Most of us discovered the world of science fiction via Star Wars and Star Trek, perhaps even Battlestar Galactica or The Black Hole. And then many of us wondered at the vastness of those worlds and stood slack-jawed at the imaginative weaponization of these worlds. To this day, what kid doesn’t fantasize about wielding a lightsaber or setting a phaser to stun?
If you ended up like most sci-fi fans, your appreciation didn’t stop with Captain Kirk or Luke Skywalker. More than likely you immersed yourself into alternate realities here on Earth in such films as Predator and Terminator, and perhaps you visited Asgard and Morag, and again were captivated by awesome weaponry.
If we’re not impressed by the arsenals found in sci-fi movies, why is it that Terminator: Genisys has a tally of approximately 700 weapons? Truth is, we like seeing stuff blow up. Even if these weapons only make a brief appearance, we want to have that “Holy crap! Did you see that?” moment.
So, what are some of the most coveted weapons found in sci-fi movies? Well, what you’ll find below is a carefully constructed list of 10. Keep in mind that such things as space cruisers, fighter ships, and space stations have been excluded. If they weren’t, the Death Star might top this list… if we had a predilection to destroy an entire planet and cause a great disturbance in the Force.
10 Westinghouse M-27 Phased Plasma Pulse Rifle - Terminator
Remember that opening scene in James Cameron’s 1991 Terminator 2, the one in which we see the metallic T800 marching through a decimated landscape firing plasma from two hulking rifles Rambo-style? Well, that Skynet piece of machinery is firing the Westinghouse M-27 Phased Plasma Pulse Rifle (that’s a mouthful, isn’t it?). We know this weapon’s range based on one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s quotes from the 1984 film when, in 1984, he enters a gun shop and requests a "Phased Plasma Rifle in the 40 watt range." Hey, if it’s good enough for Arnie, it’s good enough for us!
9 Universal Weapon - Guardians of the Galaxy
First off, the Infinity Stones are important in the Marvel Universe, as they enhance many weapons. One such weapon that they improve is the Kree Universal Weapon that Ronan, from Guardians of the Galaxy, primarily uses. It’s a war hammer that can fire a concussive blast powerful enough to just about knock someone’s head off. When equipped with an Infinity Stone, it can also provide energy protection or destroy an entire planet. Take your pick. As powerful as the Universal Weapon is, it’s not indestructible; it was destroyed by Drax and the Hadron Enforcer.
8 Chitauri Scepter - Avengers: Age of Ultron
The Chitauri Scepter, used by Loki in Avengers, is a weapon that, once again, uses the Infinity Stones to enable it to fire blue energy blasts and to manipulate and control others; and who wouldn’t like to turn their enemies into allies? It is also capable of opening portals to different dimensions and to communicate with others via some form of astral projection. Perhaps a bit on the ornate side, the Scepter’s handle is constructed of gold while the Infinity Stones are kept in a black encasement surrounded by silver blades. Depending on the situational requirements, the user can transform the Scepter between three sizes and blade configurations ranging in length from about two feet (as described above) to three feet when disguised as a cane, to six feet in spear form.
7 Black Hole Ring Thing - Tomorrowland
From writer/director Brad Bird, Tomorrowland is a family-friendly sci-fi movie of a hopeful future. However, there are a ton of fascinating weapons, mostly defensive, deployed by George Clooney’s Frank Walker when his heavily fortified home is attacked by androids. While there are many cool items at his disposal (an electrically charged daggerpen, a doorway rigged with cross-hatched lasers that’ll cut an intruder to pieces, magnetic walls to immobilize android attackers, and an escape pod in the form of a bathtub), perhaps the neatest is the circular teleporter, if that’s what it is. Its use as a weapon might have been unintentional, but whatever passes through its center ends up somewhere else. And it looks like if the device is deactivated while in use, it will leave body parts behind in “this” world.
6 The New Crossed Lightsaber - Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
Although the Death Star is an enviable weapon, possessing the power to destroy a planet on a whim is something that we’re not quite ready for. However, a lightsaber is something we’ve all been training for since we were 5 years old.
