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The Denouement of any number of made-for-TV thrillers in the 80s. The hero pursues the villain through a darkened building. They both have guns. They shoot at each other. The guns flash brightly in the dark. The shots echo and ricochet. Finally the hero has One Bullet Left. The villain has moved round behind him in the dark. He is about to shoot. The hero turns and fires his last bullet. The villain is shot squarely in the chest. He flies back (for extra points he falls a huge distance over a balcony or into a stairwell). The villain lands, dead, on his back, eyes open and staring. Focus on face. Cut to hero returning to the sunlit world outside. Final Aesop if any, roll credits.

This type of climax also showed up in quite a few otherwise light-hearted films during the decade.


Anime and Manga

  • The manga version of Chrono Crusade has a shootout in a darkened warehouse that's similar to this, although it has two variations—first, it's the heroes that get chased into the building by the villains, not the other way around. Second, Rosette realizes that their enemies are using the darkness as a psychological attack, and shoots at a spilled puddle of some flammable liquid, causing the building to set on fire. This gives them more light at the climax of the fight, but also increases the danger and splits the group up into pairs. (Also, it takes place in the middle of the series, not the end.)
  • Used in an episode of Noir, where the girls find themselves the targets.
    • But Kirika gives them an advantage by putting popcorn on the floor. She's so uncannily good that she can tell from the sound of it being broken where the Mooks are and shoot them accurately.

Comic Book

  • The hero of the Sin City story Hell And Back gets involved in a shootout that spans two buildings. In one dark building is a sniper with a night-vision scope. In the pitch-black apartment across the alley, is our protagonist Wallace, who has no night-vision and only goes off the glint of the sniper's rifle to tell where his foe is hiding. The gunfight ends in a Scope Snipe.


  • Used in Kick Ass when Big Daddy is being held in a warehouse and his daughter Hit-Girl goes in to rescue him wearing night-vision goggles, but is too late to save him.
  • See No Evil, Hear No Evil: A shootout in dark building—with a twist: one of the protagonists is blind. And so is the Big Bad.
  • In Blade Runner: Deckard's final showdown with Batty occurs in a dark, dank, building (actually the famous Bradbury Building in Los Angeles).
  • Used in On Deadly Ground; the oil rig fits once Forrest Taft cuts its power. The methods of killing turn quite creative there...
  • Die Hard had this as the main conflict. Between the levels still under construction and the power cut...
  • The original Terminator ends with one in a Smoke and Fire Factory.
  • Stargate, the movie, inside the temple & pyramid.
  • The French Connection.
  • Quantum of Solace (the most recent James Bond film) had a couple of these.
  • The Fritz Lang movie Ministry of Fear (1944) has a climactic shootout with Nazi spies on a stairwell lit only by their muzzle flashes.
  • Happens at the climax of The Silence of the Lambs, when Buffalo Bill kills the lights in his basement. He is following Clarice using night-vision goggles, and it is seen from his point of view when she suddenly turns around and shoots him and the screen goes white. (In the book the same thing happens, but narrated more from Clarice's perspective.)
    • It's worth noting that Clarice fires not because of a sixth sense or intuition, but because Bill cocks his revolver and she fires six times at the noise, two or three of which hit him.
  • L.A. Confidential.
  • The JCVD movie Double Impact has an interesting subversion - there's a darkened room fight, hand to hand, in the single most interesting and memorable scene in the movie.


  • Lampshaded in Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident, where LEP officers are drilled never to enter an unsecured building in a firefight without backup. Never. So guess what Holly proceeds to do when she's chasing down a smuggler. In her defense, it worked.

Live Action Television

  • All climactic shootings in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that were actually held on the space station. Good thing phasers put out light...

Real Life

  • Pat Garret vs Billy the Kid

Video Games

  • Time Crisis features one of these halfway through the second stage.
  • Point Blank has one as a challenge - which proves quite challenging as you can only see when you fire (your targets are cardboard cutouts) and there are civilian targets too.
  • Call of Duty 4 has one when you and Captain Price storm a building after Gaz cuts the power - though you have an advantage: "These night-vision goggles make it too easy." You then go through a pitch black house with surpressed weapons - with your night vision you can see enemies fumbling through the dark or pointing guns at whatever noises they hear.
    • Unfortunately for you this gets inverted in the last room where someone has a flashlight taped to a shotgun - which overloads the goggles.
    • Modern Warfare 2 has a similar moment in the gulag level, where a number of enemy troops are moving down a corridor in the darkness. However, they also have night vision goggles....
    • Also, the entire level "Second Sun" is one of these.
      • Second Sun is Narm if you can't see what's going on in the dark. Better adjust your brightness settings up a little.
  • The third level of Syphon Filter 2 has one of these in a darkened highway tunnel.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater: The battle with The Fury starts out dark, but his flamethrower gradually lightens things up, making it harder to hide from him.
  • All three games and every expansion of First Encounter Assault Recon has these; often, the things you're shooting at aren't human.
  • The beginning and end of Level 1-3 in Perfect Dark.
  • Doom 3 is full of these, such as the level where you escort a scientist with a lantern through pitch-black corridors. Quake 4 to a lesser extent.

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