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Two bodyguards make nine classic mistakes

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  • Two bodyguards make nine classic mistakes

    Brian De Palma's

    Two bodyguards make nine classic mistakes

    A news search for the term "bodyguard" on the internet reveals a series of unfortunate consequences for bodyguards:, being tried for murder, not stopping a client being embarrassed or even worse, death by association. There is never any good news printed about bodyguards. If you make the news, as a bodyguard, you are in trouble.

    Bodyguards in film suffer similar fates. And the two tuxedo clad bodyguards in Brian De Palma's overlooked film noir now out on DVD provide nine wonderful examples of how easily things can go wrong.

    The opening sequence to "Femme Fatale" entails an elaborately choreographed diamond heist at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. Veronica, a gorgeous model slinks down the red carpet entrance wearing 500 diamonds and little else. The jewelry body bracelet, in the shape of a serpent, was designed by Elli Medeiros for Chopard Jewelers, and with a total weight is 385 carats and a built in security system, the piece is worth U.S. $10 million.

    Before entering the screening, Veronica gets permission from her producer to go to the bathroom and we see she is accompanied by two moderately sized bodyguards in tuxedos. No muscle bound goons, we expect them to act as professional as they look. Alas, they make one mistake after another.

    Mistake # 1 Do not provide proper coverage - Inside the Circle of Protection.
    With two bodyguards covering $10 million in jewels, one should be on point, in front of Veronica, the other should follow behind. She would be in the center of the circle of protection. Instead the two bodyguards follow, look at the same things at the same time and do not appear to act like a team.

    Mistake # 2 Do not secure the room, the bathroom.
    There is hardly anyone in the lobby, the film is about to start. There should be no one in the ladies toilet. Neither bodyguard thinks to check the "Femmes" before Veronica enters, and secure it for her and her $10 million dress. For such a high risk item, one bodyguard would clear the room, get anyone out and see that Veronica is safely alone inside, while the other stands guard directly outside, as in right outside the door.

    Who would be embarrassed by a male bodyguard checking out a ladies toilet at Cannes? It would be more embarrassing to lose $10 million worth of diamonds in an unsecured space. The two bodyguards assumed the toilet was safe. How can you assume any space is secure unless you check it thoroughly? Which leads us to the next security leak.

    Mistake # 3 Take a bathroom break at the wrong time.
    One of the bodyguards leaves his post to go to the bathroom. In this business, especially when so much is at stake, you pee on your own time.

    Mistake # 4 Do not use a locked stall.
    This mistake follows from # 3, for it is really part of the same problem. When working armed, when you have to go, you use a locked stall. You never stand at a urinal with your pecker in your hand and a gun/knife/club in your pants. What happens if you are attacked or pushed? You are at your most vulnerable.

    Mistake # 5 Do not stop and question people who appear out of place.
    This might sound obnoxious, but it is a good method of sorting out who is who in a new environment and you either make new friends or enemies, either way you filter out any possible threats.
    The one remaining bodyguard looks at the sweating nervous engineer dressed in black but never challenges or questions him as he walks past. The engineer has both hands closed, and appears out of place where everyone else is in formal dress. The encounter is questionable as many bodyguards would not talk to such a person. A "friendly stop and talk" is a professional way to screen such a person who "does not look right". Just glaring at the person, when there is no one else around, does not work.

    Mistake # 6 Be easily distracted.
    Because the bodyguard is not directly in front of the ladies toilet, he is easily distracted by the returning engineer who approaches and surprises him, from behind. When the bodyguard offers a light to the engineer, he misses his future nemesis sneaking into the ladies toilet.

    Mistake # 7 Do not communicate or act with your partner.
    The distracted bodyguard enters the bathroom once he receives the alarm. The other bodyguard is still a little under the weather having been zapped then placed in a stall. The bodyguard in the ladies bathroom acts so coy, on his best behavior as if he has never been in such a mysterious environment before. Entering any space where there could be a threat, you move in fast, ready to react immediately. You do not stop and offer yourself as a static target with your jacket buttoned.

    Mistake # 8 Keep your jacket buttoned up.
    The bodyguard finally unbuttons his tuxedo jacket. If you carry a gun whether it be in a waist level holster or a shoulder rig, you always have your jacket unbuttoned. If you have to sacrifice clean slim lines versus being tactically ready, choose broken lines, choose life. This dull guard still does not draw his gun. The jewelry alarm has gone off, he is entering an unsecured space with an unknown threat, without his partner and he still does not have his gun out, but he does unbutton his jacket. He does not understand that action is faster than reaction. You cannot draw, aim and fire your gun if someone else already has you in their sights. He finds this out the hard way when he gets shot in the face with a dart. In a situation like this, if you have to draw your gun, its already too late.

    Mistake # 9 Don't bother to carry a flashlight if you work at night.
    What tool will you always have a use for? And allows you to see and identify targets or threats in the dark? The flashlight is one of the single most important tools a bodyguard needs, all the time.
    The power is cut to the building just as the photographer exits the bathroom with the bag of jewels and faces a bewildered second bodyguard. Everything goes dark and the bodyguard is helpless. The photographer escapes wearing her night vision goggles. She can see in the dark, the one surviving bodyguard cannot.

    Nine mistakes cost the client $10 million.
    That is over a million dollars for each mistake. If this were real life, would the bodyguards have done any better? Despite the necessary plot points to advance the story and drop the viewer into an intriguing and unpredictable film, how the bodyguards behaved in the script demonstrated nine basic principles in protection.
    1. Always enclose your principle in a circle of protection.
    2. Secure the room before the principle enters, especially unknown toilets where she is carrying $10 million worth of diamonds.
    3. No bathroom breaks while you are working - and on high alert.
    4. Always use a locked stall if you have to go to the bathroom and you are carrying weapons.
    5. Stop and question any unknown people who enter your secure area, especially if they do not look like they belong.
    6. Do not be distracted. If someone tries to attract your attention, look around, be aware.
    7. Acting without your partner and failing to inform him of your situation can lead to disaster.
    8. The jacket is always open whether you are armed or unarmed.
    9. Always carry a flashlight, a small powerful flashlight can fit into your pocket and you will use it far more than a handgun. In fact you hope to never use your handgun, but wearing out batteries in your flashlight is good. Batteries are ultimately a lot cheaper than bullets. But first you need brains.
    10. Do not believe anything you see in the movies. They are after all, only movies.

  • #2
    At least they LOOKED the part, right? LOL

    Hollywood is a goldmine of what not to do in just about any job.