When you give the theater cashier your $20 (I wish I were kidding) for your ticket to any Avenger, Batman, or superhero movie, you know that you're in for some high-flying, daring rescues.
For instance, you might have known that the Hulk was going to super-jump and snatch Tony out of the sky, but who expected him to be revived by being screamed at? And Captain America flying that ship into the Arctic to save New York hit us in the feels, even though we had a pretty good idea it wasn't the last of him.
But what about the times when a normal, everyday guy or gal goes to crazy lengths to save the day in movies? No rocket boosters, radiation-fueled strength, or super soldier serum, just good ol' guts and courage. And maybe some homemade dynamite.
Here are the nominees for best movie rescues by someone without superpowers!
7. Crash (2004) – Freeway Rescue Scene
Officer John Ryan, played by Matt Dillon, arrives at an accident scene where Christine Thayer (Thandie Newton) is pinned inside her vehicle, which is in danger of blowing up. Watch out for some NSFW language while you watch that scene-
What makes this scene so surprising and tense, is earlier in the movie, Officer Ryan and his partner (Ryan Phillippe) pull over Christine and her husband Cameron, played by Terrence Howard, after they witness them engaging in a naughty act while driving. Christine gets lippy, so to teach her a lesson (a twisted lesson, to say the least), Ryan uses the opportunity to get a little too handsy while patting her down, and not get in trouble for it. Here's that scene, but a fair warning; it's a little disturbing and has some NSFW language as well.
I've never been a huge fan of Matt Dillon, and that scene made me dislike him even more...but his hero scene saved Thandie and my opinion of him!
6. An American Werewolf In Paris (1997) – Eiffel Tower Scene
The original An American Werewolf in London may have had some groundbreaking special werewolf effects, but the scene I remember most from both of the movies is where Andy (Tom Everett Scott) saves that lovely lady wolf from killing herself on the Eiffel Tower.
Where the heck has Tom Everett Scott gone? That guy was awesome in this movie and That Thing You Do!
5. Vertical Limit (2000) – Opening Rock Climbing Scene
Even though the only rocks I've ever climbed on are barely bigger than these...
I really liked Vertical Limit! The opening scene was gut-wrenching, though. Peter and Annie Garrett, played by Chris O'Donnell and Robin Tunney, had to make a life-or-death decision. Or at least Peter did.
While we'll never know whether cutting the rope actually ended up saving him and his sister, that would take a lot of guts to do.
4. The Terminator (1984) – You're Terminated!
Sarah Connor, Ellen Ripley, Katniss Everdeen...they're all members of the Badass Women Club, so this was a hard choice to make. But it was Sarah Connor who ended The Terminator with those three famous words: “You're terminated, fucker!” None of the lines from Alien or Hunger Games really holds a candle to that.
I can only hope that one day, if for whatever reason I get fired, my boss will let me down just a little bit lighter than that.
3. Tremors (1990) – Cliff Scene
Another cliff scene, only this time, it involves a huge man-eating worm that can't fly, sucker! And also, a guy using his wits to outwit said worm, and save an entire town with a population of, what, 20? At least, that's what it was before the worms started eating the residents.
Tremors had plenty of people killing graboids and graboids killing people, but seeing the last worm bite the dust was ooey gooey fun. The more Tremors movies that were made, the less fun we all had, but Kevin Bacon is set to change all that!
2. The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) – Pre-Charly Scenes
This list is concentrating on the non-super, ordinary people saving others, even if that ordinary person becomes something extraordinary later on in the movie. Like Tom Everett Scott becoming a werewolf, Samantha Caine (Geena Davis) becomes the deadly assassin Charlene “Charly” Baltimore once again after her amnesia wears off. I guess getting tortured by a spinning water mill of death will do that.
But before she turns deadly, she's the seemingly harmless Samantha, wife and mother. When the bad guys come calling, however, Charly makes an appearance!
That's right. She threw her daughter. Through a window. Into her freaking treehouse. This is one movie that I could watch on repeat, endlessly. But until that day, YouTube clips will do just fine!
1. Behind Enemy Lines (2001) – Ending Rescue
I still watch this movie whenever I get a chance, and every time, I see Owen Wilson totally nailing an action role and just can't believe it. The same guy who was (allegedly) a motorboatin' sonofabitch in Wedding Crashers, a dingy male model in Zoolander, and the butthead Kevin the Ex in Meet the Parents, really put us behind enemy lines with Lt. Chris Burnett.
What are your nominations for the Oscar for the best superpower-less movie rescue scene? You know the drill!