A while back, we compiled a short list of some of the most ridiculous action movie moments. This may come as a shock, but there were so many more examples to choose from that it seemed only fitting to make a follow-up list of 7 more times action movies asked us to believe their steaming piles of implausibility.
So here they are in all of their ridiculous glory: shining examples of the weird places that screenwriters will go to in pursuit of that one big, movie-defining set piece.
7. Outrunning A Falling Building – Volcano (1997)
The premise for 1997 action/disaster movie Volcano is pretty uninspiring action Hollywood fluff, even if it does have some basis in reality (the movie was inspired by the formation of the Parícutin volcano in 1943).
Tommy Lee Jones stars as Michael Roark, the head of L.A.’s Office of Emergency Management, and he’s tasked with protecting the city in the event of a disaster – say, like, maybe if a volcano were to form beneath the city. Roark must protect his city by diverting the lava flow using controlled explosions to make trenches to channel the flow of lava. Are you lost yet? Well, you’re about to be.
Roark decides that he must level a building to stop the lava (of course!), and he soon finds himself directly beneath it as it begins to topple – but don’t worry, because he’s able to rescue his daughter (who’s also in the building’s shadow, for some reason) and outrun the collapsing building with very little difficulty.
Apparently, it’s all in a day’s work for the OEM volcano department.
6. Invisible Car – Die Another Day (2002)
As a rule, James Bond movies have never been the most plausible, but there’s usually at least a hint of realism to proceedings.
Unfortunately, the world-famous super spy’s endless array of gadgets are usually the franchise’s biggest offender in terms of ridiculous concepts, and 2002’s Die Another Day was by far one of the worst offenders.
007’s first outing of the 21st century heavily featured Bond’s new Aston Martin Vanquish, customised with – among other things – a cloaking device.
During the inevitable chase scene (this one taking place over glaciers and through ice caves), Bond is able to use the car’s “adaptive camouflage” to trick his pursuer into crashing through an ice sheet.
If you’re interested in seeing this groundbreaking technology in action, skip to the 5:55 mark in the attached video – it’s far funnier without several minutes of generic car chase beforehand.
Also, if the car’s camouflage capabilities were that good, surely Bond could have used them to avoid the chase entirely? Apparently not.
5. Shootout – Heat (1995)
Before getting into this entry, I’d like to clarify: no one is saying that Heat isn’t one of the best loved crime/action movies ever made.
Although, while the movie itself is undoubtedly a classic, it does feature a massive middle-of-the-street shootout. Sure, it’s awesome, but it’d never happen that way in real life.
After robbing a bank Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) and his gang find themselves surrounded by the LAPD, led by Lt. Hanna (Al Pacino). But somehow, despite a tip off about the robbery and wave after wave of seemingly every officer in Los Angeles, McAuley’s gang is still able to escape relatively unscathed.
While this might not be ridiculous in terms of its general concept, the idea that highly trained police officers would be unable to capture or wound a gang of criminals despite having them completely surrounded is pretty laughable. Maybe those officers should spend a little more time at the gun range – those that survived, anyway.
4. The Crazy 88 – Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)
One woman taking on 88(ish) well-trained Yakuza fighters – and walking away without breaking a sweat? Very cool, but very unbelievable.
Tarantino makes violence seem so cool. Nowhere is this more evident than in Kill Bill, wherein the Bride (Uma Thurman) swears revenge on a team of assassins after they attempt to kill her.
During her quest for vengeance, the Bride faces off with assassin O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), who has established herself as a leader of the Yakuza. These ties to the Japanese mafia set up a legendary showdown between the Bride and the Crazy 88, a squad of elite Yakuza fighters, before the Bride can reach her intended target.
The resulting clash is one of cinema’s most iconic fight scenes, although when you really consider what’s happening, it’s so far from plausible that it’s actually a little frustrating.
The Bride finds herself surrounded, armed only with a samurai sword, and yet the Crazy 88 seem content to attack her in turns, allowing her ample opportunity to defend herself and kill them each one by one. Say what you will about these hardened criminals, but they’ve got impeccable manners.
Still, Tarantino is a true master, and the scene revels in its ridiculousness, still somehow coming off as one of the most awesome and gloriously violent scenes in cinematic history.
3. Bus Lift – Swordfish (2001)
Have you ever found yourself on a bus with all of your criminal associates, being chased by a horde of FBI agents? Well, Gabriel Shear has.
After a fairly convoluted cyber-heist, Gabriel (John Travolta) is attempting to escape with his accomplices in a bus, which is being pursued by an army of federal agents, but luckily, he has an ace up his sleeve: a helicopter.
After quickly attaching the bus to the overhead helicopter, the whole vehicle is lifted into the sky – something which surely must be physically impossible – in a move that’s as stupid as it is baffling.
But it gets better. After taking flight, the helicopter crashes the bus through an office building (a corner office with those super-handy glass walls), before dropping it casually on the roof. A fitting end to one of the most pointless “escape” scenes ever conceived.
2. Rambo Vs. Russian Army – Rambo III (1988)
After saving his friend Colonel Sam Trautman from the Soviet Army at their base in Afghanistan, the legendary John Rambo approaches the Pakistani border with his liberated friend, only to find themselves suddenly surrounded by Soviet forces.
Armed with only a single weapon each, the two men weigh their options, although as Mr. Rambo eloquently puts it: “Surrounding them’s out.”
Although the odds are stacked mightily against them, Rambo decides to fight back, miraculously avoiding the onslaught of the amassed forces, holding them off long enough for Mujahideen rebels to come to their rescue.
This is another entry that beggars belief, as Rambo and Trautman seem to positively repel all bullets fired in their direction, as well as casually firing off rounds that kill dozens of enemy soldiers all while barely taking aim.
1. Snake Surfs A Tsunami – Escape From L.A. (1996)
Escape from L.A. is an absolute fever dream of a movie that must be seen to be believed, but this particular scene’s entry was an absolute necessity.
Context can’t really be offered, because the film’s plot is both convoluted and nonsensical, and attempting to type it out would be to voluntarily descend into madness.
Instead, just know this: Kurt Russell’s Snake Plissken is taught by Pipeline (Peter Fonda) to surf tsunamis, which he does in order to escape the forces of tyrannical terrorist Cuervo Jones.
I really, REALLY wish I was making this up.
And that’s the list. Are there any more monumentally stupid action movie scenes we’ve forgotten? Drop us a comment below, and don’t forget to follow and subscribe!