So you’ve been shot/stabbed/eaten/burned/dismembered/amputated/face melted by an ancient artifact, what are you going to do next? If you answered, “go into shock while screaming like an asshole” then you’re probably on track.
In the movies, of course, that’s a different story – people like to do cool stuff while dying in movies, act all badass for our amusement.
Let’s look at 20 such fallen heroes. Spoilers should go without saying. But we said it. Right there. So no one can complain.
20. Jasper in Children Of Men – “Pull my finger.”
Oh to go out with a fart joke – we should all be so lucky. They say that when you die you excrete your bowel contents, so it only makes sense to get that out of the way before the deed is done.
Michael Caine’s character in this film is pretty much what all our generation will be someday – old, immature stoners listening to noise music in the woods. You just wait.
19. Barbara in Shaun Of The Dead – “It’s been a funny sort of day, hasn’t it?”
It’s the ultimate mom death. She gets a chunk of her arm bitten out by a zombie and quietly keeps it to herself, not wanting to be a bother about it. Her blood is no doubt discharging from her body at an alarming rate, but she makes a note to be sweet until the end.
Her final words about how it was a funny sort of day directly contrasts what my own personal choice would have been, which would be something like, “OH MY GOD DON’T LET ME DIE TELL ME WHO I HAVE TO KILL SO I CAN NOT DIE!”
18. Pvt. Hudson in Aliens – Being The Ultimate Badass
We don’t know the full extent of what’s happening to Hudson in his last moments of being sunk down into the floor by the attacking xenomorphs, but he sure as shit isn’t being tickled down there.
What’s great about this role is that he spends the first part boasting about what a badass he is, then switches over to annoying fear-mascot for the remainder of the film – and yet, at the moment of death, he goes good on his word, reverting right back into the ultimate badass that he is – even ending with a defiant “Fuck you!” to the monster sucking him under.
17. Agent Coulson in The Avengers – Getting Off One Last Shot
I’m still in denial about this death, seriously hoping that Iron Man’s reference to the Life Model Decoys were some kind of harbinger for his return in the second. Whatever the case – the good news is that he will be appearing in the supposed S.H.I.E.L.D TV show – which takes place after the events of the film. So there’s hope.
16. Nada in They Live – Flipping Off The Aliens
Oh, Roddy Piper… you’ve given us so much.
The best part about flipping off aliens is that there’s a good chance they don’t understand the gesture, making it both confusing and ineffective. Then again, what one chooses to do in their dying breath is really between them and their mullet-haired maker.
Pretty certain that John Carpenter’s perpetual directing stance is kneeling next to the camera and snickering softly. While the guy can do horror, he is way better at doing 80s. In fact, John Carpenter IS the 80s in human form.
15. Ken in In Bruges – “I’m gonna die now… I think…”
Ken’s a great character in that he’s both compassionate and terrifying. His patience makes him stronger, because it appears to be a chosen attribute as opposed to something he’s forced into. Maybe it’s also that fact that we’ve seen him turn a child into a ferret. That was pretty intimidating too.
In terms of this death, I’m not sure why he didn’t just like… you know, yell down to Ray. Instead he jumps off of the tower to get his attention, which actually draws him closer to the man he’s trying to warn him about. Either way, the fact that he can talk after that earns him a number on this list.
14. Mr. French in The Departed – Annoyance/Indifference
Speaking of guys that look like the guy I just mentioned, Ray Winstone’s character – while also oddly compassionate in a scary uncle type of way – is kind of the flip side to the In Bruges character Ken. He’s a baby-face for sure, but a lot more imposing in terms of his persona. There’s very little surprise when, after being shot, he acts more annoyed than scared.
To finish it off he sticks a gun under his chin, exasperated at the situation (a goddamn car fire) and calmly exclaiming, “Fuck it” before blowing his brains out.
13. O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill Vol. 1 – “That really was a Hattori Hanzo sword…”
Blanket rule: Unless you’re Ray Liotta in Hannibal, if you talk after part of your brain his been removed, then you are a total badass. Extra points if it has been chopped off with a sword.
The badassery here is a two-parter: one being the level of humility she shows to her enemy (even at one point apologizing for underestimating her talents), and second, being her ability to tell what type of blade has just turned her into one of those monkey heads in Temple Of Doom.
12. Boris The Blade in Snatch – Refusing To Die (Pt 1)
In America, we love our Russians like we love our feminine hygiene products: vodka-soaked and terrible for the environment. In movies, a rational and non-violent Russian is that of myth, even more so than one that could actually die.
That’s what makes Boris The Blade the best villainous Russian (despite coming from a British film); he has all the ingredients in place – from muttering to unpredictable ball grabbing to near-invincibility. If Russia were a brand of cereal (I’m thinking “Corn Czechs”) then he’d be the mascot.
