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Reality Ensues: Live-Action Films
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
    • This happens to poor Thorin. He is surrounded by fire, accompanied by an epic soundtrack, carries the shield that gave him his nickname and charges Azog, who is responsible for the deaths of Thorin's grandfather and possibly his father as well. Azog also happens to be seated on a huge Warg. Cue Thorin being thrown to the ground several times and then actually picked up and nearly crushed between the Warg's jaws. He sustained serious injuries and would have died if it weren't for Bilbo.
    • The Company, rather than taking on large opponents and overwhelming numbers, are forced to retreat more than once.
    • Silencing an orc witness is not as easy as it seems, since KŪli's aim was off and the victim's screams soon alerted the rest of the orc pack where the dwarves were.
  • Maleficent has several examples:
    • Are you pushing sixty and overweight, yet still insist on leading your army in battle? Prepare to get one-shot by the enemy's younger, more powerful leader, especially since she's magical. And even if you survive, the wounds combined with exertion will kill you shortly afterwords.
    • It does not matter how much of a Badass you are—having two of your major limbs (her wings) burned off will leave you in excruciating pain. Maleficent is also barely able to stand in the aftermath, spends a lot of time just recovering from her wounds, and has to fashion a walking stick because her center of balance has been thrown off.
    • Want to hand over a newborn baby to a group of three people who are always bickering and have never raised a baby? Don't be surprised when they end up neglecting or unintentionally mistreating the baby simply out of a lack of knowledge, or when their squabbles distract them from noticing that she's in danger.
    • As soon as Maleficent hears that the fairies and Aurora have hidden somewhere in the Moors, she averts the Sorting Algorithm of Evil by sending her second-in-command to find them instead of relying on grunts. Said Dragon uncovers them in less than a day. Hiding right under your enemy's nose isn't as simple as picking a quiet little cottage on the edge of their territory—you either have to put a lot of work into it, or your enemy has to be a complete idiot, for you not to be discovered.
  • The point of Last Action Hero. The action hero character gets plucked out of his outrageously over-the-top action movie universe and dropped into our plain old real world. He finds out cars don't dramatically explode when you shoot the trunk and breaking a window with your fist actually causes injury to your hand.
    • When he meets the mother of the young main character he finds he prefers real-life women who have more depth, intelligence and warmth than the average action flick chick.
    • Unfortunately, the villain of the movie escapes into our reality as well. After initially being shocked at the young age and haggard appearance of a prostitute, he finds out you can shoot someone in cold blood and the police won't instantly pursue you, even if you shout about doing it in the middle of the street.
    • The hero gets shot, and it's fatal enough that he could risk dying from it without proper medical attention. Then he goes back into his own reality, where gunshots that aren't instantly lethal are Only a Flesh Wound.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
    • The first film ends with Will rescuing Jack from being hanged, in dramatic and public fashion. The second film opens with Will being arrested for doing so, albeit some time later.
    • As is Elizabeth. Being the daughter of a governor does not give you the right to aid and abet a known felon.
    • In the interim, it seems that the Royal Navy doesn't like it when you sacrifice your top-of-the-line warship to catch one pirate by recklessly pursuing him through a hurricane. And, when you resign your commission as a Commodore, unless you got some money stashed somewhere, you might have to hire your self out as a deck-hand, since no one's going to just give you a job right out.
      • As a matter of fact, Norrington is also being accused of aiding and abeting a known felon, since he refused to arrest all of the above at the end of the first film.
    • The second movie has Jack and Will engaging in an epic fight inside of a turning mill wheel. When the wheel falls over, both men climb out and nearly fall over from dizziness.
  • The climax of The Music Man has everyone gathered around the marching band that Harold Hill's swindled into existence, everyone excited to see what he's done, maybe with the audience almost expecting something miraculously good and... yeah, the kids sound terrible because they've been taught that they can just "think" about practicing and didn't even rehearse. However, since Hill is a Karma Houdini, he gets away with it AND gets the girl... somehow.
  • In the Final Battle of the first live action Kekko Kamen film the title character is fighting a very butch mook who is revealed, with much gloating from the Big Bad, to be immune to all of her powers. The heroine then picks up a gun from a fallen mook and uses it.
  • In the Macaulay Culkin movie Richie Rich, the Big Bad spends the entire movie trying to break into the Rich family vault so he can steal their money. By the time he actually makes it in, however, he finds that it's full of nothing but keepsakes and photo albums, leading to this:
    Van Dough: But where's the gold... the diamonds... the negotiable bearer bonds? The money! [points his gun at them] Where is the money?!
    Richard Rich Sr.: In banks. Where else? And the stock market... real estate...
    • This is in contrast to the Richie Rich comics where his mansion indeed has vaults stuffed with cash and valuables.
  • Shooter is kind of in love with this, with the climax being about four or five stacked up. Do not. Mess. With Bob Lee Swagger. The Attorney General (IE, the head guy at the top of all Law Enforcement in the country) had just let Swagger go since the Rifle used to frame him turned out to not be the rifle used, and as a result, he was a free man. The only people who even knew of the atrocities in Africa were all in the room, or with the Senator that had been orchestrating the whole mess. And yet, every one of them believed that Swagger would just return to his home and live out the rest of his life. WRONG. Swagger, a Marine Sniper, trained to gather intelligence and track people down, located them all when they were in one place, killed all of them and their guards effortlessly, blew the place to pieces, and made a forensically "clean" getaway. Clearly, none of them thought out the repercussions of shooting Swaggers dog. That said, the Attorney's "sadly we live in an imperfect world" speech to Swagger after he's forced to let the villains go to save Swagger is a little ambiguous, and can easily be read as a very heavy hint that the AG would actually quite like it if Swagger dished out some vigilante justice.
