The ‘Fast and Furious’ series may be famous for its outrageous stunts and action scenes, but it’s hardly unique among Hollywood action movies in that respect. As we leave you for the long holiday weekend, let’s take a look at some of the most ridiculous, physics-defying, blatantly improbable, absurd action scenes we can think of.
Whether you consider these scenes to be a good thing or a bad thing is up to you.
Pop quiz, hotshot. You’re asked to pick an absurd action scene. One that defies all laws of physics and, quite possibly, coherent screenplays. What do you do? What do you do?
The one action scene that has always bothered me through the years takes place in 1994’s ‘Speed‘. We all know the rules of this one by now: the bus drops below 50 miles an hour, the bus blows up. The bus in the movie approaches a construction zone where there’s literally no highway below it and jumps to the other side of the gap in the road without falling straight down to the pavement far below, tipping onto one side or the other, or even tearing the underside of the bus apart to the point where it can’t be driven anymore. Now keep in mind that Sandra Bullock (not, say, Bo or Luke Duke) is driving this bus during the jump. I call BS on this one.
I liked ‘Live Free or Die Hard‘, the fourth installment in the series. There’s one sequence that I think was clever, really well done, and also totally absurd, but it worked. The moment when Bruce Willis and Justin Long are in a tunnel, with oncoming traffic, when the lights suddenly go out, was great. Then there’s a pause, McClane gets mad, and he takes down a helicopter with a car. I think every time I watch this movie I have to play this section twice, just to laugh at how hilariously absurd and perfect it is.
I lived during the 1980s and have an affinity for movies from all over the world, which means that I’ve seen the gamut of action sequences from believable, enjoyable and insane. One sequence manages to hit all the right notes without derailing the film as a whole. As I side-step the completely unnecessary American remake, the hammer fight from ‘Oldboy‘ remains as captivating now as the first time I watched it. You can have Michael Keaton disrobed in Times Square, but I’ll take Min-sik Choi tearing through a hallway full of thugs.
Chris Chiarella (Sound & Vision)
It’s hard to dub one action sequence from the unflaggingly cringe-worthy ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull‘ as the single most ridiculous, but worse even than the pointless chase across the college campus or the now-legendary “nuking the fridge” fiasco would be the preposterous jungle pursuit. Highlighted by hideous CGI monkeys and a leather-jacketed Shia LaBeouf alternately vine-swinging à la Tarzan and fencing with Cate Blanchett atop a pair of unstoppable vehicles, these moments of film whipped the once-venerable franchise to a new low.
I absolutely love the ‘Mission: Impossible’ franchise, but the overly climactic and unnaturally long ending of ‘Mission: Impossible II‘ (or ‘M:I-2’, whatever you want to call it) is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen. The sequel opened while I out of the country, so I first saw it over a year after its debut. Mind you, I had only seen a few movies while abroad, so when I returned to the states, I loved nearly every movie I watched. Even then, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes watching the awful seaside motorcycle mid-air collision followed by the endless fist- and kick-fight. John Woo completely ruined the ending to his installment, taking it from mediocre to undeniably sub-par.
M. Enois Duarte
Ten years later and the dumbest, most preposterous action scene I’ve ever seen remains the car flip in ‘Transporter 2‘. I’m referring to the scene when Jason Statham’s Frank Martin meets with cold-blooded villain Gianni with supermodel girlfriend Kate Nauta. After noticing a bomb attached to the undercarriage of his Audi A8 W12, Frank speeds through a shipyard, runs off a conveniently placed launching ramp and defies physics. As the car flips in mid-air, a crane hook just happens to knock the bomb off a second before exploding. The force of the explosion, of course, has no effect on our hero’s ability to perfectly land his vehicle without the slightest scratch. It’s one of the laughably dumbest action moments I’ve ever watched.
Almost all of the James Bond movies feature credibility-defying stunts of some sort, but love the movie as much as I do, the opening of ‘GoldenEye‘ has perhaps the biggest “Oh, come on!” moment in the whole franchise. Bond, riding a motorcycle, chases a plane with no pilot at the helm down a long runway even as it plunges off the end, over the edge of a mountainside. Bond follows right after it, leaping from the cycle and, somehow, falling faster than the plane does until he catches up with it, struggles his way inside to the cockpit, and gains control just in time to pull up before it smashes into the ground. The scene is ludicrous, and yet lots of fun and sets a tone that Bond is back from his long absence even more larger-than-life than ever.
