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23 Convoluted Movie Traps

The Collector (2009)

Who? The mysterious Collector (Juan Fernandez) who has rigged various booby traps to find people worth collecting.

What? Saw -style shenaniagans with razor blades, fish hooks, a dining room full of bear traps... You know the drill. Actually, there's probably a drill involved, too.

Why... couldn't this guy be content to collect Panini sticker albums like the rest of us? You don't even need to find the whole set; you can post off for the last few stickers.

Return of the Jedi (1983)

Who? The Emperor Palpatine, luring the entire Rebel Alliance into the open where they can splatted against a big force-field.

What? False intel. The Rebels think the forcefield generator is relatively unguarded, but it's actually the week of The Imperial Stormtroopers' Centerparcs Getaway.

"It's...a...trap!" Yeah, Admiral Ackbar, you dozy crustacean. The rest of us worked it out ages ago.

Why... if you're covering every other eventuality, do you leave an army of teddy bears with spears and tree-trunks to roam free?

Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995)

Who? German riddler Simon Gruber (Jeremy Irons), using John McClane (Bruce Willis) as a decoy to purloin billions in gold bullion from the Federal Reserve Bank.

What? A literal series of Simon Says games, notably forcing McClane to walk into Harlem with a - shall we say - inflammatory message around his neck.

Why... has Simon come up with a plan that puts the decoy in mortal danger, when the entire plan depends on him staying alive long enough for the heist to go unnoticed?

Saw (2004)

Who? Cancer victim Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), intent on punishing those who don't live life to the fullest. Much like drug addict Amanda (Shawnee Smith) here.

What? A 'reverse bear trap' around the face, set to rip open Amanda's face; the only key hidden inside the stomach of her cell mate, who is still alive. How much does she want to live?

Why... has Comic Relief never cottoned on to the psychological fundraising possibilities of this? Donate now - or you really will have a red nose.

The Wicker Man (1973)

Who? The pagans of Summerisle, led by Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee), out to get virgin Christian cop Neil Howie (Edward Woodward).

What? A concocted story about a missing schoolgirl that's really an island-wide conspiracy to stick Howie in a burning wicker effigy. So there'll be a decent harvest next year or sumthink.

Why... let Ewah Woowah wander about for an hour and a half when all they need is barbecued Christian? Oh, and apparently, Summerisle has never heard of fertiliser.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Who? Peruvian tribesmen protecting their Golden Idol from treasure hunters, archaeologists and Frenchmen.

What? Effectively, one massive counterweight. Remove the Idol and poison darts are fired, stone gates descend, and a big fuck-off boulder is coming at'cha.

Why... create a safety mechanism that, were it actually to work, would flatten the Golden Idol in an instant?

From Russia With Love (1963)

Who? SPECTRE operatives Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya) and Kronsteen (Vladek Sheybal), out to steal a cypher machine while miring James Bond into a fatal sex scandal

What? Naive beauty Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi) lures 007 to Istanbul, shags him while being secretly filmed, and then nicks the Lektor machine. En route back to Britain, both are to be killed by Irish double agent Red Grant (Robert Shaw).

Why... leave nothing to chance, only to fail to give Grant the necessary etiquette lessons to pass as gentleman spy Captain Nash? Red wine with fish? Honestly!

Cube (1997)

Who? An unknown agency, devising deadly mathematical puzzles in a giant cube that a hand-picked bunch of strangers must work together to escape.

What? The cube consists of interlocking - but moveable - rooms, many of them wielding a lethal trap. it's all based on numbers: if you can't count, you entire body gets cubed.

Why... bother with heady, abstract stuff like prime powers that only an autistic savant can decode, if you're gonna leave one lying around for the detainees to find?

Oldboy (2004)

Who? Crazy classmate Lee Woo-jin (Yu Ji-tae), out to get revenge on old boy Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik)

What? Kind of an existential trap, this. Woo-jin kidnaps Dae-su, imprisons him for fifteen years, and then releases him to discover the motive. Meanwhile, he's secretly grooming him to start a relationship he'll probably regret.

Why... if Lee Woo-jin has such burning issues dating back to adolescence, doesn't he just go into therapy? Surely fifteen years would have been long enough to give him closure?

Sleuth (1972)

Who? Squire Andrew Wyke (Laurence Olivier), trying to mess with the head of his wife's lower-class lover Milo Tindle (Michael Caine).

What? The Tony Martin defence. Wyke invites Tindle to steal his jewellery in order to give his wife a decent
standard of living... but really he's brought him there to shoot him as a trespasser.

Why... if Wyke is really so bothered about Tindle being a "jumped-up pantry boy," doesn't he go the whole hog and leave a punctured bicycle on a hillside desolate?