FANDOM


WikEd fancyquotesQuotesBug-silkHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extensionPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifierAnalysisPhoto linkImage LinksHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic

Some film characters' actions can get so dumb, one might wish for the directors to re-write the script in order for the character to get it "right".


  • In Pokémon Zoroark Master of Illusions, Kodi, the antagonist, sees a vision of the future. Part of the vision tells him his assistant will betray him.
    You'd Expect: He would lock her up in some way, ensuring that she won't be able to do anything to keep him from his goal.
    Instead: They conduct business as usual.
  • In The Jazz Singer, the band Russel writes for is down a member and they promised an all-black group.
    You'd expect: Russel to try to convince the club to let a white guy sing.
    Instead: he sings in blackface, predictably leading to a fight when this secret is found out.
  • Rarely does What an Idiot! actually work. Tin Cup is one of these cases, where Kevin Costner won't listen to Cheech Marin's advice to play the ball conservatively, and then loses a golf tournament when he doesn't.
    • ...although after Jean Van Der Velde in the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie lost by doing almost the exact same thing, it seems that either truth is stranger than fiction, or we shouldn't expect as much of fictional characters as we do.
  • In the 1989 version of Batman, when the otherwise Genre Savvy Joker takes Vicki Vale up the cathedral to escape and says 10 minutes... before the helicopter arrives.
    You'd expect: The Joker to call his goons again and get the chopper to the top ASAP, since it took him 5 minutes.
    Instead: He dances with Vale waiting for the chopper and giving Batman time to beat the heck out of him.
    • This leads to the helicopter arriving and Joker taking off when Batman ties a gargoyle to his leg.
      You'd expect: The Joker to make a signal to the pilot to move to the chapel where the fall wouldn't be dangerous, or simply let go and hang around on the wall for the police to get him.
      Instead: He looks stupidly up at the ladder, tries to go along with escaping which causes the gargoyle to pull him down to his death. Really, it's hard to blame this act of stupidity on Batman.
  • Minority Report, where a cop who is racing to prevent a murder. He is armed with foreknowledge imagery of the crime, but it stymied when confronted with a row of identical houses.
    You'd expect: He would turn out a siren, loudspeaker, or simply shout out that the police were outside of the building.
    Instead: He takes several seconds to figure the one detail that was different about the correct house, then quietly races into the building to surprise the murderer.
    • Far more importantly, when that same future-viewing device shows him and several coworkers that he will commit a murder himself, along with a heaping helping of details including the exact time, he runs. I'll grant him that, since the machine saying you will commit a murder is by itself enough to get you arrested and indefinitely cryogenically frozen with apparently no trial. However, what he does next is totally nonsensical.
      You'd expect: He would stay the hell away from wherever the murder was supposed to take place, and continue staying away until twenty minutes before it was supposed to happen, then take a taxi over to headquarters and show up three minutes before he's supposed to kill someone in a completely different location and say "Look, I'm here, not killing anyone, and you didn't have to arrest me for me not to kill someone. Therefore I'm not guilty." Or some variation of the above, the main part being that he avoids doing it and uses the fact that he didn't do it as evidence that he isn't a murderer.
      Instead: Convinced this was a plot to frame him, he goes all-out trying to find out who's responsible, committing many illegal acts. When at the end of the time limit he realizes he is standing outside the very building his future victim is in, charges in and confronts the guy, who turns out to just be a very bribed man who then uses Anderton to commit Suicide by Cop. That's right, in trying to prove his innocence he knowingly charges right into the scene of the crime, and nearly commits it. Clearly, he never heard about Self Fulfilling Prophecies. On the other hand, he proves there is no such thing as fate by refusing to kill the man. Not that it works out well for him.
    • Egregious security errors on the part of the headquarters. Access is controlled via retinal scan.
      You'd expect: Once Anderton goes on the lam, they would lock out his retinal scan. Once he's captured and put into lockdown, they'd doubly make sure to lock out his retinal scan, especially since he switched out his eyes and had demonstrably used the originals to subvert their security once already.
      Instead: Anderton manages to breach the security of the Temple, using his retinal scan, and steals one of the Pre-cogs. After he's arrested and detained, his wife uses his eye AGAIN to gain access to the jail.
  • Election sees a paranoid teacher put in charge of counting the votes in the class election. Much to his horror, he sees that his least favorite student Tracey Flick has won, but the election was Decided by One Vote.
    You'd expect: He'd simply erase one checkmark for Flick and replace it with one for her opponent. It's not unheard of for someone to change their mind in the voting booth, after all. He also could have just stuffed the papers in his pocket. It's not like they'd frisk him.
    Instead: He casually tosses two votes for Flick into the trash can, taking no effort to disguise or bury the papers they're written on. Naturally, the papers are discovered and his voter fraud is caught.
  • Pan's Labyrinth sees the normally intelligent and bookish Ofelia given the task to enter a magical room and retrieve a knife that's under the care of a monstrous, sleeping guardian. Said guardian will only remain asleep as long as Ofelia doesn't touch any part of the sumptuous feast that's sitting on the table in front of him.
    You'd expect: That Ofelia would remember every single Fairy Tale she's ever read that featured a situation similar to hers that had gone sour; that she'd remember the admonitions of the very scary-looking faun who'd given her the task, the disturbing, sharp-nailed cenobite-like guardian who is sitting at the end of the table and the time limit that she's working under, AND that she would complete her task and get the hell out of there as quickly as her prepubescent legs could carry her.
    Instead: She stops to dawdle long enough to eat two grapes, thus awakening the ravenous guardian, which proceeds to chow down on the fairies and then try to eat her as well.
    • Also in Pan's Labyrinth, when Mercedes gives the key of the storage house to Captain Vidal, she confirms that it's the only key.
      You'd expect: She would then proceed to tell the partisans she's aiding to bring some explosives or other means to break through the sturdy door.
      Instead: She gives them a duplicate of the key, which they use in their very next raid to steal supplies. This immediately results in Vidal getting suspicious of the person originally in charge of the keys, i.e. Mercedes, and eventually leads to her getting captured, and inches away from horrible torture.
  • This seems to be the only reason that Psycho for Hire Anton Chigurh from the film No Country for Old Men is able to kill anyone at all, and it may be possible that a supernatural ability to instill crushing stupidity in otherwise fairly savvy people is why he's done as well as he has. This ranges from garroting a deputy who forgets he has a gun, pulling over and shooting at literally point blank range an old man who may or may not be from the area and know the man who was supposed to be driving. This is while surveying the corpses of a half dozen of their men. You'd think they'd be a little wary.
  • In Passenger 57 -- which, overall, makes perfect sense if it's intended to take place in a parallel universe where everyone is an utter moron -- one of the best moments comes when the Hero's Girlfriend is fighting one of the henchmen near the open luggage door of a moving airplane. She's about to fall out the door, clutching at the henchman's pant leg; he reaches desperately for his rifle, lying a few inches away. Finally he gets his fingers on it, gets it in his grip...
    You'd Expect: he might consider, you know, shooting her.
    Instead: he turns the gun around, and hits her with the butt. Guess who ends up falling out of the plane?
  • Star Wars has so many it could take up a page.
    • In Revenge of the Sith Obi-Wan discovers that Anakin has turned to The Dark Side, fights him and ends with having him without legs and one hand, burning, and sliding into a river of lava.
      You'd think: That he'd kill him, or at least wait for him to die. Or try to save him, somehow. It would be smarter and probably closer to Jedi morality to do so.
      Instead: He leaves him to a painful death. And has to deal with the consequences.
    • Anakin goes to see Master Yoda after having a terrible dream (possibly a premonition) about Padme suffering and dying.
      You'd Expect that the wise and compassionate Master Yoda would explain the nature of self-fulfilling prophecies and recommend that Anakin not go to dangerous extremes even to do something so noble as save the people he cares about. At the very least, he would say something to placate him. Something like, "Always in motion is the future. Do not be reckless."
      Instead Yoda quite callously tells Anakin to let go of everything he loves, never mourning their loss or even missing them. As a result, Anakin stops listening to the Jedi and starts listening to Palpatine.
    • Palpatine in Episode 6. Luke Skywalker has defeated Vader and about to get in the finishing kill, cementing his transition to the dark side.
      You'd Expect: Palpatine to stand and watch, wait until after the killing blow, and then start making speeches to Luke to make sure he doesn't relapse to the light side.
      Instead: He basically says "Good, good, kill Vader and then your transition to the dark side will be complete!", Luke realizes what he has almost become before it's too late, and he and Vader kill Palpatine.
