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Shoot The Hostage / Film

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  • The Trope Namer comes from a conversation in Speed. Shortly after that conversation, the situation describes happens, with Harry as the hostage. Jack, true to his word (and at Harry's insistence), shoots him in the leg, much to the hostage-taker's surprise (Harry's too, as he didn't think Jack would actually do it). The villain learns from his experiences in their next confrontation and straps explosives to Jack's love interest, while holding a Dead-Mans Switch, making this tactic unusable.
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  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. When Valkris admits to Kruge she watched the top secret Genesis video, Kruge expresses shock and states, "Unfortunate". Valkris immediately gets the message that She Knows Too Much. When the freighter captain is confused at the Bird of Prey circling away, he demands, "What's going on? When do we get paid?!" Valkris coolly replies, "Soon, captain." Boom.
  • At the climax of 2007's Live Free or Die Hard, McClane is himself the hostage he shoots to kill the movie's Big Bad, firing through his own shoulder to get the villain in the heart. He had already been shot in the shoulder once, and the Big Bad was holding the gun to the wound at the time to torture him.
  • The movie Hard Boiled has the hostage shoot himself to hit the villain, also allowing Yuen to finish the villain off with a shot to the head. This scene may in fact have been the inspiration of similar action movie scenes made later.
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  • In Another 48 Hrs., Eddie Murphy is taken hostage, and with his characteristically big mouth, asks the cop to "Just shoot me!" Which he then does. He doesn't even bother aiming for the legs.
  • In Shark Tale, Oscar attempts to fake this when the Sharks kidnap his girlfriend by having his "dolphin" partner pretend to eat her right on the spot (he grabs her in his mouth, but doesn't swallow) on his order to show that he didn't care. Fails, as the "dolphin" is a vegetarian shark who is repulsed by the simple taste of fish. He spits her out along with the contents of his various lunches.
  • From the 1994 film of The Shadow, a villainous variant:
    Opium Farmer: (having just taken Ying Ko's accountant hostage) Even your men are not marksman enough to shoot around him!
    Ying Ko: You're right. (to the accountant) Wu, you're a wonderful friend. You're like a father to me.
    Accountant: Thank you, Ying Ko.
    Ying Ko: (to his marksmen) Shoot through him.
  • Happens during the end of the film The Negotiator, in which Chris Sabian (Kevin Spacey) shoots Danny Roman (Samuel L. Jackson). It's Only a Flesh Wound (as was intended by the shooter), but the villain thinks he's dead...which allows him to drop his guard when Spacey says he wants in on the take. Jackson's character's police radio is on, though, turning it into an Engineered Public Confession.
    • Roman fakes doing this to one of his own hostages earlier in the movie in order to convince the police he's serious about his demands.
  • In The Usual Suspects, according to Verbal, Keyser Soze once saw his raped wife and children held at knifepoint by Hungarian gangsters. They kill one kid to let him know they're not fooling around. He kills the other kid, and his wife, and all but one Hungarian, to let them know that he isn't either.
  • Subverted in the original RoboCop (1987), where the cyborg's first patrol ends in him shooting through the skirt of the attempted rape victim to hit the knife-wielding thug behind her right on his groin.
  • Comes up a few times in James Bond:
    • A villainous example in Tomorrow Never Dies when Bond has taken the Big Bad's computer guy hostage, the villain combines this trope with Outlived Your Usefulness and shoots his own henchman once he's confirmed that he no longer needs the computer's guy immediate help (he can always hire another IT guy later).
    • Another villainous example in The World Is Not Enough when Bond grabs one of Renard's mooks in the sub as a human shield. The other mooks hesitate, but when Renard shoots the mook himself, the rest go with it.
    • James Bond does this to M in a simulation in Die Another Day. The line "Only a Flesh Wound" does get used. And, as Q is played by John Cleese, it probably qualifies as a Shout-Out / Actor Allusion.
    • In Casino Royale (2006), Bond doesn't do this, but definitely indicates a willingness to do so, as he believes that the hostage is a traitor.
      Bad guy: I'll kill her!
      Bond: Allow me. [firefight begins]
  • In The Film of the Series S.W.A.T., Brian Gamble solves the hostage problem by shooting the hostage taker through the hostage's shoulder. (He was actually trying for a headshot on the hostage taker, but the target was moving.) Predictably, this does not sit well with his hierarchy (or the hostage, for that matter), leading to both him and his partner Jim Street being kicked off the team.
  • In the opening montage of Soldier, Kurt Russell's character, an emotionless super-soldier, shoot a civilian to hit the enemy target behind in a shooting range. Later in combat, he shoots a civilian dead being used as a human shield by the enemy.
  • The ending of The Deaths of Ian Stone. Medea tries to save herself by using Jenny as a shield, but Ian runs them both through, then hits the Reset Button and reunites with Jenny.
