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Fatal Fireworks

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One of the wackier ways to cash in your chips, at least in cartoons. As fireworks contain many of the chemicals used in the manufacture of weaponized explosives, they can be a form of Improvised Weapon. In animated shows this tends to backfire, with the user riding a rocket into the air, where it explodes into a firework shaped like the person who was riding it. Of course, they'll still be none the worse for wear because of Amusing Injuries.

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This also covers fireworks accidents, even when it doesn't necessarily result in death. It's about the use, intended or not, of fireworks to cause serious harm.

This is Truth in Television. Every year people are killed and injured by accidents involving/deliberate misuse of fireworks. There are persistent efforts to restrict fireworks to organised displays only due to danger, accidents, misuse, nuisance, noise etc. Pets are often traumatised by them and many pets are lost (bolting)/killed (by running into traffic etc.) by fireworks going off.

See also Flare Gun, which has its own trope. Compare Fantastic Fireworks, which aren't weaponized.


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Examples:

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     Anime and Manga  

  • Inverted in one instance in One Piece: when a lot of bazooka-wielding Marines are surrounding the Straw Hat crew, Brook uses his Magic Music to make them hallucinate being in a party, and then tell them to fire their bazookas upward like fireworks.
  • One of the Daimons in Sailor Moon, Soyia, had this ability. She used it to make Sailor Moon and Sailor Mars look like laughing stock by firing fireworks into the air and making them have to dance to avoid them.
  • Inverted in the third Sound Stage of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, where Nanoha re-purposes her Starlight Breaker spell as fireworks to celebrate the anniversary of Fate and Arf's familiar contract.

    Asian Animation 

     Film - Animated  

  • Mulan: At the end, Shan Yu is blasted by a firework that was lit by Mushu. It then hits a tower filled with them, triggering a explosion that kills him. Mulan launched a firework earlier in the movie that hit the peak of a mountain, triggering an avalanche that killed off Shan Yu's entire army.
  • Kung Fu Panda 2: Lord Shen uses cannons that shoot firework-like projectile. In this universe, peacocks used fireworks for centuries, but Shen was the first one to weaponize them and use them to take over China.
  • Toy Story: Sid ties Buzz to a rocket with the intent of firing it and watching it and Buzz blow up. Woody later uses the rocket to catch up to the moving van (or the car Andy's in, to be more specific), jumping off just before the explosion.
  • An American Tail: At the end when the mice drive off the cats, the Giant Mouse of Minsk they build includes batteries of fireworks rockets that they fire at the fleeing cats to give them just that much more motivation to leave.

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     Film - Live Action  

  • Final Destination 3: The finale takes place at a tricentennial, featuring fireworks. Said fireworks set off a horse that manages to nearly kill one character (and upon failing to do so, kill another), and at the end of the scene, the fireworks nearly hit the three main characters, only to cause the death of the film's only human antagonist.
  • In Cold War, mercenaries recruited by the movie's Big Bad rig up some fireworks on the rooftop of a high-rise building when the Special Duties Unit storms the area during an anti-terrorist operation. The SDU was led to an ambush when the fireworks were used as improvised rocket launchers. This caused severe casualties with several SDU operators killed or heavily wounded, partially due to limbs lost in the ambush.
  • The film version of The Fellowship of the Ring has a comedic, non-fatal example: at Bilbo's birthday party, Pippin and Merry steal and launch one of Gandalf's firework rockets, ending up with an Ash Face.
  • The film of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix modifies Fred and George's triumphant exit from Hogwarts to include a dragon shaped firework chasing Umbridge harmlessly in a shout out to the Fellowship of the Ring example above.
  • Dumb and Dumber To: Harry and Lloyd decide to "prank" the (unbeknowst to them) hitman who has joined them on their journey by filling his bedroom with about a hundred firecrackers while he's sleeping. This results in him being set on fire and jumping into the nearby pool to get out of it relatively unscatched.
  • It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World: Thankfully not fatal, but fireworks encountered by the Crumps in the shop's basement were pretty close...