  • The Departed runs on this trope- deaths are abrupt and meaningless, there are no last-minute speeches, and it all happens so damn fast for the characters that they have no time to react.
    • The Infernal Affairs Trilogy (the source inspiration) is even more so in that the one death in the aforementioned remake that actually has meaning to it never happens in the original.
  • Indiana Jones
  • Ip Man:
    • Master Liu, who's been kicking arse and taking names in one-on-one duels, tries to up the difficulty to take three karateka at once. It doesn't end well.
    • Ip attempts Training the Peaceful Villagers so that his friend's factory workers can defend themselves against the bandits. It doesn't work.
    • At the end, after beating General Miura, Ip Man stands around and thinks of the cost of war. Then, as promised, he is shot for not throwing the match. He survives, but it's still a very striking moment.
    • In the sequel, Master Hung is an Old Master... which means he doesn't have the stamina to keep up with the younger Twister.
  • To Live and Die in L.A. has the protagonist Richard Chance abruptly shot dead in a fight with the Big Bad's henchman, Jack. Like deaths in The Departed, it's very abrupt and there is no last-minute speech. With still ten minutes left to go before the film ends, Chance's partner, John Vukovich chases after the Big Bad and eventually kills him. The film's creators did film another ending where Chance himself lived, but chose the one where he died because it fit the story and the characters better.
  • In The Godfather, there are no big gunfights, no epic Last Stands. A man caught unprepared by armed and ready ambushers indeed has no chance. For example, in Sonny Corleone's death, there is no Heroic Second Wind where he gets up and takes some of his attackers with him, no final speech, just getting shot and shot again until he's dead. Similarly, Authority Equals Asskicking is not in action; the four other Dons don't get any final speeches, any epic fight scenes, just simple assassinations. This even holds true in the video game adaptation; all except one, who barely has time to gasp, "I knew it would be you," before you blow him away.
    • Physically confronting a domestic abuser does not end the abuse, even if you're a Mafia don with the ability to make your sister's abuser truly suffer. Unless you order a hit on the guy at the end of the movie.
  • Serenity:
    Operative: I want to resolve this like civilized men. I'm not threatening you. I'm unarmed-
    Mal: Good. [draws his gun and shoots him]
    Operative: [leaping back up and grabbing Mal from behind] I am, however, wearing full body armour. I'm not a moron.
  • American History X: After learning the error of his ways, a former member of a Neo-Nazi gang is shot dead by the black boy he pissed off at the beginning. In real life, Easily Forgiven is very rare, and requires at the very least some attempt to make amends to the people you wronged.
  • In Ninja Assassin, the ninjas easily kill their way through their many opponents... until they lose the advantages of darkness and surprise and have to fight soldiers with automatic weapons.
  • In the 4th Rambo film, we meet a group of pacifistic missionaries who travel into Burma hoping to offer aid to the viciously persecuted Karen people. Nearly all of them are dead by the end. Some may count this as Unfortunate Implications by suggesting that pacifism doesn't work, but in Real Life, the Burmese monks who tried passively resisting the S.P.D.C. have been all but wiped out. Kinda proving the point...
    • In a scene that attracted the ire of some Moral Guardians from the same film, Rambo at one point gets his hands on a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a jeep. He points it towards a man who is less than a foot in front of the barrel. Being that this is a machine gun capable of tearing apart concrete and unarmored cars, Ludicrous Gibs ensue, as opposed to the more typical but less realistic depiction of a couple of squibs and an exaggerated agony pose.
    • In First Blood, Rambo does not "go Rambo" with an M60 until the last few scenes of the film. For most of the film, he uses stealth and his surroundings to avoid or outmaneuver and neutralize the small town police officers, never going after them head-on. Later in the film, when Rambo is being pursued by the National Guard, he's still leagues above them in terms of experience, training and skill but they put him on the run through sheer numbers and superior firepower. He barely manages to avoid getting killed by the National Guard for those reasons, even though they are barely better trained or motivated than the policemen who were chasing him.
  • At the end of Inglourious Basterds, Zoller makes hostile advances on Shosanna, who shoots him. After a while, it turns out that Zoller is not dead, and Shosanna has second thoughts, so she goes to him - and gets shot dead in return.
  • Possibly the most delightful moment from The Golden Child is when the Big Bad Sardo Numspa attempts to have Murphy's character Jarrell arrested, claiming that Jarrell stole a dagger from Numpsa. Numpsa needs the dagger to kill The Chosen One, and he believes that either Jarrell will give him the dagger to avoid arrest, or that the police will simply hand it over to him after arresting Jarrell. Jarrell gleefully agrees to be arrested, then takes a moment to explain the rules of evidence handling to Numpsa: Jarrell will be arrested, and the dagger held in police custody as evidence for his trial, which might not happen for months or over a year. Since Numpsa has to kill the child within a specific time frame, this means that he'd have to storm police headquarters to get ahold of the dagger instead of fighting a few lightly armed members of a secret society. Numpsa is forced to publicly back off of his accusations and let Jarrell go free rather than risk it.
