Nicolas Cage’s new movie Knowing is once again putting a fictional New York in the path of destruction. Check out our review here. Being one of the most iconic cities in the world means that Manhattan is ripe for filmmakers looking to make a visceral impact. After all, what could be more gasp-inducing than torching the Empire State Building? Or flooding Grand Central Station? Or stomping all over the Brooklyn Bridge? New York has always been a prime target for disaster, and even after real disasters have toppled some of its towers, filmmakers still can’t stay away.
20. Independence Day (1996)
Despite some geographical inaccuracy (the Empire State Building does not straddle an North-South street), serial New York–abuser Roland Emmerich certainly makes his point anyway. When the hovering alien spacecraft get the “go” sign, Gregory Johnson’s iconic design gets lit up like a Roman candle, and Manhattan learns the hard way that not all tourists want to pose for pictures in Times Square and catch a matinee of Legally Blonde.
19. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
Emmerich again. This time, severe changes in the Earth’s climate cause New York to get flooded like a cheap Chevy, and then frozen solid. Why this also causes giant werewolves to appear is cause for debate (we choose the “bad CGI” argument), but this was one circumstance where New Yorkers actually would have preferred the snow turn to a slushy gray muck like it usually does ten seconds after a blizzard.
18. Godzilla (1998)
OK, Emmerich, we get it. You like to see New York decimated. Fine. This time, the German director unleashes a giant lizard in the city so nice they named it twice, and a great many recognizable landmarks suffer as a result. We’re not sure if that ending. Godzilla is finally stopped by the criss-crossing cables of the Brooklyn Bridge was meant to be a subtle joke for Manhattanites who equate moving to Brooklyn with death, but we like to think it is, anyway.
17. Men in Black II (2002)
To think, the MIBs spend so much time covering their tracks and erasing memories and yet, if you told the average N.Y. commuter that giant, subway-car-sized space slugs lived in the tunnels, they probably wouldn’t bat an eye. They have seen far more disturbing things inside a subway car. MIB2 is relatively gentle on the big city, though, and even its predecessor saved most of its destructiveness for Queens where, let’s be honest, no one’s really going to notice.
16. Superman II (1980)
When Tim Burton made Batman’s Gotham City, he made it so that it didn’t resemble any other city the audience knew of (well, maybe some areas of Berlin). Richard Donner, however, wanted people to buy his location as “Metropolis” even though THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING is sticking up right in the middle of midtown. That’s like painting wings on an elephant and calling it an eagle. When Supes throws down with General Zod and his flunkies, there’s no mistaking that it’s Times Square feeling the brunt of the super-fisticuffs.
15. Q (1982)
It’s an old New York joke that you can tell who the tourists are because they are the only ones looking up. New Yorkers don’t need to gawk at their skyscrapers, making Q’s conceit that a giant winged serpent could nest atop the Empire State Building without anyone noticing until it starts eating people utterly believable. Hindered by 1982 special effects, the movie opts for “mystery” over large-scale carnage, but thinking of monumental buildings as home to man-eating monstrosities is disturbing enough.
14. When Worlds Collide (1951)
Before Roland Emmerich got the notion to turn Manhattan’s cavernous streets into a log flume, legendary sci-fi producer George Pal busted out the miniatures and the garden hose in When Worlds Collide. The tale of a rogue planet on a collision course with Earth (see? The title isn’t a metaphor), the end is not a pleasant one for New York. It gets flooded with enough seawater to drown everything save the cockroaches.
13. Deep Impact (1998)
Before Roland Emmerich got the notion to turn Manhattan’s cavernous streets into a log flume, but after George Pal did the exact same thing, director Mimi Leder…aw, forget it. Meteor. Hits earth. New York floods. Let’s move on.
12. The Warriors (1979)
Not all destruction has to be an extinction-level event. In The Warriors, the Big Apple is rotting from the inside — the generally good, hard-working, no-nonsense New Yorkers who are the city’s heart and soul have been chased to the periphery and replaced by elaborately-dressed and ultra-violent gangs. These clown-faced crooks have the run of the entire island (and the surrounding boroughs), and civilians are hardly seen at all, which leads to the chilling conclusion that unless you pick a clan, you’re pretty much a walking ghost.
