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Top Movie Cliches

Writer: Naseem Randhawa


Arnie: "Movie clichés... I'll be back."

With the tons of movies delivered by Hollywood each year, it's nearly no surprise that the same old clichés are revamped and recycled over and over again. Where most movies have lost the suspenseful unpredictability factor, there are a few gems that still manage to deliver an original flow to their stories. Here is a list of movie clichés that are so obvious that we bet the film industry is crying for M.Night Shyamalan to deliver another "Sixth Sense" soon!


Bad Aiming Skills

I'm sure any avid movie fan will notice how the hero in the film (despite being surrounded by a ridiculous number of bad guys with M16's), never ever seems to get hit and always manages to dodge the bullets either by constantly running away and hiding behind a desk or a wall, or perhaps the villain of the film doesn't bother to train his troops of bad guys well. Don't believe me? Watch all the "James Bond" films, or even Ethan Hunt rolling about missing firing bullets in "Mission Impossible".

Seen In: James Bond, Die Hard, Captain America, Reservoir Dogs, Inglourious Basterds, Mission Impossible.

Genius Computer Hacker

How in the world do all these movies have such easy excess to genius computer hackers? They make it so simple to have a genius geek in the group and even simpler than that, the unbelievable seconds it takes for the said genius geek to hack into the system. (Alien Robot system, Government system, National Security system, The Matrix system and so on). A moment of tension in a movie is always met with a short and quiet pause, followed by a computer hacker typing at the speed of lighting (without the need of a mouse) and resolving the tension with a smile followed by a smug "done".

Seen In: Transformers Revenge Of The Fallen, Transformers Dark Of The Moon, Surrogates, The Italian Job, Swordfish, The Matrix, Tron

Presumed Dead... Well, Not Really!

Come on! How many times do we have to watch a movie and know that it just isn't that simple to kill the psycho axe, saw, gun or blade wielding murderer? As the hero/heroine is finally relieved from meeting near death, thinking that they can go back to their lives (and trying to fool us in the process), there rises the psycho serial killer behind our unsuspecting hero's/heroine's back until they finally manage to turn around at the very last minute, shriek, and kill the psycho once again, really making sure the killer is positively dead this time.

Seen In: Halloween Franchise, Friday The 13th franchise, Terminator, Saw

What's That Noise In The Dark?.. "Hello?"

This scene is probably overused about a hundred times and usually involves the least important character in the movie who producers don't mind killing off first and get the murder ball rolling. Only in movies we would find a naively innocent character raise his/her eyebrows and blindly walk into a dark room or in the middle of a forest to explore a 'mysterious noise'. We know the most rational thing to do in those circumstances is to run the opposite direction for safety, but not this guys. The scene is then is followed by the character calling out "Hello?" into the darkness as if they're expecting Freddy Krueger to jump out of the dark waving his bladed arms and say "Hello, it's me!". Of course in these situations, those exhibit such stupidity deserve to die.

Seen In: Nightmare On Elm Street Franchise, Friday The 13th Franchise, When A Stranger Calls, House Of Wax

Talk First, Then Shoot

Seen in most movies where the villain who is finally in the face of his nemesis (hero), doesn't try to make his life easier and just shoot the guy point blank. Instead, the moment of suspense is marinated to build tension among the audience ("Oh dear, is he going to die? Will he escape?"), as the villain makes his grand speech on how he has been "waiting for this moment forever and now it is all going to end", until voila! The hero manages to escape when a third party interferes in the congregation and distracts the situation. Way to go on your "moment" villain, better luck next time!

Seen In: The Incredibles, Transformers Dark Of The Moon, Austin Powers, James Bond, Bourne franchise, Mission Impossible

The Social Outcast/Weirdo Friend

Bridget Jones had her gay friend, Cameron Dias in "Something About Mary" had her over tanned old lady pal, the "Hangover" guys had the loony Zach Galifianakis, Harry Potter had the awkward Neville Longbottom and even Napoleon Dynamite as weird as he is on his own, had his foreign Mexican friend, Pedro. It seems the balance of friendship will not be achieved in movies if everyone in the group is either straight or perfectly normal. Purely there for the obvious sake of variety and comedic relief, we can't quite say that we mind this cliché all that much. Bring on the weirdos!

Seen In: The Hangover, Napoleon Dynamite, There's Something About Mary, Diary Of A Whimpy Kid, Harry Potter, Hangover

Disaster Only Strikes In Popular Cities

There has been so many disaster movies, some blockbuster hits and some complete flops, but that's not the point as most of these disasters seem to strike only in major metropolitan cities with New York taking the top spot. Why doesn't King Kong visit Texas? Why does an alien mothership land in Canada? Why doesn't asteroids line the sky in Kuala Lumpur? Why don't Optimus Prime and Megathron take their battle to Timbuktu? So many questions, too little time.

Seen In: Godzilla, King Kong, Armageddon, Deep Impact, Transformers, Spiderman, Cloverfield, Independence Day, I Am Legend, Ghostbusters, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012

People Falling From High Buildings Always Land On A Car

In almost every movie where someone decides to jump off a building to escape someone, pushed by someone or even in trying to kill themselves, chances are, they will land on a car parked conveniently on the curb. It is as if jumping from a building isn't scary enough, but the amplitude and the force of the impact is magnified through the booming/crashing sound that is heard when the person lands on a car. Ratio of person failing from a building and lands on a car is approximately 1:4 in action movies.

Seen In: Kick Ass, Devil, The Happening, Vertigo and countless of action movies.

Passing Airport Security Just In Time

A romantic movie will see a couple confronted with a conflict or a insane reason why those two people who look extremely good together on screen can't be together, so they break up. As we are moping into our tissues and cursing the heavens to allowing such sorrow to occur while the movie almost ends, all of a sudden the hero/heroine will realise how dumb they have been all this while and try to rush to the airport as their other half leaves for good. As the hero/heroine races to confess their love or apologize just minutes before the plane takes off, they always make it past all the barriers without tickets (or they will buy the ticket at a ridiculous price), crowds, security or waiting in line just to make it there.

Seen In: 95% of romantic movies.

Hero Walks Away In Slow-Mo During Explosion

So the hero of the movie finally manages to beat down the bad guy and yes, he seems to carry an air of superiority as if the whole world has no power to stop him. To enhance the effect, a huge explosion occurs somewhere in the background (does cars in movies use jet fuel to make it combust that way and fly 50 feet into the air or what?) and we don't even see the hero flinching at all. Not at the deafening sound the explosion must entail, or the heat that must cause the eyebrows to singe, our hero just walks in slow motion as coolly as he can, accompanied by a background music of a highly uplifting guitar solo or a similar effect inducing music montage.

Seen In: X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Desperado, The Dark Knight, Terminator

Cinema Online, 19 August 2011

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