What are some of your favorite, or perhaps most hated, silly action scenes? Tell us in the Comments.
The blog will be closed on Friday for Easter weekend. Enjoy the holiday. We’ll see you back here on Monday.
Damn! I was gonna go with The Transporter 2 but M. beat me to it!
Off the top of my head, how about Ah-nold taking out an entire private army of mercenaries single-handedly in Commando.
Which was the movie where two cars were speeding towards Statham, and he jumped straight up ten feet in the air so they would smash into each other beneath him? Was that Transporter 2? That was pretty bad.
Couldn’t tell ya…after the first two I gave up on the franchise.
Dukes of Hazzard had this happen a couple of times as well so the idea is not very original to Transporter.
If you ever want to have a manly movie night that will probably kill lots of brain cells, watch Commando, Roadhouse and Stone Cold back to back. That is my sacred trilogy of hilariously macho action flicks that pretty much cover everything to parody about 80’s & early 90’s action movies.
I’ve actually never seen Roadhouse or Stone Cold….I should rectify that asap.
They’re along the same lines of ridiculous as Commando, but Patrick Swayze is a philosophy major who doesn’t really want to kick ass, but he’s really good at it. He’s got this zen thing going on. Stone Cold features Brian Bosworth and his “boz cut” a mullet Mohawk hybrid. He’s a bachelor cop who has to go undercover and infiltrate a biker gang led by Lance Henriksen and I think William Forsyrhe is in it too. The beginning is great, he’s in his cool bachelor apartment wearing black silky bikini underwear with some hot naked chick in his bed. He also has a pet comodo dragon or something ridiculous like that. Something about these movies epitomizes the action movie for me. Totally stupid, but great with friends and beers.
It is required that a person see Roadhouse at least one time to bask in the glory of Patrick Swayze’s awesome hair and philosophical musings and Kelly Lynch’s dynamite uhm… hair.
While some action scenes may make you frustrated due to a disregard for physics, one jumps to mind just because I conceptually and in execution I found it hilarious. I’m talking about the rocket launcher/SUV/front lawn “chase” scene in ‘White House Down’.
Mike A. had a great one with Live Free or Die Hard…of course, I’m not sure they didn’t top the scene he mentions when John McClane surfs down the side of a jet and a piece of destroyed highway later in the movie. 🙂
That was when they went too far. It turned into True Lies.
Having worked there for almost a decade, the most ridiculous thing about Die Hard With a Vengeance was the depiction of Social Security headquarters. I guess the razor wire topped fence, assault weapon carrying guards and palm print scanners must be at a different entrance than the one I’ve used all this time. Or maybe the government has just been lying to me all this time.
Either that or the overpass that was supposed to be somewhere near Baltimore/DC. Maybe they have massive highway structures like that in the Los Angeles area, but there’s nothing like that anywhere near DC.
The Vin Diesel flick Triple XXX is loaded with ridiculous shit. Like when he jumps a barbed wire fence sideways on a dirt bike and then launches of a jump over top of a barn just as it explodes, while being shot at by a heavy machine gun mounted on a helicopter that convienantly misses every shot. I remember seeing this movie in the theatre and loling even then.
How about the runway scene in Fast and Furious 6? That was the longest runway ever.
Even though it’s a comedy, I think the car chases of The Blues Brothers deserves to be mentioned. I’m not sure if I like the ridiculus pile-ups or the chase through the mall best, though.
The mall! Definitely the mall. One of the best and funniest scenes in movie history.
“Lots of space in this mall!”
Just the fact that they trashed a real (granted, out-of-business) mall!! Amazingly awesome.
Shannon’s got a good one with Speed. If I am not mistaken, the missing section of the freeway is also on an incline, meaning the bus, even if it went a straight line without dropping an inch would still clip the undercarriage clean off.
Mike’s Die hard reference, so true and E’s reference to Transporter.
There’s Armageddon where the second shuttle crew drives their little buggy over the craggy cliff and back to the first shuttle crew.
There’s the “you know the button I told you to never push…” in Men In Black scene. Even if a car can drive on the ceiling, what’s holding it to the ceiling without gravity dropping it back down?
Writer’s block going on here but seem to remember a few jaw-dropping moments in the Expendables movies as well as Lethal Weapon movies.
