After growing up on a binge diet of action movies, we've seen our fair share of movie weaponry. These range from the conventional to the sublime, to the brain-bustingly ridiculous.
Inspired by our recent look at Awesomely Stupid Movie Fight Scenes, we thought we'd cast a disbelieving eye over the movie weapons that are implausibly spectacular and brilliantly bogus.
The Movie: The Avengers (1998)
The Weapon: In case it isn’t abundantly clear by the title, this machine can control the weather, creating any condition the operator chooses in any climate zone, season or horrendously awful action movie.
Why It’s Awesomely Stupid: Come on, a machine that can control the weather? Even if it were possible, using it just once could have catastrophic ramifications for the global climate.
Making it sunny on British summer day sure sounds tempting, but if that throws the rest of the world in into an endless winter and Britain into a baking desert landscape, what then?
The only reason it sounds in anyway threatening, despite it’s massively implausible existence, is that Connery is chewing so much scenery when he makes his threat that you fear for the very fabric of space time.
Just for argument’s sake, what kind of typically Scottish name is de Wynter? It sounds Dutch, and lord knows the Dutch don’t have time to make contraptions that threaten the global status quo.
Perhaps that is why Connery is wearing the kilt, incase the Scottish brogue didn’t give the game away, a scene where he gets blind drunk and eats a deep fried Penguin bar was apparently cut out.
The could have at least made his name McWinter, and thought of a better bloody weapon, like bottles of Scotch that when ingested cause folk to combust. That would have terrified the tears out of hard-drinking totalfilm.com.
The Movie: Super Mario Brothers (1993)
The Weapon: The De-Evolution Gun (or Devo Gun – no relation to the 80s pop group unfortunately), does exactly what it says on the tin. One blast from this writer’s device and you will devolve into whatever species you evolved from.
Why It’s Awesomely Stupid: What possible use, military or otherwise, does this have?
Sure science types might like one, but on the battlefield hitting a legion on troops with this will just leave you with a thousand angry apes armed to the teeth with no sense of moral obligation and itchy trigger fingers. Messy.
On second thoughts, how awesome would it be to walk around with one of this bad-boys, smiting your foes from the day to day rat race. Devolve your boss next time he gets on your case, or the wanker on the train who chews too loudly.
Can’t imagine that law-types will have too many crimes they can charge you with here, after all, technically you won’t have killed anybody, and we don’t remember hearing of a life-sentence for mass-devolving.
In summary, sign us up, sounds like just what the daily commute to work requires.
Next: Bowler Hat, Rail Gun [page-break]
The Movie: Goldfinger (1967)
The Weapon: A steel-rimmed bowler hat that can take the head clean off a statue, or break a woman’s neck, or knock Bond unconscious from an unreasonably large distance.
Why It’s Awesomely Stupid: Old Fleming must have had his share of the Opium pipe on the Goldeneye Estate when he came up with this one.
Why not give Odd Job a gun and make him a tremendous marksman. That would be a highly useful and believable skill, something that might come with an ounce of fear attached, unlike, ‘He throws his hat’. Right.
Imagine the shortage of applicants to that position. “So you don’t speak, you can’t shoot a gun and you aren’t trained in any lethal hand-to-hand combat techniques… what do you do? Oh, you throw your hat! Hired.”
Imagine the sheer discomfort of a steel rimmed hat against the thin layers of skin on the cranium – the open sores created must have been agony when the sweat was pouring.
As a party piece it may impress slightly, until that one guy pulls out the moonwalk or something, and you and your hat are shunned for a dance-off.
totalfilm.com have never really suited hats, so this really wouldn’t work for us, but if the hat came with a Samoan bodybuilder/butler thrown in as part of the deal we certainly wouldn’t be against having our very own Odd Job.
The Movie: Eraser (1996)
The Weapon: A rail gun uses magnetic force to propel projectiles towards targets at high velocity, with no need for an explosive charge and with little recoil to worry about. The rounds-per-minute on a rail gun is staggering.
Why It’s Awesomely Stupid: Can you spell excess? If the '80s made weapons, this would be it. Flashy, powerful, ridiculously over the top and so lethal it’ll kill you twice before you’re dead, the rail gun is the stuff boners are made of.
