Lady Liberty: action star

She doesn’t just stand around all the time, you know

The Statue of Liberty turns up in plenty of movies, and not always as a simple set dressing. Sometimes she’s the scene for kick-ass action. Hell, sometimes she even takes part.

Ghostbusters II (1989). With New York City in dire peril, the Ghostbusters form a daring plan to bring Lady Liberty to life using ectoplasmic slime. They hose the big girl down with the stuff, install some loudspeakers and a Nintendo joystick, and take the statue for a stroll down the streets of Manhattan, just in time for her to smash open the villain’s lair with her torch. It’s not as cool as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from the first film, but how could it be?

Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985). Bringing the “Destroyer” pulp novels to movie screens for the first (and despite the title, only) time, this tongue-in-cheek action flick flopped with critics and audiences, despite a likable Fred Ward in the leading role. The Statue of Liberty was undergoing extensive restoration at the time of filming, and the surrounding scaffolding served as the arena for a climactic action scene, with Ward even finding himself standing awkwardly on her shoulder. The poster showed him dangling from one of her hat spikes!

Jungle 2 Jungle (1997). A bad Tim Allen vehicle, based on a bad French comedy, this stinker finds Allen discovering that he has a 13-year-old son from his first marriage, and that the boy has been raised in an isolated Venezuelan tribe. The lad wears a loincloth, carries a blowpipe and a pet tarantula, and climbs the Statue of Liberty in order to bring the flames of her torch back to his tribal home. (We’re invited to laugh at his primitive upbringing when he learns that the flames aren’t real. Ha! You illiterate savage!) Gene Siskel cited this as the worst film of 1997.

Cloverfield (2008). The statue faces a big honkin’ monster! Statue loses.

Superman III (1983). Apparently, the fictional city of Metropolis also has its own Statue of Liberty, because it keeps turning up in the Christopher Reeve films. Its appearance in the third film is decidedly odd, because that’s where an “evil” Superman (his demeanour altered by exposure to synthetic Kryptonite) hooks up with a bosomy blonde who’s working for the bad guy. Yep, Supes just flies up to Ms. Liberty’s hat, finds a scantily clad floozy up there, and negotiates with her for sex. Surely, this must be the weirdest Statue of Liberty scene in the whole Superman canon, right?

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987). Nope. Lady Liberty becomes a calamitous projectile! New bad guy Nuclear Man picks the statue up and flings it into the core of the city! Don’t worry though; Supes just catches her and puts her back on her pedestal.

Planet of the Apes (1968). You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you! Damn you all to Hell!

Saboteur (1942). White-knuckle suspense from the master of same, Alfred Hitchcock. Check out the astonishing scene with the guy dangling helplessly from the Statue’s torch, before plunging to his death.

X-Men (2000). The climactic battle of this superhero free-for-all takes place on, in and around the Statue of Liberty. It marks one of Ms. Liberty’s most action-packed film appearances. You could even buy a plastic Statue of Liberty playset, where your Magneto action figure could reshape the statue’s metal struts into restraining manacles, and a push of a button could catapult your Wolverine figure off of her spiky noggin.

Godzilla vs. Statue. This hilarious 80-second cartoon short is available on YouTube, and depicts a titanic battle between a city-demolishing giant lizard, and a sassy giant statue who takes umbrage at this behaviour. Both characters are depicted as simple stick-man type line drawings, and all of the dialogue and sound effects sound like a little kid making “crash” and “whoosh” noises. It gets a bit rude, with Lady Liberty shoving her torch up Godzilla’s rectum, and distracting him by giving the monster a quick glimpse under her toga. This wacky ’toon turned out to be part of a huge series of similar “versus” cartoons, made in Russia, and pitting dozens of unlicensed pop-culture icons against one another. There isn’t much English-language info on these films, but the English words “XPYC team” and “Red Medusa” pop up a lot, so get Googling, and you’ll be treated to such bizarre matchups as “Jackie Chan vs. Sauron,” “Frodo vs. Harry Potter,” “Luke Skywalker vs. Neo,” “Obelix vs. Peter Pan” and “ALF vs. Puss in Boots.”



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