  • Ghostbusters ended with a triumphant victory for the heroes, but the sequel shows the aftermath. The defeat of Gozer calmed the psychic dimension, allowing the ghosts to rest at peace once again and putting the ghostbusting services out of business. On top of that, the amount of property damage, code violations, and other offenses committed throughout the first movie have come back to haunt them in the form of multiple lawsuits suing them into bankruptcy. At the start of the second movie, they're working odd jobs from TV show hosts to children's parties.
    • In the first movie, the Ghostbusters rush up the stairs of Dana's apartment to defeat Gozer. 18 floors later, and the quartet are completely winded. There's a reason buildings weren't built past six stories before the invention of elevators.
  • In Werner Herzog's remake of Nosferatu, Van Helsing kills Dracula. He is then arrested for murdering a foreign dignitary. End of film.
  • The generally lighthearted comedy The Men Who Stare at Goats takes a dark turn when it references the real MK-ULTRA experiments: A soldier is driven into psychosis with LSD and disorienting lights. He goes on a rampage and is Driven to Suicide. Later on, it revisits the theme when the protagonists discover a working application of all that "research": sleep deprivation torture via loud nonstop music and strobe lights.
  • The Matrix ends with Neo running to escape the Agents and make it to a hotel room so he can log out. He opens the door, and Smith is there waiting with his gun out at point-blank. He unceremoniously shoots Neo through the chest many times. Neo comes back, though, to fit with the whole Kung-Fu Jesus theme.
  • The Matrix Revolutions features a fight between Neo and Smith-possessed Bane in the Real World. Since virtually all their combat training has been uploaded into their minds and is dependent on the physics of the Matrix, they don't have access to any of it. Their fight is brutal, dirty, and devoid of art. No fancy gravity-defying acrobatics here; just two desperate men beating the crap out of each other with whatever weapons are at hand.
  • The A-Team: The team clears their name, and the bad guy, a rogue CIA agent, is taken away by his employer to a nonspecific future. Then the team is arrested for breaking out of jail, and because the Government needs someone to blame for all the damage they've done. They should have bought Wrongful Accusation Insurance.
  • Star Wars
    • The Empire Strikes Back: When the AT-AT first appears, it looks intimidating, fearsome, unstoppable... right until a rebel snowspeeder demonstrates the drawbacks of long, ungainly legs.
    • The same thing with the AT-ST in Return of the Jedi; two legs makes it even easier to be tripped.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
    • After Scott manages to knock Gideon away, he stops for a chat with Ramona and Knives. Only for Gideon to stab him through the chest. Lots of gaming tropes are played straight in this setting, but Talking Is a Free Action is apparently not one of them.
    • An alternate ending that was never filmed would have had it be revealed that Scott and Ramona were arrested for murdering seven very famous people in the entertainment industry.
      • Although, Lucas Lee wasn't killed by anyone but his own stupidity, skating down a long series of steps until he literally exploded.
  • From the Kick-Ass movies:
    • First movie:
      • When Dave has his first sortie as Kick-Ass, he gets stabbed in the gut for the effort, just to be run over by a car mere seconds later;
      • The other would-be superhero at the start of the film who seems to think he can fly. Gravity doesn't agree with him;
      • When Big Daddy gets killed;
      • Hit-Girl spends much of the movie being awesomely lethal. Then in the climatic battle, she finally runs out of ammo and throwing weapons and we remember that she's an eleven year old girl in a somewhat realistic state of panic and the only thing keeping the bad guys from destroying her now is their uncertainty about whether she's still armed. After being saved by Dave coming with heavy firepower, she tries to engage in hand to hand with Frank D'Amico, only he's a full grown man who also knows martial arts and promptly drops her, and has to be rescued by Kick-Ass and the bazooka;
      • In the same final battle, Kick-Ass and Chris fight each other. Being not trained martial artists, their fight is absolutely pathetic and ends in a mutual knock out;
      • Hit-Girl notes that getting shot in a real confrontation hurts more than when Big Daddy shot her in training. (She was wearing a bullet-proof vest on both occasions). He wanted to prepare her for the reality of being shot, but he used low impact rounds.
    • Second movie:
      • Chris' first attempt at being a supervillain as the Motherfucker involves him holding two .45 Gangsta Style. When he shoots one, the recoil gets him hit with the gun on the nose;
      • Ralph D'Amico, Chris' jailed uncle, confronts his nephew on how you shouldn't act like Chris does as the Motherfucker, or the police will hunt them down. Later in the movie, the police, including the corrupt cops on the Mafia's payroll, cracks down on superheroes and supervillains alike due his actions. Also, we see how dangerous a mafia boss actually is, even when jailed;
      • The Motherfucker tracks down Night Bitch by simply noticing she was bragging of bagging Kick-Ass on Facebook;
      • The crackdown against the superheroes after Mother Russia massacres dozens of people;
      • When the police is sent to round-up the superheroes, they're easily tracked through their internet connections, with the only exceptions being those who actually thought of re-routing them;
      • In the final battle, Hit-Girl, now fifteen, fights Mother Russia. Both are trained and have combat experience... But Mother Russia is taller, stronger and has more experience, and utterly annihilates her until the adrenaline shot reverses the situation;
      • In the same battle we see a MMA expert with no actual combat experience against Hit-Girl, who is trained to kill and has experience in doing it. The MMA expert is killed with his own finger;
      • Kick-Ass and the Motherfucker fight again, only Kick-Ass is now trained and has a lot of experience. The Motherfucker is on the run for pretty much the whole confrontation.