The fact of the matter is that at the time, the only rail guns in existence were about 40 times this size and had to be mounted on battleships, not on the ends of Arnie’s armies.
Not content with wielding one super weapon, which alone would adequately cut chasms into a battalion of foes, Arnie says ‘I'll be back’ to modesty and picks up two of the genocide rifles, cutting the enemy to pieces like ribbons on gala day.
As theoretical weapons go, the rail gun is top of the wish list for most armies world wide, but getting one to fit in the palm of your hand is a task too technical for even the most gifted Japanese electrical engineer.
Simply put, it’s stupid because it just isn’t possible, but we’d be liars if we didn’t admit we find the concept and the fictional execution of these hand cannons fully awesome.
Next: Sick Stick, ZF-1 [page-break]
The Movie: Minority Report (2002)
The Weapon: A night stick which emits a sonic frequency on contact, causing the victim to projectile vomit uncontrollably.
Why It’s Awesomely Stupid: Of all the futuristic non-lethal weaponry conceived by Spielberg and his team for this sci-fi crime flick, the sick stick is the one that really makes you go, ‘Firstly, ew. Secondly, where can I get one?’
Alongside the boom cannon, which emits a pulse of sound (similar to the one seen in this summer’s GI Joe), it makes for a tasty arsenal of humanitarian-friendly firepower.
Ridiculous because if you think about it, the average beat cop will spend the majority of his time covered head to toe in bile, though the thought of having one the next time some meathead in a bar has a go is rather mouthwatering.
In the clip, Cruise disarms his team and turns the sick sticks on them, which has got to be fairly embarrassing, but on the whole altogether less of an issue than being shot with your own gun.
We imagine that if these things actually existed, there would be a black market trade in sick sticks for the bulimic crowd, because jamming a night stick into your own ribs has to be preferable to swallowing your fingers.
(View from 9:00 mins)
The Movie: The Fifth Element (1997)
The Weapon: An assault rifle that can break down into four pieces, undetectable by x-rays, with a 3000 round magazine, a "replay" button that sends all shots to a given location, a rocket launcher, an arrow launcher (with poison or explosive-tipped arrows), a net launcher, a flamethrower, a freeze feature, and self-destruct.
Why It’s Awesomely Stupid: This thing is epic. It is the Swiss army knife of assault rifles, a gun with so many features you could carry one for years and kill thousands without figuring out what all the buttons do.
When you’ve absolutely, positively got to kill every last motherfucker in the galaxy, accept no substitute. When you’re trying to remain stealthy, or looking for something to fit in your waistband, you may want to look elsewhere.
The ZF-1 may look cool in it’s own way, but it’s hardly Boyz ‘N’ The Hood material. Undetectable by X-ray? What about the naked eye. How do you miss that thing? Even in four pieces it hardly disguises as a bar of soap.
Awesome? Absolutely. But it’s also an implausibly ridiculous, inelegant example of overkill. Realistically you’d need arms like elephant legs to lift the thing, which hardly lends itself to the portable firearms market.
If you’re looking for a way to stage a one-man coup against the unstable dictator of a minor nation, then fine, but if it’s home security you’re looking for, one wrong button on this thing and you make not have a home to secure.
Next: Bone Sword, Nanobots [page-break]
The Movie: Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001)
The Weapon: A broadsword carved from bone, which has a length of chain running down the centre, allowing the blade to detach and extend the reach of the user.
Why It’s Awesomely Stupid: Didn’t you read the description? WTF? The bone broadsword is also a chain whip, which is like attack dogs with mouths full of killer bees, or fists full of dynamite – i.e. fully awesomely deadly.
Also, this is fairly stupid. First of all, against a decent steel blade, bone isn’t going to be much use. Ever seen what a Katana or a Machete does to bone? It ain’t fun. Even if the thing was lacquered up real pretty, steel wins.
Then the fact that they took a carefully made, well balanced weapon and added a chain so you can flail the thing like some kind of flail, makes the notion of messing up your own arms with your own weapon pretty damn likely.
We tried the nunchukas once, and got concussion. Imagine if there was a ridiculously large and very sharp piece of bone on the end of that. It might just about ruin your day.
On the positive, if you whipped out that bad boy, chances are you wouldn’t have to actually use it before someone shit and ran in the opposite direction, so it might be worth carrying around.