11. Stuka in Sin City – “Heeeey!”
Having not read the comics I know very little about this character besides this scene. Whatever his deal is, it apparently involves taking orders from a giant black man while sporting a forehead swastika tattoo – so I’m guessing it’s complicated.
What I do know, however, is that greeting an arrow through the chest the same way you’d greet a friend bringing you a snack is pretty darn awesome. If you’ll sacrifice anything for the sake of a comedic reaction – even if that anything is your lung – then you’ve earned a place here. Not to mention the annoyed groan following the second arrow which delivers a deadly tattoo removal.
10. Lurtz in The Fellowship Of The Ring – Pushing The Sword In Deeper
The Uruk-hai are to Orc what the Super Shredder is to regular Shredder, in fact – neither the Uruk-hai or Super Shredder do a whole lot of anything in their respective films either. Mostly they just grunt.
That said – when Mr. Aragorn impales the leader Lurtz, he definitely proves his scariness when he drags that mother deeper into his torso. It really goes to show that while these Orc fellows mostly spend the films being killed like Stormtroopers, they at least do it with style.
9. The T-800 in Terminator 2 – Thumbs Up!
Okay. Technically no, not a person. Still, just how screwed up do you bet little John Conner is going to be after he watches a man being slowly burned alive while giving the thumbs up? It’s like the machines had a secret plan to try to make him hang himself in his 20s.
Robot or not, no one can stay off this list if they slowly died giving a thumbs up like that, especially when the last ever remaining part of them was – in fact – the thumb.
8. Marv in Sin City – “Is that the best you can do, you pansies?”
Marv takes a lickin’ before he falls down – he’s like Nordberg in The Naked Gun, except Marv doesn’t hurt women (sorry).
At this point in the film, it would be insulting for him not to take a few electric chair jolts to die. After all – Marv is the kind of guy that, Heaven and Hell aside, is going to be greeted into the afterlife with a hearty, “Holy shit!”
7. V in V For Vendetta – “My turn…”
It’s the opposite of what you want to hear from a guy you just pumped like six rounds into. Really any verbalization at that moment is a bad one – anything besides dying is going to vex you for life.
It doesn’t help that he smiles the whole goddamn time either. V is one step away from a mime; all he has to do is talk less and kill just a few more people.
Read on some more!
6. Bell in Cannibal! The Musical – Refusing To Die (Pt 2)
This is how I want to die. My motto is: if you don’t go out traumatizing everyone in the room then you didn’t go out right. The easiest way to accomplish that is blind, undying rage – and if you can’t do that, at least throw some firecrackers around the room right as you see the white light.
Cannibal! The Musical is one of those films I loved as a teenager, but became genius the older I got. For example – the first time I saw Gordon MacRae perform “Oh What A Beautiful Mornin’” in Oklahoma and realized exactly where “Shpadoinkle” came from. Film education, people! It works.
5. The Alien in Predator – Laughing, Blowing Everything Up
The Predator alien is kind of a sore loser. If the chips are down, he’ll flip the fucking table over – actually, he’ll blow up the table.
Quick story: I actually once worked with a woman who laughed just like the Predator. A grating, loud laugh – always at the most inappropriate times – it drove me up the wall. Finally one day I hit her with a flying log and rest worked itself out.
4. Tony Montana – Refusing To Die (Pt 3)
Kids, remember: snorting cocaine gives you super powers. Had Tony been able to hold out just a little bit longer he would have successfully kept his empire, no doubt healing just like Wolverine. Don’t you want to be like Wolverine?
Jeez, I wonder what Wolverine would be like on cocaine. I bet he’d surprise us all and be less rage-fueled and more meticulous and obsessive. He’d take up wood carving or DIY flower arranging.
3. The Entire Plot Of Crank
You can’t not include an entire movie devoted to someone flipping Death the middle finger. Chev Chelios don’t stop for no poison – he don’t break, even when he is engulfed in flames in the second film. Death simply doesn’t interest him.
Chev is like the dog that eats three tubes of Icy Hot and a pack of cigarettes and doesn’t even get a stomach ache. Or, you know, I’ve heard.
2. The Black Knight in Monty Python & The Holy Grail – Refusing To Die (Pt 4)
This is how you win, folks. Instead of admitting bankruptcy in Monopoly, simply insist that you have more money. They can’t prove you don’t have money if you’re not using logic, right?
This is how the Black Knight triumphs, because even when completely dismembered – if he denies it, it’s still the other guy walking away in disgust. Victory!
1. Captain Rhodes in Day Of The Dead – “CHOKE ON ‘EM!”
I scream this every time I go to the Olive Garden.
This is by far the most dignified someone can act while being torn in half by a crowd of zombified individuals. It’s so dignified, in fact, that it’s positively awesome. If I had to choose between dying at age 90 in my bed surrounded by my family and friends and being torn in half this very second while screaming, “Choke on ‘em!” at the top of my lungs – I’d choose the latter any day of the week. This is exactly why I’m getting into voodoo.