Movies need you to be scared of the bad guy and impressed by the badass. The method for getting you to buy into this is often the same: by looking the part, and by having other characters go on and on about how badass someone is.
But often when it comes time for said badass to actually, you know, fight somebody, he tends to be profoundly disappointing -- even if nobody else in the movie notices.
#7. The Uruk-hai -- The Lord of the Rings Series
The buildup:These giant, muscular, snarling, spitting terrors are the elite troops the bad guys in the Lord of the Rings series plan to use to conquer everyone in Middle-earth.
Even Tom Bombadil?
In the films, a great deal of screen time is dedicated to the creation and mass production of these super-soldiers, specifically bred by Saruman for the purpose of murdering absolutely everyone. They're supposedly created by cross-breeding "orcs and goblin-men," though the lack of any scenes portraying orcs and goblin-men fucking is a glaring omission in this process.
We guess that's kind of hot.
Sure enough, the first Uruk-hai off the line gets as badass an introduction as any character in film history. Orcs dig him out of a muddy cocoon, at which point he jumps out and murders the first dude he can find. This soldier has a confirmed kill within five seconds of being born.
He suckled from the teat of murder.
And Saruman creates thousands of them.
After half a film's worth of buildup, we finally see the Uruk-hai in action at the end of Fellowship of the Ring. They pursue the fellowship and manage to kill Boromir.
You know, the guy who got his ass handed to him by two unarmed hobbits.
Well, eventually. Boromir, with multiple arrows piercing his internal organs, manages to kill half a dozen or so of the Uruk-hai before breathing his last breath. It's played like a devastating loss for the fellowship, but on Saruman's side they had to have been realizing that if that kill ratio kept up, the orcs and goblin-men were going to need to step up the fuckin'.
Which, to be fair, they totally did.
But OK, there were only a few Uruk-hai in that scene, and maybe they were tired or something. So in The Two Towers, the real Uruk-hai army shows up, 10,000 of them at the Battle of Helm's Deep ...
"So, um ... is there, like, a plan? We aren't just going to charge right into their arrows, are we? Guys?"
At which point rows and rows of them are mowed down by a tiny, ragtag group of random untrained dudes the good guys pulled off their farms. The massive, overwhelming force of specially bred soldier-monsters is held at bay for hours before they resort to suicide bombing the fortress. This works briefly before reinforcements show up for the good guys -- reinforcements of regular soldiers, not specially bred super-soldiers -- at which point the Uruk-hai flee for their lives and are punched to death by trees.
Trees on Thorazine.
All told, the Uruk-hai have a record in battle just slightly worse than the Star Wars stormtroopers. And that's saying something.
#6. Quint -- Jaws
When the town of Amity is under siege by a ferocious killer shark, Quint descends from the heavens to kick it in its great white nutsack. He interrupts a town meeting where everybody is panicking about the monster terrorizing the town to say that for 3,000 bucks, he'll find it -- by himself. Then he ups the ante:
"I'll find him for three, but I'll catch him, and kill him, for 10 ... For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing." This of course raises the question, what did the three thousand dollar package include? Was Quint just going to go out, and point to the shark?
Regardless of what flavor of shark-murder stew the town chose, the movie makes it clear that Quint can back it up: His house is lined wall-to-wall with boiled jawbones. Also, he doesn't appear to stop drinking the entire time he's in the movie. In an alcohol-fueled monologue, he tells Brody and Hooper about the time he was stranded at sea while serving on the USS Indianapolis, a boat that was famously torpedoed and sunk during World War II and had two-thirds of its adrift crew eaten by sharks. This guy harpoons our nightmares for a living.
Those are not the eyes of a well-balanced person.
But then ...
The shark attacks the boat and, well, Quint kind of just falls right into its mouth.
Sure, it's a big shark, and it eats its fair share of people before the end credits roll, but Quint's specific job was to not get eaten. We're pretty sure that part was underlined in the contract he signed. His entire livelihood involves confronting sharks and not getting eaten by them.
