Sometimes hospitals aren’t the best places to be if you are sick, injured or visiting loved ones. Mark Fraser is prescribing the medicine in Top 10 Hospital Crimes Scenes in Film…
***SPOILER WARNING! Intricate plot details are revealed for the following films: Death Wish II, Busting, The Omen (2006), Kill Bill Vol. 1, Hard Boiled, Truck Turner, The Dark Knight, The Hospital, Coma, and Carlito’s Way.***
10. Death Wish II (Michael Winner, 1982)
Architect and vigilante Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) hunts down the last of the gang of street scum (Thomas Duffy) that brutally raped and murdered his housekeeper – as well as kidnapped, raped and killed his traumatised daughter – at the McLarren State Hospital somewhere in Los Angeles. Cleverly disguised as a doctor, Kersey manages to electrocute the hapless thug by throwing him against some complicated-looking medical equipment, getting stabbed in the process. A sympathetic orderly (Charles Cyphers) gives the injured, self-made judge, jury and executioner a few minutes to escape before altering the authorities.
9. Busting (Peter Hyams, 1974)
Two LA vice squad detectives (Elliott Gould and Robert Blake) unsuccessfully try to bust a big crime boss (Allen Garfield) – a quest which culminates in a climactic hospital chase scene. A cinematographer before becoming a director, Hyams’ rapid tracking shots through the building’s corridors are so deftly handled that one would be forgiven for thinking he had used a steadicam.
8. The Omen (John Moore, 2006)
In this remake of the 1976 Richard Donner film, Katherine Thorn (Julia Styles) can only watch in horror from her hospital bed as the crazed nanny and guardian of her adopted devil spawn (Mia Farrow) injects air into her IV tube, painstakingly knocking her off via an embolism. Although her murder galvanizes hubby Robert (Liev Schreiber) into action, he is killed by the police before he can sacrifice the kiddie at the altar using a holy knife given to him by the clergy. He does, however, avenge his wife’s death by running over the evil Mrs Baylock on his way to church.
7. Kill Bill Volume I (Quentin Tarantino, 2003)
The Bride (Uma Thurman) awakens from a prolonged coma, only to find she has been pimped off while unconscious by a hospital orderly (Michael Bowen) for goodness knows how long. Fittingly, both the orderly and his latest client (Jonathon Loughran) get their just desserts as she makes her escape.
6. Carlito’s Way (Brian De Palma, 1993)
When Carlito Brigante (Al Pacino) shows his turncoat hospitalised lawyer David Kleinfeld (Sean Penn) how to protect himself with a small hand pistol when the imminent hit squad arrives, he sneakily removes the bullets. Unsurprisingly, when the assassin-disguised-as-a-policeman (Joseph Siravo) does turn up, the hapless Kleinfeld gets the final shock of his crooked life when he draws first but fires an empty gun at his assailant. “Adios counselor,” Brigante muses to himself as he throws the bullets into a wastepaper basket just as his erstwhile lawyer’s brains are being splattered against the hospital room wall.
5. Coma (Michael Crichton, 1978)
A doctor working in a major city hospital (Genevieve Bujold) stumbles across a plot involving the murder of patients and the harvesting of their organs for the black market. While she suspects her doctor boyfriend (Michael Douglas) might have something to do with it, the key perpetrator ends up being her boss (Richard Widmark). Ms Bujold was subjected to further medically-related antics some 10 years later when she came across the gynaecologist twins (Jeremy Irons) in David Cronenberg’s rather grim Dead Ringers.
4. The Hospital (Arthur Hiller, 1971)
While going through a severe mid-life crisis, Dr Herbert Bock (George C Scott) suspects something is amiss at his hospital when a number of patients turn up dead for the wrong reasons. Little does he realise that the father of the woman who spiritually rescues him (Barnard Hughes and Dianna Rigg respectively) is behind it all. Another great performance by Scott (done around the time he won – and refused – the Oscar™ for Patton) in a script penned by Paddy Chayefsky.
3. The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)
Dressed as a nurse, The Joker (Heath Ledger) blows up a hospital after convincing a disfigured Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) to cross over to the dark side. In one of the film’s funniest moments, Ledger is simply hilarious as he manically wanders away from the building in his white uniform and hideous facial make-up trying to get the bomb’s detonator to work.
2. Truck Turner (Jonathon Kaplan, 1974)
Had it not been for Hard Boiled (see below), this easily would have been number one, so outrageous is the hospital shootout between bounty hunter Mack “Truck” Turner (Isaac Hayes) and vicious gangland pimp Harvard Blue (Yaphet Kotto) towards the end. Blaxploitation at its most delirious.
1. Hard Boiled (John Woo, 1992)
As far as hospital crime scenes go, this one is impossible to beat, particularly when Inspector “Tequila” Yuen (Chow Yun-fat) rescues the last baby from a maternity ward that – along with the rest of the building – has been invaded by criminal king pin Johnny Wong (Anthony Wong). Woo went on to Hollywood after making this one.