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.