    • Attack of the Clones: Jango Fett instructs an assassin to kill Padme Amidala, using a flying droid that can open a hole in her bedroom window.
      You'd Expect: This droid would fire a bomb into Padme's room, then self-destruct to eliminate any connection to the assassin. There's no need for subtlety: everyone knows that somebody wants Padme dead due to an earlier assassination attempt.
      Instead: Jango gives the assassin a couple of venomous creatures to place in Padme's room; they linger there long enough for Obi-Wan and Anakin to sense them and kill them. The droid then flies back to the assassin, giving the Jedi a lead. Lampshaded thoroughly in this Darths and Droids strip.
    • You'd Expect: That Obi-Wan would put a tracer on the robot that tried to murder Padme that way he and Anakin can get to a really fast floating car and then apprehend the assassin.
      Instead: Obi-Wan jumps out the window and latches onto the droid all the way to the assassin. Not only could he have miscalculated his jump and die from the lose of air alone from a jump that high, but also this leaves Anakin to get a car and somehow find and catch up to Obi-Wan during the Coruscant equivalent to rush hour at night. And let's remember that Obi-Wan is struggling to hold on considering how his only means of survival is a goddamn floating sphere that's avoiding any random car that could not see it and hit straight into it. Because of Obi-Wan, he and Anakin couldn't just track the bounty hunter and sneak up on her and take her down, he alerted her because she say him randomly holding onto her droid a million miles up in the air causing her to run like hell and trying to escape into a sports bar. Sure Obi-Wan does manage to get her in the end but this entire chase scene ended in Jango Fett killing the only lead to the people that wanted to Padme. If Obi-Wan didn't jump out that window he would not only have a lead on Jango and the Separatist's base but he would know right away to tell the Jedi Council that Jango could have valuable information. As such they would capture Fett and interrogate him and get all the information he knows: Dooku having control over the clone and droid army's and that Palpatine was the SITH LORD!!! The simple act of Obi-Wan thinking for half a second and putting a tracer on an assassin's droid (a feat that he surprisingly had enough brain cells to do with Jango Fett's ship) could have not only save billions of lives and ending a galactic war but ALSO PREVENT THE EMPIRE FROM EVER RISING TO POWER AND ENSLAVING OR KILLING ANYONE WHO SO MUCH AS HIDE A COUPLE OF DROIDS!!!
    • The Empire after the battle of Endor. Death Star 2.0 went kaboom, Palpatine is toast, and Vader is now a Force Ghost hanging out with his old pals Obi Wan and Yoda.
      You'd Expect: Someone in the Imperial ranks with the brains and ambition would say to themselves, "Hey look, a power vacuum, this is my big break." and then seize this golden, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become the new Grand Poobah of the galaxy.
      Instead: Nobody even bothers to step up to the plate. The Galactic Empire crumbles, The Rebels celebrate their victory by dancing with a bunch of midgets in teddy bear suits, and millions of people who were Star Wars fans up to this point take a header into the nearest wall.
    • Vader and the crew of his Star Destroyer have captured the Rebel Blockade Runner with Princess Leia and the stolen Death Star plans aboard. An imperial gunner and his commanding officer detect a jettisoned escape pod with no life readings aboard.
      You'd Think: They'd blast the pod just to be on the safe side, or at least have it tractor-beamed into an empty cargo bay and send in some Stormtroopers to check it. After all, data is not alive. Leia could have thrown the plans inside and jettisoned it for the Rebels to find later.
      Instead: The officer orders the gunner to just let it go. Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. (and yes, I know, if they had handled things intelligently, it would have been a short movie.)
    • Admiral Motti boasts that the Death Star with its giant, planet-killing laser cannon is "the ultimate power in the universe." Vader admonishes the Admiral for such hubris by saying "the power to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force."
      You'd Expect: Motti would smile and nod and avoid saying anything at this juncture that might piss off the Dark Lord of the Sith.
      Instead: He kicks things off by insulting Vader and his religion right in front of everyone in that meeting room. That alone was highly uncalled for and would very likely get you fired in real life. As if he hasn't already committed an act of monumental douchebaggery at this point, he then insinuates that Vader is incompetent because he has yet to "conjure up the stolen data tapes or find the Rebels' hidden fortress." He's only saved from being telekinetically strangled to death when Grand Moff Tarkin orders Vader to stop.
  • Signs: There is a species of aliens for whom water is a lethal acid.
    You'd Expect that these aliens would stay far away from a planet that has a 70% water surface. Or, at the very least, they'd stay in their advanced interplanetary spaceships for the duration of the invasion, or they'd wear some sort of environmental suits to protect from the deadly acid that exists in gaseous form in the air and frequently falls from the sky.
    Instead, the aliens invade water-soaked Earth, on foot, naked.
    • You'd Expect that aliens advanced enough to conquer interstellar travel would be somewhat intelligent, or at least technologically superior to humans.
      Instead, these aliens are unarmed, are outmatched by baseball bats and glasses of water, and are outsmarted by closet doors.
    • Finally, you'd expect that these hydrophobic creatures would finally be repelled in a scheme that makes use of the planet's prodigious water supply.
      Instead, news reports say that the invasion is repelled in the deserts of the Middle East.
  • At the end of Night of the Living Dead, Ben goes upstairs to investigate the sound of gunshots and sees a rag-tag group of vigilantes and local policemen blasting away the few remaining zombies.
    You'd Expect Ben to shout to the militia for help and come on out to meet them.
    Instead he stares out the window in a rather emotionless fashion, whereupon a pair of rednecks see him in the window, think he's a zombie, and shoot him, after taking a noticeable amount of time to line up a headshot that he could have easily gotten out of the way of before said redneck pulled the trigger.
  • Jumper: The main character's a freaking moron. After living it up with his teleportation ability, he encounters a guy who knows what he is and has been following him since a locked-door bank robbery he pulled years ago.
    You'd Expect After escaping, he'd flee far far away. Hide. Keep a low profile. Anything but...
    Instead Return to his hometown, immediately visit his father, then look up an old flame. And then pick a fight with a guy who has a vendetta against him, teleport him to THE VAULT FROM THE SAME GODDAMN BANK ROBBERY THAT TIPPED OFF THE BIG BAD IN THE FIRST PLACE and leave him there. And then is angry when he squeals.
  • Iron Man: Tony Stark is being kept alive by an electromagnetic device which is powered by a miniature arc reactor. Eventually, he develops a far more powerful version of said reactor, strong enough not only to power the electromagnet, but also to easily provide energy to his Iron Man suit without running out of juice.
    You'd Expect: Considering it's the only thing keeping him alive, Tony would build at least two or three more of these, in case something goes wrong with the one that's currently installed.
    Instead: He only builds one, which Obadiah Stane, his Treacherous Advisor eventually yanks out of his chest. Tony goes into cardiac arrest and nearly dies before he manages to install the far weaker prototype. He then suits up and fights Stane and his Iron Monger suit, runs out of power at a critical time, and nearly gets killed because of it.
  • In Scream the killers, Billy and Stu have captured Sydney and plan to kill her by framing her father who has not appeared since the beginning of the film and then killing him in "self-defense". To make the plan more convincing, they plan to cut themselves to make it seem like they "barely got out alive".
    You'd Expect: That they would kill them FIRST then set their plan into motion.
    Instead: They cut themselves up first, leaving Sydney just standing there and giving her a chance to escape and leaving themselves in no condition to kill Sydney and the Not Quite Dead news reporter lady that they thought they had killed earlier.
    • In Scream 2, Sydney and another victim are in the back of a police car when the killer steals it. In the ensuing confusion, the killer crashes the car into a light pole, pinning a dead, armed cop to the hood and knocking himself unconscious.
      You'd Expect: Either woman to take the loaded handgun sitting in full view on the hood and shoot the killer in the chest. Failing that, hold him at gunpoint until help arrives.
      Instead: They run away into the night, allowing the killer to revive and continue the chase.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: Anthony Hope has made a plan to elope with Johanna in order to get her away from Judge Turpin, who seeks to marry her despite the fact that he's raised her as a daughter, and is making his way to Sweeney's barber shop in order to inform him of the plan. Unknown to Anthony, Turpin is paying Sweeney a visit for a shave so that he can seduce Johanna, and Sweeney has murder on his mind for Turpin.
    You'd Expect: Anthony would contact Mrs. Lovett and ask if Sweeney had a customer before barging in, or at least take a moment to look through the goddamn window of the shop before busting in.
