Villainous characters meeting an outrageous end has been a consistent staple in action movie history over the decades, and ludicrous demises show no signs of slowing down on the big screen.
By providing audiences with jaw-dropping, wince-inducing and often even humorous death scenes, audiences are often treated to memorable movie moments that help cement a particular film or scene in movie history.
To celebrate the release of Angel Has Fallen, the action-packed third instalment of the …Has Fallen franchise starring Gerard Butler, we've selected seven unforgettable action movie moments.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
1. Raiders of Lost Ark (1981) – The Ark is opened
Harrison Ford stars as archeologist Indiana Jones, the whip-cracking, tenacious hero who’s trying to locate the fabled Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis do.
The terrifying finale of Steven Spielberg’s masterful adventure contains the ceremonial opening of the Ark by Belloch (Paul Freeman) and Gestapo agent Toht (Ronald Lacey). However, this leads to a face-melting demise, enough to give you nightmares.
2. Commando (1985) – "He’s dead tired"
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays John Matrix, a retired Special Forces soldier whose daughter has been kidnapped by his former subordinate.
In one of the film’s most memorable scenes, Matrix snaps a baddie’s neck on the plane, covers his head with a hat and positions him to look as if he is merely sleeping. This is followed by the immortal quip “he’s dead tired” – the ultimate action movie one-two punch of brute strength and word play.
3. Die Hard (1988) – Han’s Gruber’s death
John McLane’s (Bruce Willis) battle of wits with terrorist Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) meets a grisly end when Gruber’s time literally runs out at the Nakatomi Christmas party.
Slipping wife Holly’s (Bonnie Bedalia) watch from her wrist, McLane severs Gruber’s last link to the mortal world and he plummets to his death, creating one of the most instantly recognisable moments in action movie history.
4. Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004) – Five-point palm exploding heart technique
In the second half of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill epic, vengeful Beatrix aka The Bride (Uma Thurman) closes in on ex-lover Bill (David Carradine) – who tried to kill her on her wedding day.
In this understated (by Tarantino’s standards) yet perfectly executed scene, The Bride is successful with her conquest and kills Bill with the five-point palm exploding heart technique which ultimately ends his life – but not before the two share an emotionally-charged exchange to the sound of Ennio Morricone’s soaring music.
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5. London Has Fallen (2016) – Safe house raid
On-the-run, awaiting rescue and ultimately surrounded in an MI6 safe house, Mike Banning (Butler) hatches an escape plan to save the President (Aaron Eckhart) when a group of armed pursuers raid their safe house.
Despite all of Banning’s heroics in Olympus Has Fallen and London Has Fallen, in this scene it’s the President who saves Banning for a change.
6. John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) – "With a pencil…"
The super-stylish John Wick series is packed full of ultra-violent death sequences. Not only is Keanu Reeves’s protagonist skilled in the art of 'gun-fu' but he’s not afraid of getting his hands dirty by using mundane day-to-day items in his acts of brutal revenge.
Only the most hardy and unflinching film fans can sit through that book sequence in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, and this grisly pencil sequence from the second instalment also isn’t for the faint-hearted.
7. Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018) – Cliff-top fight
The superb sixth installment in the Mission franchise sees Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) assigned to recover some stolen plutonium with the help of Walker (Henry Cavill). However, as is the norm in the Mission films, it all goes terribly wrong. With the fate of the world lying in Hunt’s hands, Fallout climaxes with an epic cliff-edge battle between Hunt and Walker that sees the latter take a toe-curling hook to the face before descending to his death.
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