As Jules Winfield famously described his Ezekiel 25:17 speech in Pulp Fiction, “I never gave much thought to what it meant. I just thought it was some cold-blooded sh*t to say to a motherf*cker before I popped a cap in his ass.”
Of course, saying cold-blooded sh*t to a motherf*cker before you pop a cap in his ass is something of an action-movie trope. And for good reason: it’s awesome. YouTuber ziccup has compiled a supercut of just such moments (“the pre-mortem one-liner,” as he/she describes it), as delivered by the best one-line deliverers Arnold, Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis, Harrison Ford, etc. I could watch this all day.
Worst: Nic Cage in The Rock. “I only bring it up because… it’s you. You’re the rocket man.”
For one thing, the prose is kind of tortured. Succinctness is key in a pre-mortem one-liner, and that’s not really Nic Cage’s strong suit. For another… referencing Elton John? Come on. Though I admit, it’d be pretty boss if Mola Ram had said something about Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” right before he ripped that dude’s heart out in Temple of Doom.
Surprisingly Good: Air Force One isn’t very good, but “GET OFF MY PLANE!” is a surprisingly-memorable line.
Criminally Overlooked: If I remember correctly, “…it’s just been revoked” from Lethal Weapon 2 is disqualified on account of being right AFTER Danny Glover shoots the South African guy in the head, which is unfortunate, because I was totally waiting for that, but there are at least three awesome lines from Commando that should’ve gone in here. “Remember when I said I’d kill you last?” “Bennett, let off a little steam.” etc. Really, you could make three of these using only Arnold.