    Instead: He busts right into the barber shop, with Judge Turpin right there in the room, in order to inform Sweeney that he's found Johanna and that she has agreed to the plan. Because Judge Turpin is in the room, this means that he has now been informed about it as well, which not only blows Anthony's plan to elope with her straight to hell, but also Sweeney's plan to kill Turpin -- and to make matters even worse for them, Judge Turpin then returns home and has poor Johanna sent to Fogg's Asylum for seeking to defy him. And to make things even worse, Sweeney goes from Anti-Hero to full on Villain Protagonist as a result of being denied his shot at vengeance. Way to break it, Anthony.
    • In the setup for that scene, Mrs. Lovett tells Sweeney to be patient as he plots his revenge. "Soon, love, soon/Hush, love, hush" and all that.
      You'd Expect: Sweeney would understand that she's advising patience in waiting for Turpin to fall into his grasp.
      Instead: When Turpin does fall into his grasp that very day, he takes her advice to heart and spends a few minutes giving the guy a proper shave and singing about pretty women, leading to the scene above. "You told me to wait!" he snarls in the next song. Um, yes, Sweeney, she told you to wait for Turpin to come to you, not to waste time once his throat was finally under your blade! He should have been dead and packed away in the crate long before Anthony arrived!
  • In the Lost in Space movie, the hotshot pilot feels the best course of action was to activate the self-destruct mechanism in order to destroy the alien-infested ship.
    You'd expect: He'd get clear of the blast radius first.
    Instead he sets off the destruction of the ship while they're right next to it, and rather than fly up and away from the exploding ship, he travels along it. This cripples the ship and leaves them stranded on a planet. Nice job Joey. To add insult to injury, he self-righteously justifies it to the father despite the screw up being his fault.
  • In The Dark Knight, the Joker is in the cargo hold of a ship, burning down money. The police know he's there and are going to deploy a squad to capture him. Then they hear that the Joker's going to blow up a hospital in an hour.
    You'd Expect: That they'd send some men to evacuate hospitals or disarm the bombs in them, storm the ship, incapacitate the Joker and thus end the madness.
    Instead: They abort the operation, send every policeman to evacuate the hospitals and let the Joker walk away, which almost causes the complete collapse of Gotham into anarchy.
    Except: Locking the Joker up the first time didn't work out so well last time and besides, they needed all the men they could get to evacuate the hospitals.
    • Police procedure as a whole suffered just so the Joker could be scary. Seriously, Leaving the Joker with a single guard, unhandcuffed and not locked up? One thing among many.
      You'd Expect: that a city police department up against a madman who uses dynamite would deploy a bomb unit at some point in time. Hell, even bringing one in from another city would be much cheaper than REBUILDING AN ENTIRE HOSPITAL.
      Instead: They wholly depend on a costumed vigilante who isn't much saner than his archenemy.
  • In the Transformers Generation 1 movie, Megatron is stalling Optimus so he can grab a gun to shoot him while Optimus is busy talking instead of executing him. Hot Rod sees this and tries to stop Megatron.
    You'd Expect: Hot Rod shoots the gun, shoots Megatron in the back, or yells at Optimus "He's going for a gun!"
    Instead: He tries to tackle pound-for-pound one of the strongest and most dangerous Decepticons in the series, who easily overcomes him, thereby giving Megatron an Autobot shield from which be can blast Optimus with ease without fear of retaliation. Optimus dies as a result.
  • Star Trek Nemesis: The Enterprise has been boarded by light-sensitive Remans during a Red Alert, when the ship's lights are dimmed. The Remans are not wearing goggles.
    You'd Expect: The bridge crew laugh and beam the boarding team into the brig, since they still control the transporters.
    Instead: Long, drawn-out running phaser battle through the corridors of the ship ensues.
    You'd Expect: Someone to turn the lights up, blinding the Remans and ending that threat.
    Instead: Long, drawn-out running phaser battle through the corridors of the ship ensues.
    You'd Expect: The bridge crew let the security teams do their job, and keep their focus on the space battle going on outside.
    Instead: Important crew members, including the first officer and the guy in charge of the ship's weapons, abandon their posts on the bridge in the middle of a fight to take part in a long, drawn-out running phaser battle through the corridors of the ship.
    • The baddies want Picard. The good guys beam him over, and the transporters promptly fail. They do, however, have an prototype emergency transporter.
      You'd expect: The good guys to beam over a bomb, use the independent transporters in the shuttles, have Data/a security team with a tech on it take a shuttle and hack their way in, or replicate the emergency transporter.
      Instead: Data jumps for the enemy ship, finds Picard, slaps the transporter on him, then dies in the most pointless Heroic Sacrifice ever.
  • A Clockwork Orange: Alex is welcomed into the house of the writer whom he left as a cripple and whose wife he raped and possibly caused her death. The writer doesn't recognize him due to he and his friends using masks by the time of the assault. Additionally, he is in a state in which he can't fight back to any kind of violence.
    You'd expect: Alex would try to make sure the writer absolutely wouldn't recognize him.
    Instead: While on a bath, Alex sings the exact same song he sang while raping the writer's wife, loudly enough for him to listen from the other side of the door.
  • Burn Hollywood Burn: A director has seen his film recut by the studio behind his back. He's embarrassed about the finished product and wants to have his name taken off it. The studio heads agree to let him be credited under the standard Director's Guild pseudonym Alan Smithee. The only problem is, the director's real name is Alan Smithee.
    You'd expect: Smithee would change his own name. After all, what kind of reputation could you possibly enjoy when your name is already synonymous with failure?
    Instead: Smithee steals the only existing print of the film and holds it hostage. When the studio refuses to allow him to recut the film the way he wants it, he burns it. Smithee is committed to an insane asylum, and the studio ends up making a profit anyway when they produce a documentary about how Smithee went crazy.
    • After Smithee burns the master print of the film, the studio panics, and is left wondering that to do, especially in view of the fact that the film cost $200m.
      You'd expect: That the studio would try as best they can to reassemble the film from the various other takes and alternate camera angles that are inevitably created as part of the filming process.
      Instead: Apparently Smithee was ordered only to do one take of every single scene in the film, because actors are jerks and don't like performing more than one take of any given scene. As a result, they end up planning to sell the trailer as the actual film, until they come up with the "documentary" idea.
  • Jurassic Park: The girl is told that dinosaurs are attracted to sound and movement. The car she's in breaks down, and dinosaurs start moving around it, eventually attacking the car.
    You'd expect: She'd hide in the footwell and be quiet so it would go away.
    Instead: She screams and waves a flashlight.
    • The raptors are trying to get in, and Ellie and Grant are struggling to hold the door closed, the gun just out of reach. Lex is busy fixing the park's computer system, and Tim is there with nothing to do.
      You'd expect: He gets the gun for them, or at least helps hold the door.
      Instead: He stands there cheering on his sister, completely ignoring their cries for the gun.
      However: Tim's been what, fried, hit, knocked around, limping, almost eaten like three times? Surprised he's not a quivering wreck on the floor. He's also ten.
  • In the Phantom of the Opera film, Raoul bests the Phantom in a duel.
    You'd expect: He takes advantage of this moment, either by running him through with his sword or by knocking Erik cold and having someone fetch the Paris police to cart him off to jail.
    Instead: Immediately goes home to plan a Zany Scheme to catch the Phantom, leaving the Phantom lying there in the snow.
  • Batman and Robin: Robin has just survived Poison Ivy's Kiss of Death by wearing wax lips.
    You'd expect he'd keep them on, in case she tried it again.
    Instead he pulls them off, remarking that wax lips are "immune to [her] charms".
    You'd expect Ivy would take advantage of Robin removing his only protection against her lips and give him another snog, this one terminal.
    Instead she just shoves him into a pond.

In that case all she'd have to do is spit in his mouth, since presumably the venom is present in her saliva.

  • Superman Returns: Lois Lane is investigating a story about a blackout which seems to have spread from a specific location.
    You'd expect she'd do some research into who lives there before barging into the house, or tell somebody, anybody where she was going, or at least drop off her five year old son somewhere else before going there.
    Instead she goes in without telling a soul, and gets herself and her five year old son held hostage by Lex Luthor.
    • In the original Superman, Lex Luthor has set into motion his plan to sink California into the sea using a nuclear missile aimed at the San Andreas Fault, and has incapacitated Superman both with Kryptonite and by sending a second nuclear bomb in the opposite direction. When he reveals that the second target is Hackensack, New Jersey, his girlfriend Ms. Teschmacher protests that her mother lives there.
      You'd expect he would lead her out of the room, handcuff her to something and then maybe go back and watch Superman die.
