This is a direct copy of some posts of mine when asked what cliches annoy me. Funnily enough, I started to rant somewhat. Oops!
Assassins throwing knives, for two reasons. Firstly, because assassins aren't really often sent for an ostentacious display of cutlery skills. They're sent to kill someone quickly, quietly and effectively, not go lobbing knives around, partly given that being hit with a thrown knife is by no means a sure-fire way of killing someone. Do our soldiers carry throwing knives? No, and with good reason. It looks cool, without a doubt, but so would killing someone by sending a chicken with four pounds of semtex stuffed into its, um, pockets, into their bedroom while they slept.
The distance over which assassins can throw knives with any degree of accuracy. Some of these buggers could lob a knife over four hundred metres in a narrow, low-ceilinged corridor without it simply falling to the ground under gravity and lack of impetus, as if the damn thing had some sort of rocket motor in its hilt.
Next, leg strength. You know, how a man can leap a tall building one moment, yet the next they are totally incapable of kicking down a very simple, unreinforced wooden door? Or my personal favourite, the way someone can leap a ridiculously long distance/height one moment, yet when they kick someone that person is simply knocked back a bit rather than (much more likely) their spine exploding and their kidneys going flying out of their sphincter at a hundred miles per hour.
Assassins choosing to fight their way through the target's entire retinue of thugs rather than slipping through a window and shoving a dagger into his windpipe. "Hmm," they say, "I know I've been following him all day and have had at least 15,000 opportunities to shoot the mother f***er in the eyelashes from decent range before disappearing into the crowd, but mum didn't spend twenty years working four jobs as a disabled, elderly, aids-ridden prostitute/single mother with a wooden leg and one elbow made from an old rice crispies box to put me through years of Jeet-Kune-Judo-Fu-Ballet classes just for me to be epically ungrateful and kill people in a sensible manner!"
Followed by "sneaking" down a completely white corridor wearing all black under flourescent white lights while minions armed with machine guns they are utterly incapable of firing in my direction try to beat me up, all the while supported by many more who come pouring out of lifts/secret tunnels/pop-up tents and never try to change their tactics.
I may let one of them live. You know, just give him a meaningful glance and allow him to drop his weapon and run away. It's not like he'll raise the alarm or something, is it?
Next I'll check the tourist map and ignore the "lift straight to the bad guy's apartment" and take the "room-o-manylasers" so I can show off the moves I learned on "Strictly come Ninja dancin'" last thursday. Why not, it leads to the gift shop after all, and I've had my eye on that "I tried to kill Naughty Mr Nasty-yama-quasimodo and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" t-shirt for some time now.
And anyway, it's not like the aforementioned badguy won't be standing there waiting for me when I arrive.
After this there may be a monolgue. I may learn he's a relative of mine or that he killed a relative of mine, or both, or that he's a relative of mine and he's going to kill himself just to make me feel all melancholy and that.
Either way, it'll turn out that he's slightly harder than me. So hard, in fact, that he was probably just hiring all those minions either out of the good of his heart, as some kind of cunning tax break suggested by his accountant or because he gets his rocks off watching people get killed ninja-stylee and the entire building is rigged with thousands of POV cameras and one entire floor is for the storage and disposal of tissues.
Of course he could have just left when he found out that I was on the way up, as there's a fifty-fifty chance he's about to scarper now and blow up the building with me inside it anyway. He won't make certain I'm dead, of course. That would be silly and has been covered by the Austin Powers movies.
The other option is that he imprisons me for a larf. Meh.
Oh, or there could have been a second agent who I thought was dead, who will have turned out to have had just enough energy in his dying body to kill the rest of the minions, climb four hundred flights of stairs, do The Times crossword, fight the hardest badguy of all and then die, after having a quick chat with me while the badguy quite politely doesn't murder me to death in the face.
Have I missed anything? Oh yes, the entire rest of my assassin cadre/company/whatever have turned against me and I'll have to take on the other assassins, who are all even more inept than I am and I'll kill them easily, at least as easily as I killed the other minions because the director needs to show just how hard I am.
And I'll have fallen in love at some point with someone I was possibly supposed to kill. She's probably related to my target but won't mind me ganking her father, then me and Susan Nasty-yama-quasimodo will live happily ever after and none of the families of the thousands of people I murdered through being too inept/lazy/awesome to actually assassinate my target will ever come after me. Though if they do, they'll have a birthmark shaped like a croissant and that will mark them as king of the Croissant people of Lichtenstein and it will be his duty to kill my son, who will have turned out like his grandad in spite of my best efforts, becuase evil is genetic. I should, of course, have known that he was evil when he was born with black hair.
More may follow. Sorry.
People forming a circle, then taking it in turns to attack from the front in a civilised and orderly fashion. What's the point? Why not just form a bloody queue instead? Why not ever, EVER think "Well diddle me backwards, this guy is going through us like a ginger kid in Ibiza goes through sunscreen. f*** it, soon as he turns his back I'm going to stab him. There, stabstabstab, done. Home for tea and crumpets methinks!"
Running out of ammo while your muzzle is pointed right at the bugger's head. What on earth are the chances of rattling off a clip on full auto and leaving one bullet behind? It's possible of course, but what are the chances of it happening ALL THE BLOODY TIME?
"Please don't upset that geranium, it's two days from retirement." *5 seconds later* The aphid people invade and give the geranium the vege-plague and it dies. No home in the country, no spending those weekends with the kids, just the s***ty death of the very-nearly-retired foliage.