  • In The Awaken Punch, a 1970's Kung Fu movie, the hero tracks down the leader of the gangsters responsible for murdering his family and kidnapping his love interest and kills him after a brutal fight. S.O.P., right? Well, then he gets arrested for nine major offenses, including the deaths of six other gang members. The End!
  • Bodyguards & Assassins: The final assassin is a highly-skilled martial artist. Death in close quarters, he mows down a lot of bodyguards, including several named characters. One of the last survivors gets his hands on a pistol and pumps the assassin full of lead, ending his streak.
  • Escape from L.A. Snake goads some mooks to see how fast they can shoot, by getting them to put their guns and not fire till his can hits the ground. When he flips it he shoots them all before it hits the ground.
  • In the film of Wild Wild West, when West is up against a mook, said mook fights with elaborate kicks and punches, saying "I learned that from a Chinaman!" West simply kicks a shovel up into his hand and bashes the mook over the head, stating "I just made that up."
  • The title character of Lucas is a brainy, eccentric, and very small nerd who tries out for the school football team to impress the girl he loves. He charges onto the field and refuses to be sidelined at the climactic football game... only to get utterly dogpiled by the much bigger jocks who move in to tackle his intercept. They lose the game, Lucas winds up in the hospital, and the girl he loves gives him the "let's be friends" thing and hooks up with the team captain. The whole movie, in a sense, is about reality punching Lucas in the gut over and over again, only deciding to finally take a hike in the last two minutes to give him a happy ending.
  • With the Dirty Harry films, the fifth one - The Dead Pool - actually shows the corpses of men that Harry shoots to get out of a sticky situation being removed after the incident.
    • This happens in Die Hard 2 - corpses are seen being removed after gunfights.
    • In Gran Torino, Walt's attempts to be a vigilante just get more people he cares about hurt and put at risk.
    • The Dirty Harry films were practically built with this trope. Harry is a Cowboy Cop who happens to be a total arsehole with almost no friends; he's legendary but pretty much a Broken Ace. One of the first film's most famous scenes involved him tracking down a man who managed to avoid getting sent to prison and belting the shit out of him. Not only was Harry promptly the subject of justifiable rage by his captain, but the criminal expressed a desire to sue.
  • In Starship Troopers, the human military uses infantry rush tactics without any kind of armor support and without thought or reason against a race of bugs who are the ZERG. The first battle ends almost instantly in a rout, with 100,000 humans killed in the first HOUR.
  • Mouth to Mouth: A collective called Street People Armed with Radical Knowledge goes on a wacky road trip across Europe. Then, their youngest member has an accident while dumpster diving and dies.
  • The Dark Knight Saga
    • Batman Begins has Bruce's first Stealth Hi/Bye going less than smoothly, with him narrowly evading arrest and also injuring himself in the process.
    • In The Dark Knight the mob don't take a guy dressed as a clown seriously... until after he shows just how dangerous he really is.
    • The Dark Knight has an accountant for Wayne Enterprises discover Bruce's identity as Batman simply by going through files on how Bruce's money is spent and blueprints for the Tumbler (essentially Bruce's Batmobile). On the other hand, this knowledge doesn't do him any good, because, as someone points out, attempting to blackmail a multi-billioner and a ruthless vigilante will most likely end badly for him, and he concedes.
    • Also, Harvey Dent/Two-Face falls a couple of stories but lands wrong and dies of a broken neck.
    • The Dark Knight Rises explores the idea that a normal human being (no matter how Badass Normal or Crazy-Prepared) couldn't continue indefinitely as Batman due to the physical strain, the psychological breakdown, and the increasing likelihood of incarceration or death.
    • Also Talia's death from injuries sustained in a two-story drop in a truck, contrary to how it would not normally be fatal to characters in action movies.
    • Just because you are a master hand-to-hand combatant with genius tactical skills hopped up on anesthetic gas does not mean you're any less vulnerable to heavy weapons.
    • Batman and Bane's first fight. Rather than a spectacular, choreographed showdown, it's short, brutal and sees Batman, who has been out of practice for eight years and sports a bad leg, easily defeated with his punches having no effect on Bane.
  • In The Avengers, despite being a superhero movie the team fighting an full army is treated with a fare amount of realism. The cliche of a dozen enemies landing a single hit is deconstructed when every member slows down from injuries and exhaustion. The most human member Black Widow slows down first and decides to do something else to stop the army, Hawkeye runs out of his trademark Trick Arrows at one point and is nearly killed. He is also shown having to scavenge and collect arrows he's already fired in order to remain useful in the fight and the effects of smashing through a hard glass window and landing on the shards of broken glass, Iron Man runs out of weapons outside his repulsors and gets swarmed, Captain America is injured from fight after fight and it's pretty obvious that a couple more minutes of battle and they wouldn't have held out. Hulk himself is being shown overwhelmed by the Chitauri as they focus all their firepower on him and he gets less smash happy as it goes on and the hits pile up. The only one who doesn't appear to be affected by all the fighting is Thor, who is a god.