      Instead he shrugs her off, and leaves them both alone and unmonitored. Five minutes later, she's saved Superman from the Kryptonite and he's escaped through the ceiling, on his way to foiling the plan.
  • Full Metal Jacket: Although R. Lee Ermey defined the Drill Sergeant Nasty trope with his character Gunnery Sgt. Hartman, the climax at the end of the first half of the film proves that he was a failure in the end. Take "Pvt. Pyle"'s suicide, where Joker finds him in the bathroom, holding his rifle, and has it fully loaded. His loud shrieking of the Marine Corps Prayer garners the attention of GySgt. Hartman.
    You'd expect that, upon discovering that the mentally shattered Pyle is holding a fully loaded rifle, he would get a hold of some military police to come and defuse the situation.
    Instead Hartman taunts and speaks down to him more, even when it's clear that the guy needs serious help. But after asking him, "What is your major malfunction, numbnuts? Didn't mommy and daddy show you enough attention when you were a child?!", Pyle guns down Hartman.
  • Moonraker: James Bond is being all sneaky-like on the eponymous space station when he runs into the Giant Mook, Jaws, from the previous film. Jaws is known for toughness and his metal teeth.
    You'd expect That Bond would try hitting a weak spot, evading him, or pull out a fancy gadget to dispose of him.
    Instead He punches Jaws in the teeth. Nice going, James. One connection and a "CLANG" sound, and Bond's hand is in agony.
  • District 9: Aliens come to Earth, malnourished and unguided. They're taken from their ship, set up in a temporary camp which degenerates into a slum, and are constantly exploited by the private corporation responsible.
    You'd Expect That the governments of the world would take an interest in preventing the abuse of these aliens, considering that they're 1) sapient and at least as intelligent as us and 2) capable of building technology that makes us look like cavemen in comparison. They're also bigger and probably a fair bit stronger. Clearly, treating them badly will not end well for us, in the long run.
    Instead The private corporation turns the aliens into slaves in everything but name. They're restricted in where they can eat, where they can work (and what work they can do), and forced to live in slums. Their unhatched eggs are confiscated and destroyed. They are subject to being evicted from their dwellings without notice. They are required to take on human names, speak English (or understand it, anyway), and abandon any trace of their own culture. These requirements are published on the company's website, where anyone can go look them up. The world's governments apparently don't give a crap, and are instead placated by the nifty new gadgets that the company is turning out.
  • Inglourious Basterds: Shosanna has just shot Zoller a few times, only for him to stir shortly afterwards.
    You'd expect her to go ahead and finish the damn job.
    Instead she shows something approaching regret and tries to go to his side. End result, she gets filled with lead from the victim's sidearm.
  • Resident Evil: Apocalypse: The S.T.A.R.S. sniper is sitting on the roof of a sporting goods store, picking off zombies, with headshots, at his leisure. He's even good enough to pop the head of one sneaking up on the Ethnic Scrappy. Then, Nemesis shows up.
    You'd Expect that, as an experienced, competent sniper who seems to have realized that the monsters wandering around the city only die with headshots, he'd put one of those high caliber bullets through the Nemesis' skull.
    Instead: He shoots him dead center in the chest, and is shocked that he doesn't go down. So he shoots him again in the same exact spot. Nemesis blows him up before the sniper can get a third shot off, and then proceeds to slaughter all the rest of the S.T.A.R.S. officers.
  • In Taken, Bryan Mills courteously warns his daughter's captors that he has "a particular set of skills that will make their lives very miserable" and that he will kill all of them if they do not let her go.
    You'd Expect: That if you want to get into human trafficking in Europe, you'd get your supply from Eastern Europe, East Asia, Africa, and all those other places full of vunerable women without money. Hell, tell them that you'll take them to a 1st world country to work as a maid or something, and they'll climb into the truck and pay you for it. Their governments have little resources to defend them, their families are poor and without any international clout, and because they're in the country illegally, a lot of law enforcement will look the other way.
    Instead: They kidnap young women from the airport. Yes, the ideal victim is a girl with a family rich enough to send her on vacations, from a countries with enough diplomatic clout to demand explanations. Better yet, let's do it at a post 9/11 airport where our actions will be taped by security cameras and since they just got past customs, all the women have been officially documented as having just entered the country. Yup, that'll end well.
    You'd Expect: They'd consider the possibility that Mills is not bluffing, let the girl and her friend go, apologize for the inconvenience, and get the hell out of there while Papa Wolf is still in a charitable mood.
    Instead: "Good Luck..." Hilarity Ensues.
    • Later in the same film, the girls, including the protagonist's daughter, are being auctioned off as sex slaves. One of the buyers finds Liam Bryan holding him at gunpoint and demanding he buy a girl who, yes, turns out to be his daughter. Bryan is caught, and clonked on the head, hung him from a pipe, and asks what the hell he's doing and why he just cost him over half a million dollars. Liam Bryan offers to pay the guy back.
      You'd Expect: A number of options present themselves. He could scoff at the suggestion, sure that this anonymous attacker can't refund him over half a million dollars, whereupon said anonymous attacker would produce some proof that yes, he could (and you know he would). He could say "Oh, well in that case I guess I can forget this ever happened," possibly demand a little extra for his silence (Liam Bryan didn't specify what he was paying for, or how much). Or, if he insists on being a Card-Carrying Villain, he could shoot him in the head with his own gun.
      Instead: He goes on about how this is "a unique business, with a unique clientele", which completely fails to explain why he thinks it's a good plan to walk away, leaving him in the hands of his security guys, who Liam BRYAN!! has already proven himself quite capable of overcoming. He breaks out, of course.
  • In Absolute Power, Clint Eastwood's daughter is going for a jog. While she is parking her car, Dennis Haysbert, one of the Secret Service goons, is trying to kill her by pushing her car off the cliff.
    You'd Expect: That she wouldn't be out in a public place, thinking, "If they tried to kill my father, then they would try to kill me, too!" Also, after the first time Dennis hits her car with his truck, you would think that she would get out of the car and run in the opposite direction, screaming her head off.
    Instead: She stays in the car and freaks out. Her car goes over the cliff and she is seriously injured.
    • Later, Dennis finds out that she's not dead and he goes to the hospital to finish the job. He's in her room with a syringe full of poison.
      You'd Expect: That Dennis is going to put the poison directly into her IV line, killing her fairly instantly and allowing him a quick getaway.
      Instead: He's fooling around with her arm, trying to find a vein to inject the poison into. He is quickly caught by Clint Eastwood and killed with the same poison.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indy is cornered on a rope bridge, with Thuggees guarding both ends of it. He threatens to drop the Sankhara Stones from the bridge into the crocodile-infested waters below, but the Thuggee leader, Mola Ram just laughs and tells him that the Thuggees would eventually find them again, and would have no reason to keep Indy or his friends alive if he threw the stones away.
    You'd Expect: The Thuggees to wait until Indy passes out from either thirst or hunger (granted, this might not have actually worked since Blumburtt and his troops were on the way, but Mola Ram wouldn't have known that). Alternatively, since Mola Ram is holding Willie and Short Round hostage, he could threaten to kill them unless Indy hands the stones over, and actually carry out the threat on one of them if Indy accuses him of bluffing.
    Instead: Mola Ram and most of the Thuggees walk out onto the bridge themselves, making it easy for Indy to take them out by cutting down the bridge's supports.
    • Similarly, in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the Big Bad of the film, Walter Donovan, makes it to the Grail Chamber, where the true grail and many false grails reside. The immortal knight warns him, "You must choose, but choose wisely, for as the true grail will bring you life, the false grail will take it from you." Donovan definitely seems to take take the warning seriously.
      You'd Expect: Donovan to ask for more volunteers, like he did at the first booby-trap, and waiting until one of them survives, thus proving the true grail.
      Alternatively, he's a Nazi after all, and the knight he's talking to is immortal, so why not just torture the knight indefinitely until he coughs up the secret? (Unless the grail also makes one immune to pain, of course).
      And if it turns out you must continually use the cup over and over to remain immortal, well, just look for the one with the least dust on it.
      Instead: Elsa offers to choose for him, subtly hinting to the audience that she's deliberately choosing the wrong one, and Donovan just decides that it must be the real grail. With graphic consequences.
  • The backstory to Wishmaster reveals that if someone makes three wishes of a Djinn, it will destroy the barriers between our world and the Djinn's world and allow their kind to overrun the Earth. One such creature grants two wishes to an ancient sultan, the second of which inflicts all kinds of horrible suffering on his subjects. Just as the sultan is about to make a third wish to undo his previous one, the court sorcerer shows up and tells the sultan what will happen if he makes his third wish.
