By Mike Hammer
In showbiz everybody wants to finish with a big bang. In these movies … unfortunate bad guys hit the end of the road…hard. In fact, these finishing touches come garnished with meltdowns, eviscerations, suffocations and occasionally a delightful animal flesh feast. The following are the best of the big screens, not-so-happy…but always ball-clenching endings. We hope you can make it through to the finish.
The Godfather, 1972
Sonny (James Caan) gets spectacularly snuffed when he leaves the Corleone compound and hits the highway to go into Manhattan and kick the crap out of brother-in-law Carlo for beating up his sister, Connie. Sadly, the toll booth traffic proves a lot tougher than usual when hot-headed Sonny gets sandwiched between two sedans whose wheelmen hop out with machine guns and unload enough lead into his La Bonza to rebuild Baghdad and leave him look like puddle of bloody Bolognese sauce on the side of the road.
Bonnie & Clyde, 1967
The scene that made slow-motion a staple for cinematic sausage grinders…er, auteurs…like legendary director, Arthur Penn. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway play the sociopathic Sonny and Cher who are ambushed by machine-gun-happy G-men on the side of a quiet country road after being flagged down by the double-crossing dad of one of their crooked cronies. When they stop the car, a ton of tommy-gun barrels pop out of the bushes and open up on the soon to be very dead duo…making them bounce around the screen like David Byrne on methamphetamines. The scene lasts for a full 30-seconds that feels more like three hours before their bullet-riddled carcasses slide down the side of the sedan like a pair of popped, blood-stuffed water balloons.
American History X, 1998
Ed Norton Jr. kicks on-screen violence up to a new level as a malevolent Southern California skin head with a short fuse and deadly command of his combat boots. When he catches a couple of kids trying to boost his ride, he shoots one and kicks the crap out of the other. He then drags the non-dead, shitting-himself dude to the sidewalk, commands him to bite the curb…before he puts the boot to the back of his head and cracking it open. WARNING TO THE FAINT OF HEART: THIS VIDEO IS GRAPHIC.
Road House, 1989
Even a finely-manicured mullet couldn’t suck the testosterone of Patrick Swayze’s Dalton…a bar-bouncer who somehow sported only one name…and a national reputation as a bad-ass. In the film’s ultimate smackdown, Hellacious D takes on bad-guy Ben Gazzara’s black–belt bodyguard in a battle to the death. After stylishly kicking the crap out of each other for a few minutes, Dalton grows bored with the hair-mussing hijinks, grabs the guy by the throat and rips out his esophagus. We’ve been trying to untuck our sheepish testicles ever since.
Brad Pitt records history’s first one-punch knockout as Greek’s greatest warrior, Achilles…when goes up against the toughest dude in Thessaly (who is much tougher than that sounds). The Thessalonian was played by a skyscraper in sandals—seven-foot, one-inch, pro-wrestler and ex-con Nathan Jones. The two are paired off to represent their individual armies…with the victory of battle going to the winner of the fight. If it sounds like a mismatch…it was. Achilles runs straight at the incredible bulk…easily dodging his spear tosses, leaps into the air with his signature move, and buries his sword in the big boy’s back. When it’s over…he walks up to the Thessalonian army and screams “Is there NO ONE else?” Brad’s just lucky we weren’t around when he asked.
Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981
The classic moment when Harrison Ford’s Indy comes face to face with an Arab swordsman with the magnificent Ginsu moves was amazingly an improv. A bad case of the runs stalled Ford’s road worthiness and he came up with the classic shortcut. When a crowd clears on a crowded street Indy is faced with the scimitar swinging showboat. Instead of going toe-to-toe, Ford just groans, pulls out a pistol and blows the bad guy out of the picture…turning shit into gold.
The Rock, 1996
Nicholas Cage is adorably improvisational when he goes all MacGyver on a bad guy who’s got him down and nearly out. With the convict on top of him and choking the life out of his overacting ass, Cage reaches up, shoves a glass ball filled with deadly green VX gas into his gob. Then he whacks him in the mouth, smashing the ball…choking, poisoning AND getting a shot in on the nasty guy’s melting punim. That’s cold Mr. Cage.
