Bad Day At The Office: Dangerous Jobs On Film

Despite what everyone says, being an actor is hard work. You have to be on set for hours on end, day and night, constantly in the media spotlight, and often do crazy stunts for the purpose of authenticity. But no matter how hard that is, it doesn’t compare to some of the jobs that they must re-create on the big screen.

Deepwater Horizon, for example, is a true life story that records the oil-rig disaster off the Gulf of Mexico, in which Mark Wahlberg plays the extremely brave and courageous Mike Williams, who must save as many workers on board as possible amongst the fire. And although this is a very rare occurrence onboard a rig, it does demonstrate the worst case scenario for a job such as that, as the below films do also.

To celebrate the release of one of the most powerful and breath-taking disaster movies in recent memory on DVD & Blu-ray on January 30th, we take a look at some of the world’s most dangerous jobs that have been depicted on the big screen.

Armageddon (1998)
Having worked on an oil rig in the past and gaining a reputation as the ‘best drillers in the biz’ Bruce Willis’ rag-tag bunch of oil miners seemed like the least likely people on earth you’d want to attempt to save it. But it seems their stature caught the attention of NASA, who require their expertise after discovering a meteor the size of Texas is due to collide with our planet, needing the best drillers around to dig a nuke’ into its core and detonate it in time to avoid… you guessed it; Armageddon. Although in the real world this might be the least reasonable option to prevent such a catastrophic end to humanity, it does make for some cracking entertainment, showing that drilling in outer space is no picnic either.

The 33 (2015)
Based on the true story that had the world tuned into their news channel of choice for months, The 33 attempts to visualise what it was like for the Chilean miners who were trapped underground for a total of 69 days. This truly was a tragedy that gripped the world and is yet another example of how dangerous drilling underground for a living can be. After they become caved in, the group of miners lead by Mario Sepúlveda (Antonio Banderas) make their way to the rescue chamber, to discover that the radio is useless, the medical kit is empty and the overall upkeep of the mine is abysmal. With rations becoming increasingly stretched and violence breaking out between the miners, they soon realise there is nothing to do but band together and try to survive the darkness until they are saved.

Full Metal Jacket (1987)
No doubt that most of the films on this list are about jobs that are extremely dangerous, but none of the others have to deal with heading into the line of enemy fire, as you occasionally have to do in the army. Although there are many films that give an example of physical and psychological challenges of what it means to be a soldier, none of them give quite the same example from their first day, like Stanley Kubrick’s chilling Full Metal Jacket. If getting brutally bullied and demoralised by your drill sergeant isn’t enough, the cold mercilessness of war and the true effect it has on its human partakers. It definitely makes us cherish our desk jobs all the more!

The Perfect Storm (2000)
Being a fisherman out in the cold, wet wilderness of the ocean is probably not most people’s cup of tea at the best of times. But partner this with heading straight into the path of a hurricane that’s colliding with an enormous cold front that creates the “perfect storm” and you’ve got to be hard pressed to love that job. Although, you would get to ride aboard with the king of cool George Clooney, whose crew of Mark Wahlberg, John C. Reilly and John Hawkes, among others, have to tackle 100-foot waves and battering winds in order to get their quarter of a million dollar catch home safely. As they travel into the eye of the storm they soon realise that they may never see dry land again.

End of Watch (2012)
Star of this intense and gripping cop-thriller Jake Gyllenhaal at one point says “We’re cops, everybody wants to kill us” with a cheeky grin across his face. But as we join him and his partner (Michael Peña) we come to see the truth behind his remark, as South Central, Los Angeles –the area which he patrols – is home to some of the most unforgiving gangs and cartels in the United States. Whilst on duty, the pair discover a secret that makes them the target of many unpleasant people, and come under increasing threat and pressure to ignore what they’ve found and ‘look the other way’. Director David Ayer makes interesting use of the hand-held camera style of filmmaking, using the cops’ body and car cameras to capture the riveting action whilst keeping it grounded.

Air Force One (1997)
Now who wouldn’t want to be president, I hear you say? Well, by the way things are going at the moment it seems anyone can make their way into the hot seat at the White House. But what if you’re taken hostage aboard Air Force One by a group of militant terrorists; would you be so keen then? Well this very unpleasant situation happens to President Harrison Ford, who must use his strength and intelligence to keep the terrorists at bay and devise a plan to allow him and his family to escape to safety. One can’t help but think that having a President Harrison Ford right now would be pretty sweet…

Deepwater Horizon (2016)
Working on an oil rig can be extremely dangerous; you’re working with extremely heavy machinery, searching for highly flammable liquid, and miles off of the coast in the middle of the ocean. Deepwater Horizon shows an example of what can go wrong when safety is ignored and greed and negligence take priority, as John Malkovich’s corporate exec demonstrates with little remorse. As the rig begins to destabilise from the underground pressure it goes up in an enormous gulf of flames in a matter of seconds, and Mark Walhberg, Kurt Russell and co. must dig deep and find the courage needed to save the majority of the crew and get off the rig before it crumbles on top of them. The true story element of the film brings home the scale of the tragedy, and the bravery of everyone on board.


Deepwater Horizon is available on 4K UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD from January 30th, courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment

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