    You'd Expect The Djinn to dismiss the sorcerer's accusations as nonsense, and to reassure the sultan into making his third wish.
    Instead: He admits everything the sorcerer is accusing him of, and even goes so far to show the other Djinn that are attempting to break through the now-weakened barriers between the worlds. Naturally the sultan is reluctant to make a wish under these circumstances, and it gives the sorcerer time to imprison the main Djinn inside a jewel.
  • Avatar: The RDA corporation wishes to mine valuable mineral called Unobtanium on the moon Pandora. In order to get the Na'vi natives to move away and allow them to mine, they set up a program for creating Avatars, which they hope will allow them to infiltrate the Na'vi, earn their trust, and thereby make it easier to get them to move. The protagonist, Jake, ends up infiltrating the Na'vi, earns their trust and becomes one of them within three months, and even sleeps with the chief's daughter. In other words, he's making an incredible amount of progress for what little time he spent.
    You'd Expect: The RDA corporation, which is run by stockholders, and which has already poured millions of dollars into the Avatar program, to hold off the bulldozers for a second and allow Jake more time to work his magic. As far as they know, he's managed to earn the chief (and the chief's wife), as well as the chief's daughter's trust. After all, it would be a heck of a lot more expensive to go using big scale bombs and artillery on the forest than to wait a bit longer and possibly have a spy get the village people to move. Especially considering that they already invested money into the Avatar program.
    Instead: They decide (prematurely), and without even telling their spy, that they won't wait any longer, and start bulldozing the forest. Extra idiot points in that they start bulldozing the part of the forest where their spy's Avatar body (which undoubtedly cost them a lot of money) was... and would've ran over it if his alien girlfriend didn't pull him away, buying him enough time to wake up in the Avatar. His reaction is, predictably, to jump onto the bulldozer and pound on their security camera to get them to stop. Their reaction? Tell him that he "went too far" and "betrayed their trust" by doing that, and promptly lock him up. Which causes him to decide to side with the Na'Vi and lead a rebellion.
    • Speaking of which...
      You'd Expect: Jake not to be so so blatant in his logs and also to have a quiet private word with the Na'Vi chief at some point before the deadline, so he could thoroughly and without haste explain the state of things and probably work out a solution.
      Instead: He makes his announcement in the worst possible moment, when it's all but too late to do anything, and after he'd antagonized both the Na'vi by stealing a bride from one of the tribe's most influential members, and his own command by wrecking that logging machine.
    • There's also the ridiculous case where Colonel Quadritch confronts Jake in the empty room, telling him the experiment is essentially over, and he's gotten Jake the money and guarantee for the surgery to fix his legs. Jake refuses to end the experiment, and gives every single sign, clear as the sun in the desert, that he's gone native and will be a thorn in their side when it comes to trying to remove the Na'vi from their tree-place.
      You'd Expect: The Colonel to pick up on this, and forcibly eject Jake from the project, or put him under watch, or lock him up temporarily, or even refer to the above "you'd expect" example!
      Instead: He completely ignores these signs, basically pulling the Yoda on Anakin from Episode III, then acts shocked when Jake goes native. Or maybe he was just pretending not to notice, honestly wanted to give the poor kid in the wheelchair another shot, or was just happy to try and kill him. There's a moment when he gives Jake a long look; he almost certainly knew something was up.
    • Also, when the scientists are trying to convince the corporate executives not to destroy the Tree of Voices, they talk about how the plantlife on Pandora forms a massive neural network.
      You'd Expect: They'd drop the technobabble and put it into terms these guys can understand and respect like: It's an organic computer the size of a fucking planet, do you have any idea how much money that's potentially worth?
      Instead: They focus on how spiritually significant it is to the Na'vi, which prompts the executives to dismiss it as a bunch of hocus-pocus and hippy crap.
    • There are deposits of unobtainium large enough large enough to float mountains.
      You'd Expect: someone would point out that these are probably both larger and easier to get to than the chunk under Home Tree. Since the natives don't notice that the research team is hanging out up there, they apparently all that important to them either.
      Instead: No one pays any attention to the fact that there are the equivalent to entire mountains of gold.
  • Battlefield Earth, as you might expect, has tons of these, but here's the most obvious. After being captured by the Psychlos for slave labor, the hero, Jonny Goodboy, manages to kill one of the guards with his own gun. He runs away, but quickly gets caught by the alien leader, Terl, and brought back to where the guard was shot. Incapable of believing that a "man-animal" would ever be capable of handling a gun, he forces a guard to hand Jonny his sidearm to prove that he's harmless. Jonny promptly shoots the guard dead.
    You'd Expect: After seeing Jonny shoot a guard before his very eyes, and having indirect evidence of him doing the same to another, Terl immediately has him killed. He's obviously dangerous and will only cause trouble for the Psychlos if he's kept as a slave.
    Instead: He just tosses him back to the slave-line as if nothing happened, still completely convinced that the humans are utterly harmless.
  • Transformers: The Decepticons are primarily aircraft alt-modes. The Autobots are ALL restricted to land movement. The humans plan is to place Sam and the Allspark and a few soldiers on a helicopter transport. Which is standard procedure for EVAC of civilians, but hardly appropriate in this situation!
    You'd Expect: The Decepticons LET them load the Allspark onto the helicopter. Then they wait until the copter is high in the air, reasonably far from the Autobots... then they just fly up to it and take the Allspark with minimum resistance from the puny humans.
    Instead: The Decepticons start a big fight and lose.
    • Also, at the beginning of the film, the human Sam Witwicky is selling the Plot Coupon on EBay.
      You'd Expect: The Decepticons hack themselves a Paypal account and bid on the item.
      Instead: They send two Decepticons to interrogate Sam, running afoul of the Autobot sent to protect him.
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: Alice, a Decepticon Pretender masquerading as a girl, is caught in a... tender embrace with Sam by Mikaela. Disgusted, Mikaela storms out of the room.
    You'd Expect: Alice waits a while longer before continuing with her true purpose so that Mikaela will not be able to make it back in time if the latter smells a rat. If Sam resists, quickly and efficiently pin him down while raising minimal fuss.
    Instead: When Sam does resist, Alice spends some time throwing Sam around. She also let Sam get off the bed at all. The noise alerts Mikaela, who is able to get back in time to help him.
    • Alice might have as well held a Smart Ball during that scene when compared against what Sam and co. did in this scene. After they found the Crest of Leadership needed to revive Optimus Prime to defeat The Fallen, the military, who had Optimus Prime's corpse, gave Sam a call, who was at the Great Pyramids, about deciding a place to meet and revive Optimus Prime.
      You'd Expect:That they would decide on a good rendezvous point like the Great Pyramids where the heroes were, and there were no Decepticons or witnesses around.
      Instead: Everyone decided to go to a nearby populated village where the Decepticons were headed. The result was a huge battle between the Autobots and Decepticons in the middle of a bunch of witnesses, with Sam nearly dying in the cross-fire. An Epic Failure in what was already an Idiot Plot.
  • Space Mutiny: When all the main engineering crew of the Southern Sun announce their intention to join in the titular mutiny in a meeting amongst themselves, one of the engineers, Parsons clearly isn't on-board with the whole plan. The other engineers mock Parsons, but don't actually act overly hostile towards him.
    You'd Expect: Parsons to sit out the meeting, maybe indicate that he would be amenable to joining in the mutiny, then go and alert the ship's commanders.
    Instead: He openly accuses the other engineers of mutiny and treason, and announces his intention to report them... and is then shocked when they turn on him and kill him horribly.
    • Later on, one of the bridge crew, Lamont receives evidence that the mutineers were responsible for the destruction of a shuttlecraft. The ringleader, Kalgan, decides that she must be disposed of.
      You'd Expect: That in order to take advantage of the fact that the identity of the mutineers is still largely unknown, Kalgan would send some of his loyalists to "escort" Lamont from the ship's disco (don't ask), then dispose of her in a part of the ship he controls.
      Instead: He sends some of his loyalists, and they escort her to... right outside the disco, where Kalgan shoots her dead in person. Naturally this is heard by several people in the disco, including The Hero, Dave Ryder, who promptly tries to chase Kalgan down. While Ryder fails to actually capture Kalgan, his stupidity ends up giving the good guys direct evidence that the mutiny exists, and that Kalgan is one of the ringleaders.
      • What's worse: Lt. Lamont had only a few scenes ago spoken with a man in engineering who warned her about the conspiracy. After she orders him to the bridge he is cornered by Kalgan's men and commits suicide.