11. Planet of the Apes (1968)
After all the hunting, capturing, escaping, and laying on of stinking paws, Charlton Heston wanders down a desolate stretch of beach to discover…the Statue of Liberty! All this time, he’s been among ape-men who have built a civilization on the ruins of what was once New York. Well, OK, it could have been New Jersey. But still — we blew it up! Damn us all to hell!
10. Escape from New York (1981)
In dystopian thriller, New York’s crime rate gets so uncontrollably bad the U.S. government decides to simply wall it up and let it exist as a giant prison. While this scenario doesn’t look too kindly on New York, the film’s production doesn’t look too kindly on another city: East St. Louis. Unable to find a N.Y. location suitably burned-out, run-down, and pathetic enough to convince as a city-prison, Carpenter had to film nearly all of Escape’s exteriors in the sad sack Illinois city.
9. The Siege (1998)
Taking a much more grounded tact that some of the other films listed here, The Siege preyed on our worst real life fears — rampant terror attacks in major cities — several years before 9/11, and showed us a devastated Manhattan under martial law. It kind of makes giant lizards and supervillains seem kind of cozy and safe, doesn’t it?
8. 2019: After the Fall of New York (1983)
An Italian cheapie knock-off of Escape from New York, 2019 envisions a nuclear-decimated New York inhabited by radioactive freaks and monsters. Luckily for the filmmakers, the “post-apocalypse” setting allowed for much of the action to take place in nondescript parking lots and empty patched of desert, rather than, say, having to hire the manpower to shut down large portions of Fifth Avenue. All the saved money is on the screen, folks.
7. Ghostbusters (1984)/Ghostbusters 2 (1989)
Look, having the world’s only paranormal janitors based in Tribeca is bound to bring some undesirables into your neighborhood. First, large sections of the Upper West Side get stomped on (and ultimately covered in charred marshmallow), then a river of slime underneath the city streets conjure up a vengeful spirit from the past. The Ghostbusters‘ means of disposal may not be tidy — they wreck as much of Manhattan as the ghoulies — but at least they do something. Nobody steps on a church in their town.
6. Armageddon (1998)
might have gone the hackneyed “New York landmark destruction” route, but give him some credit for at least picking two slightly lesser-used landmarks. In illustrating a meteor showers’ path of destruction, Bay shows the Chrysler Building and Grand Central Station getting torn apart by hunks of space rock in addition to several taxi cabs near a “53rd Street Station,” which is in that trendy N.Y. neighborhood known as “Obvious Studio Backlot.”
5. King Kong (2005)
Forget Mel Brooks, a thousand chorus dancers, or a Stephen Sondheim song — remember the simple days when all you needed to open on Broadway was a big ape in chains? Once Kong got out, however, things go very bad for 1930s Times Square. Cars are thrown, buildings crushed, and Central Park’s frozen ponds subject to inhuman levels of sentimentality. The Empire State Building, despite being the location for the final showdown, gets by with a few dings and scratches. The streets below, however…
4. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001)
Like Emmerich’s The Day After Tomorrow, the Earth’s fragile ecosystem is to blame for New York’s eventual flooding and destruction — but unlike Emmerich, Steven Spielberg only shows us the aftermath, not the disaster. And like Planet of the Apes, the Statue of Liberty is used as the chilling reminder of what once was (her torch barely peaking out above sea level is eerie in much the same way her beach-logged torso was in Apes).
3. War of the Worlds (2005)
Perhaps realizing he missed an opportunity with A.I., Spielberg made up for it by piling on the N.Y. decimation in his remake of War of the Worlds. From the vantage point of Bayonne, New Jersey, we see bridges twisting like licorice and entire swaths of the city getting ripped apart. The entire Eastern seaboard feels the brunt of the alien attack, so for once New York isn’t unfairly singled out for termination.
2. I Am Legend (2007)
There is nothing more chilling than the sight of a New York City completely devoid of people. It’s somehow more unnatural and more disturbing than an alien invasion, giant meteor, or epic tsunami. People surrender their desire for piece and quiet the minute they sign the rental agreement on a N.Y. apartment, so the idea that there could be more vegetation than people on Fifth Avenue is tough to swallow. New Yorkers being wholesale turned into vampires isn’t any easier.
