Top 5 lackluster endings in big Hollywood movies

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A couple of months ago I named my top 5 Spectacle Endings, well now I shift my focus on 5 movie endings that I thought lacked spectacle and excitement. As I mentioned on my last article, I love big Hollywood event/tentpole films. Yes I know most of them aren’t what you called “great” cinema but hey that’s the goal of these films. They weren’t made to win Oscars or get approval from critics. They were made to entertain the masses and of course earn lots of cash. So when I pay to go see these movies that cost over $100 mil or more, I expect to be entertained and be transported to another world. I also expect to see a huge spectacle to close the feature, yet some didn’t quite accomplish that.

This list contain films I think the studio or filmmakers should’ve done a better job in giving us the big spectacle that we expect to see. Here they are in no particular order:

SPOILER ALERT!
Obviously since we’re talking about movie finales, spoilers should be expected

Clear and Present Danger

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This is probably my second favorite film of the Jack Ryan series and it was my most-anticipated film back in the summer of 1994. I’d just finished reading the book at the time and was super excited to see the film version. Despite some changes that were made from the book, I still thought it’s a solid action thriller. Unfortunately it also has one of the worst-staged action sequences ever filmed.

The film ends with what was supposed to be a big and elaborate action sequence where Ryan, Clark and Chavez (fans of the books knows that this trio shared many adventures together), rescued the soldiers who were being captive by the drug cartel. The shootout sequence was poorly-staged and boring, while I expected to see some really intense and exciting sequence. I couldn’t find the clip online but I assume most people have seen the film and know what I’m talking about. A few years later, the film’s director (Phillip Noyce) admitted that he should’ve done a better job of shooting that scene. He actually wanted it be bigger and more elaborate than the ambush scene in the middle of the film when Ryan and the FBI agents were ambushed by the drug cartel thugs.

The Man with the Golden Gun

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Of course when we talk about action films, a James Bond film must be in the conversation. Roger Moore’s second outing as 007 was considered one of the worst in the franchise, in fact after this film’s poor performance at the box office, United Artists was thinking of dropping the Bond franchise. Thankfully the next one made lots of cash and we still get see Bond on the big screen today. Anyway back to this Bond flick, it hardly have any big action scenes in it. Besides the big car chase in the middle of the film, it didn’t really have any big shootouts or spectacle you’d expect to see in a Bond film. Now I thought the concept of the story was pretty great, Bond goes up against another super assassin, so you’d think we get to see big hand-to-hand combat and shootouts. Well for the film’s climactic battle, we got this scene below:

Pretty weak right?

The Bourne Identity

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I was hesitant to include this one on my list because I thought the sequence was very well-shot but I wanted it to be bigger and see more of it. This scene where Bourne took out some henchmen ended too quick and just felt kind of rushed:

Originally the film was supposed to have a big spectacle the climactic action scene, you can read about it on this post on alternate endings.

Mission: Impossible 3

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My least favorite Mission: Impossible film and it contained probably one of the most boring hand-to-hand combat sequence I’ve ever seen. See the below clip:

The first two films closed out with some crazy action sequences and I expected to see the same for this one. Unfortunately, JJ Abrams decided to give a typical fight scene and a weak shootout. Don’t get me started on a later scene when Ethan’s wife, who’s a nurse with no weapons training whatsoever but somehow was able to take down the main villain, who’s a trained IMF agent. Lame, lame!

Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides

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This 4th Pirates of the Caribean movie was just boring to sit through but I decided to watch the whole film and hoping that it would least have some kind of big spectacle action scene for the ending. Sadly it did not and I wish I could have 2 and half hours of my life back. I thought the scene was unimaginative and well boring, I still couldn’t understand how the film made over a billion dollars at the box office. See the scene below.


Honorable mentions:

World War Z

Since this is a recent film, I assume many people already know about its troubled production and that the entire third act of the film had to be re-shoot. According to some reports and director Marc Forster, the top executives at Paramount felt the original ending was too brutal and didn’t have any closure, so they wanted a lighter ending and have Pitt’s character get reunited with his family. Well I called BS on that, I think the executives realized had they went with that big battle ending, the film would’ve received an R rating and of course it wouldn’t have earn as much as it did at the box office. In an interview with Forster, which you can read here, he felt the original ending was too big and that the audience can’t really relate to Pitt’s character. He prefer the more suspenseful but quiet ending.

Now he could be telling the truth or he’s just basically saying that because the film was a big hit. I mean they spent weeks and millions of dollars on that sequence and If I was the director, I’d be pissed that they didn’t want to use it or even show it to the public. I wonder what he’d say had the film was a box office dud. Personally I didn’t care for that more quiet and suspenseful ending, since the film was set up as action/adventure. I wanted to see a big spectacle battle to close out the film. Hopefully Paramount will release another cut of the film with its original ending and let us the paying audiences decides which version is better.