The Movie: GI Joe (2009)
The Weapon: Tiny swarm of robots programmed to do all kinds of funky shit, from eating metal to reconstructing facial tissue and mind control, these nifty bots can cover just about any plot hole with a little reprogramming.
Why It’s Awesomely Stupid: As far as writer’s devices go, the Nano Bots in GI Joe are second only to the laptop that the script was written on (or the post-it notes, if you want to keep this realistic).
Used in just about every area of the plot, the writers fall back on these little guys time and time again, mostly for purposes of nefarious evil. Apparently making a movie about things exploding requires unnecessarily complex plot devices.
As far as GI Joe would have you believe, Nano Bots can be used as weapons, as surgeons, as mind control and as a great way to kill screen time between explosions.
What might have been an interesting idea is relied upon so completely to move this sinking barge forward that they begin to lose all plausibility and become rather a bore after 5 minutes.
Awesome? Kinda. Stupid? Excessively.
Next: UV Arc, Lawgiver [page-break]
The Movie: Blade: Trinity (2004)
The Weapon: A bow, which fires a concentrated beam of UV light between two points. Can literally cut vamps in half like butter.
Why It’s Awesomely Stupid: If it’s a concentrated beam of UV light that’s hotter than the surface of the sun, then why isn’t everyone standing nearby nursing serious third-degree sunburn, scorched retinas and flaming clothes?
The idea that you could even wield this thing in a combat situation without seriously maiming yourself is nonsense – you’d have no fingers by the time you unfolded it.
If you were out hunting vamps, possessing no super-strength or enhanced abilities of any kind, then you’d most likely want a weapon that meant you could stay well away from them, not something you can only use in close combat.
If it were safe for the user, then having one of these contraptions around the kitchen sure would make chopping vegetables for that stir-fry a breeze, but unless your night out may need to result in decapitation, it has limited application.
Projectiles are the way forward. And a good old trusty wooden steak, should things get close and personal, has less chance of lopping off an arm or two in a struggle.
The Movie: Judge Dredd (1995)
The Weapon: Judge’s sidearm, DNA-locked to the owner they couldn’t be fired by anyone else. Each bullet is DNA encoded when fired, and comes with a variety of ballistics, from grenade rounds, heat seeking rounds and armour piercing rounds to rubber bullets, the Lawgiver has a range of three-miles.
Why It’s Awesomely Stupid: It takes a special kind of stupid to make this device seem perfectly plausible, and as we all know, the Judge Dredd movie was indeed a special kind of stupid.
In fact, with all the exposition heavy monolgues about Genus projects and all that jazz, the Lawgiver didn’t really trouble us cranially, until we looked at it out of context.
The DNA encoding thing is a great idea. But the DNA lock? What if the situation calls for you to shoot someone, but the owner of the gun is incapacitated. Seems like a bit too much security.
As for the range of ballistics available, surely filling a small caliber weapon with grenade rounds is excessive, as is boasting that the thing is accurate to three miles.
If there was any plausibility involved here, it went out of the window when it claimed you could hit something so far away without having to adjust for wind-speed, temperature or curvature of the earth. Silly.
Next: Death Spheres, Heat-Seeking Bullet [page-break]
The Movie: Phantasm Series (1979-)
The Weapon: Flying Silver Balls with built in retractable spikes, cranial drills, saw and barb-blades.
Why It’s Awesomely Stupid: One of the most terrifying contraptions in horror movie history, the Phantasm spheres are responsible for some of the best kills in the series.
Let’s face it though, autonomous spheres with a thirst for human brains are hardly gonna trouble you on the trip to the local off-license. The propulsion and flight system for these things alone is completely out of this world.
When the film they appear in involves an evil interdimensional mortician who kills people and shrinks them down into his personal dwarf slaves, then the spheres fit in fine, sure.
But if you think about it, what it the one item of self defense that most people have access to? A bat of some kind. Baseball, cricket, even metal pipes and two-by-fours are commonplace in most homes.
All you’d need to do is get swing happy.
Heat Seeking Bullets
The Movie: Runaway (1984)
The Weapon: Bullets that could be encoded with an individual target’s unique thermal signature, and once fired would follow them, even around corners, until they hit the target.