        You'd Expect: That Lt. Lamont would notice that the man she ordered to the bridge to tell her about the mutiny failed to show up, and would tell someone else about it.
        Instead: She goes disco dancing and gets murdered (as described above).
  • Cloverfield: A giant monster attacks New York. The heroes make it to the military checkpoint and get on the last helicopter out of the city.
    You'd Expect: That the pilot would choose any of the 360 degrees of options leading in the AWAY direction.
    Instead: the helicopter flies parallel to the monster's path, and is knocked out of the sky when the monster lunges at it.
  • X-Men 3: Scott starts hearing Jean's voice in his head, calling his name.
    You'd Expect: That, being the leader of the team, he would (at the very least) go talk to someone about it, especially Xavier (who would be able to read his mind and figure out what's going on).
    Instead: He secretly packs a bag, blows off Logan (who tries to help him) and goes off to Alkali Lake by himself. There, he accidentally(?) awakens Jean/Phoenix, who then proceeds to de-atomize him. As if acknowledging Scott's actions, no one mentions him for the rest of the film. Stuffed Into the Fridge and Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome, indeed.
    Corollary: Prior to the events of the film (and the trilogy), Xavier implanted a series of mental mindblocks in Jean's mind to prevent a latent personality (Dark Phoenix) from taking over.
    You'd Expect: That anytime over the last twenty-plus years, Xavier would have at least mentioned this information to Jean for her own safety. Not even when she's brought back to the school from Alkali Lake does he bother to come down and see her (when she's feeling conflicted about her identity) and try to restore the mindblocks. Instead, he's teaching a class.
    Instead: Jean, more pissed off than ever, takes up residence at her old home, and Xavier willingly walks in (with Magneto, no less) to try and reason with her. It ends about as well as you would expect.
      • Also in the third movie, Magneto wants to kill the mutant whose DNA is being used to create the anti-mutant serum, who is located on Alcatraz Island. Magneto, in a stupendous display of power, lifts the freaking Golden Gate Bridge to get to Alcatrazz.
        You'd Think: that since Magneto wants to kill this particular mutant, and doesn't really care about civilian casualties incurred in the process, that while he was lifting an object hundreds of feet in the air that weighs over 1000 tons, he'd just drop it on their heads or turn it into a blizzard of shrapnel to tear every living being on the island into shreds.
        Instead: he uses it to form a bridge, marches across it and digs in for a long, difficult, and unsuccessful siege of the place.
    • In X-Men First Class, after successfully preventing the Cuban Missile Crisis from escalating into a full-out nuclear war due to the meddling of a psychotic mutant, mutants are now known to both the Russian and U.S. governments as a powerful force capable of causing hurricanes, flying, blasting people, and lifting an entire submarine out of the ocean!
      You'd Think: both sides would see the potential for using these people in combat, especially given that they prevented a full-on nuclear war since the CIA was well-aware of the role that the mutants played in the incident. Or at the very least, acknowledging that these are the last people you'd want to provoke and make angry!
      Instead: both sides just see the potential threat presented by these powerful individuals and try to blow them up with missiles. After just seeing one of the mutants lift a submarine with his power!
    • Also in X-Men First Class: Charles Xavier knows everything about Erik Lehnsherr, having read his mind and spoken to him numerous times about the future of mutants and humankind. Erik, being a Holocaust survivor, constantly voiced the view that humans and mutants could not coexist, and that the U.S. government would eventually treat the mutants like the Nazis treated Jews. Then the U.S. and Russian battleships attempt to indiscriminately destroy the mutants with missiles, which Erik catches with his powers and sends back.
      You'd Think: Charles would remember Erik's views on mutant and humankind, especially his past as a persecuted minority, and try to phrase his arguments for not declaring war on humanity to the effect of a.) they were outnumbered and vulnerable and b.) Erik was becoming just like his former enemies in his extremism.
      Instead: he says, "They were Just Following Orders." To a Holocaust survivor. Who is now a member of yet another persecuted and threatened minority.
  • Asterix and Obelix versus Cesar: Having usurped power and obtained a whole cauldron of strength enhancing potion, The Starscream leads an army of Romans against the reputed rebellious Gaul village.
    You'd Expect: that he use the fricking potion! Maybe give some to his legioneers, maybe drink it himself, but use it. After all, obtaining it was a major plot point.
    Instead: He just sits there in his command post, clutching the cauldron and ignoring his soldiers' requests for a gulp. Naturally the Romans manage against the Gauls just as well as they usually do, id est miserably, and the Gauls hold them back long enough for the main heroes to find the Phlebotinum and trash the Romans. Oh, and the cauldron of potion ends up spilled on the ground. What a waste.
  • Ip Man: Ip has just destroyed ten Japanese black belts and is rewarded with many bags of rice.
    You'd Expect: that he would take the rice and use it to feed his family and people, having made his point and avenged Master Liu's death.
    Instead: He just rejects the rice.
  • In the very first Mothra film, an entertainment promoter, upon meeting the tiny Twin Priestesses of the titular Physical God, decides to make them stars in mainland Japan.
    You'd Expect: that he'd start with his strong suit: Cutting a (probably unfair) deal.
    Instead: the promoter just kidnaps them, leaving himself open to countless criminal charges, with kidnapping, false imprisonment, and enslavement being only the most obvious, then compounds his error by having them perform their sacred music (with orchestral backing!) on live TV. Oh, and he does this in a world where kaiju and other supernatural phenomena are demonstrably real, and quite well-known.
  • Robin Hood (2010 film). King Philip of France has mustered an army to conquer the English.
    You'd Expect: They would land somewhere without a very high, very level bluff from which England's famous archers have perfect aim towards their troops, and they would get the hell out once they saw that they were pinned on three sides with archers to the front and cavalry to their left and right flanks, and the sea to their backs.
    Instead: They continue right on with the landing, even as their army is being felled in swoops by English longbowmen and subsequently ground into the mud by the cavalry. Whilst some of their men are being crushed to death with their own boats.
  • In Aliens, Carter Burke wants to smuggle the Aliens back through quarantine by using Ripley and Newt as hosts for the two surviving Facehuggers in the MedLab.
    You'd Expect: He would realize that he couldn't possibly move Ripley and Newt's bodies into the dropship alone. The Marines know what facehuggers look like and would absolutely not help him do so.
    Instead: He traps Ripley and Newt with the facehuggers, blowing what shreds remained of his cover. He only escaped being executed in the very next scene because the Xenomorphs busted in.
  • In Stargate: The Ark Of Truth, the IOA comes up with a plan to introduce Replicators into the Ori galaxy, hoping to distract them from their crusade against the Milky Way.
    You'd Expect: That they would realize how insanely stupid this plan is, especially as the only weapon capable of purging all Replicators from our galaxy was destroyed by the Ori.
    Or: They would order the SGC to carry out the plan, allowing for better execution and plenty of safeguards.
    Instead: They have their agent carry out this plan without informing the SGC, who at least know how to deal with Replicators.
    Also: They program the Replicators to be immune to the anti-Replicator weapons the SGC has, forcing them to fall back on guns, just to ensure that the SGC couldn't stop their plan.
  • Toy Story 3: When Woody, Buzz, and the other toys are on the conveyor belt at the dump, at first they think they're approaching daylight, but it turns out to be an enormous incinerator, which burns all the trash that falls into it. But they see a ladder which leads upward, and avoids being pushed into it, with a stop button that will halt the conveyor belt if pressed.
    You'd expect: That Buzz or Woody themselves would try to climb up the ladder and hit the stop button before it's too late.
    Instead: They trust Lotso to climb up it and press it himself. So he does climb up there...only to pointedly not hit the button, leaving them to die.
  • In Mannequin, Johnathan enters the back room of the rival department store and sees his beloved Emmy in a pile of other mannequins on a conveyor belt, about to be fed into a huge shredding machine.
    You'd Think: Jonathan would run over to the bright yellow control console, slap that big red EMERGENCY STOP button, and then calmly walk up to retrieve Emmy without having to worry about either of them getting ground into bits.
    Instead: He runs up the conveyor without turning off the machine. Sure, after seeing Emmy come to life, the janitor hits the aforementioned button Jonathan should have hit in the first place and we have a happy ending, but damned if it wasn't a really close call.
    You'd Also Think: The janitor would hit the stop button the instant Jonathan jumped onto the conveyor, if for no other reason than to avoid the liability and/or termination of his employment that would follow if something tragic happened.
    Instead: He doesn't do jack until after he sees Emmy come to life. "Okay, let me get this straight Mister Janitor; you couldn't give a crap if some dude gets himself killed in a rather gruesome and messy manner right in front of you, but you will hit the emergency button if a hot chick is in danger? Nice, real nice."