1. Sex and the City: The Movie (2008)
Without a doubt, the combined forces of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda have been more devastating to life in New York than anything dreamed up by Roland Emmerich or Michael Bay. As a cable series, Sex turned New York’s way of life upside down — convincing millions of Midwest dreamers that they could afford a one-bedroom Manhattan apartment by writing a single newspaper column every four months, that they could subsist entirely on Cosmos and pastries, and that they would magically have enough free time and disposable income to lunch with the girls in between Manolo Blahnik shopping sprees. Utterly devastating.
This is Quentin Tarantino’s 10 Most Legendary Basterds. Take a look and enjoy!
Sporting unruly sideburns and a constant scowl, the fearsome Jules is without a doubt a “Bad Mother F****er” (as his wallet clearly states) among Tarantino’s basterds. A tribute to blaxploitation antiheroes, the god-fearing Jules has a bounce in his step, a nine-millimeter in his pocket and a really hot temper. He’s a smooth talker, a grandiose killer and is at his best when mincing the gospel to play devil or saint. Jules is philosophical, intense and confrontational. He contemplates life and speaks with conviction. Plus, he’ll shoot one man just to break another man’s concentration.
Classic line: “You’re the weak and I’m the tyranny of evil men.”
The crime boss’ wife ain’t your typical dame. Uma Thurman’s foxy Mia Wallace puts men in line with her hip, urban sass, quick wit and, well, her hips. She talks about talking, dishing the ins and outs of gossip, conversational suspense and, ironically, silence. A verbal whiz, Mia also outwits John Travolta on the dance floor and remains captivating even when she’s comatose.
Classic line: “That’s when you know you found somebody really special, when you can just shut the f*** up for a minute and comfortably share silence.”
It’s the role that resurrected John Travolta’s career: Hitman Vincent Vega is a persistently stoned screw-up who lets his date OD, accidentally blows someone’s head off and goes to the bathroom at the worst moment possible. Vincent’s an audacious basterd who has the b**** to argue against his own follies and moan when he’s not getting his due respect. Yet, he’s also a curious observer who enjoys the finer details in life, like how the metric system applies to McDonald’s and what kind of discrete meaning is hidden in a foot massage. Plus, he shows off his cool with some fancy footwork on the dance floor.
Classic line: “Oh man, I shot Marvin in the face.”
The whiniest, most hilarious basterd, Mr. Pink, as played by Steve Buscemi and his rodent looks, is the criminal ready to consider the facts and think things through — the voice of reason among mad men. He’s an a** who is insecure with the color pink and doesn’t believe in tipping, but he has his principles and can dish out a good Quentin-esque argument or two to justify them.
Classic line: “The words ‘too f*****g busy’ shouldn’t be in a waitress’ vocabulary.”
Tony Scott may have directed True Romance but Quentin Tarantino wrote the screenplay and Drexl, the dreadlocked pimp played by an unrecognizable Gary Oldman, brings Quentin’s jive to the fore. It takes five minutes for this scar-faced, gold-toothed, milky eyed pimp in white boxers and a silk leopard-print bathrobe to steal this movie. And all he has to do is swing a tacky lamp and deliver a brilliant monologue about the methods and politics of criminal negotiation: how to sit, eat and keep the mystery. Drexl’s advice: Eat the f***ing egg roll.
Classic line: “If I asked if you want some dinner, and you grabbed an egg roll and started chowing down, I’d say to myself, this m*****f***a, he’s carrying on like he ain’t got a care in the world. And who knows. Maybe you don’t.”
Bud (aka Sidewinder)
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2
A former member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, Bill’s estranged brother, Bud, becomes a strip club bouncer who spends his days in a mobile home spitting something nasty into a bucket. Yet, Michael Madsen’s lowlife Bud is still crafty when it comes to dealing with enemies. What makes Bud tick is his twisted empathy. He has a curiosity to understand the human condition and there’s a glimmer in his eye that shows understanding, even while he’s burying his victims alive. In fact, Bud may be the only brutal bastard who makes you feel all warm inside.
