In no particular order, other than what I thought of first….
- Jules in Pulp Fiction
brilliantly played by Samuel L Jackson, Jules quotes Bible verses to fortify his vengeance in handing out punishment as Mr Wallace’s standover man. There are so many gold quotes from Jules, but my favourites are his ranting about “walking the earth” and abstaining from “eating pig”.
“Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I’d never know ’cause I wouldn’t eat the filthy motherfucker. Pigs sleep and root and shit. That’s a filthy animal. I ain’t eat nothin’ that ain’t got sense enough to disregard its own faeces.”
Leon in The Professionals (1994)
who doesnt love an Italian assassin (played by a French Jean Reno) who reservedly takes in a difficult 12 yo orphan, refuses her sexual advances (its Natalie Portman, but hello..she’s 12) and teaches her his trade, all the while discovering his aptitude for feeling emotions?!?! This movie strengthened my love for this French actor after The Big Blue (1988) & it’s probably director Luc Besson’s best.
He moves without sound. Kills without emotion. Disappears without trace.
- The MacManus Brothers (Connor & Murphy) in Boondock Saints
gorgeous and grimy Irish-American Catholic fraternal twins (played by Norman Reedus & Sean Patrick Flanery) unleash vigilante justice on the Boston criminals after a ‘message from God’. They chain smoke, clean their guns and talk modern philosophy and morals while killing their way up the criminal chain aiming for the king pin. Whats almost as good is Willem Defoe playing the crossdressing FBI Agent Smecker who turns a blind eye and even helps them out in their vengeance. Billy Connolly is also unexpectedly awesome.
- Tyler Durden in Fight Club
really, its difficult to top Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden, all buff and grimy and oozing anarchist sexiness… he’s the poster child for antiestablishmentarianism (is this the longest word in the English language?!); anti-creditcard; anti-capitalism (remember the whole Ikea mind zombie scenes?!). He frolicks, fucks and fights when he wants just because he wants. I didnt see that ending coming…
- Marcellus Wallace in Pulp Fiction
is there anyone cooler than Marcellus Wallace? This role made famous by a brilliant Ving Rhames also made him brilliantly famous. Pulp Fiction became such a massive cult classic that it went mainstream. The lives of a gangster, two mob hit men, a boxer, the gangster’s wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption. The formula of this indy movie spawned many copycats. It was the vessel to relaunch the comeback of John Travolta. It was intensely violent (great moments such as Marvin’s brains plastered on the inside of the Honda, Vince being pulverized by Butch with a Czech M61 submachine gun just as his poptart pops up, Mia OD-ing on the couch) and cinematically brilliant. The characters and quotes of the movie will forever be etched in our brains (I stopped counting the times Id seen Pulp Fiction when I got to 50…and that was in 1996); Honeybunny, Vince, Jules, Mia Wallace, Mr Wolf are all awesome characters, but Marcellus Wallace was the greatest of them all. Cool, calm & collected even in the face of arse-raping Neo-Nazis. He is THE anti-hero.
- Eric Draven in The Crow
in his final film, Brandon Lee plays Draven with morbid brilliance. A crow awakens the dead Draven a year after his death. Its Halloween and Draven goes on a vengeance mission, to kill the scum that murdered him and his fiancee. He’s a mucisian, his makeup is cool, he’s made invincible by a mystical Crow, and its Brandon Lee.
- The Misters (White, Blonde, Pink, Orange, Brown & Blue) from Reservoir Dogs
thank God for Tarantino! in his directorship debut, he introduces us to Mr White (Harvey Keitel), Mr Blonde (Michael Madsen), Mr Pink (Steve Buscemi), Mr Orange (Tim Roth), Mr Brown (Tarantino) and Mr Blue (Eddie Bunker).
I loved Mr Pink’s anti-tipping policy, Mr Blonde’s psychopathic nature (dancing to Stuck in the Middle with You while cutting that guys ear off and dousing him with petrol), Mr Brown’s intense discussion on the true meaning of Madonna songs, untrusting criminals trying to negotiate a diamond heist, the mexican standoff and then the shakespearian moment where everyone dies. Tarantino is twisted. And totally cool.
“Do you know what this is? It’s the world’s smallest violin playing just for the waitresses.”
- Frank Castle in The Punisher
this movie was kinda lame, and there have been three different versions, but Thomas Jane is the best as The Punisher. The character is based on Marvel comic. He’s obsessed with vengeance, he sees things in only black & white, when in doubt hits back hard and solves problems with utter finality.
- Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct
she was sexy, confronting, provocative and totally psycho. Men lined up to follow her around like slobbering puppy dogs. Everyone remember THAT leg crossing scene. She would be any woman’s worst nightmare, but I completely wanted her to get away with all her icepick-wielding, murderous sadomasochism. And that she did.
- Joshua Harlow in The Tournament
The Tournament takes place every seven years; where the world’s elite assassins and hitmen compete to the death for the 10-million pound prize, while the rich amoral fatcats use it as a high stakes human horse-race. Harlow is the retired previous winner of several tournaments, but when his wife is murdered and his blissful retirement is cut short he wants back in. He’s fierce and kills in a shockingly violent manner (ie the slaughterhouse scene), works with a strict code of honour and in the end turns the tables on the rich playmakers. Its Ving Rhames in al his mammoth kick arse glory.
honorable mentions: Dexter, Charly Baltimore in The Long Kiss Goodnight, Vince from Pulp Fiction, Butch Haynes in A Perfect World, JD in Thelma & Louise, Early Grayce in Kalifornia