What's the most preposterous film ever? Sudden Death (1995; Warning: Spoilers!)

I am watching Sudden Death on Universal HD; I’m only about 2/3 of the way thru, but it has already rocketed past “Die Hard with a Vengeance” as the single most preposterous piece of celluloid ever created.

I’m not sure where to begin, but let’s just consider the various ways Jean-Claude Van Damme kills the various bad guys:

[li]Strangles a baddy hiding in a Penguins mascot costume by jamming his head into the scullery’s industrial dishwasher, then stabs his buddy in the neck with a broken chicken legbone from a discarded dinner plate[/li][li]Improvises a blow-dart gun using a fire extinguisher, rubber tubing, and a dart made of a finishing nail jammed thru a wire nut; one shot pierces the jugular of a henchman who gets the drop on him.[/li][li]Loads a water pistol with lighterfluid, pulls it out on the baddy (Dorian Harewood, a rogue secret service agent leading the response to the kidnapper’s demands) who quips “What’re ya gonna do, drown me?”, then proceeds incinerate him. [/li][li]Masquerades as the Penguins goalie to avoid being caught, makes the “save of the year”, then gets himself thrown out of the game to draw the men who’ve now recognized him into a trap (one ends up having his head smashed between the leg holds of a Prospot exercise machine).[/li][li]Manages somehow to accidentally open the roof of the arena, gets into a hand-to-hand with the armed lookout there, then drops him onto the top of the overhanging scoreboard, causing it to explode. I can’t describe the acrobatics he uses next to swing himself into the VIP box where the VP is being held so he can gun down a dozen or so henchmen (all byut the mastermind, of course); you have to see it to believe it.[/li][li]For the finale, as the mastermind (Powers Boothe) tries to escape by helicoper, fires a perfect shot to kill the pilot and have the stick jerked backward into his lap. The result is the helicopter lists until the nose points vertical, the chopper falls straight downward. Van Damme and Booth are in perfect position such that each can stare at the other as it falls thru the now opened roof and crashes directly on the ice.[/li][/ul]

This on top of the cheesy cliches (I really don’t know where to begin detailing these, so I just won’t bother) and the scenery-gorging performance of Powers Boothe, who actually says near the end of the film:

When his plan is finally ruined, but gets a gun to point at Van Damme with his daughter, aims at the little girl and says “I’m not going to kill you; I just want you to live the rest of you live knowing you couldn’t save her; ah ha ha ha ha!”

No, I am not making that up. Finally, I decided to look on the IMDB for this film, and spotted this interesting bit of trivia:

“While shooting inside of the Civic Arena, in some sections there were cardboard cut outs of people because production didn’t have enough money to pay any more extras.”

I guess they blew all their cash on the screenwriter. But seriously, if you are looking for a great comedy, this is it.

Anybody else seen this steaming pile of absurd action, or can nominate a better film for the title of “Most Preposterous Film Ever Made?” I’m specifically excluding SciFi or Fantasy from this category; only films that adhere to the laws of reality as we know them today.

Face/Off. 'Nuff said.

Forrest Gump.

I think you should exclude porno movies also. Because many’s the time I’ve found elements of the plots in these movies to be straining my credulity.

Battlefield Earth for the win!

Malibu’s Most Wanted is a sleeper hit in this category.

White Chicks

What’s my prize?

Each time you think the movie can no longer tops its own ridiculousness… it somehow finds a way…
“Wait, the aliens who came to Earth looking for gold somehow managed to miss Fort Knox?”

"…wait… there’s an armory there?.. STILL. "

“…wait…the equipment… works? After hundreds of YEARS!”

“…wait… They are leaning to FLY! Harriers! In days!”

Takes the cake as far as I am concerned.

I can’t believe the Wayans brothers have another terrible “Nobody can see through my genius disguise!” movie out. I used to respect those guys.

I know it’s a long-ass book, but you’d think Travolta, being such a devoted clam, would have read it. If he had, he would have known that:

–The Psychlos cleaned out Fort Knox within a month of conquering earth, a thousand years before the events of the story. The gold was gathered from a seam in one of the Rocky Mountains, which the humans were ordered, literally on pain of death, to mine and then hand it over.

–The armory, OTOH, was well-hidden, and its discovery a very chilling scene, with the POTUS slumped over his desk and the draft of a “We will not surrender” speech by his hand

–All equipment used was built or brought to earth by Psychlos.

–Including the planes, which the humans did not learn to fly in days, but were trained to fly by the head Psychlo (I forget his name. Oh, Terl, that’s it) for other purposes.

