannister), yet he still convinces Danny's mom to let him come along. As a result, Danny gets thrown off a roof and nearly gutted by an axe-wielding psychopath. Keep in mind, this is the same psychopath who murdered Slater's own son after Slater threw the kid a knife (disguised as a grenade) and had him stab the axe murderer. Just really great parenting all around.
Brendan Fraser Is Officially The Worst Guardian Ever
At the bottom of this inverse pyramid of terrible adults who have no business being anywhere near kids is Brendan Fraser, because he stars in not one, but two films where he displays judgement that is so poor it makes you wonder if his parents didn't attempt to feed him to wolves as a child and now things like that just seem normal to him.
In the 2008 version of Journey To The Center Of The Earth, he plays Trevor, a volcanologist who is saddled with his nephew for just under two weeks when he discovers that his disappeared brother (the kid's dad) may have found a door to the center of the Earth.
Just like in the book!
But instead of, you know, leaving the kid with someone competent, he's convinced (by the 13-year-old) to take him along to Iceland, where they climb a mountain in a lightning storm, get lost in a cave (complete with an insanely dangerous mine cart ride), and then fall thousands of feet into a world inside the Earth's core. From there, he almost gets eaten by carnivorous fish and a dinosaur, gets separated from the others, risks getting heat stroke, and nearly falls into a massive canyon. He also finds out his dad is dead.
"Hey, happy birthday, though!"
Combine that with The Mummy Returns and you've got some awful, awful parenting. Now, I won't lay this entirely on Brendan Fraser, because that kid is fairly fucking stupid. He spends a lot of time intentionally pissing off adults with guns and swords, doesn't listen to his parents, and is just generally a smartass that no one likes.
Regardless, even at the very beginning, his parents are exploring an ancient tomb and he's just kind of ... running around. Doing whatever. The whole story ends up being his fault, too, because his parents aren't watching (they're too busy necking) and he stupidly slaps a cursed artifact on himself, which quickly latches onto his arm. Oh, and he gets kidnapped by the bad guys because, once again, his parents are too busy eye-fucking each other to see what he's doing.
Please Don't Bring Your Children To Jurassic Park
Do you remember the very beginning of Jurassic Park? It's a bunch of guys in the rain, trying to wrangle a velociraptor when one of them gets killed. If you haven't seen the movie for a long time, you might forget that this is the impetus for the whole story. John Hammond invites a bunch of scientists and his lawyer to the park to sign off on it and say that it's safe in spite of that guy dying.
And then he invites his grandkids.
Let me reiterate: He's trying to prove his park, where a man was just killed by one of the exhibits, is safe. A completely untested park full of giant, crazy dangerous super-lizards. And he apparently doesn't do background checks on his employees or something, because he hired a mad computer programmer who was given way too much power over the park. On top of it all, there's a tropical storm coming. Why would you bring kids into that kind of chaos?
"We could delay the visit, but a guy just died and I want to see if I can chain it into a combo."
And then there's Isla Sorna in The Lost World. Jeff Goldblum didn't intentionally bring his kid along, thank goodness. No, she waltzes right into a secret research base full of military-grade equipment and stows away. Why do InGen employees have such ridiculous problems with the very basic concept of security? Do they work on the honor system or something?
"It's like you people don't even read the 'Keep Out' sign sometimes."
At first, Dr. Malcolm tries to put a halt to everything because, holy crap, there's a kid on this island full of loose dinosaurs, but once the InGen mercenaries show up, the team basically just kinda gives up and keeps her around.
Then Vince Vaughn brings a baby T. rex into a caravan that has a child in it. And they leave her, unattended, in the "high hide" -- a big mechanical elevator. Keep in mind, the movies have already established that dinosaurs hate man-made things, and Malcolm himself pointed out earlier that it's at "perfect biting height."
Jeff Goldblum is so disinterested in his daughter's safety that when she performs an Olympic-worthy parallel bar routine to kick a raptor out a window, he can just barely muster up the energy to give a shit.
No one's kid should have this much confidence.
He just throws out a stupid one-liner, and then they get on a helicopter and leave like it's no big deal at all.
What The Hell Is Indiana Jones Doing With Short Round?
Of all the Indiana Jones films, Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom has one thing in spades that the other films almost entirely lack: Virulent racism. Also, a boatload of sexism.
One of the most intensely racist things in the film (probably second, behind the "dinner" scene) is Indy's child sidekick, Short Round (obviously not his real name).
He's such a pastiche of every East-Asian stereotype, it's a wonder Steven Spielberg restrained himself from putting a rice hat and fake buckteeth on him. Even worse, he's also regularly almost killed by the closest thing he has to a parent. (According to Indy, Short Round was an orphan he picked up and has been running around with for an undetermined amount of time.) The very first time we even see him, he's driving a car. A child. Driving a car. With bricks strapped to his feet so he can reach the pedals.
And naturally, Indy drags him along everywhere he goes. The village leader tells Indy that the palace is full of "darkness," and yet he still has Short Round (and Willie, for that matter) come along. Why in hell wouldn't he be like, "Hey, you guys stay here; this is super dangerous and you're a child and you're a person who clearly wants nothing to do with any of this"?
So Short Round almost gets crushed in a room of spikes ...
... rides in a rickety high-speed mine cart ...
... and is standing on a rope bridge ...
... when Indy cuts the rope holding it together.
"Goddamn, anything else?"
He's also forced into slavery for a bit. And all of this peril was a direct result of the actions of our hero, Indiana Jones.
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