Django Unchained

Again this is a recent film so I assume most have seen it, so I won’t go deep into the climatic ending. I just felt it was more anti-climatic, I wish Tarantino had closed out the film with a big shootout that he showed earlier in the film. Here’s the clip:

The World Is Not Enough

Yes it’s one of the worst Bond films but there were some cool action sequences in the film, I really enjoyed the opening boat chase and the helicopters attack at the caviar factory. For the film’s finale, I thought we would see some really big and elaborate action sequence, but what we got was a lame shoot-out inside a submarine. That entire sequence was pretty brutal to sit through, I kept thinking to myself, who approved this scene when it’s written? I can only assume it sounded much more exciting in concept but somehow the execution was sloppy and not very creative. I remember I kept yawning when I saw it in theater and wish the film would end already, the scene felt like it went on forever. Sorry I couldn’t find it online but I think most people know what I’m talking about.


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So what do you think folks, do you agree with my choices? Feel free to share your picks for the lackluster ending in big movies.

Guest Post: Role Reversals – One Actor’s Misfortune is Another Actor’s Gain

Most of us know that actors turned down roles that would make the ones who accepted it become famous. There are many reasons why they didn’t accept these now famous roles, the main reason is probably they the film wouldn’t be a hit and probably their agents told them not to take it. Below are some well-known roles that were offered to different actors than the ones ended up playing the part and reap the benefits.

• The Bourne Identity (2002) Jason Bourne

Brad Pitt was actually the studio first choice to play the amnesiac spy but he turned it down so he could work on Spy Game with Robert Redford. Here’s the funny thing, Matt Damon was first offered Pitt’s role in Spy Game but he declined and decided to play Jason Bourne instead. I’m always wonder what The Bourne films would have been like had Pitt starred in them. Of course we all know both actors are doing fine but for comparison sake, I think Damon made the right choice since The Bourne Identity was a box office hit while Spy Game didn’t do that well in theater.

• Batman (1989) Bruce Wayne/Batman

So when Michael Keaton was cast as The Caped Crusader back in the 80s, a lot of comic book fans weren’t too thrill about it. The thing is though, he wasn’t Tim Burton’s first choice. Burton actually offered the Dark Knight role to Ray Liotta but he turned it down so he could star in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. Even though I enjoyed both of Burton’s Batman films, I never like Keaton as The Dark Knight, I think Liotta would’ve been good in the role.

Michael Keaton definitely benefited from taking Batman role, besides playing the Dark Knight, he starred in quite a few films in the 90s. Liotta on the other hand, he played mostly supporting character or the villain.

• The Hunt For Red October (1990) Jack Ryan

Tom Clancy’s first novel was such a huge hit that when Hollywood was ready to adapt it for the big screen, they offered the prime role of Jack Ryan to the young and on the hot streak Kevin Costner. He turned it down so he could start working on a little film called Dances with Wolves. Of course the role went to Alec Baldwin and I think everyone was happy with the results. Costner won the Oscar for directing Dances with Wolves and the film was a huge box office hit.

Baldwin on the other hand though got screwed out of reprising his Jack Ryan role in the sequel Patriot Games, to read about it more go here. It’s a good read of what really went on the behind the scenes before cameras started rolling on Patriot Games.

First Blood (1982) John Rambo

There were quite a few actors who were considered for the role of Rambo, they include Clint Eastwood, John Travolta, Al Pacino and Dustin Hoffman but Steve McQueen was the producer’s first choice from the beginning. But because of his crazy demands, the producers decided to not pursue him. McQueen was asking $1mil for his salary, a crazy number back in the late 70s and early 80s for an actor’s salary. Not only that but he said he’ll only read the script if the producers pay him $500,000 up front, of course they said no. I would love to have seen McQueen playing John Rambo but around that time, he was so anti Hollywood that he might’ve just phoned in the role had he accepted it. Of course we all know Stallone benefited from it since he owned the 80s with his Rambo and Rocky franchises.

Apocalypse Now (1979) Capt. Willard

Well Steve McQueen was also offered the lead role in this film and again he turned it down. Even though I thought Martin Sheen did a good job in the film, I always wish McQueen accepted the role. It would have been great seeing him going toe to toe with Marlon Brando. Of course it would’ve been a nightmare for Coppola, he’d have to deal with two big stars with huge ego.

Blade Runner (1982) Rick Deckard

Believe it or not Dustin Hoffman was actually the first choice to play Deckard and was even offered the role. He turned it down because he believed he didn’t fit the role and he was right. Maybe I’m a little bias since I love Blade Runner but I could never see anyone but Harrison Ford as Deckard, I know people always think of him as Indiana Jones or Hans Solo, but I think  of him as Deckard first before those other two roles.

Die Hard (1988) John McClane

Fox planned a sequel Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Commando, but Arnold didn’t want to do sequels at the time so they turned Commando 2‘s script into Die Hard and offered the role of John McClane to him; but he declined. Eventually Bruce Willis took the role after Sylvester Stallone, Richard Gere, Burt Reynolds and Mel Gibson all passed on starring in this film. I think we’re all grateful that Willis got the part right? Can you imagine seeing Arnold say the line: Yippee-ki-yay, motherf**ker.

(Sources: imdb.com, Cinescape magazine, behind the scenes documentary of each film)
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[rtm’s note: Also check out my previous post Famous Roles That Got Away for more casting tidbits and find out which actor turn down the most high profile roles]


So those are the now famous roles that were turned down by some famous actors, do you prefer the original actor for the part or are you happy with one who accepted it? Also, if you know of any other roles that were turned down by famous actors, feel free to share with us.