Friday, February 06, 2009

What A Way To Go! part one.

Bit of a change of tack, this post. Because I've been off work with my crippled shoulder, I've been watching quite a lot of movies, more often than not, big dumb action movies. And one of the things I like about big dumb action movies (especially the ones from the '80s, I've found) are the big ridiculous deaths that happen in them. I likes me an inventive death! (Only in movies, you understand. Seeing anything at all like this in real life would almost definitely disturb me!) So I've decided to make an open-ended list of what I think are the best deaths in movies. It's pointless sticking to a 'top-ten' or 'best 100' because I might think of more good 'uns, or get bored and never post about it again, or some new good 'uns might come along and grab my attention.
Each post will feature one of these gruesome demises, and hopefuly, a clip, if YouTube has them. And there's no particular order of merit, I like them all equally for different reasons. So, enough waffling. Here's What A Way To Go-part one:

Kananga (Live and Let Die, 1973)

as you all know by now, I'm a Bond nerd, so I thought I'd start with a Bond death. Gruesome and inventive dispatches of bad guys have been part and parcel of the Bond franchise from day one. Dr. No was boiled alive in super-heated water (in the novel, however, he was buried alive in a mountain of bird shit; much more inventive!). Goldfinger was sucked out of one of Air Force One's windows. Hugo Drax was shot with a tranquiliser dart then shot out into outer space. Elliot Carver was chopped up by a giant industrial drill, and so on.
(The thing I've noticed about the Bond films is that, generally the henchmen get the cooler deaths and the head honcho just gets quickly offed. I recently watched Licence To Kill (probably the most extreme 007 movie in that respect) again and the henchmen are killed in many unusual ways, eaten to death by maggots, electrocution by eel, head exploded in a decompression chamber, chopped up in a grinding machine, which all make the main bad guy's demise, being burned alive, seem a bit of a let down.)
However, by far and away the most memorable demise in a 007 movie is indeed that of the main villain in Live And Let Die. What makes it so great is the sheer ridiculousness of it. He is forced to swallow a compressed air bullet which makes him expand like a big balloon until he flies up into the air and bursts into a million pieces. Fantastic.
Since when have compressed air bullets been practical? The film says the gun is designed to kill sharks. Surely normal bullets would do the trick just as well? How is blowing them up with compressed air more practical? Especially when you consider Bond is trying to sneak onto the island without raising alarm. Surely sharks suddenly flying into the air and then exploding is going to surprise even the most stupid henchman into action. This is a Bond movie, more importantly, this is a Roger Moore Bond movie, so a certain amount of disbelief-suspension is required. Maybe nearly being eaten by a shark in Thunderball back when he was Sean Connery traumatised Bond so much that he went back to Q branch and asked them to come up with something that would absolutely obliterate the pointy-nosed fuckers.
What also makes Kananga's death so great is how badly it's done. It looks rubbish. I'm sure that even back in 1973 it looked shit, but that adds to its charm. Also there's not a drop of blood to be seen, or no flying guts. This was as gruesome as they allowed PG-rated (or it's equivalent back then) films to get back then. Even the obligatory post-kill quip is a bit rubbish; 'He always did have an inflated opinion of himself' is an awful joke, but that adds to its charm too. ( I reckon 'I think he got the point' from Thunderball is the best death quip in the entire series.)All this, as well as the fart sound effect all add up to you laughing at someone's horrible and undignified death!
It's a ridiculous, fun, tongue-in-cheek demise that suited the tone of the movie. Roger Moore wasn't the best Bond, and LALD certainly isn't the best movie of his tenure, but it still had a sense of fun that was severely lacking in Quantum Of Solace. (don't get me wrong, I liked QoS, but it wasn't 'Bond' enough for me.)
Anyway, enough of me waffling on. Watch and enjoy:



jamie said...

you simply must check out the punisher war zone,for a great inventive death.
heat seeking rocket launchers were never so much fun!

Mick said...

Something inventive in a Punisher movie? Bloody hell!

Third time lucky, I suppose.