  • Subverted in the Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger film Fire Mountain Howls, GaoGod looks like he's about to do this to GaoKnight to hit Hades Org. Despite everyone, even the Gaoranger, assuming he's trying to do this, being a God, he bends the arrow around GaoKnight's head through Hades Org's.
  • In 3:10 to Yuma (1957), the plot gets started by Ben Wade's gang robbing a stagecoach. After overtaking the coach, one man attempts to hold a member of the gang hostage, only for Wade to shoot the outlaw and then the hostage-taker.
  • In 3:10 to Yuma (2007), the plot gets started by Ben Wade's gang robbing a an armed carriage. After overtaking the carriage, one man attempts to hold a member of the gang hostage, only for Wade to shoot the outlaw and then the hostage-taker.
  • In Night of the Comet, the protagonists are captured by a gang of quasi-zombified stockboys. One of the girls grabs one of them as a human shield, and the leader casually shoots his own man, for no reason other than to show how little he cared.
  • In the second Crocodile Dundee movie, the drug lords are trying to find Mick in the bush, so they kidnap Walter both as leverage and as a tracker. Mic shoots Walter in the ear after the drug lord threatens to kill Walter if Mick doesn't come out. It saves Walter's life in the long run as the drug lord thinks Mic doesn't want them to have Walter to track him.
  • In Taken 2, Bryan tries to use a mook as a shield. His fellow mook guns him down without hesitation before continuing after Bryan.
  • The titular character in The Adventures of Pluto Nash is lured into a trap by the Big Bad's Mooks, so he grabs one of them as a Bulletproof Human Shield. It doesn't work.
    Pluto Nash: You have to shoot around your boy!
    Kelp: It's easier to shoot through him! (maniacal laughter)
  • Done by Lady Jaye in G.I. Joe: Retaliation to save the President who was held at gunpoint.
  • In The Dark Knight, when the Joker breaks out of his cell and takes Stephens hostage, Stephens tries to convince his fellow officers to do this, since he knew he was stupid enough to walk right into it.
    Stephens: It's my own damn fault! Just shoot!
  • A variation in Half Past Dead: When the bad guys take control of Alcatraz, some guards manage to overpower two random mooks and hold them at gunpoint, demanding the Big Bad to release an important hostage. True to his role, the Big Bad immediately shoots his own mooks, and then shoots the guards. Then the mooks suddenly get back up seemingly unscathed, and the Big Bad casually asks if they got their bulletproof vests on, to which the mooks enthusiastically nods.
  • In the 1971 version of Shaft, the title character is attempting to get the kidnapped daughter and grabs one of the kidnapper's mooks, using him as a human shield to try and get her out of the place. The mook says it won't work, and he's right, the kidnapper shoots his own mook, grabs the daughter, and escapes but leaves Shaft alive because he has to report back to her father that she's still alive.
  • In Mirage (1965), one the henchman shoots his partner without hesitation when the hero tries to use the latter as a Human Shield.
  • In Red 2, Frank takes one of the mooks hostage at the start of the film. Horton shoots said mook after figuring out that Frank is still outnumbered 7-1 and handcuffed, forcing him to retreat.
  • Give 'Em Hell, Malone: Malone takes Evelyn hostage but Whitmore calmly kills her with a headshot.
    Whitmore: Nobody's worth that much to me.
  • The Way of the Gun. The protagonists attempt to kidnap Robin, the surrogate mother of a mob accountant. Longbaugh is using her as a Human Shield, and Parker is standing behind her bodyguards with Guns Akimbo, but they're surprised when her bodyguards don't put down their weapons.
    Parker: Put the guns down. I'm going to count to three... (Dramatic Gun Cock by bodyguards) WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING? YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE PROTECTING HER! (bodyguards point their guns at Robin's pregnant belly)
    Robin: Walk away. Just walk away. They don't care about dying, just losing.
  • City of Industry: Near the climax, the bad guy of the piece, a robber named Skip Skovitch, goes back to his place to find his girlfriend being attacked by two members from a group of Gang Bangers he had hooked up with. After he immediately shoots the first, the second guy tries to use his old lady as leverage, only for Skip to just shoot them both in response.
  • All About The Benjamins: During the climax, the Big Bad has just proposed to his Love Interest and had sex with her. Then they're ambushed by the protagonists, who take her hostage and threaten his "wife". He laughs at them and tell them she's not his wife yet, then shoots her in the head.
  • Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters: Muriel uses Ben as a shield and holds a knife to his throat. Hansel shoots him in the shoulder, which goes through and injures Muriel.
  • Black Panther (2018): Klaue uses Erik Killmonger's girlfriend as a shield, but Killmonger shoots her dead before attacking him.
  • In Forty Guns, Brockie uses Jessica as a human shield during his final showdown; mockingly saying that he wants to see Griff shoot through Jessica to get him. Griff does just that: shooting and wounding Jessica in such a way that Brockie is forced to drop her and leave himself exposed.


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