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15 Times Movie Characters Are Given An Important Task - But Are Set Up To Fail

List Rules
Vote up the movie characters whose objectives never had a chance.

When a movie character is given a job or a task, it is often an opportunity for their skill set to be put on display. Other times, they have been set up to fail by the powers that be, and it is their survival skills that are tested. Whether individuals or groups, all the characters on this list have been given missions they are meant to fail by the design of those in charge.

The figures in charge in these films are often good examples of what happens when power corrupts, as they use their control over characters who are destined to fail. Sometimes these betrayed characters are designed to be the fall guy, framed to take the blame for either the job planned or one eventually revealed. Other times, they may be a sacrificial lamb, necessary in accomplishing a larger goal. Either way, the character or characters used by those in power are unaware of their true role until it is often too late. They are intended to fail, sabotaged within the planning stages without even realizing it.

Which characters never stood a chance? Vote up your favorite betrayals!

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  • The Task: The star-freighter Nostromo and its crew are sent on a mission by the Weyland-Yutani Corporation to investigate a warning signal coming from a derelict ship in space.

    The Setup: Unbeknownst to the crew, the Weyland-Yutani Corporation sent the Nostromo on the mission in hopes of recovering an alien Xenomorph specimen. Prior to departing on the mission, the science officer was replaced by the android Ash (Ian Holm), who is programmed to retrieve the alien species at any cost to the human crew.

    The Resolution: The ship’s warrant officer Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is the sole human survivor of the Nostromo crew when the alien is let loose. After setting the ship to self-destruct, Ripley uses an escape shuttle to avoid the same fate as the rest of the crew.  

    27 votes

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  • Andy, Booker, Joe, And Nicky In 'The Old Guard'
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    The Task: Andy (Charlize Theron), Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts), Joe (Marwan Kenzari), and Nicky (Luca Marinelli) are a team of mercenaries who take a mission from CIA operative James Copley to rescue a group of kidnapped girls from their confinement in South Sudan.

    The Setup: Upon arriving, the team is ambushed by another team of mercenaries hired by Copley. The entire ploy was intended for Copley to capture video of Andy and her team’s ability to regenerate after injury.

    The Resolution: The team is able to survive the ambush, but they become hunted when Copley shows the video to a pharmaceutical executive hoping to profit from their unique healing abilities.

    11 votes

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  • The Task: John Hannibal (Liam Neeson) leads his team including Face (Bradley Cooper), B.A. (Quinton Jackson), and Howling Mad (Sharlto Copley) on a mission to retrieve stolen US Treasury plates. They are sent by CIA operative Agent Lynch (Patrick Wilson), with the approval of Hannibal’s commanding officer, General Morrison (Gerald McRaney).

    The Setup: Although Hannibal and his team succeed in retrieving the plates, they are ambushed and robbed of the plates in a plot designed by Lynch and Morrison. When Morrison fakes his own demise, the team is blamed for the mishap and sent to prison.

    The Resolution: After a prison escape, the team reunites to retrieve the plates and clear their names.

    9 votes

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  • The Task: Police Sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward) receives an anonymous letter informing him about the disappearance of a young girl named Rowan Morrison (Geraldine Cowper), and travels to the remote island of Summerisle to investigate.

    The Setup: Howie discovers that Rowan was never missing, but simply used as bait to bring him to the island. The islanders practice pagan rituals with the belief that it will help their crops succeed and intend Howie as a human sacrifice.

    The Resolution: Howie is forced into a giant wicker man statue, which is burned as a sacrifice to the Celtic gods.

    18 votes

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  • The Task: Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) sends a Suicide Squad led by Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) to the island of Corto Maltese, with the mission of destroying a laboratory containing secret Third Reich experiments.

    The Setup: Upon arrival, the team is met by the waiting Corto Maltese military. It is later revealed that they have been intentionally sacrificed by Waller, who sent them as a distraction for a second Suicide Squad to arrive undetected on another part of the island.

    The Resolution: Although Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is merely captured, the other first squad members are all wiped out in battle shortly after being introduced. Savant (Michael Rooker) is betrayed by Waller for a second time when she eliminates him for refusing to join the fight.

    22 votes

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  • The Task: When former foster child Grace (Samara Weaving) marries into the wealthy Le Domas family, she is eager to meet her new husband’s relatives. Because the family owns a lucrative game company, they have a tradition requiring new members to choose a game to play as an initiation into the group.

    The Setup: After Grace draws the card for "hide-and-seek," the Le Domas family arm themselves with weapons to hunt her down. It is revealed that a family ancestor made a pact with a man named Le Bail (an anagram for the name Belial, which is another name for the devil) to guarantee that they would retain their wealth and status, so long as any new member to choose "hide-and-seek" is hunted and eliminated.

    The Resolution: Grace uses her wits to outsmart and survive the family members, who all meet their demise after failing to follow through on their end of the pact made with the devil.

    18 votes

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