Not disguising yourself in any meaningful way. Ever. Come on man, at least wear a f***ing hallowe'en mask, or a pair of tights over your head, or one of those sets of glasses with a mustache and massive eyebrows attached. No no, obviously the hair dye will do it. Of course. A haircut will totally obscure you, but only if YOUR MUSH WAS PREVIOUSLY TOTALLY COVERED IN HAIR.
The flashy car. For the love of crap, buy yourself a twelve year old Vauxhall Astra and do some trickery under the bonnet instead of driving around in a conspicuously coloured '67 Mustang or a Dodge bloody Charger. Unless your enemies are in the form of an invading legion consisting entirely of footsoldiers that look like stacks of cardboard boxes, these cars will not help you maintain a low profile.
The ticking clock. It's the most lazy way of building tension and we know that no matter how hard we pray to the baby jeebus, it never goes off in the smug f***er's face at the last moment, as the bomber never has the common sense to make a bomb that goes off when the timer is at "10 seconds left".
That and the "which colour wire???" thing. DO all bomb makers play by the rules found in "Bomb maker's wiring diagrams for dummies"? No. Have you ever heard the knowledgable bomb disposal geezer on the other end of the phone say "shut up about the colour and tell me where the wires go you bloody monkey!"
That and the fact that most of these muppet lickers find a bomb and immediately pull out their mobile phone or radio to tell people about it. Wana know what the first thing I was taught about what to do when you find an IED when I was working security? "Turn off your mobile or radio immediately and stand clear, because a lot of these devices use radio or mobile phones as a signal to detonate.
Also, people jumping directly away from a bomb that are totally unscathed in a blast that smashes every window in the entire hemisphere. No shrapnel? No nails? Pretty s***ty bomb. That and it'll blast out the windows but not your ear drums? Huh, go figure...
People running directly away from things that are rolling straight towards them. You know, boulders, runaway trains, cars with cut brake cables, shopping trollies full of AIDS, that sorta thing. "RUUUUUUUN! RUUUUUUN BILLY-BOB-JOE-TURTLE! RUUUUUN! DIRECTLY AWAY FROM IT IN THIS WIDE OPEN SPACE! RUN DOWNHILL IN THE EXACT SAME DIRECTION AS THESE MANY TONS OF ROLLY BOUNCY DEATH WAHT IS COMIN' FOR OUR SOOOOOOOOULS!"
Yeah, or, you could take about three steps to the left. Or the right, let's mix it up a bit. Then you and your buddy could wave as it rolls harmlessly past you.
Ooh, big cliche annoyance.
He's a dad, just trying to work hard at his career at the condom factory, going to seminars about the latest breakthroughs in jimmy-hat technology, driving a car payed for by the promescuity of the developed nations of the world, living, dreaming, sleeping, and presumably eating condoms because he's worked hard all his life and just doesn't seem to be finding the time for family. But it's ok, because there is this camping trip at the weekend and he's been promising his kids for months that they'll go together and spend some quality father/son time free from all prophylactic paraphenalia and do some light fishing, hiking and burglary as a fambly.
But wait! Nasty Mr Nobblesworth (the company CEO) comes in (snigger) at the last moment because there's a big presentation for Mr Hashiherominnesota on monday morning and only Mr Dad can possibly do it! (Lots of notice there, chump!) Even better if he doesn't do it they'll lose a huge contract worth billions for supplying little rubber sleeping bags to the far east and Mr Dad will lose his job! Nice!
So instead of telling his boss that he should just try it so he can sue the buggery out of him for unfair dismissal and live wealthy and work-free on account of his massive doucheyness, Mr Dad does one of two things. He either cancels the camping trip (cue the "You always do this, you worthless old ballbag!" speech from disappointed kids 1-4) or he goes but smuggles his laptop and swatch-pad of various flavours with him, including the magical product with which he must woo Mr Hashiherominnesota on monday morning. (Figuratively. I'm on a rant here, shh!)
Either way they'll be having a good(ish) time while he sneaks off periodically to plan his presentation, until his son (or sons. And/Or daughters, I'm into equal opportunities for poor parenting) finds out and goes storming off into the forest and gets attacked by a bear. Anyway, Mr Dad goes charging after his precious boy armed only with the jizz-shield 5000 and an old fishing hat and finds his son cornered by the aforementioned bear. (If you missed it, read back a bit and I'll meet you back here. Done it? Good. Right...)
His only recourse is to either strangle the bear with the rubbery goodness and lose his job, or watch his son die. Naturally he does the first one and has a big hug with his son, who forgives him for years of being a crap father, in spite of the fact that he actually had to stop and think whether or not to watch his kid die.
Later there will be the meeting with the Chinese ambassador for contraception and there'll be a big, heartfelt speech about parenting and Mr Dad will storm off, with the screams of "You're fired!" still ringing in his ears.
Later Mr Hashiherominnesota will come around to his house and tell him how inpired his speech was and offer him a job or something. Mr and Mrs dad will look at each other before referring to their children, who will tell them to go for it because they've learned that a dad has responsibilities to his snivelling, wretched children after this sorry and slightly contrived affair.
All this or the dad will have decided to fix the family by driving across the Gobi desert in an ice-cream van and hilarity will have ensued, with an animal encounter and a joke about the chemical toilet. The daughter/son will also have fallen in love with a local in the process. Yawn. I hope they're eaten by wildebeasts.