Part 2 of the previous article about movies that have build ups and no payoffs.
Part 1 is here:
The Epic Super Secret Agent Fight (Bourne Legacy)
Bourne Legacy’s build was ALL hype. We saw Aaron Cross, basically a superhuman secret agent who can arguably kick Jason Bourne’s ass. He’s on super drugs and routinely kicks ass on a pretty decent level. Throughout the movie we’re shown and told that another super secret agent, LARX-03, is an even BETTER superhuman secret agent, and that he’s hunting Cross to the ends of the Earth.
Near the end of the movie, it appears that we’ll finally get our epic fight when LARX-03 is chasing down Cross as both are riding motorcycles. Cross is a bit loopy due to weaning himself off of the super drugs, and is at a disadvantage due to having a random doctor lady with him, who he’s protecting.
Just when it looks like things are about to get good, we instead get LARX-03’s anticlimactic death of…being kicked off of his motorcycle by the random doctor lady. What? A superhuman secret agent DIES at the hand of some random doctor lady that can’t even fight? This is the anti-climaxes of ALL anti-climaxes.
The Hero vs. The Second in Command (Equilibrium)
In Equilibrium, it’s constantly built up that John Preston (Christian Bale) will take on and deliver justice to the 2nd in command, Andrew Brandt (Taye Diggs). Andrew has been nothing but antagonistic, but at the same time has been shown to be highly trained. In a movie where they had epic gun-kata fights, it was very disappointing to end the potentially epic fight, in just…one move.
Darth Vader vs. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Star Wars: Episode IV)
Even with no prequels and Episode III, the fight between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan was highly anticipated. Darth Vader was Obi-Wan’s friend, a dark Jedi, a man who claimed that destroying a planet is NOTHING compared to the Force (paraphrased). Obi-Wan was a wily old Jedi Master who delimbed people at will.
Unfortunately, when they fight it’s less of an epic battle of good and evil, and more of a fight between two defensive and scared people, looking for an opening. But that’s not the issue, as surely the fight will spice up–
Oh, Obi-Wan just surrendered and disappeared when struck? Well that’s disappointing. Not quite the super planet-dwarfing space wizard fight we were promised.
The Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique (Kill Bill 2)
Kill Bill is nothing but the Bride, Beatrix Kiddo, getting in awesome martial arts fights against her former colleagues, because they betrayed her and left her for dead. Both movies follow this format with epic fight after epic fight, all culminating in The Bride facing off against Bill, the one guy she’s trying to reach and kill.
When she finally does reach Bill, it’s somewhat uneasy. He’s raising their daughter, he’s sitting down and chatting with her, things look like the classic ‘sucker-in and try to kill’ move that villains often pull. But instead of any of that, The Bride instead beats him to the punch, hitting him with some kind of secret kung-fu death move that kills Bill before he can even stand up to fight.
Was it cool? Kinda yes. Was it appropriate? Probably. Was it anti-climactic? Yes. Very.
The Fallen (Transformers 2)
The Fallen is hyped up a lot in this film. He bosses around Megatron, he’s an ‘original Prime’, he’s basically some super powerful Transformer that exists before Autobots and Decepticons. He doesn’t do much as far as fighting goes, but he doesn’t need to due to his status. Near the end of the movie, he finally gets a chance as Optimus Prime is back to life AND amped by Jetfire’s parts, trying to thwart his plans.
The Fallen vs. Optimus, Prime vs. Prime, heavyweight vs. heavyweight…and the Fallen falls quickly. Very quickly. Like 5 seconds. He sucks basically. He literally does worse than anyone else against Prime and it not only ruins the build, but makes everyone who listened to him look stupid.
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