Classic line: “That woman deserves her revenge… and we deserve to die.”
Winston “The Wolf” Wolfe
A bow-tie-wearing, sports-car-revving problem solver, Harvey Keitel’s Winston Wolfe is like the uncle you never had. Assigned to hide a dead body and make for a clean getaway, Wolfe’s five-minute onscreen appearance makes for one of the smoothest and funniest moments in Tarantino’s movies. He’s brisk and polite, has his wits together in the middle of chaos and appreciates a good coffee while soaking up pools of blood. He can simultaneously put a hit man in his place and calm an anxious civilian. In fact, he probably should run for president.
Classic line: “You’ve got a corpse in the car, minus a head, in the garage. Take me to it.”
Bill (aka Snake Charmer)
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2
Played by Kung Fu’s David Carradine, Bill — the pimpin’ boss of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad — is the basterd responsible for the massacre of the wedding party and subsequent “coup de grace” performed on The Bride (he’s also the guy who knocked her up). Bill is a part-time mystic, a full-time killer and a hopeless romantic who cites ‘80s pop songs and elaborates on comic book mythology. He’s a pied piper kind of guy, luring his victims with his suave, friendly humor and the tune from his wooden flute before getting medieval on them.
Classic line: “There are consequences to breaking the heart of a murdering bastard.”
Mr. Blonde (aka Vic Vega)
Mr. Blonde’s loyalty to his partners is matched only by how much he hates cops and people who set off alarms. The brother of Pulp Fiction’s Vincent Vega, Michael Madsen’s Vic is frank and upfront. He’ll tell you exactly what he’s going to do and how little he cares about doing it. Both easy to admire and discomforting to watch, Mr. Blonde is a murderous bastard who takes time and pleasure in his dirty work; he’ll even sing and dance while doing it. He keeps cool, calm and collected, even when he’s hacking off someone’s ear.
Classic line: “If they hadn’t a done what I told them not to do, they’d still be alive.”
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2
Who says a woman can’t be a bastard? Besides, this empowered bridezilla ain’t your typical woman. Uma Thurman’s vengeful assassin is a Frankenstein-ish amalgamation of ancient samurai, spaghetti western cowboy and a girl with the most deadly case of PMS you can imagine. Her grandiose, self-referential Quentin-speak is the backbone of the Kill Bill movies. The Bride has the nurturing warmth of a would-have-been mother and the ice-cold stare of a killer ready to decapitate just about everything.
Classic line: “You and I have an unfinished business.”Read More
Tivo and Digital recording technology allows us to fast forward through commercials. Ad block plus and pop up blockers handle them on the net. Hollywood knows whats up, and have for years. And every once in awhile they will blatantly sell out just to show us that they can bend the entertainment world over and plunge their p**** of advertising deep into our brains.
The Italian Job (The Remake) – Released May 11, 2003 The Italian Job is a movie about a gold heist. In a typical breach of criminal code, a thief steals gold from his fellow thieves. The remedy? Steal it back, of course! Using Mini Coopers.
How’d they do it? They (Includes Marky-Mark) modified three BWM Mini Coopers to be extra light, but carry a lot of weight. Then they drove them through all sorts of California roads, sewers, and various other tight spaces.
After the release of the movie, BMW reportedly saw a massive spike in Mini Cooper Sales. Looks like their plan worked. How did they manage to effectively have their automobiles cast as the stars (The cars saw over 30 minutes of actual screen time, more than Edward Norton, who played the badguy!) of the movie?
Here’s the tricky part, the reason it isn’t technically considered a commercial is the fact that no money traded hands. BMW reportedly donated 32 Mini Coopers to Paramount studios to use, wreck, modify, (and advertise) in the shooting of the movie. BMW has yet to respond to repeated requests of 32 Mini Coopers for our sequel to the movie, We want Mini Coopers Too!
Knight Rider (The remake) – As you may remember from the good old days of pre-drunken-hamburger-fit David Hasselhoff, he starred in a TV show called Knight Rider. The show featured a Pontiac Trans Am muscle car known as KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand) that could talk, auto-pilot, had personality, and likely hid Mr. Hasselhoffs booze stash whenever pulled over. When the new series came out in 2008, it featured a 2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR Mustang.
