A portmanteau of "Retirement" & "Irony", in reference to the unfortunate tendency of movie cops to die horrible deaths just days before their retirement. The term has expanded to mean any situation in which a side character is given a little bit of substance just before being killed off.
Retirony is a way for writers to wring emotion out of their viewers with minimal effort. When you've got a dozen red shirts dropping dead left and right, it's hard to gain the sympathy of the audience. But have one of them mention how much they're looking forward to going home to their beautiful wife and adorable daughter, and suddenly the death has more weight. A good rule of thumb is that the more a side-character has to lose, the more likely they are to die a tragic death.
|2011||Battle: Los Angeles|
|2010||Big Tits Zombie|
|2006||Snakes on a Plane|
|2002||We Were Soldiers|