Our hero is cornered. There’s no way out. All hope is lost. Surely he has a plan? Well, usually he does, but sometimes screenwriters get their characters into such difficult situations only a massive stroke of luck can save them. Here are the five luckiest saves in cinema.
5. Bacteria – War of the Worlds
A lot was changed between the original War of the Worlds and its Spielberg remake, but one thing that didn’t change was the lazy, stupid ending. Disaster movies always struggle to end. Does the human population just peter out, or are they miraculously saved in the final act? Both options are pretty unsatisfactory.
But War of the Worlds has one of the most unsatisfying conclusions of all. Just when the human race is about to go extinct, it turns out the aliens can’t cope with a bit of bacteria and it wipes them out. Even though they’ve all been fine till now. All that technology and they didn’t even think to get jabs before they traveled.
4. Aliens- The Abyss
In The Abyss the aliens are the ones doing the saving, as our hero, Bud, is sat at the bottom of the ocean, quickly losing oxygen. Having successfully dismantled an atomic bomb, saving the day, he tells the distraught crew on the deep sea rig he’s not coming back. That is…until aliens save him! Luminous water-based extraterrestrials which have been living under the sea choose this moment to make themselves known. They collect Bud and take him to their sub aquatic space ship. The lucky bastard.
3. Chuck Norris- The Expendables 2
In this scene from The Expendables 2, our gang of lovable cave trolls are cornered and out of ammo against an army of machine gun-wielding stock baddies. But when all hope is lost, their attackers are mysteriously wiped out by an invisible assassin. Who was it? Booker, of course. And how did he pull it off? He’s played by Chuck Norris. That’s all you need to hear.
2. The Civil War- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
In the first two parts of Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy, Clint Eastwood’s character (“the Good” AKA Blondie) usually has a plan to get out a sticky situation, but by part three he’s surprisingly easy to catch with his trousers down. When “the Ugly”, in pursuit of a personal vendetta, captures him, Blondie is made to put a noose around his neck at gunpoint. He must have a plan, we assume, because there’s no indication of emotion on Eastwood’s face.
Alas it seems he doesn’t, and only survives thanks to pure chance. The Civil War has rolled into town while the two have been talking, and at just the right moment a stray mortar shell ploughs into the building, creating enough chaos for Blondie to escape. Unless he engineered the Civil War with this end in mind, he was extremely lucky.
1. Solar eclipse- Apocalypto
The chance of there being a solar eclipse at any given second is unimaginably small. So when you’re standing in the queue to be sacrificed by a sun-worshiping cult and an eclipse is your only way out, it’s fair to say you’re probably resigned to your fate. Now it’s your turn, and you’re hauled onto the sacrificial altar. The high priest raises his blade to decapitate you and bam! Everything goes dark.
Here we have cinema’s luckiest character.