Calling all gluttons for punishment! Prepare for 12 rounds of movie taglines that are so brilliant, or so awful, that you can’t help but laugh even though in your heart you know you shouldn’t. Inspired by A Good Day To Die Hard’s tagline, these incredible feats of verbal ingenuity are yours to vote on, so have a look, weigh them up and let the world know if these taglines are brilliantly terrible, terribly brilliant or just plain ol’ dumb...
"Ein! Zwei! Die!"
It’s not often that a rudimentary grasp of German is required for a good-bad pun to work, but then again it’s not often that a group of Norwegian high schoolers get bloodily butchered by a brigade of Nazi zombies, so perhaps it’s best to let this one fly.
Better than the film? It depends on your tolerance of Führer-fueled gore. If the idea of two young lovers getting it reich in the neck as they bump uglies in a bathroom stall has you raising your hands in the air, then… it’s probably level peggings, really.
Marks Out Of A Pundred: 88
"Two Agents. One City. No Merci."
Brought to the screen by Taken’s Pierre Morel, FPWL – as no-one calls it – amounts to a 92-minute supermarket sweep of ethic minorities as Travolta and Rhys Meyers dash about Paris inserting bullets into the foreheads of Pakistani, Jamaican and Chinese bad ‘uns in the pursuit of… something or other. It’s drivel, really, but it does have one hell of a tagline, and like Dead Snow, it plays on a word of a foreign persuasion, which earns it extra pun points.
Better than the film? Oui.
Marks Out Of A Pundred: 89-99
"He was dead... but he got better."
At the end of Crank, Chev Chelios dies after falling out of a helicopter and landing flat in the middle of a busy city street. But by Crank 2, everything’s fine and dandy for our man Chev – aside from the fact that he needs regular top-ups of electricity to power his new artificial heart or, you know, he’ll die. In this way, he does indeed die, and does indeed get better, though medical purists – also known as humanity – may not be able to pull off the same trick in real life.
Better than the film? As it contains one of the best insults in the history of cinema – “You pair of sausage nigels!” – they’re around about the same level.
Marks Out Of A Pundred: It’s not actually a pun, so how about… 120/240. And if you get that ‘joke’, you’re either an electrician or a physics teacher, so well done you.
"The Wait Is Ogre"
Leaving the inspired Gingerbread-Man’s-life-flashing-before-his-eyes gag to one side, Shrek The Third is the most disappointing chapter in the grumpy green swamp dweller’s cinematic story book, but at least it has the best use of the perennial over/ogre pun.
Better than the film? Considering it takes about half a second to digest (and possibly chuckle at), the tagline wins it if only for its time efficiency.
Marks Out Of A Pundred: 33⅓
"Escape, or die frying."
The prize cock of Aardman’s feather-filled stop-motion spectacular, this culinary tagline is just one of many impressive pieces of wordplay, including “A few good hen”, “The lone free ranger”, “A real plucker”, “She’s poultry in motion” and “This ain’t no chick flick”. Thank The Lord “The Great Egg-scape” didn’t make the grade – even if “She’s a classy bird” did.
Better than the film? Considering it’s such a cracker of a pun – that’s not an egg gag, honest – it’s a genuine compliment to say they’re pretty much of a muchness.
Marks Out Of A Pundred: 96 (which is eight dozen, by the by)
"Whoever wins… we lose."
Though it isn’t a patch on Alien’s iconic "In space, no one can hear you scream", AVP's pessimistic tagline does at least acknowledge that when xenomorphs play tag with everyone’s favourite mandible-mouthed, dreadlocked death-bringers, there’s definitely going to be a proverbial cleanup on aisle three.
Better than the film? By about a country parsec. Shame on Paul W.S. Anderson, heaps of praise on Paul W.S. Anderson’s marketing team.
Marks Out Of A Pundred:
"Just deux it."
Jim Abrahams’ Vietnam-flavoured follow-up to 1991’s Top Gun mickey-take sees Charlie Sheen and co. poke fun at Rambo, Apocalypse now and in one very meta moment, Wall Street. As well as extracting the urine from all those movies (and many more), they even snuck in a Nike gag on the poster, for no obvious reason. Unless you can see the connection between an exploding chicken fired from a bow and expensive running shoes, of course – in which case, please leave your thoughts on the topic in the comment box below.
Better than the film? The tagline is good, but the fact that the film has a body count of 114 – more than both Total Recall and Robocop combined – makes it just that little bit better.
Marks Out Of A Pundred: Vingt-deux
"Even a hit man deserves a second shot."
The poster isn’t the most inspired of all time, but it does have a good stinger in this tagline. In fact, it has two good lines, as the poster also claims to be “A comedy about a hit man, a high school reunion, and the girl he left behind” which is also pleasantly unexpected. Still, that’s more on the functional side of things so this is our favourite.
Better than the film? Not really, no. George Armitage’s hit man comedy is a real joy, a classic in the small genre of assassination chucklefests, sitting happily alongside In Bruges, Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind and Killer Joe. In other words, it’s almost as good as John Cusack stabbing someone to death with a biro, but not quite.
Marks Out Of A Pundred: 45.0
"The coast is toast."
Roger Ebert quipped in his less than positive review that "The ads say The Coast Is Toast, but maybe they should say The Volcano Is Drano.” But say what you like for Mick Jackson’s ever-so-cheesy lava palaver, the tagline sticks in the mind – almost as much as the exchange, “Paper beats rock, but scissors beat paper.”; “I'm not paper; I'm lava... what beats lava?”; “My dad... I hope!”
Better than the film? By Vulcan, yes.
Marks Out Of A Pundred: 60.71537302 (taken from a seismograph reading)
"Family isn't a word. It's a sentence."
A Wes Anderson movie about a well-educated dysfunctional family on the east coast deserves a refined, class-appropriate tagline, and that’s exactly what it got. What’s more, it also got an ensemble movie poster with a genuine, 100% honest-to-goodness posed photo – something that’s just too rare these days.
Better than the film? Perhaps not, as The Royal Tenenbaums is one of Anderson’s best, but it’s definitely worthy of it.
Marks Out Of A Pundred: 12 (if you include the dog and the bird)
"Yule crack up!"
A movie about a slightly terrible dad deserves a slightly terrible dad joke, so here’s National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation with a tagline so brazenly bad you can’t help but love it. In fact, we’re 84% certain it will appear as a joke in one of your Christmas crackers this year. Now who’s up for some bone-dry turkey?
Better than the film? Nah. This is the film that gave the world the phrase “It’s a bit nipply out”, and you just can’t beat that.
Marks Out Of A Pundred: 25
"Yippee Ki-Yay Mother Russia"
Yes, they went there. To Russia, that is, which is why this awful/awesome tagline for John Moore’s action quinquel works so well/badly. Laugh, hate yourself for laughing, laugh again, watch Die Hard for the umpteenth time and prepare yourself for the inevitable “John McClane won’t be Russian home this Christmas” trailer voiceover before its release.
Better than the film? Considering the movie’s not out until February 14, 2013, that’s an impossible one to call, so… definitely maybe.
Marks Out Of A Pundred: 3 and 5 (litres)