Why It’s Awesomely Stupid: Aside from being devised by Gene Simmons, fired by Gene Simmons and laughed maniacally about by Gene Simmons, these slugs are pretty dope.
Well, if you discount the fact that they can track you around corners. That is what we like to call a ‘no bueno’ situation. One of the best parts about a gun fight is hiding behind something, using your skill as a marksman to hit a target.
These bullets ruin all that. Also, how exactly can an object, fired at high velocity from a firearm, stop and turn a corner, and then carry on? If it had built in propulsion, like a small missile then maybe.
The shots in the movie, using a point-of-view camera to show the bullet’s trajectory, were indeed awesome, but the idea that these bullets will be possible in the near future is just silly.
Or is it?
Next: Iron Man Armour, Annihilator 2000 [page-break]
Iron Man Armour
The Movie: Iron Man (2008)
The Weapon: Gold-titanium alloy suit with forearm mounted anti-tank missiles, steering and retrothrust jets in the palms which double as repulsors, small anti-personnel guns in the shoulders, flare launchers on the hips, and a uni-beam projector in the center of his chest.
Why It’s Awesomely Stupid: What do you have in your garage? Chances are a few tools, some half-finished projects that you’re going to get around to one day and an old box of porn rendered obsolete by waxyourwalnut.com.
Unless that is you are Billionaire Industrialist Tony Stark, who can build the most advanced suit of armour known to man in his cellar. Of course this is the man that built a working prototype mini-fusion reactor in a desert cave out of junk.
The Iron Man armour, in all it’s incarnations, is simply so ridiculous that your brain short circuits and lets you believe it’s plausible because it’s probably the coolest boy toy in the world ever, and lord knows you want one.
Of course, the first thing most people do after renouncing their previous lives as a weapons developer and deciding to rid the world of your death machines is to build the most deadly, the most advanced weapon in creation.
That’s logic for you, folks.
In Tony Stark’s mind, he’s just making the suit so he can rid the world of weapons, but what is every ordinary decent megalomaniacal psychopath on the planet going to want instead of missles and guns? That’s right, a super suit.
Way to go, Tone.
The Movie: Beverly Hills Cop III (1994)
The Weapon: The Annihilator 2000 has the conveniences of a cellphone, fax and microwave oven. Night-vision goggles, microprocessor, verbal alarm system, compact disc player, digital AM/FM radio, video camera and playback functions. It's also a gun, apparently.
Why It’s Awesomely Stupid: It has a microwave oven. Seriously. Of course if Bronson Pinchot was selling it, we’d be buying it. Easily the best thing about this exercise in unnecessary sequels is his camp salesman Serge.
This thing is about as realistic as a team of theme park security running a counterfeit currency operation under an abandoned ride, but hey, somebody thought that was a good idea too!
Carrying one of these things around would probably cause serious back problems, although you’d have the advantage of being able to call for help, warm up a bagel and listen some tunes while you await medical aid.
The second best part about the Annihilator 2000, after Bronson Pinchot, is the fact that it actually works, and that Foley uses it to tear up some serious theme park shit.
We put one on our Christmas list every year, but gave up holding our breath after about 30 secs.
Next: Lightsaber [page-break]
The Movie: Star Wars Saga (1977-)
The Weapon: A metre-long column of light emanating from a metal hilt, able to cut through virtually any material, and leave cauterized wounds in flesh. Can also deflect energy from blasters and other lightsabers.
Why It’s Awesomely Stupid: The most popular movie weapon is probably also the most implausible. Of course we aren’t the first to point this out, the debate is as old as the Saga – how do you contain energy? How does it stop?
Theories abound the internets about exactly how the damned thing might work, but the simple fact is that if you turned on a laser, the light would just keep going without something to stop it.
You’d be the big winner at the bad-ass awards if you had one of these things, but since the only thing you can get is a cheap plastic imitation, or an expensive glass imitation, you’ll probably just end up looking like a douche.
Like the good man Solo says, ‘Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.’ And we’re inclined to agree.
The alternative involves being an internet meme and never ever living it down.
We’re not going to show you that clip though, too easy, so instead enjoy this one, an office favourite.
If you dare to disagree, then bring it on! (In the comments section, of course)
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