Why? Because Ford paid them. That’s right, the iconoclastic TransAm was replaced with a mustang.We’re not saying it’s a bad car, we’re just saying one should be enough. Seriously, Ford, you paid and agreed with NBC to advertise the Ford Mustang. Did you really have to work KITT’s transforming into an F-150 4X4 pickup, an E-150 van, a Flex, and a Crown Victoria Interceptor, into the plot as well? In what was clearly a reach-around deal, , Ford also helped promote the series, while the series obviously promotes Ford. Is it any coincidence the Shelby GT500 is designated KR for the retail market? While many say no, we say “We’ll put you on the front page for a week if we can have one.”
Demolition Man – Ahh, Demolition Man. Who can forget the Sly Stalone movie you never knew whether to laugh or shake your head at. It was clearly laughable, especially when one is left to ponder the replacement of toilet paper by the ‘3 shells.’ Set in 2032, the movie is basically a pseudo Utopian society where violent crime is practically unheard of. Thus, when a famous violent criminal is released from cryogenic prison, no one is prepared for his escape and ensuing mayhem on the city. The product placement come’s about a third of the way through the movie. Still baffled by society, Sly wants to go on a date with Sandra Bullock (and seriously, who doesn’t?) so she suggests they go to Taco Bell. Sly looks hurt, and comments on how Taco Bell is, even by today’s standards, only borderline ‘food.’ Sandra then says, “After the franchise wars, every restaurant is a Taco Bell.”
That includes fancy Italian restaurants, Bistro, everything. Although, since anything bad for you is illegal (including alcohol, caffeine, contact sports, non-educational toys, meat, spicy and unhealthy food, table salt and tobacco). Considering that, one has to wonder just how that Taco Bell stays in business. And for all you non-American readers out there, all releases of the movie in countries other than the United States replaced Taco Bell with Pizza Hut.
Castaway – In Cast Away, Tom Hanks is a high ranking employee in a shipping company and on a fateful three hour tour delivery flight, his plane crashes into the ocean off course and he is the only survivor. Did we mention the name of his company? Don’t worry, the movie did it enough for us. (Try to youtube search a montage of every fedex/Wilson mention) Yeah, that’s FedEx. Mentioned countless times, countless logos, and even repetitions of their slogans dot the movie.
Then there’s Tom’s best friend on the island. Finally succumbing to curiosity and the need to survive, he opens the packages, save one, washed ashore from the plane (while muttering something about the FedEx integrity) and finds a Wilson volley ball. He names it Wilson after leaving a bloody hand print on it and giving it a face. Wilson gets almost as much screen time as Hanks (and far more than any other character) and eventually gets lost prior to rescue. Tom almost dies trying to save his volley ball friend, and one of the most well-known movie cries of all time was birthed in his cry for his lost friend. While we were unable to dig up payment by FedEx for their role in the movie, Wilson released this volleyball to capitalize on their ‘co-star.’ Then Fedex capitalized on the unopened package.
You’ve got mail – Do we even have to go that deep into this one? Anyone who’s ever used the internet and e-mail knows the charming glib ‘You’ve got mail’ that plays every time someone with AOL logs in and has new e-mail messages. It’s the title of the movie, the chime plays at least a dozen times throughout the movie. Arguably, it’s the best placement ever because they never ACTUALLY had to say the name of the product (AOL), but everyone recognized it immediately.
While no money reportedly changed hands in the making of this movie (by Warner Brothers), less than 2 years later, AOL merged with Time Warner, the parent company of Warner brothers. This movie was likely the catalyst in that transaction. The movie did make one crucial mistake regarding the e-mails. In 1998, they were received immediately, rather than going through all the buffers, filters, servers, and providers, causing your e-mail to take just as long as snail-mail. That and the nerve racking SCREECH kshhhhhhh grrrrwarblewarblewarble of the internet connecting.