    • The Stinger for the movie also shows something that we rarely get to see in anything superhero-y: the exhausted Avengers sitting around the ruins of a schwarma joint, wolfing down food in weary silence.
  • In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Falcon's costume has been redesigned to include a pair of goggles. Given the fact that he travels at incredible speeds while extremely high up in the air, he'd need some form of protection to avoid eye injuries or visual impairment.
    • He also has similar lenses to protect his eyes in Avengers Assemble.
    • And similar to The Avengers example, the film shows that not even being given near-superhuman abilities through the magic of science is enough to let Captain America bounce back from being shot several times and entering into a curbstomp battle with the Winter Soldier, without medical intervention and a stay in the hospital afterwards.
    • Similar to the PTSD Tony Stark goes through in Iron Man 3 (below), Steve is suffering from depression after having been locked in the ice for 70 years.
  • Iron Man 3:
    • Tony openly challenges the Mandarin on live TV with the actual address of his Malibu home. He actually forgets that he gave out his real address on TV and is caught off-guard when mercenaries show up to kill him when he has guests over.
    • The entire movie is basically Tony coping with the Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder he suffered at the end of The Avengers. Tony is the only member of the team who is both of rational mind and not a trained soldier (even Thor has regular combat experience and the Hulk was in a blind rage) and the very real thought of dying from either his life support failing in space and the subsequent thousand-foot drop from the portal mentally taxed him severely. It shows that the average, undisciplined civilian probably won't come out of a life-or-death situation completely unscathed.
    • The Mk. 42 armor is Tony's newest suit and contains upgrades from the numerous preceding suits. But being made during his recover from the battle in New York and after a significant period of poor sleep, it's so buggy that it can hardly function, to the point that the forearm missiles, a standard since the first movie's Mk. 3 won't deploy.
  • X-Men:
    • In The Wolverine
      • Logan's injuries take their toll after his Healing Factor slowed down. For one, he's much more susceptible to concussions and piercing weapons.
      • Several of the thugs fighting Logan in their various encounters learn it's not a smart move to punch a guy in the face when he has a metal skeleton.
      • Building a huge mountain fortress and buying enough adamantium to build a 10-foot cyborgsuit with giant thermal-charged katanas can put even a major corporation in serious financial debt.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:

      Including a demonstration of Required Secondary Powers, Quicksilver has to brace the back of Magneto's head to prevent him from getting severe whiplash while moving at super speed. And despite this, Magneto is still visibly ill and disoriented after moving so quickly.

      Right after they get caught, Quicksilver also incapacitates the guards in the room, with hijinks such as crossing two guard's arms, putting one's fist in his own face, poking another one in the face, and giving another one a wedgie. This proceeds to send all of them flying, as he did it at such speeds that the sheer momentum hit them with much more force.

      Magneto's fight against Wolverine is a complete curb stomp, with Wolverine only managing to deflect a few objects before he's incapacitated and thrown into the Potomac.
  • The film version of The Mist shows what would really happen if the monsters that the usual armed with self defence weapons and store supplies Ragtag Bunch of Misfits could survive against and kill went up against a real military. The army kills the monsters with a combination of heavy equipment, armored support and save any survivors they can. After movie after movie of this not happening, it's pretty striking to see. It also shows exactly why this doesn't happen elsewhere: the trials and battles of our heroes become meaningless.
  • At one point in The Whole Ten Yards, one of the hitmen sent against the main characters gets shot in the foot and taken hostage. After some time is spent planning a possible hostage exchange for Oz's wife, they discover that said hitman bled out and died. Oz spends the next 30 seconds wondering how that's even possible.
  • Death Sentence zig-zags the trope. The film is a revenge tale which, instead of following the Everyman protagonist on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the gang responsible for his son's death, has him kill the gang member who committed the murder and kick off a conflict that puts him, his wife and his other son in danger. However, in the climactic action scene he seems to have developed Improbable Aiming Skills while vastly outnumbered. Reality then ensues again when he's seen back in his house, mortally wounded. While he does manage to take out almost the entire gang singlehandedly, he sustains mortal wounds in the process and the movie ends with him returning home to bleed out.
  • Daredevil
    • In the climax, after having been stabbed by Elektra and a rather brutal fight with Bullseye he can barely stand but decides to confront Big Bad Kingpin anyway and... gets beaten to a bloody pulp rather quickly. However Daredevil ultimately manages to win anyway, but only thanks to a Chekhov's Gun and a crippling lucky hit.
    • Matt trashes a bar full of criminals, then reveals a massive amount of painkillers for his injuries. His super senses let him fight crime but also make it impossible to sleep outside of a sensory deprivation tank.
  • The film version of A History of Violence does not shy away from realistically portraying the consequences of violence. Deaths are abrupt, bloody, and disturbing. When the teenage Jack snaps and fights back against the school bully, the next scene we see is him at home, suspended, with possible criminal charges hanging over his head.
  • The film Killing Them Softly also does not glamorize assassinations or organized crime. The main character isn't shy about voicing displeasure at his partner and former friend's bad habits, and rather than give him a chance, quickly sets him up to be arrested rather than risking him jeopardizing them all. The hits shown are quick, brutal, and pragmatic. No Sonny Corleone bloodbaths, just fast, violent executions.
