The 6 Most Pointlessly Elaborate Movie Murder Plots -

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The 6 Most Pointlessly Elaborate Movie Murder Plots

The simplest method is almost always the best.

By Danny Gallagher     April 04, 2009

6 Most Pointlessly Elaborate Movie Murder Plots
© Trate

When you really need something done, the simplest method is almost always the best.

But don't tell that to Hollywood bad guys, who can't seem to kill a single victim without planning out a complex, Rube Goldberg-style sequence that's almost sure to end in failure.

So, we get criminal masterminds using methods like...



#6. Stuntman Mike's Stunt Car in Death Proof

Stuntman Mike, from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's ambitious bomb Grindhouse, seduces beautiful women who have nothing better to do but hang out in hole-in-the-wall bars in Middle of Nowhere, Texas.

Then he kills them, either by giving them a ride in the front seat of his stunt car (the driver seat is "death proof" but the rest of the car isn't) and crashing it, or just running them off the road.

The Problem:

Every plan results in his own car getting bashed to pieces. That means every time he scores a kill, he has to come back and rebuild the engine, put in a new suspension, get new brakes, shocks, axles, rebuild the transmission and who knows what else. All of this is after he's released from the hospital, of course.

But that doesn't touch on the most obvious problem: his insurance premiums. We don't even think Geico is going to be all that understanding after about the 12th woman turns up dead in one of his "accidents." Prepare for some skeptical looks from the claims guy, Mike.

A Better Way:

He convinces the drunken hotties to give him a lap dance to some R&B tunes, and then shoots them in the face.


#5.The Cube in Cube

If you haven't seen this cult classic, basically it's Saw, except it doesn't involve a saw. It involves a cube.

A group of random people find themselves trapped in a cube-shaped maze, with no memory of how they got there. As the team moves through the cube, they find that some rooms are safe and some are booby trapped.

One room sprays acid on its victims, another one has retractable spikes, another juliennes its victims with cheese wire.

The Problem:

In order to truly understand a murder plot, it's important to understand the motive. And, after watching the entire movie, there doesn't seem to be any. The creation or creator of the Cube is never explained, and neither is the reason for these particular people being trapped there. In other words, the message is that life's a bitch and then you get a face full of acid.

"Is this one of the retarded acid cubes or one of the regular retarded cubes?"

But let's just assume for the sake of argument that the Cube's creator intended to teach people how to work together by putting them in a situation they could only escape from by pooling their resources, skills and knowledge. Wouldn't it be simpler and cheaper to just send them to a team-building weekend in the woods where they could learn the same things by crossing rope ladders and solving toothpick puzzles?

"Let's make this bigger. And with acid."

And if that is indeed the lesson, how are they going to spread their message when they are all dead and the only guy who makes it out alive is the one with autism?

A Better Way:

The Cube's creator points a gun in the face of his victims and tells them to "Cooperate, dammit!" Then he shoots all of them, minus the autistic one, in the face.



#4.The Remote-Controlled Car Bomb in The Dead Pool

The Dirty Harry series officially ran out of steam by the fourth film in the franchise, and then it jumped the shark in a remote control car.

In The Dead Pool, a serial killer is once again stalking the streets of San Francisco, killing people to rig a "dead pool" (a betting pool on what famous person will die next). Dirty Harry Callahan is on the list and the killer decides the best way to off the 60-year-old man is by going after him with an explosive radio controlled car.

Unfortunately, the killer doesn't realize that Dirty Harry's actual car can out run the radio controlled car, so a chase ensues with Dirty Harry's car, the killer's car and the killer's tiny RC car, which he is controlling with perfect ease while driving his own, full-sized vehicle. Think of it as Bullitt if it were written by a small, confused child.

The Problem:

Just think about the amount of time that had to go into making a remote controlled car-bomb, and somehow making that car run fast enough to nearly keep up with a real car. Then at the end of all that effort, you still have a device that can be thwarted by something as simple as a curb or a small dog.

A Better Way:

Show Dirty Harry your ridiculous killer remote control car. While he's distracted by his derisive laughter, shoot him in the face.



The Poisonous Spider in Dr. No

James Bond movies are notorious for elaborate murder plots that involve large stockpiles of nuclear weapons, a small amateur army and the equivalent of the gross national product of a small Third World country. So while this one may not be the most elaborate, it is probably the most ill-conceived.