After Bruce the shark has snacked on Captain Quint and turned his boat into listing driftwood, Roy Scheider’s Chief Brody is in the unenviable position of sitting on a literally and metaphorically sinking ship. When the steroid-sized shark pops his head out of the deep, the Chief shoves an air tank into his ugly mug. As the shark zeroes in for his final assault, Brody clings desperately to a sinking mast and fires rifle rounds at the approaching eating machine. After too many misses, the Chief zeroes in on the target and smirks: “Smile you sonuvabitch!” His next shot is a bulls-eye that blows the tank and turns the 30-foot shark into enough fishy bits to cover the coast of New England.
James Bond: GoldenEye, 1995
When sadistic Bond bad girl Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen) gets a British general in the sack, his only way out is in a body bag. Things get hot and heavy and just when the General thinks he’s assumed command, she flips him over locks her luscious legs around his waist and she screams with pleasure…and he screams in pain. She puts the clamps on the poor bastard till she comes…and he goes…for good.
Fatal Attraction, 1987
Glenn Close wins the best death scene by a babe by far for this fatal subtraction. The girl that wouldn’t go away finally gets sent to Hell when she invades her one-night stand partner Michael Douglas’ home to try and stick his wife (Anne Archer) in the shower with a steak knife. Douglas bursts into the bathroom grabs Glenn by the throat, slams her into the mirror and seemingly drowns her in the bathtub. When he turns to check on his wife, crazed Close leaps out the tub with the knife and is just about to stab him in the back before Archer blows her away. Not so fun trivia! Close still can’t watch this scene because she later found out that was pregnant when she shot it.
Angus MacInnes is one of the dirty cops who are looking for an Amish kid (Lukas Haas) who saw them murder a man in a bus station bathroom in Philadelphia. Luckily the kid’s got good cop Harrison Ford to protect him and red-hot Kelly McGillis playing his Amish mom. (Hey! You wouldn’t put that in the plus column?) When the bad guys find Ford and the boy on an Amish farm, the crafty cop traps MacInnes in a big silo where he is slowly swallowed up and smothered in an unending diet of grain pouring down from the top. After this scene, McGillis remained hot.
Gary Oldman’s super-kinky playboy Mason Verger is primed for payback after sharing the world’s creepiest tete a tete with Hannibal Lecter. You see, during the disturbing date, the good doctor ordered the drugged-up zillionaire with the 10-cent brain to cut off his own face and feed it to the dog. Years later, Verger has the diabolical Doc kidnapped and brought to his ranch to be served up as pig slop in a big-ass pen of wild boar. But Lecter escapes and convinces Verger’s disgruntled man servant to push his boss’s wheelchair into the pen and blame it on him. The resulting blood-curdling screams and sound of crunching bones could only be outstripped by the disturbing sounds of a pig-out at a Rosie O’Donnell picnic.
Final Destination 2, 2003
If you’re a teenage actor and you get cast in a Final Destination flick, you gotta figure you’re gonna make some kind of a splash. That was particularly true for the young actor in this installment with a starry name…James Kirk. His character …Tim has the bad fortune of wandering through a construction site (What could go wrong there?) where a flock of pigeons unloose a massive pane of glass from an overhead rigging. The appropriately named pane falls right flat on Timmy who instantly turns the window into blood-stained glass. The upside? His performance greatly improves as soon as he was reduced to a puddle. Just sayin’…
Johnny Mnemonic, 1995
Keanu Reaves plays a cyborg messenger with some essential data in his dome (a first in his career) that every bad dude in the future needs to download. Sadly, this can only be accomplished cutting off his cranium…which would totally keep him from being the same kind of stiff in The Matrix a couple of years later. So Johnny has to kick ass to keep his head. When he throws down with a bad-ass Yakuza named Shinji who comes complete with the lethal accessory of a retractable lazar whip (think Star Wars’ light sabre with an erectile dysfunction) that he uses throughout the movie to slice people into seared sushi bits. Of course, Johnny disarms the dude and uses the whip to lop off HIS noggin. That’s what Keanu calls IRONY, dude…albeit in a very dopy accent.
Bad karma kicks the crap out of bad-gu Paul McCrane who plays one of the sadistic psychos who shoots Peter Weller’s pre-cyborg self into byte-sized pieces in the beginning of the flick. When the same sleazy dude later tries to take out reconstructed RoboCop with a delivery van, he misses and slams into a tank of toxic waste. When he pops out of the van, his skin is bubbling like bacon and he stumbles screaming into the street…where he is mercifully plowed over his own gang’s getaway car.
– Mike Hammer is a freelance writer living in New York
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