     Literature  

  • Despite fireworks having been around for about a thousand years in The Wheel of Time series, nobody has weaponized them, apparently because the Guild of Illuminators that monopolizes the technology has sought to prevent it. After Mat accidentally discovers their destructive capabilities in the third book, he occasionally uses fireworks as backup weapons, until he is able to work with a disgraced Illuminator to use her expertise to make actual cannons.
  • Discworld
    • Occurs in the finale of The Fifth Elephant, wherein Vimes fashions a makeshift rocket from a road flare, despite knowing that the tremendously inaccurate propulsion will make it almost impossible to hit anything. He's counting on his enemy, a werewolf, to fall prey to his own instincts and catch it.
    • In Jingo, Leonard of Quirm has designed a rocket launcher weapon, but because of having to make it in a hurry from available materials, the rocket has "A riot of coloured balls and stars" written on it.
  • In The Fantastic Flying Journey, the passengers of Belladonna use fireworks to scare away a pack of Savage Wolves from a herd of musk oxen.
  • In the novel Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the Weasley twins use fireworks as one of many ways to harass Umbridge. In the film version, they attack her with fireworks while making their epic get away.
  • In Lincoln Child's Utopia Dr. Warne kills a terrorist using a fireworks mortar as an improvised bazooka and stops the terrorist's armored truck by using his pet robot, which is carrying about 10 pounds of flash powder, as a suicide bomber.

     Live-Action TV  

  • Doctor Who: In "The Five Doctors", the Second Doctor uses a firework to drive off a Yeti in the tunnels under Rassilon's Tower.
  • In the Walt Disney Presents Made-for-TV Movie The Whiz Kid and the Carnival Caper at the climax Alvin (the eponymous Whiz Kid) sets off a fireworks display in order to disorient the bad guys trying to rob the carnival and to alert the police that something is going on they should investigate.
  • London's Burning had a Very Special Episode set on Guy Fawkes Night in which this trope natually played a role. Blue Watch only had to deal with one directly fireworks-related callout — most of the episode was spent putting out excessively large bonfires that were threatening to take nearby houses with them — but it was a truly spectacular one: A partygoer managed to inadvertently launch a rocket through his host's kitchen window and set the building on fire, and as if that wasn't enough property damage for one night the responding fire trucks had to nudge their way through a mass of parked cars to get to the scene. The man whose recklessness caused the fire in the first place got his brand new car's rear wing thoroughly bashed in.

     Tabletop Games  

  • In Pathfinder, the spell Snapdragon Fireworks, most likely inspired by the Lord of the Rings example, allows you to shoot off a tiny dragon-shaped firework each round that damages and dazzles opponents. In a campaign that allows the existence of gunpowder, a wide variety of fireworks can be crafted by anyone with a good rank in alchemy and used as weapons, albeit seriously unpredictable and dangerous ones.