  • Infernal Affairs and The Departed, where Yan/Costigan approaches Ming/Sullivan about reinstating his identity after Sam/Costello is dead. When Ming/Sullivan leaves the room, Yan/Costigan notices an envelope with his handwriting on it, realizing Ming/Sullivan is the mole.
    You'd Expect: Yan/Costigan would, after years of deep undercover work, have a really good poker face, conclude his business with Ming/Sullivan and then quietly inform the other policemen that he's the mole.
    Instead: Yan/Costigan immediately runs out like a madman with the envelope in plain view, revealing his hand to Ming/Sullivan who then promptly erases Yan/Costigan's identity from the police database. This leads to a series of events where Yan/Costigan is eventually shot in the face.
  • In Saw, one of the two prisoners Lawrence needs to answer the cell phone to save his wife and himself and foil the murderer's plot. Unfortunately, courtesy of the sadistic Jigsaw, Lawrence is chained to a pipe and the cell phone in question is lying about 40 cm out of his reach. He has a hacksaw and he's wearing a long sleeved shirt.
    You'd Expect:That he takes off his shirt and swings it over the phone. Or that he uses the hacksaw to hook on the phone. Or that the other prisoner uses some object to knock the phone closer to Lawrence.
    Instead: Having failed to reach the phone with some stupid box, Lawrence does takes off his shirt...and then ties it around his chained leg and proceeds to saw it off, instead of the pipe, or the chain, or the cuff. Hacksaws are made to cut metal, after all, not flesh or bone. * Face Palm* Yes, he was screwed up and in panic. It was still idiotic and furthermore, the other guy wasn't in panic but still he didn't suggest the obvious solution.
    • In Saw V, The players who have been selected turn out to be highly Genre Savvy when they figure out (early in the film) that closing the door in a room activates the next trap. This, in addition to brainstorming creative solutions to the traps, does a lot to get the audience on their side. Near the end of the film, Brit and Malick (the two remaining survivors) kill a woman named Luba and use her body to provide an electric current to open the door to the final trap. They enter the room and learn that they (and, presumably, all the other survivors who lived) have to stick their hands into a sawblade in order to draw enough blood to fill a beaker and open the final door to escape.
      You'd Expect: Given the fact that they were a fairly smart duo, either Brit or Malick (who had suggested alternate plans before) would go back to the previous film, disconnect the electric clamps, bring her body into the final room and use her hands to draw enough blood to fill the beaker. Alternatively, they could have just cut off her arms (seeing as Brit still had a very big knife) and use it to fill the beaker that way.
      Instead: They stick their hands in and cut halfway up through their arms to fill the beaker. They both survive, but pass out due to massive blood loss.
  • Spider-Man: The Osborn butler finds out that Norman/Green Goblin was Impaled with Extreme Prejudice by his own glider. However, Harry believes that Peter/Spider-Man is responsible and swears on his father's grave to kill him.
    You'd Expect: ... the butler to tell Harry immediately upon finding out.
    Instead:

 Butler: Harry, Spider-Man didn't kill your father, he killed himself.

Harry: You couldn't tell me that before I had my right side of my face blown up?!

    • Same film. The Green Goblin has just impaled himself on his own glider. As Peter delivers the body, Harry walks in and angrily accuses Spider-Man of killing his father while grabbing a gun.
      You'd Expect: Peter to web the gun out of Harry's hands, and explain that the Green Goblin killed his father-- it would be truth From a Certain Point of View, the wounds on Norman's body match up with the glider's weapons, and the Green Goblin already has a history of targeting Os Corp executives! Apologize to Harry for failing to save Norman and leave.
      Instead: Peter leaves as fast as he can, leaving his psychologically unstable best friend with the mistaken belief that Spider-Man is responsible for the death of his father.
  • In Highlander II the Quickening, General Katana of Zeist sends his two goons to kill Connor MacLeod on planet earth. However, Dumbass Has a Point by saying that MacLeod was banished on earth and from what we see can die of old age anytime.
    You'd Expect: General Katana to agree with him and let MacLeod die of old age.
    Instead Katana slaps the guy and send him to earth and, of couse, they die returning MacLeod to the immortal phase, thus remaking the gathering, thus obliging Katana to go himself and, of course getting himself killed.
  • In Resident Evil Afterlife, The T-Virus-infected Albert Wesker needs to eat human flesh. He thinks eating Alice's flesh will give him control of the virus. He has all the resources of Umbrella and two of Alice's former allies-turned-mind-controlled-puppets at his disposal.
    You'd Expect: He'd use those resources to find Alice, specifically Claire, who knew where Alice was headed, and set a trap for her there.
    Instead he gambles on Alice following the radio transmissions to Arcadia. Then when she arrives at Arcadia
    You'd Expect: he'd unleash a horde of mind-controlled people to hold her down, or pull out a taser or do something to incapacitate her while he has the element of surprise.
    Instead he has a single mook train a gun on her, explains his plan and expects to succeed by beating her in combat.
  • In Star Trek III the Search For Spock Spock's father, Sarek, tells Kirk that Spock's body should have been returned to Vulcan, not left on the Genesis Planet; if they don't retrieve the body, Spock's katra will be stuck in McCoy's head, effectively killing them both.
    You'd Expect: That Starfleet, when informed that the Vulcan ambassador is understandably furious that his son's body wasn't returned home according to the rules of their culture, and that an officer's life or sanity is at stake, would fall over themselves to get in touch with the ship that's already in orbit around the Genesis Planet and ask them to take five seconds to beam Spock's coffin aboard.
    Instead the admiral flatly refuses to do anything, throwing in a patronising comment about how he doesn't understand 'Vulcan mysticism', and is later amazed when Kirk and co steal the Enterprise and make for the Genesis Planet anyway.
  • The Mummy Tomb of the Dragon Emperor -- in the film's prologue, the sorcererss Zi Yuan casts what she claims is an immortality spell on the titular Emperor, but is in fact a curse that will transform him and all his followers into terracotta statues. Before this becomes obvious, the Emperor tells Zi that she will marry him, and threatens to have her lover, Ming Guo, torn apart by wild horses unless she agrees to be his bride. However, Ming shouts out that he's doomed no matter what she does, so there's no point agreeing to marry the Emperor.
    You'd Expect: Zi to try and keep the Emperor talking until the curse kicks in and immobilizes him and his followers, then she can free Ming from the horses.
    Instead: She instantly refuses, promptly resulting in Ming's grisly death. Moreover, she is severely wounded and nearly killed herself by the Emperor, before the curse finally takes hold and transforms him and his followers into statues, allowing her to escape.
  • Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan: The Enterprise first encounters Reliant after sketchy reports that should suggest that something is seriously wrong with Reliant's handling of the Genesis situation. After hailing her numerous times with no response, Enterprise receives an excuse that a critical communications component is faulty, an assertion that does not survive a cursory scan of the ship by Spock. So now, whoever's on that ship is both acting suspicious and out-and-out lying.
    You'd Expect: Kirk, the combat veteran, who's probably trained extensively for these kinds of situations, heeds the sage advice of Saavik, the fresh-out-of-Academy cadet, and raises the shields until the situation can be clarified.
    Instead: He, and the allegedly intelligent Mr. Spock, shut Saavik up and blithely keep going on towards Reliant with shields down and weapons disarmed. Khan and his crew knock the stuffing out of Enterprise.
  • In The Last Airbender: Sokka (who has supposedly spent his entire life on ice) sees a shape in the water underneath the ice.
    You'd Expect: Sokka to realize that if the ice is so thin that he can see the water it is too dangerous to even consider breaking it on his own, and to return to the village for help or at least to try to break after he's moved off that ice. At the very least you would expect him to realize that it's dangerous to have Katara on the same patch of ice and to send her a safe distance away.
    Instead: He decides to break the ice (which is so thin that he can see the water) near his own feet and for some reason is surprised when he and his sister (who had no reason to be there) nearly fall into the freezing water.
    • Later on: While with the Northern Water Tribe they learn that the Fire Nation is about to launch a massive attack. Logically, the order is given to douse every fire in the city that they can.
      You'd Expect: The order to be carried out quickly and with minimal fuss.
      Instead: When the Fire Nation attacks we can clearly see that there are at least dozens of torches clearly lit with no apparent need for them to be lit. Worse, no apparent effort is ever made to put them or any of the Fire Nation's flaming boulders out!
    • What really took the cake was the scene with the Fire Nation prison camp holding the earth benders. On EARTH.
