A good method of determining the realism of a film isn’t by body count so much as it is the weight a writer puts on each death. For example, if the death is preceded by any of the following one-liners, it probably wasn’t valued very much.
That isn’t to say these are bad films by any stretch, just films that you wouldn’t want to be caught dead dying in, lest your final breaths be a gentle laugh at the lunacy uttered by your attacker.
8. “You think this is the real Quaid? It is.” – Total Recall
You could write a book based on bad Schwarzenegger murder lines, but I chose this one because of how incredibly flaccid it is in terms of being neither clever nor “so bad it’s funny.” It just, kind of, is.
At first glance you’d wonder why they would even fall for it. After all, it’s not like there’s any harm in shooting a hologram just in case. But then again, we know nothing of the lives of these Martian henchmen, and in great stress one can make dumb snap decisions. It would be almost worse to imagine these guys falling to the floor, their last moments being the same feeling you get when you lock your keys in your car.
7. “I didn’t forget everything. I remember how to kill you, asshole.” – Unknown
…He said, right before wildly jabbing the guy with glass after a weird struggle. For those of you who haven’t seen this film, Liam Neeson wasn’t fighting Lord Voldemort or anything. It was just some guy. You can kill those things so many different ways it’s ridiculous.
And while it might have been a (really awkward) nod to his character’s memory loss, the fact that it still takes a struggle to actually kill the guy makes me suspect that Neeson did, in fact, forget how to murder this wimpy looking dude.
6. “No more Mr. Knife Guy.” – Wild Wild West
Not terrible as a pun until you realize that it’s a reference that shouldn’t technically exist yet. Will Smith just coined it while kicking a man out of a giant walking spider. But what’s even weirder is that he didn’t coin the original “nice guy” phrase, but a pun on a phrase that – once again – didn’t historically exist until around the 1960s.
And yes, I do realize that they also didn’t have giant steam powered spiders back in the days of the old west – but that’s almost more forgivable considering that the culture of this film seems consistently dated except for everything Will Smith says and does. It’s almost as if he’s actually Agent J from Men In Black, accidentally sent back in time with that device from the third film. That makes as much sense as anything, actually.
5. “Do you know what happens to a toad when it’s struck by lightning? The same thing that happens to everything else.” – X-Men
Storm, holy shit. It’s called a one-liner because it’s short and to the point. At that rate, you could have bored him to death quicker than the electrocution. Also, it’s just bad manners to ask someone a question when you know damn well that their tongue is occupied. Shit, Storm – he was TONGUE-TIED! Couldn’t you have gone with a pun about that?
Obviously just because someone can summon lightning like a Greek God doesn’t mean they automatically have a zinger for every situation, but Storm knows that down the line she’ll be electrocuting dudes. Couldn’t she have prepped a little better, or does she say that line for everything and fills in the blank where “toad” went? I don’t know what’s worse.
4. “It’s you. You’re the rocket man.” – The Rock
Here’s another rule of the action one-liner: if you have to set it up with a really long explanation, it’s not a one-liner. I feel like Cage’s character had envisioned a scenario where Candyman was going to know who Elton John was and couldn’t back out after finding out the opposite.
In the end, who was this reference even for? The man impaled on a fence? He didn’t even get the reference when it was said to him. That means that no one will know what happened unless Cage tells people afterward, and by that point, who would believe him?
3. “Yes officer, as a matter of fact there is a problem. Apparently there are too many bullets in this gun.” – The Last Boy Scout
Everyone needs to love Shane Black, but boy… this line is just… just a nightmare. It is said by a henchman to a snooping cop right before shooting him and framing a knocked-out Bruce Willis in the back seat – giving the cop ample time to realize that he might be near-dispatched. Then again, who would think that such a bumbling line was supposed to be a cool way to off someone? The officer’s dying thought was probably, “wait, what did he just say to me?”
Also, can you really have too many bullets in a gun? It’s just so awkward. One imagines that as they drove off with Bruce Willis’s unconscious body it got strangely silent in the car – the ghost of the guy’s awkward pre-murder phrase echoing in everyone’s heads.
2. Just About Everything Mr. Freeze Says – Batman & Robin
This is a rare combination where not only is he delivering torturous fates worth than death in the form of slow hypothermic encasing, but he does it using god-awful puns. Just imagine, for a second, that the last thing you ever hear on God’s green Earth is some meatastic Austrian telling you to “chill.”
That’s how your life ends, by a big blue robot guy who somehow managed to hire ice-skating thugs and needs diamonds to survive. Meanwhile, there’s a lady who kisses dudes to death – but no, you got the ice clown and his dictionary of winter knock-knock jokes. For quantity, Schwarzenegger is unrivaled, but there’s still a one-liner that reigns moronically supreme. And you may have guessed it.
1. “Garbage day!” – Silent Night, Deadly Night Pt. 2
I have never seen this movie, nor do I know anything about it besides it being a horror film that includes a spree killing. That’s my failing, clearly, because this is just about the best line ever spoken before popping a cap. In a way, it’s brilliant. After all, is there really a point to saying something witty to a guy you’re about to kill? You might as well instead spout out the first thing that you notice.
“Red shirt!” BLAM. “Walking your dog!” BLAM. “Being a squirrel!” BLAM. Screw it. You’re a crazy person so there’s no need to prove otherwise.