  • Spider-Man did a pretty harsh one for Super fights in the final confrontation in which Peter is beaten to a bloody pulp (shown in graphic detail) by the Green Goblin before turning the tide on him. The film shows exactly how devastating being beaten by a superhuman would be, made more effective by the lack of music and flashy special effects.
  • In The Returner when Mizoguchi attempts to perform a Bullet Catch. While he's fast enough to catch the bullet it still goes right through his hand and into his head.
  • The Terminator
    • Kyle Reese is all set to take on a bunch of cops before Sarah Connor talks him out of it. Being a Terminator-hunting badass doesn't shield him from reality.
    • At the end Reese takes on the Terminator with a metal bar. Damaged or not, it's still a near indestructible metal robot and makes him pay for it. When he sticks a bomb on it he jumps down some stairs and it still gets him killed. Turns out being 6 feet from a bomb isn't much better than 2.
  • Zig-zagged in Bruce Almighty. Bruce kneels down in the middle of the freeway, gets hit by a truck and is instantly killed. The reality of what happens when you do that is lampshaded by God. However, he then wakes up in a hospital and is greeted by a doctor who says "somebody up there must like you".
    • When Bruce actually gains God's powers temporarily, the trope is played straight as part of delivering the film's aesop: pulling the Moon closer to Earth to make a more romantic scene results in widespread flooding and other natural disasters, and granting everyone's prayers to win the state lottery results in thousands of winners receiving less than ten dollars each, causing a riot over accusations that the lottery is rigged.
  • The Other Guys demonstrates that if you jump off a tall building you will not survive, and an explosion is not something you can casually walk away from even if you're relatively unharmed.
  • Despite being a parody of a Zombie Apocalypse, Shaun of the Dead shows how easily it can controlled. By the end of the movie the army comes and guns down all the zombies. With in a few days the city is reclaimed, the few remaining zombies are rounded up, and life goes back to almost normal for the remaining characters.
    • Shaun and company learn during the last few scenes of the film that just because you have a gun, it isn't an automatic Infinity+1 Sword, especially if nobody in your group knows how to properly operate it.
  • The same thing happens in Ur Example Night of the Living Dead, actually; the outbreak is all but over in 24 hours. Doesn't help the characters, though, who are all dead due to either their own mistakes, personality flaws, or just bad luck.
  • In 8 Mile, Cheddar Bob generally shows how holding the Idiot Ball in the real world can get you killed (his friends bail him out but repeatedly chastise him for it). Purest example being when Cheddar Bob shows what happens when Artistic License - Gun Safety is applied to real life.
  • Underworld
    • After a few movies of battling vampires, lycans and hybrids and getting a power boost to stay on top, Selene has to face a 5-meter tall uber-lycan in the fourth film. Despite her skills, weapons and experience the fight's exactly what you would think a round between two beings of proportionate strength when one is 3 times the size and has natural weapons. Selene is knocked out in about a second. She does better in the second fight, but is still outmatched. Ultimately, she's forced to make him transform back into a human and attack him then.
    • Her new human ally has to dodge a car by jumping to the side unto pavement. Unlike most examples he is severely hurt and limps for the rest of the scene.
  • The alternate ending of Army of Darkness.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
    • After The Reveal, the Commander and Destro are promptly captured. Despite Ana breaking free of her mind control, she's still under arrest until they can figure out how to get the nanites out.
    • Both times the Joes save a city, they're arrested immediately afterward for freaking out the cops with supertech antics. The French make it clear that they'd rather have lost Paris than been rescued by the Joes. Zartan didn't seem confident enough in his POTUS disguise to pull anything similar, so he pays off Ripcord's Hero Insurance and sends him back to The Pit.
  • In the film adaptation of Rurouni Kenshin, Sanosuke's BFS falls squarely into Awesome, but Impractical territory. It certainly looks cool enough, but the damn thing is so big and cumbersome that Kenshin easily evades each of Sanosuke's strokes with little effort.
  • The climatic battle in the Star Trek parody In the Pirkinning opens with the leader of the enemy fleet making an overly long, very melodramatic battle speech. The other officers (on both sides) ignore him and start the fight without him.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness
    • Turns out that when you're a cocky, inexperienced captain of a starship who keeps breaking the rules like Kirk, you eventually get removed from command.
    • The Enterprise ends up facing a warship, a fast battleship to be exact, that severely outclasses her. She doesn't defeat the Vengeance in combat, gets shot up pretty bad and is only saved because both Scotty and Spock pull a fast one on Marcus and Harrison.
    • During the space jump between the Enterprise and the Vengeance, Kirk's face mask takes multiple hits from tiny chunks of debris, cracking and nearly killing him.
  • Man of Steel
    • Though Clark still uses his powers for good, those powers isolate him from other people until he becomes Superman. His neighbors don't assuage this.
    • Jonathan Kent knows Clark's potential to change the world for the better, but believes the world isn't ready for Clark to reveal himself just yet. (Unlike, say, versions where he has no qualms with the young Clark being Superboy.)
    • The US government treats Superman as a potential threat, but trust him enough to stop shooting at him after he proves himself an ally against the other Kryptonians.