When one bad guy (Professor Dent) meets with Dr. No about their James Bond problem, Dr. No hands Dent a cage with a poisonous tarantula inside and orders that he kill Bond with it. Presumably he means with the spider, though it would have been quicker and more effective to bludgeon Bond to death with the cage.

The Problem:

According to the American Tarantula Society, the only way a tarantula bite could have killed Bond is if he were allergic to it. They are poisonous, sure, but the venom only produces a feeling no worse than a bee sting. So the worst Dr. No would have done to Bond is give him a nasty bruise or a week of muscle cramping in the name of evil.

But even if it had been some kind of genetically modified super-spider, the hard part is trying to get the thing to bite Bond. Ideally you'd need three burly guys to hold Bond down while you cram the spider down his pants. But of course at that point any weapon would work--and work better--than the spider.

Instead they wound up releasing the tarantula in Bond's bungalow where, for all the villains knew, it could have waited for six weeks before accidentally hanging itself in his chest hair.

A Better Way:

Instead of putting a spider in his bungalow, put a dude there. With a gun. To shoot Bond in the face.



#2.The Entire Plot of Smokin' Aces

A mob boss wants a Las Vegas entertainer dead, so he puts a $1 million bounty on his head so that a whole bunch of colorful and apparently grossly incompetent assassins will go after him at once. Also, the assassin is to bring the man's heart to the mob boss, whose own heart is failing.

"For my next trick, I shall make plot continuity disappear!"

A million bullets, knife wounds, shattered windows and one chainsaw to the ass crack later, we learn that the target (Buddy Israel) is actually the mob boss's son. Oh, and that the mob boss is working for the FBI.

Pretty much everyone dies.

The Problem:

Hmmm... it might have something to do with "sending nine hit men to kill one coked up magician in broad daylight, with the understanding that only one of them can collect." Seems to be a lot of room for complication there. Such as, say, the hitmen all killing each other to get the cash.

A Better Way:

The mob boss calls up his son to reconcile their relationship. He shows up at the penthouse looking disheveled and heartbroken. As father and son's eyes meet, they break down in tears and share a warm and loving embrace full of sobbing and apologies for all the wasted years. Then with a heart full of joy and redemption, the father asks for his son's forgiveness. He then shoots him in the face.



#1.The Joker's Bomb Conundrum in The Dark Knight

We would expect a ridiculously long and drawn-out murder plot from a villain like the Joker, a man by whom all clearly deranged and psychopathic murderers are measured. But this one had to have taken the assistance of a room full of supercomputers, and several psychics.

We're guessing the planning went something like this:

"First, we find two empty buildings. Without the cops noticing, we'll secretly sneak in hundreds of drums of explosive liquids, and wire all of them to explode. Next, we'll orchestrate an attack on the convoy transporting Harvey Dent. This will involve blocking busy streets, blowing police helicopters out of the air and launching missiles at the armored car. All of this will be done, not to kill Dent (though that could happen at any moment) but to cause Batman to intervene so that he will throw me in jail.

"So far so good..."

Then, while the whole town is on alert, we go ahead and have our henchmen kidnap both Dent and Rachel Dawes and strap them in with the bombs in the two abandoned buildings. Then I'll send Batman after one of them, knowing that this will result in Rachel being killed and Dent being a certain distance from the explosion as to become grotesquely injured and disillusioned. Then I'll blow up the jail without accidentally killing myself. Gentlemen, it couldn't be simpler."

The Problem:

Really nothing, as long as absolutely every single event happens exactly as it did in the film, down to the millimeter and microsecond.

If the rocket blows up Dent's armored car instead of hitting the Batmobile, if the Batmobile doesn't happen to have a motorcycle hidden inside it, if somebody clears the makeshift roadblock out of the way before the convoy gets there, if traffic allows the cops to get to Rachel before Batman gets to Dent, if a cop happens to be stations out in front of Rachel's building when the cops get the coordinates, if a hunk of debris from the building hits Dent and kills him as he's escaping the explosion...

You get the idea.

A Better Way:

The Joker makes a bullet disappear by shooting Rachel in the face.

