— by MARIUSZ ZUBROWSKI —
The bad-ass protagonist is something most males relate to at least once in their life.
You’re watching “Die Hard” and you think, “If my life was a movie, I’d be John McClane.” Who wouldn’t want to be virtually indestructible and have the biceps of a steroid-using gorilla?
There have been a lot of charming protagonists in this year of films, but these five men keep the spirit of “kick ass, take names” characters alive and John McClane couldn’t be prouder.
5. Chev Chelios (Jason Statham in “Crank 2”) — Sure, Chev Chelios might be a gun for hire, but the reason that he’s on this list isn’t because of his past — no, it’s because of the fact that he has a future. In Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor’s sequel to the cult-classic “Crank,” Chelios survives being thrown out of a airborne helicopter, using himself as a human lightning rod, and, of course, being set on fire. “Crank 2” isn’t a great film — hell — it’s not even an okay film, but to feature such an indestructible protagonist earns it a spot on this list.
4. Byran Mills (Liam Neeson in “Taken”) — In Pierre Morel’s surprise hit “Taken,” Liam Neeson plays Byran Mills, a former spy who is forced to rely on his old skills to save his kidnapped daughter before she is sold into the slave trade. Besides fearlessly shooting his way through half of France, Mills also delivers one of the most memorable lines of the year — “Don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.” It’s also worth mentioning that Mills also saves a young pop-star from a would-be assailant in the first act of the film.
3. Tao (Steven Seagal in “Against the Dark”) — Anyone who doesn’t have a last name gets automatic “cool points” and Tao is no exception. Richard Crudo’s “Against the Dark” didn’t get a theatrical release — probably because it was horrendous. Tao, who is played by Steven Seagal, is the leader of a band of survivors after a zombie (though the film calls them vampires for some reason) apocalypse hits the United States. Why is he on the list? Because he kills the zomb-I mean-vampires with a freakin’ sword. Sadly, Tao is only shown for about 15 minutes during the entire movie, but these moments made the rental worthwhile.
2. Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt in “Inglorious Basterds”) — From the first time we are introduced to Lt. Aldo Raine, we just get the feeling that hes been around (perhaps the scar on his neck). Yes, Raine is a sadist, but anyone who jumps out a “f**ckin’ air-o-plane” and is a “direct descendant of the mountain man Jim Bridger” deserves the stamp of approval for “Certified Bad-ass.”
1. William James (Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”) — Kathryn Bigelow’s war-epic “The Hurt Locker” highlighted the roles of one of the army’s over-looked heroes and SSGT. William James is no doubt a hero. He is uncompromising, over-confident and a risk taker, but he’s also one of those guys where you just mutter under your breath “man, I wish I was as cool as him.” In one scene in particular, SSGT. James takes off his protective suit (against the advice of his team-mate) and turns off his communication devices in the midst of reported snipers while disarming a car full of heavy explosives. Yes, it is reckless, but it’s also pretty awe-inspiring. William James is not only the most realistic of these characters but also the most bad-ass.
Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section.
Follow It’s Just Movies on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ItsJustMovies.