ET – Concluding our list for today is ET. It’s the movie about that alien who looked kind of like a heap of rumpled foreskins and liked Reese’s Pieces far more than any human should. Ok, so that’s not quite true. Reese’s Pieces are a heavenly mixture of peanut butter and colored chocolate shell we should all indulge ourselves in regularly. We can has moneyz nao?
Steven Spielberg approached Mars to try and place M&Ms into the movie, but they declined, likely stating they didn’t want their product associated with foreskin. He then tried Hershey, wanting to use Hershey’s Kisses. Probably realizing a squirming pile of foreskins trying to open Kisses repeatedly would make you vomit, they said to stick with the Reese’s Pieces, causing their product sales to jump nearly 65% immediately, according to the always truthful Wikipedia. Also, there was about a million dollars inked out in exchange for placement, which is like, a bajillion of today’s dollars.
Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus (2009)
There’s been a certain escalation in the field of direct-to-DVD/cable-telly critter vs. critter pictures, from the comparatively modest days of Boa Vs. Python and Komodo Vs. Cobra – and this tale of two recently thawed-out giant monsters getting into a major tussle is perhaps the acme of the subgenre. Clearly the money wasted on Michael Bay’s toy commercials should have been spent where it counts – on providing a proper mega shark and giant octopus combo rather than the el cheapo CG specimens here. Boa Vs. Python and Komodo Vs. Cobra were at least notionally sequels to four separate films establishing their contestants as menaces in their own right (there’s even a Python 2). But this takes a short cut and new-mints its monsters since the film’s not connected with earlier mega shark or giant octopus movies.Read More
In the new crime biopic Public Enemies, Johnny Depp stars as John Dillinger, the notorious bank robber who became Public Enemy #1 in 1930s in the United States in the beginning years of the J. Edgar Hoover-led FBI. During the Great Depression, the real-life Dillinger was a two-time escaped convict who not only pulled two dozen bank heists across the MidWest, but murdered several police officers and led a dangerous gang of unsavory characters.
But in the film, we see a different side to this criminal underworld figure, one of a graceful, charismatic man. Depp’s character is someone you can actually believe was able to woo his beautiful young girlfriend into total devotion and get a gang of ruthless thugs to give him respect as their leader.
It’s the combination of Dillinger’s supervillain-like abilities and Depp’s charming portrayal of this machine gun-toting crime lord that makes this on-screen character so alluring. But this role of the bad guy with likable charm isn’t a new one, though, there’s been plenty in cinematic history. Here’s a look at 10 Charismatic Bad Guys in Movies
Kevin Spacey-from The Usual Suspects
The Usual Suspects brought us so much as a movie. It exposed Bryan Singer to the mainstream, collated a lot of stars in a great ensemble cast (including one of Stephen Baldwin’s few good performances)… but most of all it brought us Kevin Spacey.
Spacey’s involvement in the criminals’ dealings is never actually confirmed at any point in the movie — everything we hear or see about him is pure conjecture. And this is what makes the character such a great bad guy. Verbal Kint describes him perfectly in the following sentence:
“Nobody believed he was real. Nobody ever saw him or knew anybody that ever worked directly for him, but to hear Kobayashi tell it, anybody could have worked for Spacey. You never knew. That was his power.”
When Spacey’s identity is finally “confirmed” to us, it follows a montage sequence explaining a pinpoint-perfect tapestry of lies woven by Söze/Kint — the way Kevin Spacey acts in the movie and delivers these lies with such a nonchalant feel, it just oozes pure confidence… assuming he is in fact,Kevin Spacey. The fact that he can be so blasé and impeccably use his surroundings to construct such a well-meshed web of lies… is just cool.
What makes Spacey such a formidable and charismatic bad guy? It’s the fact that he can get to anyone, anywhere, and no one can prove that he’s even involved. He’s the perfect elusive villain, seemingly omnipotent and completely untouchable.
Anton Chigurh from No Country For Old Men
In the Academy Award-winning film adaptation of famed writer Cormac McCarthy’s 1980’s-set drama, Woody Harrelson’s character of Carson Wells compares Anton Chigurh (masterfully played by Javier Bardem), a hitman, to the bubonic plague. This comparison of one absolutely unrelenting force to another is probably one of the most chilling in cinematic history, and forever made the pageboy haircut a horrifying thing.