     Video Games  

  • Kingdom Hearts:
  • In one of stages in Sengoku Basara 3 Utage', beating Kanetsugu causes him to be knocked into a giant fireworks cannon and is fired from it alongside a firework what blows up on him.
  • Hanabi from Senran Kagura uses fireworks as part of her fighting style alongside a hammer what itself can store fireworks to turn it into a Rocket-Powered Weapon and launch fireworks.
  • One of powers in Kid Icarus: Uprising is called Celestial Fireworks, what launches a firework upwards what blows up after a short while. It is also one of Palutena's moves in Super Smash Bros.
  • In Epic Mickey, Mickey and Oswald defeat the Shadow Blot by launching fireworks at him.
  • In CarnEvil, Final Boss Ludwig von Tokkentakker gets desperate when his health is low and begins launching a barrage of fireworks at the player.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • One item in the first game is a fireworks launcher that functions as a mortar.
    • In the fourth installment, Villager uses a fountain firework as an upward smash attack.
  • At the end of Paper Mario: Color Splash, fireworks are fired during the party to celebrate Mario's saving of Prism Island. At one point, Bowser and his minions are seen in a patched-up airship struggling to fly when a stray firework collides with it, exploding and sending the ship, Bowser and the Koopalings crashing.
  • Sly Cooper:
    • Panda King attempted to become a firework artist but after he was shunned by the nobles due of his poor background, he used the knowledge of fireworks to use them as weapons, eventually becoming the demolitions expert of the Fiendish Five.
    • In Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, the world of aforementioned Panda King has fireworks laying around which you can ignite to launch at enemies or at obstacles.
  • In Higurashi Daybreak, Satoko has two weaponsets based on fireworks.
  • Borderlands2: A pre-order weapon is a highly powerful special grenade type called the "Contraband Sky Rocket", which jumps up into the sky (and can impact with a rooftop, hurting the player) and explodes with a fireworks-style display.
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!: One of the rare shotguns available on the game is the "Party Line", which fires explosive rounds that burst in fireworks.
  • Bully has few types of firecrackers (one what can be thrown at people and one what is set on the ground and detonates after a while) as weapons.
  • Grand Theft Auto V has a weapon called Firework Launcher, what is a make-shift rocket launcher what shoots skyrockets.
  • In Dead Rising 2, fireworks are usable not only as distractions but also as combo weapons to kill zombies.
  • Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards has the Fire + Bomb combination, which allows Kirby to turn himself into deadly fireworks.
  • The original Spyro the Dragon trilogy has several instances where Spyro is able to light up fireworks that can be used to destroy otherwise indestructible chests or powerful enemies. In fact, the third game has an entire level built around the concept (Fireworks Factory).
  • In Ōkami and Ōkamiden, the Cherry Bomb brush technique explodes into a shower of fireworks.
  • Subverted in Jade Empire, where the philosophers grudgingly hosting Sir Roderick Ponce von Fondlebottom complain that he keeps winning duels with that "strange firework" of his. By which they mean his gun.
  • Project Zomboid has sparklers that you can scavenge from household utility drawers. These are completely useless—you can't even combine them with matches or a lighter to have a little celebration. Unless you are the Engineer profession, in which case you can use them as the fuse on an incendiary bomb made from hairspray.
  • In the 1.11.1 update for Minecraft, Fireworks which were made with a Firework Star were changed to cause damage to anyone caught in the blast.
  • The Roman Candle is a gun in Sunset Overdrive that rapid fires fireworks like a machine gun.
  • Mugen Souls
    • The undisputed goddess Chou Chou's special attack Seven's Impact has her release 7 energy streams that explodes in a barrage of fireworks on her enemy, knocking them high up in the air.
    • Ryuto's special attack AbsoRyutoly Heroic turns his enemy into a ground spinner after he impales them with his sword.
  • Terraria has the firework rockets sold by the Party Girl. They're furniture that can deals 150 damage to whatever they hit. And yes, you can kill enemies and bosses with them...very quickly in fact.

     Western Animation  
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode, "Dude, We're Getting the Band Back Together", Dr. Doofenshmirtz tries to strap his archnemesis Perry the Platypus to a giant rocket/firework. Perry, of course, escapes, and Doof ends up strapped to the rocket when it goes off.
  • In the Tom and Jerry cartoon "Yankee Doodle Mouse", Tom and Jerry throw firecrackers at each other, and at one point Tom fires Roman candles at Jerry.
  • In the Merrie Melodies cartoon "It's Hummer Time!" one of the punishments the dog gives the cat is "Happy Birthday," where the cat is given a birthday cake with firecrackers instead of candles and he must blow them out before they go off. Of course he doesn't succeed.
  • The New Adventures of Superman: In "Luthor's Fatal Fireworks", Lex Luthor captures Jimmy Olsen to lure Superman to the West Coast where he unleashes a bombardment of fireworks laced with kryptonite.
  • In the climax of the Disney cartoon "Magician Mickey", Donald Duck grabs Mickey Mouse's prop gun and uses it against him. It fires firework-like blasts that sends Mickey up into the rafters with stagehand Goofy. Then Donald fires one more shot up at them, which is a huge firework rocket that brings literally the house down. Amazingly, no one seems to have been killed in the inferno caused by the fireworks, but Donald in particular is much the worse for wear.

     Real Life  

  • Explosions in fireworks factories are both terrifying and pretty.
  • In imperial China, the "hive of bees" weapon involved archers conventionally loosing an arrow to which was attached a rudimentary rocket. At first intended to greatly lengthen the effective range of arrows, this aspect was dropped when it was realised that an attached and lit rocket made the arrow wildly inaccurate. However, a hundred or more archers each firing such an enhanced arrow at the same time, in the general direction of an enemy, could exert a massive morale impact due to their noise, general unreliability and propensity to explode on impact. And being hit by an arrow is bad enough: being hit by one that then explodes would be worse.
  • On the strike of New Years Day 2016, a drunken man in the Philippines was killed by hugging a giant firecracker.


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