Evil ‘Genius’ Is A Stretch, Dontchathink? (5 Handy Hints For Budding Evil Masterminds)

July 31, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Features

300x210_DunceplanAs The Taking of the Pelham 123 opens, cinema goers are greeted once more with the sight of a Hollywood antagonist clutching a laptop and slowly divulging every last detail of his evil plot to anyone who would listen.

John Travolta is on baddie shift for that film, but as ever the sensitive fool makes some real errors when trying to extract that exorbitant ransom fee. He’s not the only one though, and over the years some major players have dropped the ball in jaw-dropping fashion.

Here is the OTB guide for carrying out any villainous crimes that you might be plotting. Are you paying attention Walken?

1. Good Financial Planning Is Crucial

If you are going to make a very public enemy of yourself by destroying a small section of the globe or taking the President hostage, then you should be aiming for a decent return on any money spent in preparation for the job. You wouldn’t buy a rocket launcher to rob a pound store would you?

Elliot Carver probably would, which goes some distance to explaining why his plans in Tomorrow Never Dies revolve around using his expensive stealth boat to pick a fight between Britain and the China, in the name of increased newspaper sales.

Even if the evil media mogul’s plot had succeeded, he probably would not have seen a turn-around on his investment for at least six months. In the meantime he would have been left severely out of pocket.

The repayments on the loan he would have needed to finance the boat must have been astronomical. Then there’s the cost of maintaining a small population of henchmen and building new production facilities in the Far East. By the time he earned a cent of profit from his murderous handy-work, the rise of the Internet would have begun to bring about a serious newspaper sales slow-down.

Always demand a suitcase of cash in multiples of $1m – it’s just good financial planning.

2. Make sure you have a worthwhile cause (or a good PR man)

When Robin Hood invented PR several centuries ago, he set a marker for those trying to snatch government funds.

Realising that if you have the backing of the public then great things can happen, the Sherwood propaganda machine succeeded in consigning the Sheriff of Nottingham’s reputation to the vault of the depraved, despite his tireless charity work.

Subjecting the population of a city to an excruciating death because a couple of marines didn’t get proper funerals is never going to go down well. However in The Rock, Ed Harris comes up with this half-baked scheme and sets up base on Alcatraz looking very pleased with himself.

But if Sean Connery tells you that your plan is “an act of f*****g lunacy”, it’s probably worth paying attention. After all, he’s seen some bad ones in his time.

Realising that if he follows through with this elaborate mass murder, his kids will probably get the crap kicked out of them at school on Monday, Harris tries to abort but not before his street-cred is reduced to tatters.

3. Make sure John McClane is on holiday

In this world of increased uncertainty, there are two rules that everyone should remember to avoid disaster: If you needed someone to guard your lunch – don’t ask Yogi Bear, and if you are planning to hold the government to ransom – do it while John McClane is out of the country.

The first two films should have provided enough evidence that he was super-villain Kryptonite, but in Die Hard With A Vengeance, Jeremy Irons actually demands his involvement in proceedings. Before you could say, ‘take that under advisement jerkweed’, McClane was Yippee-ki-yaying his way through the cast with familiar efficiency.

Suffice to say that even a plan as fiendish as pretending to bomb a school was ultimately foiled by this one-man-army. And to think that some one else tried to take him on again after this…

4. Choose your equipment carefully

This is not usually a problem for people involved in this line of work, however every once in a while, someone tries to reinvent the wheel. Inevitably, they end up running themselves over in a manner which would make Brian Harvey proud.

In The Avengers, Sir Augustus De Wynter attempts to hold the country to ransom with a pathetic plot to unleash a bout of unseasonably cold weather on London (Insert joke of choice here).

Admittedly, any respect for this meteorology villain evaporated very early in the morning when we discovered that his henchmen were to be dressed in teddy bear outfits. That’s just bear stupid.

Why didn’t he simply charge every person in Britain £10 for a summer without rain? He would have made an easy £600,000 and been paraded through the streets as a hero into the deal.

Evil geniuses are strong traditionalists and distrust new techniques, which might explain their startling low success rate. Consequently, such an elaborate scheme was treated with widespread content in even the most progressive super-villain circles.

When it comes to blackmail, politicians only understand two things; publication of expense accounts and massive bombs.

5. Keep them guessing

According to Sun Tzu, war is nothing but deception. This sentiment has always confused Optimus Prime who thought that war was nothing but decepticons, but broadly for robots and humans alike, the message remains the same: Stay one step ahead of your enemy.

A peerless example of this is the work of our old friend John Travolta in the slick crime caper Swordfish. Of course it helps if you have the benefit of being a government employee at the time, but you know…gift horses and all that.

His final plan is masterful, and involves not one, but two extraordinarily devilish diversions. He has police running from the airport to the bus stop, before using a crane to get to the roof and escaping in a helicopter. But when the chopper is shot from the sky, it turns out that he had actually nipped out the back door of the building. Bravo that man.

He hasn’t been that slippery since Grease.


Sean Marland

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