Top List Thursdays – Top ten great scenes from otherwise terrible movies

8 min read
4

Sometimes, you can smell a bad movie from a mile away. That unmistakable aroma of box office crap, the pungent smell of cliche dipped in bad acting, scripting and production values cheaper than a prison tattoo. Still, sometimes, you’ll find a rare gem in these movies, where all the crap coalesces into one standout scene that doesn’t make the film feel like a complete waste of time. Here’s ten such scenes, which only made me want 90% of my ticket refunded.

  • X-Men 3: The Last Stand – The Death of Jean Grey

X3

Where do we even begin with X3? Credit where credit is due, it’s amazing that last-minute replacement director Brett Ratner was even able to churn a film out, given the rushed development, frenzied casting and shoddy script development of what was supposed to be the grand ending to a magnificent mutant trilogy that director Bryan Singer had created with the first two X-Men movies.

The end result however, was anything but great. Lame mutants. Soldiers armed with glorified PG-13 guns. A plot that was just baffling. Still, there were a few bright spots in the movie. Casting Kelsey Grammar as the eloquent Beast was a touch of genius, and seeing Magneto levitate an entire bridge made for some movie magic. But it’s the final heartbreaking scene where Wolverine risks everything as his body is torn apart by an out of control Phoenix AKA Jean Grey, that made for some tearful viewing and a final farewell.

  • Superman Returns – You will believe that a man can toss an island into space

For 90% of its running time, Superman Returns was nothing but pure fan service to the Superman movies helmed by Richard Donner. Sure the movie looked great, but the once you unwrapped it and bit down, you’d realise that you were watching a bland and uninspired  superhero movie that felt like a $250 million waste of time. But near the end, director Bryan Singer finally put the super back into Superman. Lex Luthor thinks that he has won. He has a new landmass to control, advanced alien technology, he’s shivved Superman with a piece of kryptonite and at least three of his henchmen that know when to keep their mouths shut! What could possibly go wrong?

And then the Superman theme music hits. The ground starts shaking, and Lex Luthor barely escapes as Superman tosses an entire island filled with Kryptonite into outer space. Now that’s the real Man of Steel that audiences paid to see for a few brief minutes.

  • Alien 3 – The death of Ripley

alien-3

Sure it had some great ideas, but Alien 3 was very much a movie where studio meddling was plainly visible. It’s a movie with several ideas that tried to combine, but it just didn’t work. But seeing Ripley make a noble sacrifice as she threw herself off of a platform to a certain death in the furnace below? That’s a great moment that almost makes up for the entire movie, as Ripley ended the franchise on her own terms essentially. And then Alien: Resurrection happened.

  • Terminator 3 – You are terminated!

Ever since Judgement Day hit cinemas, the Terminator franchise has been looking to bottle the lightning of the first two movies. Said lightning has routinely escaped their grasp however, resulting in sequels such as Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines. Once again, Arnie’s T-800 model was completely outclassed as the T-X kicked ass and took human resistance names along the way. With all the pieces falling into place near the third act however, it’s up to the T-800 to fulfill his mission parameters at any cost when the T-X comes dangerously close to finally killing John Connor. Even if it means ending his own life with a low-yield nuclear explosion.

  • Lethal Weapon 4 – Riggs and Leo share a tender moment

By the time Lethal Weapon 4 rolled around, it was clear that police officers Riggs and Murtaigh had indeed become too old for this sh*t. Sure the chemistry was still there, but much like the officers that the film was built on, the movie felt tired and ready for retirement. As the final movie in the franchise however, Lethal Weapon 4 made up for all that with a scene between resident irritant Leo Getz (Ok? Ok! Ok ok ok ok!) and Riggs, where the maniacal officer finally decides to say goodbye to his deceased wife while Getz reveals a little bit of his own history.

It’s a touching moment, especially when you consider than in the previous ten minutes Riggs and Murtaugh had to shove Jet Li through a meat grinder o abuse that saw both cops almost kick the bucket for good.

  • Street Fighter – Keep your god!

Everything about Street Fighter is monumentally terrible. But like a car crash in slow motion, you just cannot stop watching. But as usual, Raul Julia steals the scene as the antagonistic General M Bison. Chewing the scenery and then vomiting it out into memorable one-liners, it’s near the end of the movie when M Bison reveals his final form, kicking Jean Claude Van Damme’s ass with a combination of wire-work and acting so bad, that it goes from terrible right around to magnificent. Some people came to see a madman acting. Instead, they found a god of the silver screen.

  • The One – I will be the One!

Jet Li kicking Jet Li’s ass while Jason Statham lends a hand should be the kind of movie concept that sells itself easily. Despite some truly solid martial arts and action sequences however, there wasn’t much that was very memorable about The One however. It’s a cult classic, make no mistake, but only for certain scenes.

And no scene in that film is better when right at the end, Evil Lee is sent to a prison planet for the very worst scum of the universe, proclaims himself its new ruler and proceeds to kick an entire continent’s worth of ass in the closing scene while some Papa Roach music plays in the background.

  • Escape From LA – Welcome to the human race

There’s a lot to love about Escape From New York. There’s a lot to hate about its maligned sequel, Escape From LA. A successor film that had neither the spark nor the charm of the original, the film felt like a needless attempt at making Snake Plissken relevant again while the badass finds himself the patsy of several powerful figures in the movie.

Still, Plissken gets the last laugh. Armed with a doomsday weapon that can EMP-slap the entire planet back into the stone ages, Plissken is faced with a difficult decision regarding the use of such  power. A decision that he reflects on for a few seconds before throwing the search and sending mankind back to the middle ages. Welcome to the human race indeed, Snake.

  • Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen – Optimus Prime’s fatal four-way

I loved the first Transformers movie. It was pure Michael Bay action, but in a fresh new manner that worked on every level possible. The first sequel was all that, but tuned to a ridiculous degree that felt like overkill as the robots in disguise battled their way across the globe. Still, there’s no better “F*** YEAH” in the whole film, than seeing Autobot leader Optimus Prime work his way through several Decepticons, before the numbers game finally catches up to him.

  • Rocky V – Rocky vs Tommy Gunn

Why the hell is Rocky so popular? He’s a bum, a street-level thug who takes more punishment than an entire EFF caucus in parliament. The thing is, he’s our bum, a working class hero who fought his way to the top through sheer willpower and with a chin that was most likely made from Vibranium.

But Rocky V saw the champ make way for a new challenger, a hotshot boxer called Tommy Gunn, looking to prove himself. It just didn’t feel like a Rocky movie. Until Gunn betrayed Rocky, slandered him in public and did everything in his power to get into a proper fight with the former champ. It’s not until Gunn throws a left hook on Rocky’s brother in law that we finally get to see the real champ re-emerge after having spent most of his movie suffering from the damage dealt to him back in Rocky 4 already.

“You knock him down. How ’bout tryin’ knockin’ me down.

Last Updated: March 5, 2015

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

Check Also

Street Fighter is getting a new board game available exclusively through Kickstarter

Very few things offer more sociable fun than beating your friends at a fighting game. Unle…