In Batman, solitary billionaire Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton – Birdman) was inspired to become the famous vigilante crime-fighter after the unavenged death of his parents. After terrorising the criminal underworld, he ended up dropping their killer, Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson – A Few Good Men) into a vat of chemicals. The Joker was born along with a new type of villain. The super villain. Eventually he was defeated (AKA killed), and a relative peace returned to Gotham City.
The Bat, The Bird, and The Cat
Gary Oldman finally got his Oscar. And a much deserved one at that. His turn as the plucky politician Winston Churchill in The Darkest Hour has finally netted him cinema’s most recognized award. But I don’t think it’s his most memorable role. Nor his best. Admit it – Oldman does his best work as the bad guy. And he’s played some of the baddest. Dracula, that dude who killed JFK, a rasta psychopath in True Romance, some crocked tycoon in Fifth Element, a crazy billionaire with a fucked up face trying to gain revenge on Hannibal Lecter. The list goes on. Yet he was at his most crazed, his most brilliant, in 1994’s Léon: The Professional.
Death is Whimsical Today
If you didn’t catch my last review (and why didn’t you?), Demolition Man pits badass cop John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone – Escape Plan) against meniacal bastard Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes – Passenger 57). Their old-school rivalry is played out on the streets of future LA, where everyone is too sanitized and pussy-whipped to intervene. But while you may write off Demolition Man as your prototypical 90’s sci-fi actioner, you’d best think again. Because like one of those M Night Shyamalan films, there’s a twist. See, Simon Phoenix isn’t the real bad guy.
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Like a bulbous child engorged on sweets and ice cream, every James Bond outing is bursting at the seams with bastards and bad guys. And like clockwork, James would swoop in and foil their plans left and right, shag their women, and beat them to the tune of a Shirley Bassey song. What a massive party-pooper.
It wasn’t until 1974 when we were introduced to the first badguy who was actually a match for Bond. This reckless dude had no plans of world domination or glory or greed. Just a flat out challenger to the crown.
Let’s find out about Francisco Scaramanga – The Man With The Golden Gun
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In previous editions of Bastards, I’ve gone to great lengths to demonstrate how important villains are. They (should) offer resistance to the hero, and through this conflict, drama, excitement and entertainment is created. But not every film has to have a total clusterbastard like Darth Vader or the Joker to be great. Some films work just as well with just some little bastards, sprinkled here and there. One such film is Crocodile Dundee. Let’s find out why.
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2006 may well be remembered for the likes of 300, Casino Royale, and Snakes on a Plane, but it also had a few lesser movies worthy of note. One such forgotten actioner is Smokin’ Aces, an ensemble revenge plot that reeks of multi-national influence. It’s also chock full of bastards.
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