Taken 2 has one of the most glorious moments of ends-justify-the-means logic ever committed to film (beware if you’re worried about minor spoilers): after being “taken” by a group of baddies (as we see happen in the film’s adrenaline-pumping trailer), Liam Neeson’s character Bryan Mills manages to phone his daughter — his last hope for survival. Since he has “a certain set of skills,” Mills is able to track his location while blindfolded. All he needs to do is get his daughter there. To do that, he has her throw grenades out the city’s hotel window so he sense the distance based on sound.
Throw grenades. Out her window.
The dangerous solution results in a fair share of collateral damage (and we won’t dare divulge how the plan works out), but it does stand as at truly reckless act of action heroism. That’s pretty much the norm when you’re a badass trying to save the day. Not every plan is perfect — it just has to work.
Here are a few destructive moments that, when you think about it, don’t seem entirely conscientious.
Die Hard with a Vengeance: Driving Through Central Park
With only half an hour to stop a subway bomb from going off and 90 blocks to travel, John McClane (Bruce Willis) takes an off-road approach to traversing the busy streets of New York. As in, he opts not to use them. Traveling through Central Park in a taxi cab isn’t a bad plan for jetting downtown, but it’s important to note there are roads that run through the park. McClane decides to avoid those too, remembering that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Even if people are standing on that straight line.
Mission: Impossible: Red Light, Green Light
A casual dinner turns into an intimate game of cat and mouse when Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) confronts IMF director Eugene Kittridge after a botched mission to retrieve a NOC list. Kittridge believes Hunt orchestrated the death of his teammates. Hunt knows he’s innocent, and needs to escape incarceration in order to prove it. To get out of the sticky situation, Hunt blows his way out of the situation with an explosive stick of chewing gum and an enormous fish tank. The indoor wave works, wiping out Kittridge… and everyone else in the room.
Commando: Cindy Frees John with Rocket Launcher
In a hope of saving the imprisoned John (Arnold Schwarzenegger), flight attendant Cindy (Rae Dawn Chong) unloads a round from a rocket launcher. One would think that a rocket launcher would still kill a massive guy like John, but that’s not even the biggest problem: Cindy picks up the weapon and fires it in the wrong direction, accidentally blowing up a building behind her.
Independence Day: The Destruction of the Final Ship
“We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on, we’re going to survive. Today we celebrate our independence day!” President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) delivers this rousing speech before the final battle of Independence Day, which thankfully leads to the outright destruction of the alien invaders. What they don’t really think through: what happens when you shoot down city-size alien vessels? They come crashing down! Into you!
Casino Royale: The Construction Yard Chase
James Bond has found himself in plenty of set piece-friendly scenarios, but not as catastrophic to unsuspecting pedestrians as his foot chase across an industrial compound in Madagascar. Actually, if it was just a foot chase, it might not have a problem, but in order to stop the fleeing parkour enthusiast Mollaka from escaping, Bond (Daniel Craig) drives a loader straight into the incomplete high rise, sending a cloud of smoke and shrapnel flying every which way.
The Bourne Franchise: Everything
Over the three-film journey to discover his identity and uncover the mystery of Treadstone, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) runs and guns his way through hordes of modern G-men. He also destroys plenty of commoner possessions, ranging from cars, to apartments (thanks for bursting through my window, Jason!), to commercial properties. What happened to the good old days when super spies were beating the crap out of each other in secret island lairs where regular joes remained unaffected? With Bourne, it’s all about the human shield.
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[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]