The 6 Most Pointlessly Elaborate Movie Murder Plots is the latest of Mania's Weekly Cracked Spotlight, which appears at your online destination for genre entertainment every Saturday courtesy of our sister website


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samurai1138 4/4/2009 11:09:53 AM

And yet, even after reading this, people still think that the Dark Knight was an awesome movie with a great plot. Oh well, no accounting for taste I suppose. I sometimes think that I'm the only person who realizes that Mask of the Phantasm is STILL the best Batman movie ever, and unfortunately, it probably always will be.

everdreaded 4/4/2009 2:00:52 PM

Im really not clear on what is being explainied by pointlessly elaborate..The impression i got of the joker was he was making a personal point PUBLIC. That chaos reigns. The murders were an incidentals. I saw more manipulative than a a plot maker..just adjusted to what happened regardless of outcome.

ashamel 4/4/2009 2:22:39 PM

I laughed.

myklspader 4/4/2009 2:25:34 PM

 I realize these are just movies first off but The Joker's course of action really isn't a pointlessly elaborate plot. The whole object was for him to have chaos in order to show Batman (what has been laid out before in “The Killing Joke”) that it just takes that one bad day to push someone over the edge plus he wanted to see how far he could push Batman with his values of life and justice. The whole rocket not hitting the armored car was a bit of an accident in a sense because Batman jumped the Batmoblie into the path of the rocket. The Joker would have gotten to the MCU in any case, the back up was the cellmate with the bomb in him (which you could qualify as off camera he had a back up plan of: if I get caught drop this henchmen off in front of the MCU). The cops were late when getting to Rachel that is shown in the movie that is why they jumped the sidewalks.

Then again like I said before it is just a movie there is suppose to be some suspension of belief and reality.

Furthermore it's The Joker, shouldn't he be pretty damn elaborate in the first place?

Oh yeah and if I remember in “Death Proof” the Sheriff explains to his son that Stuntman Mike gets his sexual jollies off probably by wrecking his car and killing the women in the other car so how is that too a pointlessly elaborate plot?

If you are looking for examples for an article like this then why not try listing some horror movies (or what is passing for horror movies nowadays) like “Saw”, “Final Destination”, “The Grudge”, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, “House of a 1000 Corpses”, “High Tension” and etc.?

Wiseguy 4/4/2009 3:53:40 PM

Point is the Joker could've gotten the same result by just shooting Dawes in the face, of course. Instead of the convoluted plot he came up with which would've fallen apart easily if it didn't happen just like it did.

samurai, you're not alone. I'm in your camp. TDK is way way overrated.

Funny piece. Thanks for the laughs. I'll keep it in mind. For my next evil plot I'm just going shoot someone in the face, maybe Nolan :)

MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 4/4/2009 5:51:12 PM

It's the Joker, he's insane.  It's supposed to be convoluted. 

DaManEX1983 4/4/2009 9:31:22 PM

I think the Joker's plans were really contingencies.  I think he did want to kill Harvey but when he couldn't, he re-assessed his options.  Plus, pretty much the whole city is corrupt, and he has the backing of the mob.  What I think BELONGS here and what I was expecting was the pencil trick.  Although it was cool, that must be the hardest thing in the world to do.  The eraser would definitely have to have never been used in order for it to stand up right and the precision of an eyeball hitting it would take a lot of practice to say the least.  This will sound blasphemous and disrespectful, but I've always thought the reason the Dark Knight never got any criticism is out of respect for Heath Ledger.  That's why we haven't seen any Robot Chicken, Family Guy, or Saturday Night Live parodies.  Sure, there was the South Park episode, but that had nothing to do with the Joker.

Walker 4/5/2009 9:37:29 AM

 As for Cube

In order to truly understand a murder plot, it's important to understand the motive

This is why I consider Cube Zero to be a better movie.

Cacaoatl 4/5/2009 1:20:52 PM

Bollywood action movies aren't about showing things the way they would actually be done in real life. They are about telling stories in a visually exciting way that is engaging, at least for the 2 hours you are in the theater. Mr. Gallagher, if you want a movie about the way things would actually happen, go watch a documentary or better yet, stay home and tune to the history channel, there's no point in your continuing to watch movies.

almostunbiased 4/5/2009 1:49:00 PM

But then we wouldn't have sharks with frickin "lasers" on their heads.

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