The thing is, if Travolta and whoever else produced this had wanted to take the time and spend the money, it could have been an excellent film. Elron didn’t get into his “Psychology is bull” propaganda until very late in the story, and the action is riveting for quite a long stretch. It reminded me of Chicken Run, actually, with Terl thinking, “They are humans! They do not plot, they do not scheme, and they are not up to something!” And meanwhile, they’re staging a huge coup right under his nose. Like Dune, it did not have to suck, but it did anyway.

IIRC, the humans did find and use some old Thompson submachine guns that were packed in grease. The bullets were duds, but they rigged up something with the explosives they were mining with. A relatively simple gun, packed in heavy grease and stored underground, I can see those working after quite a while. An airplane? As complicated and fragile as a Harrier? Puhleeze! That shit wouldn’t work after being abandoned for 1 year.

I haven’t seen Battlefield Earth, so I can’t nominate it, but from what I heard, it gives that other Travolta vehicle, Face/Off, a run for its money.

Even subtracting the many stupidites unique to the film, it’s hard for me to think the book could make an “excellent” movie – it had its own severe problems right from the start. Terl’s ham-handed figuring out that humans eat rats, the perpetual back-stabbing and corrupt Psychlo politics, the ham-handed satire, the idea of an entire planet with an explosive atmosphere set off by a single bomb (that one’s in the book) and evil aliens with artificially-inserted fusible links in the brain, AAAAgggghhhhh!

I’ve never read a Hubbard bookm or story that I’ve actually liked – and I tracked down a lot of his pre-Dianetic stuff just to read it. Independent of the way I might feel about his quasi-religion and people m,anipulation, I just can’t stand his stuff, and can’t see why so many other people (John Campbell included – a guy I otherwise generally respect) could.

There’s another Van Damme movie, I forget which one, where he offs a guy by kicking a can of gasoline at him, then shooting the can, so it blows up and kills the bad guy. Wouldn’t just shooting the bad guy have been easier? And less violative of the laws of physics?

Hard Target :smiley:

Well, I recall that it was ten bombs, but I see what you mean.

And not just bombs, but MOABs.

Yes, but you would be out one Giant Fireball. C’mon, who doesn’t want to see more Giant Fireballs in their action films?

You watch them for the plot?? :wink:

How about “Stigmata”?

See, the Catholic church is murdering people all over the world to keep a terrible secret. The secret is a lost gospel, one that would blow the lid off the Catholic church because it claims that Jesus is everywhere and that ordinary men can access the divine without the intercession of priests.

This secret information will destroy the Church…and they will kill to keep the secret.

Except this movie must take place on some alternate history world where the protestant reformation never happened. Y’know, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Henry the VIII, and all that? See, this is a world where the idea that priests are unneccesary has simply never occured to anyone.

Plus, Jesus or some angel or something does all kinds of bizarre torture stuff to Patricia Arquette, I guess to spread the news about the secret gospel. I thought Jesus was a good guy.

Oh, and the secret lost gospel? At the end of the movie it is revealed…this sacred document actually exists! It is…the Gospel of Thomas! Yeah, thanks, guys. The Gospel of Thomas, discovered in 1945. Which the Catholic Church has in real life killed untold numbers to keep the Gospel of Thomas secret! Oh, wait, that number can be told. The number of people the Catholic Church has murdered to keep the Gospel of Thomas secret is…zero. Seriously, the whole movie was such a bizarre attack on Catholicism that it might have come straight from Jack Chick. I didn’t know any real Catholic-haters were still out there. If you don’t like Catholicism, then you’re a protestant or orthodox, or whatever. Or even…get this…a non-Christian! Seriously, the Jesuits no longer burn heretics at the stake. Much.


If nothing else, Sudden Death at least was responsible for one of my favorite reviews:
Admittedly in a ‘It’s a bad, bad, bad movie’ section, but who can forget lines like:

“<disaster in the arena the movie is set in>… I remember a stampede to the exits, but I’m not certain if that was in the movie or in the actual theater the movie was playing in.”

Actually, they used a teaching machine that was developed by another race the Psychlos had enslaved that put the knowledge directly in your brain.

It’s worse than that. If I remember correctly, they weren’t even bombs. The Psychlo was using coffins to smuggle gold he stole off of earth, and Johnny replaced the gold with plutonium from nuclear weapons but didn’t actually use nukes. The psychlo atmosphere was supposed to be so highly reactive to radioactive material that just exposure created a powerful explosion. And in the book 1 coffin wouldn’t have breached the shield the psychlos had set up around the teleport receiver. It took number 7 and the last 3 were just overkill.