Side note, how have I written so many blogs and only used two lines from Bon Jovi tracks?*
This week I thought I would take some time to salute some of my favorite “Last Stands”, those moments in a film or TV show where the hero faces off against impossible odds and we know they are not going to make it. They may be going down but their gonna do it with style.
So without further ado lets begin.
1. Optimus Prime vs Megatron: Transformers the Movie (1986)
The whole sequence following Prime’s arrival is better than anything in both of the Micheal Bay flicks, it’s just one huge sequence of ass kicking cool topped off with a long awaited showdown with Megatron himself. And although Optimus eventually dies he doesn’t go down without a fight, he is stabbed and shot several times and manages to beat his nemesis before eventually kicking the bucket.
In fact the only bad part of his send off is the decision to put Ultra Magnus in charge, who turns out to be the worlds most ineffectual leader.**
2. Randy Quaid vs the Aliens: Independence Day
This one was chosen by my wife but I have to agree its a great last stand. In a last ditch attempt to save humanity President Bill Pullman sends Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum to disable the mother-ship while he leads a ragtag bunch of pilots to take down the Alien invaders. At the key moment it falls to Randy Quaid to save the day buy launching his last missile, which of course jams. Knowing there is no other option Quaid passes on one final message to his children and flies straight into the Alien spacecraft. In my opinion this is actually one of the more powerful scenes in the film and I actually buy his emotion as he realizes what he has to do.***
3. Team Angel vs the Apocalypse: The final episode of Angel
After putting in motion a plan to stick it to Wolfram and Hart Team Angel find themselves in pretty bad shape. Wesley is dead, Lorne has left them and Gunn is dying. They regroup knowing that the evil law firm’s payback is going to be huge and are confronted with hell Literally opening before them. The final shot of the finale is Angel with a grin on his face ready to face off against the hordes of hell for a chance to kill a dragon.
As viewers we don’t need to see what happens next to know it’s the end, it’s pretty much a given. Even though it was the network that killed the show it’s still the perfect ending to a truly amazing series.
4. Gorman and Vasquez: Aliens
This entry is quite literally a blaze of glory. No ammo left, no chance of escape and only a grenade between them the two marines blow themselves up in order to buy their comrades more time to escape. What’s great about this last stand is that Vasquez still finds time to insult her commanding officer before biting the big one, and of course they wait till the last possible moment to take as many of the Aliens with them. A classic scene in a classic movie.
5. Billy Vs The Predator: Predator
This is another last stand where we benefit from not seeing the showdown. That iconic shot of Billy with his knife on the bridge waiting for the Predator is enough to make the last stand perfect. This is demonstrated perfectly in Predators where they do show us the showdown between Hanzo and one of the Alien hunters. It’s a great scene but not a patch on the original.
So there you have it, I hope you enjoyed this quick list of last stands and I’ll see you next time.
*Ok technically that line belongs to Jon Bon Jovi not the band but you get the idea
**Something we discussed at length in the recent Transformers watch-along on the message boards.