There have been some interesting developments in the Jedi/Sith weapon of choice since the original trilogy. No development, however, has been as practical as what we've seen for the upcoming The Force Awakens. The addition of a cross guard near the hilt should help prevent the loss of limbs and hands. Time will tell if J.J. Abrams will play with us and severe someone’s hand anyway.
Things don't get much more unique than a lightsaber. Taking a medieval weapon and adding force-driven energy to create a "blade" that can cut through just about anything and deflect blaster fire is definitely innovative and reminiscent of a more civilized time.
5 Sonic Shotgun - Minority Report
There was a lot of futuristic sci-fi tech and weaponry seen in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, such as the "sick sticks" that serve as a nonlethal cross between a baton and a taser and induces vomiting. But what’s really cool is what’s referred to as the “Sonic Shotgun.”
John Anderton (Tom Cruise) gets shot at a few times in a car factory before the weapon comes into his possession and we get to see how full of flare this gun really is. Basically it fires a non-lethal sonic boom at its intended target, and it looks like a massive air disruption. The devastation is pretty incredible, knocking anything in its wide path to the ground. Reloading the weapon is fun to look at, as there’s a joint and the user swivels the stick around in much the same way a mechanic might twist his ratchet.
4 ZF-1 - The Fifth Element
Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element took the sci-fi world by storm in 1997 -- and the movie stands up today as a cult favorite. There are many reasons why fans love this movie, but there’s also the little thing known as the ZF-1.
This little baby, as kitsch and over-the-top as it might be, appears to be the foot soldier's ultimate best friend. As good ol’ Zorg explains, the ZF-1 is light with an adjustable handle, undetectable by X-ray, and is ideal for quick and discreet interventions. In terms of its firepower, there’s a titanium re-charger with a 3,000-round clip with bursts of 3 to 300 and a replay button (fire once and all subsequent rounds go to the same location), a rocket launcher, an arrow launcher with exploding poisonous gas heads, net launcher, flamethrower, and the ice cube system.
3 Arc Gun - District 9
The Arc Gun in District 9 has one purpose -- to make a gooey mess of anything in its path. Referred to as the AMR-B21 in the movie, the Arc Gun is also appropriately called the “Mulcher,” reasons being plainly evident.
Firing a protonic stream of electricity, the wide-radius Arc Gun essentially nukes its biological target, causing it to explode. As with all alien weapons in District 9, it can only be fired by an alien, unless of course, you’re a hybrid man-alien mutant like Wikus is. If you ever wanted something to make just anything go “splat,” then it’s the Arc Gun that you want.
2 Lawgiver Pistol - Judge Dredd (1995) and Dredd (2012)
If things don’t settle down between the police and civilians in the U.S., there could be a Judge Dredd-type of legal system in the near future. With police officers having instant field judiciary powers, you might want to be on the right side of the law.
If you do suite up, you’ll probably be issued the all-in-one Lawgiver Pistol, and it’ll be just about the only weapon you’ll need. Much like the ZF-1 above, the Lawgiver has a variety of firing options and voice commands allowing street judges to switch between function and ammo, such as rapid fire, incendiary, armor piercing, high ex, double wammy, and more. Oh, and you know all that paperwork cops of yesteryear had to do if they lost their sidearm? Well, with the Lawgiver’s anti-theft feature, you won’t have to worry about all that legal stuff.
1 Wrist Gauntlet - Predator
In 1987, John McTiernan introduced us to an interstellar hunter-for-sport known as the Predator that was armed with a vast array of some of the coolest weapons ever put to film. From a high-tech Bio Mask to the Plasma Caster to a cloaking device, it seemed that the Yautja hunter was unstoppable and inescapable.
Worn on the Predator’s wrist, and surgically connected to their nervous system, the Gauntlet was essentially an on-person computer that was linked to the Bio Mask and used to control the cloaking device and the powerful Plasma Caster. As well, the Gauntlet was used as a Sat-Con mapping device, as power punch gloves, and to fire plasma bolts. And if the Predator’s defeat was imminent, the Gauntlet also features a very powerful, last-ditch effort self-destruct capability. Take that, scum!