10 Great Movies With Rushed Endings

Momentum is one of the most important components of any story – different scenes work with different tempos, and it is essential to find the right balance between exposition, climax, and resolution in order to retain audience attention (and interest).

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A well-constructed story knows exactly when to adjust its narrative speed, something others often miscalculate. There is, however, a small subset of films with perfect pacing for most of their durations, but tend to rush their conclusions. It’s especially disconcerting when movies handle everything with careful deliberation, only to end hastily and without concern for viewer expectations.

10 Fury (2014) — Many Viewers Were Bothered By Its Dramatically Unbelievable Resolution

Fury was praised for its incredible acting and accurate depiction of war, with critics claiming that it avoided the “sanitized perspective that infiltrated many [earlier] war films.”

The movie balanced the human and visceral aspects of battle, knitting them into a believable plot. Although technically remarkable, Fury‘s dramatically unbelievable resolution bothered many viewers, despite the intensity of the film’s climax.

9 Law Abiding Citizen (2009) — The Final Few Minutes Are Riddled With Inconsistencies

Law Abiding Citizen wasn’t received too well by reviewers, except Roger Ebert who said that it was the “kind of movie you will like more at the time than in retrospect.” The box office results told an entirely different story, proving that audiences enjoyed the film considerably more than their critical counterparts.

A few fans appreciated the limits placed on the exaggerated vigilantism by the movie, but others complained about the various plot holes that developed during the last few minutes of action in Law Abiding Citizen.

8 Lucy (2014) — Loses The Potency Of Its First Two Arcs Before The Climax Rolls Around

Lucy blends science fiction with “cheesy thrills plus Scarlett Johansson’s charm,” succeeding in several respects and missing the point with others. The story pays tribute to various classics of sci-fi without losing itself to self-satire, earning positive comparisons with The Matrix (1999) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

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On the flip side, the potency contained within Lucy‘s first two arcs dissipates around the movie’s climax, eventually crossing over into seemingly far-fetched territory by the conclusion. Blasts of light and globs of wine-black ferrofluid pouring from the protagonist’s robot body do little more for the story than look fabulous.

7 Die Hard With A Vengeance (1995) — Nail-Biting Action Capped Off With An Incongruent Conclusion

Die Hard With a Vengeance is an over-the-top action movie, building on its two prequels with shows of incredible force that leave its audiences breathless with anticipation.

Performances by Bruce Willis, Jeremy Irons, and Samuel L. Jackson are essential to the film’s popularity, although it is generally considered to be weaker than Die Hard (1988). Unfortunately, Die Hard With a Vengeance caps off its nail-biting action sequences with an incongruent ending. That said, the movie’s alternative conclusion is radically different from the original.

6 Hancock (2008) — Squanders Its Premise Long Before The Ending

Hancock‘s so-called “flimsy narrative and poor execution” is often contrasted with its fascinating beginning, with The Hollywood Reporter stating that “the film came undone when it began to alternate between comedy and tragedy.”

While some viewers loved Hancock‘s emotional versatility and its unpredictable plot twist, the jarring tonal shift in the second arc is one of the many failings of the movie. In fact, Hancock squanders its premise long before the ending is in sight.

5 Savages (2012) — The Film Makes An Implausible Alteration To The Novel’s Conclusion

Savages obtained extremely mixed reviews upon release, with critics lambasting it for being a “hot mess… that turns into a snooze-fest” and praising Oliver Stone’s directorial compass in equal measure. The film was reasonably better liked by viewers, especially for its darkly dystopian visualization of Mexican cartels.

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However, Savages deviates extensively from its macabre book ending (written by Don Winslow) by making it implausibly pleasant. The fact that the protagonists don’t meet a grisly fate takes away from the author’s original intention.

4 Alien 3 (1992) — The Weak Final Arc Was A Result Of Artistic Differences

Alien 3 is an exceptional accomplishment… if one only considers the first half. First-time director David Fincher’s fractious relationship with 20th Century Fox resulted in the movie’s abrupt downward trend, most evident in the queasily unrealistic design given to the Runner Xenomorph.

Roger Ebert famously stated that Alien 3 was “one of the best-looking bad movies” he’d ever seen, an analysis that rings even more true at the conclusion. Thankfully, the Assembly Cut manages to restore some semblance of narrative dignity to the metaphorical black sheep of a legendary franchise.

3 War Of The Worlds (2005) — The Aliens Are Killed Off By Pathogenic Bacteria

Adapting a seminal work of science fiction is not a very easy job, but it’s nothing that director Steven Spielberg can’t handle. War of the Worlds is excruciatingly sensitive in its depiction of events because it focuses as much on CGI fireworks as on the ramifications that a world-ending event might have on people (and the relationships between them).

For some reason, War of the Worlds chooses to end its heart-pounding action on a flat note: killing the antagonists off without presenting narrative context. The only explanation is provided by a voice-over and doesn’t really justify the preceding two hours of the film.

2 Apocalypse Now (1979) — The Original Cut Is Relatively More Rushed Than Redux

Apocalypse Now, arguably veteran director Francis Ford Coppola’s magnum opus, is regarded as one of the best films ever made. Its views the Vietnam War through the error-prone prism of human nature, taking cues from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

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Apocalypse Now went through two major revisions, Redux and Final Cut, both of which include additional footage and attempted to revamp the original cut’s hasty conclusion.

1 Looper (2012) — Joe’s Sacrifice Could Have Been Averted

Rian Johnson’s Looper is a stunning reiteration of the time-travel trope. Time magazine called it a “hybrid, mashing Quentin Tarantino and Philip K. Dick into a species of pulp science fiction.” A large fraction of the movie’s strength lies in the interplay between Joe’s two versions (Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt), although the intricacies of Looper‘s time-travel mechanics are nothing to scoff at, either.

The movie concludes with young Joe committing suicide, under the belief that his sacrifice would save little Cid from turning into a dangerous villain known as the Rainmaker, but he could have just as easily ensured the boy’s safety by becoming a paternal figure in Cid’s life.

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