Saturday, October 15, 2011

Why are film heroes and villains so stupid?

It always bugs me when a hero or a villain (in many cases, the anti-hero) does something so monumentally stupid and out of character that it gets them caught / killed / tortured. I know it's called a "plot point" but it just seems like really lazy scriptwriting and the movies are entirely hung on these inherently stupid character decisions which ultimately make the movies less enjoyable.

Want some examples?

Look away now if you don't want to read spoilers!  You have been warned.

Drive (2011) - starring Ryan Gosling as a stunt driver / getaway driver. He has one million bucks in his possession - more than enough to run away on his own (and we've already established he's a loner) so why does he stick around, wear a blood-soaked jacket in public, meet up with a gangster and turn his back on said gangster who's known to carry knives and kill people wantonly?

Collateral (2004) - starring Tom Cruise as a professional hitman. Why in god's name would a contract killer take a cab driver hostage while he goes on a killing rampage. Is that not against the rules of Hitman 101?  I.e. act alone, don't leave any witnesses, make a quick getaway.  Duh!!!!!  The entire premise of the movie is flawed.

The Bourne Supremacy (2004) - starring Matt Damon as a trained assassin on the run from the CIA. So somehow Bourne and Marie have made it from Greece to Goa and have been living undetected long enough for her to grow her hair long, get a few more tattoos and get a job. In the first five minutes of another assassin arriving in Goa, Bourne openly and frantically runs for his life (when Bourne could have just chilled out and hid quietly), and gets his much-loved girlfriend killed. Bad on-the-run behaviour. I hate that the romance got killed and then we had grieving Bourne for two movies.

Heat (1995) - starring Al Pacino as an overacting loudmouth detective and Robert de Niro as a professional thief / criminal mastermind. Why on earth would Robert de Niro's deliberate, careful character care enough about sabotaging his getaway to kill a character he would never normally care about? Why would he leave his girlfriend in a running car next to the hotel, pull a fire alarm necessitating fire engines and police cars to arrive en masse and then make his getaway on foot into an open field? The film's ending sucks. Pacino should have died.

Sleeping with the Enemy (1991) - starring Julia Roberts as a beaten wife who fakes her own death to escape her evil husband. Why does she throw her wedding ring in the toilet?!!! Although I guess there wouldn't have been a movie at all if he thought she was really dead and not just faking. Still, it bugs me!

I'm waiting for someone to write a film or TV where no stupid moves are made. I reckon there's a TV series in there somewhere. Hitman makes a run for it to start a new life. And makes a success of it!!! And never does anything stupid to get caught / killed / tortured.  But uses his villainous / heroic characteristics to make a better life for himself, but not a boring life. I'd watch it.

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