7 Movie Badasses (Who Completely Fail To Deliver)
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.
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.
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.
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?"
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.
Bishop -- Aliens
What? You don't think of Bishop the android as one of the badasses in the sci-fi universe? You forget how his character is introduced. The first thing we see him do is handle a combat knife in a way that makes it clear he could remove your heart before you felt the blade pierce your skin. He does a "trick" in which he stabs holes into a table around Bill Paxton's hand at the speed of light, the blade nothing but a blur as he punches notches in the table with robotic precision.
Only a robot could resist the urge to stab Bill Paxton.
Throughout the rest of the movie, while everyone freaks out about the horror show of the giant spiny aliens and their new death-hive, Bishop shows only contempt. He locks himself in a pipe to Shawshank his way to a radio tower so he can remote-pilot a rescue ship and bring everyone else's sniveling asses to safety. And he refuses to take a gun. We assume if he ran into any aliens he would just beat them to death with his two-ton robot penis. He even earns Ripley's respect despite the fact that she is an android racist.
But then ...
The only alien he comes into contact with rips him in half immediately, causing him to spray milk all over the room like a projectile-vomiting Santa Claus. Shouldn't the man with lightning-fast reflexes have seen the giant monster behind him?
He's like a science fair volcano filled with chowder.
Instead it is left to Ripley and the little girl to fight off the creature while Bishop just kind of sits there and watches. He doesn't even go for an ankle bite. We assume that if the Alien Queen had killed the rest of the survivors, Bishop would've just lain there in the hangar for the rest of time, whistling to himself or something.
And no, don't tell us Bishop is a pacifist due to his programming. Those safeguards are, in his own words, "It is impossible for me to harm or by omission of action, allow to be harmed, a human being."
Asimov was not trying to protect 20-foot murder-beasts.
It's humans he can't kill. If he had an aversion to taking out aliens, they wouldn't have brought him along on an alien-hunting trip. And the part about allowing humans to come to harm due to "omission of action"? How about failing to use your robotic super-reflexes to help them fight the monsters that are biting their faces off?
Bill -- Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2
Bill is the head of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, a group that gets a C in self-naming, but a solid A+ in murdering. Each member's personal history alone is monumentally badass, and each one of these face-smashing lords of awesome is shown to fear and respect Bill. That's right -- he is so badass that he manages a group of other badasses like a fantasy baseball team. This bastard had to do something mind-blowing to prove he was fit to lead without question.
Wearing enough black there, guys?
And when Bill's star pupil, Uma Thurman, starts slashing her way through the rest of the team, she gets thumped like a drum in hardcore action sequences of escalating severity. She gets stabbed, slashed, shot and buried alive on the road leading up to her final fight with all-powerful Bill.
After two movies, these two destructive forces are finally going to clash, and we have every right to believe that the ensuing fight scene is going to knock our faces straight through the window.
But then ...
Bill dies in about 12 goddamn seconds. And yes, we counted. He doesn't even get out of his chair -- Uma pokes him in the chest a couple of times and induces a magical heart attack that kills him before he can even walk across his backyard.
But somehow, this is still more thrilling than every fight scene in every Michael Bay movie put together.
You would think the almighty leader of a kung fu death squad would've at least attempted to block such an attack, or at least throw a fucking karate chop before getting murdered in a lawn chair. Uma doesn't even break a nail when she administers the death poke. Bill leaves absolutely no mark on her whatsoever, after we've sat through two movies literally titled after their final battle. Even fat, sweaty Michael Madsen managed to shoot her in the chest and bury her in a freaking cemetery.
Boba Fett -- Star Wars Series
Boba Fett is a sci-fi legend. There are endless fan sites dedicated to dressing up like him, thousands of pages of fan fiction have been written about him, and songs have been dedicated to the imposing nature of his awesome.
One of which was Dio's "Holy Diver."
In a universe swarming with giant monsters, armies of evil henchmen, space armadas, Sith Lords and freaking Harrison Ford, this guy stands tall with the notorious reputation he has gained and the countless enemies he has collected. He has no special powers. All he has is his butt-clenchingly rad armor and his carefully honed wits in a vast and harsh galaxy. Also, he has a jetpack. They don't give those out unless you can prove you kick tons of ass.
This guy had to hate-fuck a grizzly bear to death before they even let him read the manual.
But then ...
Nothing. Boba Fett doesn't do a goddamn thing. Somehow people forget that.
He tracks the Millennium Falcon to Bespin and then just calls Darth Vader in while he sits with his thumbs up his armored ass. The rest of the time, he just stands around with his arms crossed, trying to look badass. He's like a kid at a death metal show who doesn't want anyone to know his mom is going to be picking him up at 11.
"If you're so much as a minute late, I will ground the shit out of you."
When the time comes for him to finally throw down, he rocket-jumps over to Jaba's skiff and immediately gets his gun chopped in half by Luke Skywalker. Sure, he ties Luke up and delays him for a second, but that only lasts until Han Solo accidentally smashes into his jetpack with a pole and sends him tumbling into a man-eating sand vagina, screaming like a Muppet. The final nail in his coffin is a goddamned wardrobe malfunction. Think about that while you're being digested for the next thousand years, sir.
Blah blah blah, expanded universe, blah blah blah Dengar. He's dead. And fictional. Deal with it.
For more Star Wars characters that let us down, check out 7 Classic Star Wars Characters Who Totally Dropped the Ball. Or learn about some movie good guys that would've helped if they stayed at home, in 6 Movie Heroes Who Actually Made Things Worse.
And stop by Linkstorm to see how Seanbaby is really just a sweet snuggle-head.
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