Top 10 Dumbest Decisions In Action Movies

VOICE OVER: Matthew Wende WRITTEN BY: Garrett Alden
Action stars are known for their brawn, but not always their brains! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Stupidest Decisions in Action Movies! But what movie will be in the top spot on our list? Will it be Iron Man 3, Face/Off, or John Wick? Watch to find out!

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Big thanks to Jeremy Drafall for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Dumbest+Decisions+in+Action+Movies
Our palms meet our foreheads when we think about these choices. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Dumbest Decisions in Action Movies.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the ill-advised choices made by characters in action films that resulted in disastrous results.

#10: Opening a Box that Says, “Do Not Open”

“Con Air” (1997)

There are several boneheaded blunders in this prison plane heist flick, but one of the most idiotic occurs when U.S. Marshal Vince Larkin goes to investigate the former cell of the breakout/takeover’s mastermind, Cyrus “The Virus” Grissom. Cyrus left behind several documents and clues that help Larkin discover his plans. When he gets a lead, he departs to share what he knows with the other authorities, telling the guards not to touch anything. Of course, one of them opens a box Cyrus left behind marked “do not open,” which, as it happens, contains an explosive; killing the guards in the room and nearly killing Larkin. Some people can’t follow directions.

#9: Special Ops Not Wearing Parachutes to Board Hijacked Plane

“Executive Decision” (1996)

In “Executive Decision,” a plane carrying a senator is hijacked by terrorists. It’s up to a group of commandos to infiltrate the flight by connecting the hijacked plane with their own. While boarding the plane, it suddenly pulls up, threatening to tear the boarding sleeve apart. One member of the party sacrifices himself to shut the hatch and save the others; after which he’s sucked out. If they’d been wearing parachutes, he might have survived. You would think that people as highly trained as a U.S. Army special operations unit would be immune to careless mistakes, but sadly they’re still subject to the whims, and missteps, of filmmakers.

#8: Bullying Hancock

“Hancock” (2008)

Provoking an unhinged superhero is just asking for trouble. Despite his reputation, many characters push Hancock’s buttons throughout the film, with predictable results. The most idiotic, however, occurs when Hancock has voluntarily gone to prison to atone for his mistakes. While inside, he is provoked by a couple of inmates, and despite warning them to stop, they persist. Hancock then delivers on an oft-hyperbolic threat by literally putting one of their heads up the other’s backside! Talk about sticking it where the sun doesn’t shine! We’re not sure which one is less enviable, but either way, we’re sure they regretted this for the rest of their lives.

#7: Using a Nuclear Weapon on a Shielded Alien Ship
“Independence Day” (1996)

In one of cinema’s most memorable alien invasions, “Independence Day” sees the massive ships of the extraterrestrial attackers decimating cities and buildings with unmatched firepower. Faced with such desperation, it’s hardly surprising when President Whitmore declares his strategy for dealing with the threat posed by the aliens: “Nuke ‘em.” However, a nuclear missile fired at a ship above Houston, Texas proves ineffective against the energy shields of the spaceship and only serves to damage the surrounding city. Granted, Whitmore and the other government officials went into it knowing collateral damage would be likely, but their nuke’s only damage was unintentional.

#6: Tormenting John Rambo
“First Blood” (1982)

John Rambo walks into a small town looking for a diner, but is promptly run out of town by the sheriff. When Rambo returns, the sheriff and the rest of his department abuse their positions and torment the damaged war vet; causing him to snap and escape; proceeding to wage a one man war on the police, although he gives them every chance to walk away. The police would have been better off if they had listened, and obeyed the law themselves, because he gave them a war they couldn’t believe. They should have let it go.

#5: Sending Navy SEALs to an Obvious Ambush Point

“The Rock” (1996)

When a rogue group of US Marines takes over Alcatraz and fire deadly nerve gas rockets at San Francisco to hold nearby hostages, a team of Navy SEALs is sent in to stop them. Unfortunately, the SEALs choose to enter the former prison in a shower room, which alerts the rogue Marines to their presence. The room is surrounded by high catwalks on several sides, giving the domestic terrorists a distinct advantage. A tense standoff ensues and the SEALs refuse to back down, resulting in their massacre. If you’re going to choose an entry point, maybe don’t choose one that leaves you exposed like fish in a barrel.

#4: Taking Bryan Mills' Daughter (& Not Heeding His Warning!)

“Taken” (2008)

Bryan Mills’ daughter is kidnapped by a gang of sex traffickers while she is vacationing in Paris. During her capture, Bryan is on the phone with her and one of the kidnappers picks up the phone, prompting Bryan to deliver an amazingly badass speech in which he offers them mercy if they release his daughter, and promising death if they do not. Unaware of his background in the CIA, they naturally do not heed his warning. Bryan then proceeds to tear through half of Paris in his targeted rampaging rescue, and, ultimately, delivers on his promise.

#3: Not Keeping a Comatose Terrorist Under Guard

“Face/Off” (1997)

This wacky sci-fi action movie sees FBI Agent Sean Archer undergo a procedure to switch faces with the maniacal terrorist Caster Troy to learn the location of a bomb set up by Troy’s brother when Castor falls into a coma. However, the faceless terrorist wakes up and manages to threaten the doctor who performed the procedure to give him Archer’s face, leading to plenty of scenery-chewing, action-packed mayhem. Yet, had the FBI had the decency to put even a single guard on a comatose terrorist, none of this would have happened! Granted, the ‘90s were a more trusting time, but come on!

#2: Killing John Wick's Dog & Stealing His Car
“John Wick” (2014)

Shortly after his wife’s funeral, John Wick takes his dog, his wife’s last gift to him, and his car to a gas station. Here, a young Russian mobster, Iosef, attempts to buy the latter. Taking offense at his refusal, Iosef and his thugs later break into John’s house, beat him, kill his dog, and steal his car. What Iosef didn’t know is that John Wick is a notorious former assassin and professional badass. Given that the dog was his one source of happiness after losing his wife, John is understandably upset - and he proceeds to decimate the Russian mob group with brutal, implacable efficiency practically all on his own. “Oh,” indeed.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Revealing John McClane’s Identity on the News
“Die Hard” (1988)

Olson Waiting Until the Last Moment Before Popping His Parachute
“Star Trek” (2009)

#1: Giving Your Address to a Terrorist & Daring Them to Come Get You
“Iron Man 3” (2013)

After his friend, Happy Hogan, is injured in a terrorist attack perpetrated by the Mandarin, Tony Stark tells the mysterious mastermind where he lives and picks a fight with him. He then returns home, puts on his only unfinished Iron Man suit, doesn’t bother to call for backup, or activate the other suits in his basement like he does later in the movie. The billionaire superhero doesn’t even see the helicopters coming for his home until they’re on the news, leading to his house’s destruction and him nearly getting himself, his girlfriend, and another woman killed. Isn’t Tony Stark supposed to be a genius?