    • When Clark first develops super hearing and heat vision, it's painful. Similarly, Zod and his henchmen don't have the luxury of years of experience adjusting to the enhanced senses offered by Earth's yellow sun that Superman has. Faora-Ul has to withdraw from her fight with Superman when one of his heavier hits tears a hole in her helmet and painfully exposes her to all her newfound super-senses at once.
    • When superhumans are about to fight, people don't cheer but duck for cover.
    • Quite a few fans and critics noted the excessive amount of Collateral Damage, which according to the writer, was completely intentional.
    David S. Goyer: This is something that hadnít been depicted in comic book films, is what it would be like if these powerful figures did clash. If the Hulk and Thor fought, people would probably die.
    • Lois, being a good reporter, fairly easily manages to track Clark down, and is never ignorant of his secret identity.
    • Bullets still bounce off Kryptonians, but heavier weapons stun them if they connect.
    • Superman enters into a no-win situation where he more-or-less has to break his no-killing code in order to save an innocent family.
    • Superman has to learn to leap before he can fly, and it's not the perfect flight present in most prior Superman adaptations.
    • Perry White is not immediately pleased when Lois Lane first brings him a story about Superman, saying that it could ruin her credibility as a Pulitzer-winning writer and could cause panic in the world. He is also less than pleased when Lois sells the story to a conspiracy theory blogger in order to get it out, and garnishes her wages in response.
    • It isn't elaborated too much upon, but Jonathan Kent expresses a few times that his existence will challenge religious beliefs. Clark at one point even asks if God was responsible for his powers.
    • X-Ray vision, far from being a source of cheap jokes about seeing through women's clothes or a simple mechanism, is practically nightmarish as the Kryptonians see people's internal organs operating and see their skull when looking at their faces.
    • The only time the name Superman is said, the soldier saying it gets a look as though it is an utterly ridiculous name to call someone.
  • Green Lantern hilariously averts the typical Paper-Thin Disguise when Hal visits Carol.
    Carol: "I've known you my whole life! I've seen you NAKED! You don't think I would recognize you because I can't see your cheekbones?!"
  • Pacific Rim
    • A brief shot in the prologue shows heavy equipment in Manila dealing with a previously unrecognized hazard of Kaiju attacks: a hill-sized mound of giant monster shit.
    • Hannibal Chau's business is built on the ensuing reality of having large Kaiju corpses to get rid of. The aforementioned dung goes for large amounts of money because it's high in phosphorus, making it an incredible fertilizer.
    • There are multiple shots of people using the bones as structural support for buildings, including a temple with a skull for the entrance.
    • Society has been changed by the Kaiju's arrival. A religion has formed claiming the Kaiju are the gods' way of showing their wrath towards humanity, and Word of God says that there are fringe animal rights fanatics who claim killing the Kaiju is cruelty to animals.
    • No matter how good the pilots or advanced a Jaeger is, two-to-one are extremely bad odds for anyone unless they're really lucky or pull a kamikaze move.
  • After the long Mind Screw that made up most of Sucker Punch, this trope takes firm hold at the very end. As it turns out, the crazed orderly who screams about how he's in control of the asylum is, in fact, simply a crazy orderly who only has power over a few of the mentally ill patients. Even the other orderlies express willingness to desert him, at the end. And when he tries to use his "ultimate authority" to escape arrest, the police completely ignore him and instead listen to Doctor Gorsky (who really is an authority figure) and make sure Babydoll is alright (because they saw him trying to rape her).
  • In the infamous ending of The Great Silence; the hero valiantly confronts the gang of bounty hunters lead by the villainous Loco, despite being injured, outnumbered, and knowing he's walking straight into a trap. There's no last minute rescue, no high-action shoot-out with the gang, not even a valiant last stand, they just shoot him down before he even has a chance to draw his gun.
  • The main characters of 21 Jump Street are tasked with going undercover in a local high school in order to bust a drug ring being run by the students and faculty, their youthful look being the reason why they are chosen. They try their best to behave the way they did when they were in high school years prior, but on the first day, they're met with a student culture which has evolved and radically changed since they left: students no longer act in social cliques, and are unimpressed with their environmentally unfriendly and fuel inefficient car. Jenko's attempts to assert dominance by punching a guy arguing with him only shock and disgust the other students, and his further attempts to mock him by accusing him of being gay only further buries him when it turns out he is actually gay.
  • Mad Max
    • In the After the End classic The Road Warrior has Mad Max use his iconic double barreled sawn-off sparingly. The reason being that because industrial society is no longer around, not only is fuel rare, but shotgun shells are too. By the time of the next film, Max has all but given up its use and the use of firearms in combat is pretty much extinct, because nobody can make the bullets or maintain the guns anymore.
    • The progressive deterioration of society — and of Max personally — is seen in vivid detail throughout the franchise. At the start of the first movie, Max is a member of one of the last organized police forces on Earth (or at least Australia) and is doing his best to take care of his wife and child. At the start of the second movie, Max is wearing the remains of his police uniform, driving a battered pursuit cruiser for which he must salvage fuel, and is just barely hanging on. By the third movie, Max has been forced to trade in the car for a wagon pulled by a team of camels — and promptly loses even that in his first encounter with an organized enemy.