      You'd Expect: The earth benders to escape as soon as they were "imprisoned". It would've required minimal effort.
      Instead: The earth benders stay imprisoned for months (maybe longer, it's never made clear) until the Mighty Whitey heroes come along and give them the worlds most generic and lazy motivational speech.
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes: (Human) Protagonist Will has been dosing his father with his experimental brain-boosting drug, ALZ-112. After seven years of not only full reversal of his father's Alzheimer's, but improved brain function, Dad starts to develop resistance to the drug and deteriorates rapidly as his Alzheimer's returns with a vengance.
    You'd Expect: Will to consider seven years of better-than-perfect mental health to be a victory and go back to his drug company superiors with his near-miracle drug.
    Instead: Not only does he consider 112 a failure because it wore off[1], he completely scraps it and starts in on a more-aggressive version of the drug. Which turns out to be both the catalyst for the titular "uprising", but causes the implied Class 3a Human Extinction Event that allows enhanced apes to take over the planet.
  • In Sleeping Dogs at the end main character Smith is cornered by Jesperson and the Special Police Force. He fires at Jesperson, but is obviously not trying, since he rants that isn't this what they want, him to fight them? He defiantly walks away from them while Jesperson angrily tells Smith not to turn his back on him.
    You'd Expect: Jesperson to just shoot him in the leg, or have his men go grab Smith.
    Instead: He fatally shoots Smith after he turns away, then complains he needs him alive, and even kicks his corpse in frustration. Face Palm.
  • Feast A plan has been devised that requires a corpse to be used as a distraction, and bomb, for the monsters to facilitate an escape plan. Just before the plan starts the 'corpse' regains consciousness, Bozo hesitates while Boss Man decides to continue as planned. The monsters go for the bait before they decide, and they blow her up as planned. Big Man asks if Bozo will agree not to tell the others about Harley Mom being alive.
    You'd Expect: The guy to say 'sure, no need to burden the others' since it was WAY too late to change the plan either way.
    Instead: When a distraction presents itself he gets into a fight Big Man that ends in the death of Heroine
  • In Treasure Planet, the titular hero, Jim Hawkins, hears a conversation that John Silver, the only one of the ship's crew who gets along with him, will start a mutiny when they find Treasure Planet. However Scroobs, a vicious crew member, taunts him about his friendship with Jim which leads Silver to claim it was just to not get him suspicious, so to not be seen to the rest of the mutinees as his weakness. After the mutiny of the ship, Jim and his partners are trapped on Treasure Planet and John Silver eventually finds them.
    He goes alone to negociate with Jim outside their hideout. Silver admits he said those things about Jim because if the other mutinees knew about his weakness would result in another mutiny against Silver and will most likely evicerate him and the others. Silver proposes a plan to betray his own comrades and join forces with Jim to find the treasure themselves.
    You'd Expect: Jim to understand the odds of not siding with Silver and accept his plan. He may even convince Silver to bring along his friends as they can help againts the mutinees. Silver finds his beloved treasure, Jim gets a share of it to rebuild his home, and his friends are A-OK. Everybody is happy.
    Instead: He still resents him for having said those things about him (or the greed gets the better of him) and rejects the offer. He even goes as far to tell Silver he won't get a piece of HIS (Jim's) treasure as he has the map.
  • In The Little Mermaid II, Ursula's sister Morgana shows up at the celebration of Ariel and Eric's daughter Melody's birth, still angry at them for killing her sister. So out of revenge, she threatens Baby Melody's life.
    You'd Expect: Ariel to just tell Melody that Morgana would kill her if she went into the sea
    Instead: Ariel has a wall put around the palace to keep Melody out of the sea and then decides that she can't know anything about mer-people or Atlantica. 'Cause that won't blow up in her face later, will it?
    • Even the first movie has it when Triton angrily blasts Ariel's treasures all because she said she loved Eric. When he's finished, he visibly looks sad about upsetting her.
      You'd Expect: Triton to swim up to her and apologize, and maybe have a heartfelt moment.
      Instead: Triton just swims away after that, leaving her to cry. This gives Ursula's minions a chance to exploit her emotional vulnerability, leading to her making an impulsive Deal with the Devil with Ursula.
  • In Mortal Kombat Annihilation, Shao Kahn tells Raiden to surrender or he'll kill Johnny Cage, to which Raiden basically says he’d then easily kill all of Kahn's generals with his glowing lightning cage. Kahn says that Raiden would never let one of his precious humans die. Raiden offers to trade himself for Johnny. Kahn tells Raiden to bow at his feet, causing Raiden to drop the cage. Shao Kahn then shouts, "Fool!" and snaps Johnny's neck.
    You'd Expect: Raiden then instantly brings the energy cage back up, and uses it to kill Kahn’s generals.
    Instead: Raiden just stands there until Kahn blasts him through a wall.
  • In Camp Nowhere, Mud and the other protagonists are pulling off an elaborate Con on their parents by staging a phony Parents' Day at their phony summer camp. Using Homemade Inventions, they have full video surveillance of the grounds, including the front gate. These kids know that anything could go wrong during the con. They also know that a debt collector named Polk is searching for Dennis, the man who helped them with their con. Indeed, said debt collector finds his way to the camp at the very end of the con.
    You'd Expect: The kids would catch Polk on camera at the front gate and manage to sidetrack him. They would keep an eye on the last group of parents to make sure that they leave the camp. Polk would be sent on another wild goose chase, the con would be preserved, and the kids would make it to the end of the summer without their parents being any the wiser.
    Instead: The kids don't pay any attention at the end. Polk gets into the camp and runs into Mud's dad right as he's leaving with the last group of parents. Both of them go looking for Dennis, and stumble into the kids right when they're toasting their victory. All the parents are notified, the kids are sent home, and Mud pays off Polk with the remainder of the camp money in order to save Dennis.
  • Max Payne has the titular character interrogating Jason Colvin about his wife's death roughly. While doing so, his secretary, Jackie, is knocking on his door.
    You'd Expect: Max tell Colvin that everything is okay.
    Instead: He continues to interrogate him roughly, giving Jackie the chance to call Aesir police.
    • Another one when Max blocks the door leading to the storage room while in pursue.
      You'd Expect: The Aesir police will have to use the bottom floor to get to the other side.
      Instead: They just blew up the door, giving Max the chance to escape with the smoke. Good thing Bravura calls them out for that.
  • Deep Impact: President Tom Beck knows a killer chunk of space rock is going to hit Earth and secretly builds underground cave shelters for America's best and brightest. This leaves the matter of everyone else in the country...
    You Would Think: He would talk with his top men and at least give everyone else a list of suggestions on how they might improve their odds of surviving the disaster. Even if it was just a lot of "Duck And Cover" bullcrap, it would be better than nothing. Plus, he knew the rock was going to hit the East coast, so he could just tell the Americans to head westward.
    Instead: He pretty much tells the rest of America he's written them off as not worth saving and that he's just going to save his own ass those of the elite. The meteor final falls, causing far less damage then anticipated. Beck, in all likelihood, will not be reelected considering how many people will be righteously pissed off at him.
  • Die Hard: Early on, following the advice someone he met while arriving in L.A., John McClane takes his shoes off and walks barefoot in the Nakatomi building to relieve some tension. During this, Hans Gruber and his men take over the building, and McClane is forced to sneak out but unable to get his shoes back on, forcing him to remain barefoot. When John kills the first of Gruber's men he attempts to take his shoes, but to his chagrin finds out that they are too small to fit him.
    You Would Think: That John would continue doing this with any future members of Gruber's team that he'd manage to kill until he found a pair of shoes that he'd be able to wear.
    Instead: McClane does not think to do this again at all. Much later into the film, one of Gruber's men proceeds to shoot out several pieces of glass, causing McClane's unprotected feet to get completely cut up.
  • Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie has the titular character being chased by the police for pulling out a "gun", which it's his right hand. When the leading police said "everyone on the floor, now!", Bean also goes down, but the lady near him said "Not you, sweetie" because she knows he's their target.
    You'd Expect: To ignore what the lady says.
    Instead: Being Bean, he just follows her word, allowing the police to point their guns at him.
  • Face Off: Sean Archer has destroyed the engine of the plane that his Arch Enemy, Castor Troy, would try to escape Los Angeles. The pilot told him about it.
    You'd Expect: Castor would have to accept it, and let the pilot live so that he can fly it again.
    Instead: He just kill the pilot. Too bad he doesn't know how to fly it and ended up crashing it to a hangar.

Notes

  1. never mind that what it did do is far above and beyond what any Alzheimer's treatment can currently do
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.