Of recent memory , Transformers: Age of Extinction. The car chase after Mark Wahlberg’s house is blown up and they wind up in a warehouse with convenient window ramps to jump out of and even more convenient landing ramps at the bottom.
I have to second The Transporter 2 bomb disarming. That has got to be the most ridiculous stunt gag I had ever seen in a movie EVER!
Which Brosnan bond movie had him surfing in the opening sequence? That one was a good WTF!? Kind of moment.
Wanted was filled with ridiculous action scenes, but the one that takes the cake was the cgi looking viper that slid across, opened the door, and scooped up James McAvoy.
Amongst many questionable things in the movie, the highway chase in A Good Day To Die Hard stands out to me, not so much for its scope or ridiculousness, but the callousness of our hero. We’re used to action icons being a little cavalier with traffic laws, which is indeed dangerous for those around, but it’s rarely done with complete disregard for civilians. Not that it’s his only sin during that sequence, but seeing John McClane drive across the roofs of occupied cars was simply preposterous. If a bad guy does it, it’s part of their depravity. I’m that much more determined to see him brought to justice. But to see that out of a protagonist is a moment where you’re pulled out of the movie. Either a) John’s a heartless dick or b) the filmmakers let “That’ll be cool” trump any good sense. Past movies rule out the former and the rest of A Good Day To Die Hard confirms the latter.
CSM you beat me to my choice, although you picked the wrong surfing sequence. One of the most ridiculous scenes in the dreadful Die Another Day involves James making a makeshift surfboard out of the land speed vehicle (apparently because the death laser that chased him for miles at high speed can’t move that ONE last inch to fry him) and then parachute surfing the raging tidal wave caused when the glacier collapses. The CGI is so laughably bad here that I’m amazed the scene – along with most of the movie – didn’t end up on the cutting room floor.
That’s the one! I’m going to have to pop it in tonight after work. I need a good laugh!
I’m going to have to go with all the ninja-work in Million Dollar Baby. You know, the Oscar winning dose of grim reality where a competitor is allowed to win matches while doing all sorts of flagrantly illegal nonsense like hitting opponents while down (automatic disqualification. Ask Roy Jones Jr or Arthur Abraham) or blatantly assaulting an opponent well after the bell ending the round has sounded (also automatic disqualification). It gets better. Couple that with a well placed stool and you have a completely avoidable tragedy that went down as a LOSS for Hillary Swank, something her incredibly well written family reminds her of as she lay crippled in her hospital bed. COME ON! Wrap it up with a hospital so empty that not only can a slow old man waltz on in and kill a person unsupervised, but a SECOND slow old man can somehow lurk in the shadows of said hospital and just witness everything and walk away without notice. Does this count as absurd action scene? Have I gone off the rails? I hate this film
I’d have to go with that scene in one of the Transformers movies where the two leads are sitting in a car-mode transformer and a bridge comes up, so the Transformers turns into a robot, grabs the two people jumps over the bridge, transforms back in midair and ends up as a car with the people back on their seats. In real life, this wouldn’t be possible.
Almost every stunt in every Die Hard movie. No human could ever survive any of it.
But my top choice is the mine car chase in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. No mine would have track like that. Just about every law of physics is broken. Not one second of the chase is plausible. (Admittedly it is however a lot of fun).
Agreed! That’s why I don’t mind ‘Nuking the fridge’. It’s just as ridiculous. Love all the ‘Indiana Jones’ movies. A lot.
If I can add one more – The opening of A View To A Kill. Ridiculous!
The barrel chase from Desolation of Smaug. Even though 99% of it was CGI, it was so beyond preposterous with its representation of physics that it drove me crazy. I though the Star Wars prequels were bad but at least there Lucas could use the Force as an excuse.
I second that. I think it is the single worst scene in all of Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth Saga.
If I remember correctly, Double Team climaxed with Mickey Rourke being attacked by a tiger in a Roman Collesium rigged with landmines. I think he was on a landmine and couldn’t step off it, but then a tiger jumps at him so he explodes while being mauled by a tiger and Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dennis Rodman use a Pepsi machine as a product placement barrier to protect them from the explosion.
You’re absolutely right! It’s a Coke machine and Belloq is also there. Absolutely the best death scene ever. Supremely epic!
Yeah thats just classic in its completely disregard for reality 🙂 Cant beat good 90s action cheese like that one, haha