Throughout the entire movie, we see Anton move from person to person killing anyone who gets in the way of his objective, being completely emotionless as he does so. He is truly a terrifying figure, yet there’s something compelling about him. He’s a bad guy that draws you in and makes you want to know more about him.
Agent Smith from the Matrix trilogy
In the epic sci-fi trilogy that is the Wachowski brothers’ Matrix series, there is one villain that is unrelenting, uncompromising, and absolutely fucking scary. That villain is Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith character. Methodical and emotionless like the computer program that he is, he stops at nothing to complete his mission of eliminating “The One” and all of those whose minds have been freed. He cannot be stopped or only slowed down. Yet, he’s so well-dressed and impeccably groomed, not to mention well-spoken; just listen to how he enunciates,”Mr. Anderson.” Of all the bad guys in the Matrix films, he’s the one with charisma and charm. If only he’d embrace his good quality, instead of being so damn ruthless and relentless.
JD from Heathers
There are few prerequisites to being a charismatic bad guy: Are you mysterious bordering on creepy? Got a maniacal, piercing stare with an equally sinister smile? Got a plan to take over the world/kill tons of people? Chicks drawn to you no matter how badly you treat them? If you answered in the affirmative to all these questions, buddy, you’re a bad guy. Jason Dean (Christian Slater) passed this test with flying colours. You can call him J.D. – adds a little mystery and a whole heap of cool. How very. He only had to give Veronica (Winona Ryder) a look in the school cafeteria and she went loopy for him and he was not afraid to pull a real gun on two meat-heads immediately after. He enjoyed killing people and even had the cheek to get a kick out of making it look like a suicide. Until he decided he wanted to blow up the entire school with everyone inside it, that is. Despite all of his bad points, J.D. was an incredibly kind and gentle person who probably enjoyed flower arranging.
Jareth, The Goblin King from Labyrinth
When it comes to purely charismatic bad guys, I’m not sure you can top Jareth, The Goblin King from Labyrinth. Played by David Bowie, Jareth is the King of a massive labyrinth and what he lacks in pure evil, he makes up for in personality, horribly questionable clothing choices, and a knack for catchy song and dance!
The Goblin King isn’t a violent person who attacks or directly tries to inflict damage; he is a sneaky sort, who manipulates with words and a sort of magical influence to ensure that things happen as he wishes them to. In certain occasions, if someone is doing a little better than he expects them to do in his labyrinth, he will simply command his army of goblins to unleash one of their destructive contraptions upon you.
Many might mistake the man for someone incapable of evil, but looking past those painfully skin-tight pants and fluffy hair would be your last mistake. Before you know it, you would be taking a bath in the infamous Bog of Eternal Stench, never to loved or spoken to ever again.
With the seamless transition of a weightless crystal ball from one side to the other, The Goblin King definitely grabs a spot among the best.
Now dance, magic, dance.
Magneto from the X-Men trilogy
As a young Jewish boy, Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto, was held in a Nazi concentration camp, where his mutant ability to control metal with his mind began to manifested itself. Afterward, he began to fight for the rights of mutants everywhere, for fear that they would be exterminated like his religious brethren were in the 1940s, but eventually his zealousness for believing that super-powered mutants were superior to humans caused a riff between him and his telepathic friend Charles Xavier.
Magneto is responsible for the death of many innocent (and not so innocent) lives, which makes him a really bad guy, yet he’s so much like his friend Xavier, whom everyone loves, that it’s hard to really see him a villain. He’s intelligent, charming, and persuasive as he’s been able to corral a massive following of mutants willing to do his bidding. Even though he’s dangerous as can be, when he breaks out of his specially-designed plastic and glass prison in X-2, you can’t help but cheer for this badass that just cannot be held down. Seeing him and Xavier as young men in the third X-Men film only reinforced that Magneto is really a swell guy underneath all that anger. It’s no wonder why Xavier just wants his old pal back.
Bill from Kill Bill 1 & 2
Ah, Bill. One of the last, and likely best roles in the career of the late David Carradine is a role that demands your attention.