  • There are a few lovely instances of this in Pain and Gain:
    • Daniel Lugo finds that taking another guy's money isn't as easy as making him sign over everything he owns over a phone. He later finds out he needs a notary to transfer the entire assets of a guy like Victor Kernshaw's entire financial estate. The scheme very nearly falls apart there, until he finds out a friend of his is a notary public and gets him to do it for him.
    • While Victor Kernshaw is found beaten and nearly run over, he tells the police that he was kidnapped and the police don't believe him. When the cops find him, he's drunk (though made forcibly so by the Syn Gym Gang), he's ranting about how his kidnappers were bodybuilder ninjas, there are burnt sex toys found at the scene and he's Colombian. The cops assume that this was either a drug-related incident gone south or a kinky sex-act gone wrong. Kernshaw's abrasive attitude (and the fact that he's SUCH a Jerkass that he wasn't even reported missing) doesn't win him any points either (though one can hardly blame him at this point).
    • One of the Sun Gym Gang's victims is accidentally killed thanks to a tranquilizer overdose. Two direct injections of a sedative intended for veterinary use with horses tends to do that.
  • Scream begins with the death of a teenager as per the hundreds of slasher movies that have come before it. Scary, but hardly harrowing. Then the girl's parents come home. Their panic over the state of the house and realization that something terrible has happened to their child suddenly makes the whole thing horribly real.
  • Snake Eyes ends with the Corrupt Cop hero being praised by the media as a hero for stopping the assassination of a political whistleblower. Only for the extra attention generated by the media to bring his shady past to the forefront, leading to him getting fired, divorced, and facing prison time. Turns out that it doesn't matter if you're considered a hero, the police take allegations of corruption very seriously.
  • Enchanted: Giselle, a Disney Princess brought into the real world, is a Friend to All Living Things who can summon animals with singing. In her fantasy world she was often surrounded by friendly woodland animals like squirrels, rabbits, and deer fauns, but when in New York she tries out her summoning song again. The result? She still summons animals, but the species you'd be more likely to find in grungy New York, such as pigeons, rats, and cockroaches.
  • Dog Day Afternoon practically runs on this, mostly because it was based on real life events. What happens when you try to rob a bank without double checking your information and not really thinking things through? You end up with no money, lots of hostages, a partner having a nervous breakdown, a media frenzy, panicking family members, and increasingly tense negotiations with the authorities. Sonny manages to last twelve hours. When it's down to the last few moments, the FBI enact their plan by killing Sal - the far more dangerous of the two criminals - and arresting Sonny at gunpoint. Turns out having an explosive personality and being a media darling doesn't make you immune from the law. The film even ends with him being read his Miranda Rights!
  • Die Hard: Yes the franchise got very insane later on, but the first had many instances of this:
    • John McClane witnesses a bunch of terrorists take his wife and her co-workers hostage. Does he immediately rise to the occasion and defeat the terrorists. No, he knows he's out of his element and tries to call for help. He is forced into fighting the terrorists because the police are too incompetent and he is stuck on a top floors of a high rise.
    • The film subverts the Made of Iron and Nerves of Steel action hero. A night of battling terrorists with no armor and bare feet leaves a you a physical wreck, and Mc Clane is clearly scared out of his mind.
    • John's firing a gun into the air to scare the hostages off the roof before the bomb went off resulted in him being mistaken for a terrorist by the FBI. Had the building not blown up, the FBI agents could have easily killed McClane.
  • My Cousin Vinny: As a courtroom comedy that tries to be accurate on the legal side, this is a given:
    • Vinny's cousin and his friend go to jail for the statements they made to the police. It's what happens when you let yourself get interrogated without a lawyer present.
    • Vinny lies about his history as an attorney (or pretty much his lack of) to Judge Chamberlain. Of course, Vinny would never guess that a judge that's on the outs with him would never contact the state of New York of Vinny's legal history. Wrong.
    • Vinny's antics in the courtroom are not tolerated by the judge and result in his been thrown in jail. Three times.
  • In Neighbors, Pete tries his hardest to convince Teddy that, despite his fraternity achievements being Serious Business to him, they don't matter a whole lot outside of college, and that he needs to focus less on Delta Psi shenanigans and more on what he'll do after graduation. By the end, Teddy realizes that Pete was right, and he starts attending night school to make up for lost time.
  • The Brady Bunch Movie has the Brady being lauded by the judges for their act and get a high score in the show. That doesn't necessarily mean the audience agrees.
  • The climax of the Epic Movie features the four siblings arriving to battle the White Bitch... only to find out that their army pulled a Screw This, I'm Outta Here! after Susan threw up all over the soldiers the night before. The four of them gloriously charge the White Bitch's army... and get slaughtered without landing a single hit. They only survive and win thanks to a Plot Device.
    • To a lesser extent, when Captain Jack Swallows takes Edward to his ship, Edward is fascinated by the life of a pirate (set to a song). Jack then points to the side, revealing that the ship isn't real and a part of a theme park.
  • Towards the beginning of Kindergarten Cop, when John Kimble arrests Cullen Crisp in the beauty salon, he is not wearing a uniform. It's a total win for reality that the security guards call his badge in to verify its authenticity.
  • In Back to the Future: Part III, Marty is having dinner with his future great-great-grandparents in 1885. During the meal, he has to spit out some buckshot pellets, and he gets a glass of very dirty water.
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