"Jesus, Quint, are you even trying to hunt sharks?"
But sure enough, when the shark is biting the tail end of the boat, Quint sort of lies on the boat like Hungry Hungry Hippos and lets gravity do the rest. The guy the movie spends two hours building up as the Rambo of shark murder gets taken out by a live-action Crocodile Mile.
Sure, anybody can drop the ball once, lose his footing and, you know, fall into a shark's open mouth. But keep in mind that this was after he smashed the ship's radio and blew up the engine, leaving them floating around aimlessly. It would have been more useful to leave Quint behind in his jawbone mansion.
The moral of the story? Don't drink and hunt homicidal sharks.
#5. Scarecrow/Dr. Jonathan Crane -- Batman Begins and The Dark Knight
Dr. Jonathan Crane seems pretty badass despite looking like a dime-store Jack Skellington. His fantastic use of a scarecrow mask and psychedelic drugs reduces ultra-powerful mob boss Carmine Falcone, a man who literally ran Gotham City from the bottom up, into a muttering drool farm presumably warming his own leg with a steady stream of urine.
He's either terrified or taking a truly epic shit.
Crane is also an instrumental part of a supervillainous plot to destroy Gotham City (which we are led to believe has every bit the size, population and economy as New York City or Chicago) from the inside out, bringing the entirety of a massive infrastructure to its knees within a matter of minutes. Also, he sets Batman on fire and kicks him out a window, all of which he does without so much as throwing a punch or pointing a gun at anyone.
We don't want to step out of line here, but ... you could make the argument that the guy was every bit as effective a supervillain as the Joker.
Have at us, commenters.
But then ...
Crane gets tased in the face by Katie Holmes and dragged off by a horse while shrieking like Judge Doom at the end of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Ah, but when he returns, he ...
... replaces his horse with a Segway?
... oh, wait. He doesn't. That's the last time we see him. Enduring that colossal letdown after two hours of buildup is like breaking open a pinata to find it full of chewed bubble gum.
But then he returns in the sequel, revenge on his mind, badder than ever!
Hmm ... no, that's not right, either. When we see him again at the beginning of The Dark Knight, he's been reduced to selling tainted drugs out of the back of a van to Russian gangsters in a municipal parking garage. Seriously? This is the same guy who had Gotham City by the balls? By the time the writers are done with him, he's one step above a Nigerian email scammer.
"Wanna buy some weed?"
#4. Robert Muldoon -- Jurassic Park
Robert Muldoon is the hunter guy in charge of controlling the inmates at Jurassic Park. So he immediately gets badass points just for the fact that someone read his resume and gave him the job as the captain of the guards for dinosaur jail.
"Get busy living, or get busy eating people."
He looks like Crocodile Dundee's war-torn older brother, so it's not hard to picture him strangling a stegosaurus with his bare hands. And he has a grizzled and jaded attitude to match, coupled with a deep intuition for dinosaur behavior that clearly illustrates him as a man who functions on a different level than the rest of us.
And let's not forget that he outclasses the tyrannosaurus in a factory-standard Jeep. We can only imagine how awesome it would be if Jurassic Park had been a huge success and he got to host his own nature show.
But then ...
He winds up going down easier than Quint. And it's even less excusable, since this guy was on a freaking salary, and presumably sober.
You should never presume sobriety when Australians are involved.
The moment in the movie where Muldoon finally stops talking about the goddamn raptors and gets to go face-to-face with them and show us how much ass he truly kicks, he puts up as much of a fight as the cows they feed to the dinosaurs. The man gets outsmarted in 10 seconds by an extinct animal with the brain of a dolphin.
"Clever girl. 'Clever' being a relative term."
This is literally the exact job he was hired for, and he utterly fails in spectacular fashion. Even the fucking children were able to trap the raptors, and they're not even on the payroll. In the end he makes absolutely no difference whatsoever in the well-being of those around him. He might as well have been carrying a pool noodle to escort Laura Dern through the jungle.