In Kill Bill 1 & 2 as the head of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, Bill led his group of lethal warriors into a chapel to massacre one of their own and nine others who were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is the ultimate example of just how evil Bill is — a man who stops at nothing to get things done, and someone who you do not want to double-cross.
What makes Bill different from other baddies, though, is how he is behind the curtain. He’s not large or intimidating, and when you listen to him talk and interact with those he cares about, you can almost find yourself actually liking this heartless killer. In particular: to see this man who has ended the lives of countless people as a father to his young daughter, you see this side that we as viewers don’t think about with villains of his stature.
Add a wonderful Superman comic book analogy to top it all off, and we have here one of the most charismatic and intriguing bad guys of all time.
Darth Vader – from the original Star Wars trilogy
The power of technological terrorist weaponry is insignificant to the power of the dark side of the Force that Darth Vader wields. With the ability to kill with the wave of a hand and a conscience that’s clear enough to torture young princesses and encourage the destruction of entire worlds, Vader is not one to be messed with. Oh no, fear him you should. But while the Imperial March that typically accompanies Vader’s entrance in the Star Wars films is meant to scare and intimidate us, over time, the Dark Lord of the Sith’s presence has truly become a welcomed one. Yeah, he might not be able to do something as simple as retrieve some measly stolen data tapes from a bunch of ill-equipped insurrectionists, but he’s still a powerful villain, one you definitely don’t want to make a deal with. You really should hate him, but you can’t help but love this helmeted, asthmatic man/machine hybrid who, let’s face it, became everybody’s favorite baby daddy the minute he revealed to Luke Skywalker “I am your father.” When Vader tells Luke they should get rid of the Emperor so that they could “rule the galaxy as father and son,” there was a little part of us that really wished they would have. Just remember not to make Sith Daddy angry or you might lose a hand.
The Joker from The Dark Knight
When it comes to charismatic bad guys, The Joker from The Dark Knight takes the whole cake. Yes, the clown prince of darkness is a sociopath of the highest order but he is so damn entertaining to watch. Played by actor Heath Ledger, this version of the popular Batman villain definitely embodies the essence of The Joker’s playful yet deadly personality but with a sinister twist only comic book fans have seen. Underneath the playfulness, there’s a mean streak that will rear its ugly head at any moment. No scene in the film better encapsulates Joker’s mean streak than the interrogation scene where Batman and Joker meet face to face for the first time. Joker has taken both Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes hostage and attached explosives to them and Batman is trying to beat the location out of him. As Bat’s fists fly, all Joker does is laugh until finally he gives up two addresses, each on opposite ends of the city. Batman races to Dawes’ location only to find Dent in her place, surprising the Dark Knight and the audience. Joker had pulled a fast one, leading Batman to the wrong location. Ledger’s Joker is mesmerizing to watch and that’s no joke.
Khan Noonien Singh from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Khan. He is smarter than you and stronger than you. He can charm practically anybody into endangering their careers and livelihoods for his benefit. You can not kill him but you are welcome to try. Unfortunately most of the time you will fail because nothing short of being within arm’s length of a device capable of creating a planet when it detonates will kill him. Exile him and you will just make him angry. Kill someone he loves, or at least be someone he blames for the death of someone he loves, and you can count on Khan coming for you with everything he has in his mind and his body.
Star Trek II producer Harve Bennett found that adversary in Khan, whose one-shot appearance in the original series episode “Space Seed” left a greater impact in most fans’ consciousness than any Klingon or Tribble. Obviously the only actor who could play this soon-to-be iconic master of the universe with the towering white mane and the mighty chest would be the one who originated the role, the one and only Ricardo Montalban. Montalban gave a revelatory performance that raised the bar for every future Trek movie and villain. After losing his beloved wife a vengeance-driven rage consumes Khan, and when that rage fuses with the character’s superior intellect and physical strength it turns the man into a weapon deadlier than any phaser. The respect Khan commands and earns from his crew is equal to that of Captain (now Admiral) James T. Kirk and his crew: each crew trusts in their commander and believes in his mission enough to follow him to the ends of the universe in order to complete the objective. The old Klingon proverb says that revenge is a dish best served cold. If Khan does the serving, best be ready for seconds.