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"9 Worst Fictional Armies Ever Seen on Screen" Topic

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Action Log

16 Aug 2021 10:24 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Crossposted to SF Media board

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian16 Aug 2021 10:18 p.m. PST

It might seem weird to armchair quarterback a bunch of armies and commanders who are 100% not real, but the whole point of a silver-screen enemy is to give our heroes something to fight against. If the heroes of the story can kill 90 enemy soldiers by throwing a handful of bullets, it's just not a compelling fight…

From Military: link

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2021 2:43 a.m. PST

The Golden Company was worse than the Black Watch, or at least that what their reviews suggest

John the OFM17 Aug 2021 2:48 a.m. PST

You mean the Nights Watch, perhaps? grin

Patrick Sexton Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2021 6:44 a.m. PST

Thanks for the link.

OSCS7417 Aug 2021 7:22 a.m. PST


Frederick Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2021 7:30 a.m. PST

Great list and I have to agree – having watched many Star Wars movies, I have to say there is no way that Imperial Storm Troopers can be that inept

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2021 8:33 a.m. PST

I take issue with one statement— "Robert Heinlein's Mobile Infantry." No, sir, that wasn't Heinlein's MI— which are essentially one-man flying tanks armed with tactical nuclear warheads (Tony Stark WISHES he had that suit). That was an idiot left-wing director's version of the military, and had nothing to do with the Robert Heinlein's work, aside from stealing the title and the character names. :-P

In any case, what do you expect from Hollywood summer action movies? Realism? laugh
I'm surprised he stopped with 9.
The bigger challenge with Hollywood is to find actually competent military forces— even among the ones supposed to be the heroes.

nickinsomerset17 Aug 2021 9:45 a.m. PST

"The bigger challenge with Hollywood is to find actually competent military forces— even among the ones supposed to be the heroes"

In Hollywood the hero is usually the non military "street wise" teenage rebel!!

Tally Ho!

emckinney17 Aug 2021 10:57 a.m. PST

"In Hollywood the hero is usually the non military "street wise" teenage rebel!!"

Elizabeth Moon makes fun of that in "Command Decision" (one of the Vatta's War books).

That series also contains the worst military pun ever …

John the OFM17 Aug 2021 12:20 p.m. PST

How about any army commanded by Jon Snow?

dilettante17 Aug 2021 12:41 p.m. PST

I agree that Starship Troopers movie had NOTHING to do with Heinlein. I consider the movie to be the ultimate example of the attitude 'once we own it we can do anything we want with it'.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2021 12:42 p.m. PST

@emckinney— Loved the Vatta Series, and Moon's work in general. I need to re-read those, and then continue into her recent sequels.

Fred Mills17 Aug 2021 1:21 p.m. PST

A very fun read, and no objections to the selections. But so many to add.

Sauron's sad forces from the LOTR films would be candidates. The Germans in every 1950s war film? Every Mexican federal force in every bandit movie ever made? The human paramilitary forces in Battle for Planet of the Apes? Or the Japanese when facing Nicholas Cage, whose pistol alone kills dozens at a time, even when he's rolling down a hill or leaping from an exploding vehicle? Inspiring stuff!

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2021 2:33 p.m. PST

@dilettante— Yep. There are times as an author when you just say "thanks for the dough" and cash the check. Of course, they made the movie after Heinlein was long gone— I rather think he'd have been very vocal about what that idjit director did.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2021 6:35 p.m. PST

Not quite on point, because they aren't an army, but: ninjas. In virtually every movie or tv show, they are first described as invincible warriors any one of whom can easily kill the heroes without even being observed … and then later the heroes just mow them down.

Stryderg18 Aug 2021 5:00 a.m. PST

Have you seen the Ninja Parade?
YouTube link

gregmita2 Supporting Member of TMP18 Aug 2021 2:12 p.m. PST

Most of these are just good examples of bad movie script writing.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP20 Aug 2021 9:51 a.m. PST

The Urakhai at the siege of Helm's deep.

The Rohirrim do attack them from behind and down an incredibly steep slope I will concede. But they have a line of massive spears/pikes/halberds etc levelled against cavalry, with their flanks secure…..and they are slaughtered.

Jozis Tin Man20 Aug 2021 12:44 p.m. PST

@deadhead I concur.

My wife and I have a running joke when we see that scene.

"How many horses were harmed in the making of this film?"
"All the horses in the world…"

I cannot see riding down that steep a slope into leveled pikes , oh what, 100 guys deep, ending in anything but a lot of mangled horses. But what do I know?

Augustus20 Aug 2021 3:33 p.m. PST

Silly, Orcs have weak wrists.


Result: Holding the pikes wasn't enough, the should have planted them into the ground as a backstop to avoid depending on their weak grip.

True story.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP21 Aug 2021 9:05 a.m. PST

Pay a little more attention to the scene. The Rohirrim charge with the sun directly behind them, enhanced by Gandalf's magic. The Uruk-hai are completely blinded, unable to see or even discern their targets, and magically dismayed on top of it (it's the same mystic light that turns aside the Nazgűl riding their felbeasts in the next film). The result is the Uruk-hai begin dropping their pikes even as the cavalry reaches them— they can't stand the light of the new day. (Very metaphorical.) Notice, in fact, that the film actually presents the leveling of pikes as severely dangerous— until Gandalf and the Sun appear, and that's what breaks the Uruk-hai line.
Yes, in the real world the charge is foolish. In a world with Gandalf, not so much.

As a fan of the novel, I appreciate that Erkenbrand's pikes are the actual relief force. But Erkenbrand is a tertiary character who is never introduced to the readers— dramatically, he's a snore. But the film's treatment of Eomer's banishment and return at this moment is certainly more dramatic for an audience— the audience has met Eomer, seen his loyalty and the capability of his men in combat, and thus isn't thinking "Who the heck is that?" when the scene occurs. In the film, Eomer is the stand-in for all the loyal, good men of Rohan whom Wormtongue and Saruman have tricked the feeble-minded King into ignoring and rejecting. That's how film (and theatre) works— ideals and passions are placed within a single, prominent character, and that character both expresses and represents those ideals and all those who hold them. While yes, by implication there are thousands of warriors of Rohan who share Eomer's principles and passion, but it's smarter on the screen to have one person by the representative of all. Dramatically, this role is best served by Eomer— especially in what is essentially the climactic battle of the film. (Remember, Tolkien didn't write that battle for that purpose—he wrote it as one of many, important and even crucial, but not the final climax of his very looong novel The Lord of the Rings. Film, however, is different, and with three films being made, loosely based on the three publisher's divisions of Tolkien's work (which is really the only way a movie could be made), each film needs a climactic moment that serves the dramatic process of a film.
In The Fellowship of the Ring that climactic moment is the Uruk-hai attack and the breaking of the Fellowship. In The Two Towers it's the Battle of Helm's Deep (with the Fall of Isengard as a two-fer).
So the Big Climactic Moment deserves a Big Dramatic Moment— which is Eomer's & Gandalf's charge.

On the gripping hand, who brings pikes to a castle assault in the first place? Most useless weapon possible for the task at hand.
Criticize that all you want.
(Looks cool marching, though.)

Korvessa26 Aug 2021 7:46 p.m. PST

Parzival +1

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