Friday, 21 June 2013

Mixtape Movies: The Suprise Badass Mixtape

Over at Fandango Groovers Movie Blog he has given the blogging community yet another great blogathon to get excited about with "Mixtape movies"

So many times an actor will find themselves being typecast as a particular role, be it the wisecracking hero, the ditzy heroine or comedy sidekick. However what has always held a fascination with myself is the idea of the surprise badass. A character type which frequently comes from nowhere, more often than not when we have classed an actor of playing one type of role, only for them to suddenly unleash a radically different and as is the case with several of my movie choices a much darker side. So lets explore this cinematic curiosity further by allowing me to present my Surprise Badass Mixtape

Shoot ‘Em Up (Paul Giamatti)
For the longest time Giamatti has been a favourite on the indie scene, making a name for himself as a supporting character and frequently in roles which saw him playing flustered supporting or social awkward characters. Always a dialogue driven actor, “Shoot ‘Em Up” take his strength with dialogue and essentially puts a large gun in his hand, as here he truly makes for a great villain as he snarls, wisecracks and even trick shots his way through the film, with a single minded determination to get his hands on the baby which Mr Smith (Clive Owen) has been tasked with protecting, in this life action version of Bugs Bunny Vs. Elmer Fudd.....only with a shitload of guns.
Largely ignored on its release it has only now started gaining the cult following it deserves as it frequently lives up to director Michael Davis’s claim that “This is John Woo’s wet dream”.

Cliffhanger (John Lithgow) 
When this film was released most of us were more familiar with Lithgow madcap antics on “3rd Rock From The Sun” as Dick Soleman the leader of a team of undercover aliens trying to study human behaviour with more than questionable results. Here he gives us what could only be described as the flipside of his on screen persona with his portrayal of Eric Qualen the leader of a group of thieves. So evil is his character that he doesn’t even think twice about killing off his girlfriend, so that he can maintain the upperhand while generally caring more about collecting his ill-gotten gains than any member of his team, who are frequently seen in his eyes as disposable, while also proving himself surprisingly handy in a fist fight with Stallone. 
It is such an amazing performance he gives here and one only made all the better from his audience likely being more familiar with his usual happy-go-lucky style than anything so dark. True unlike some of the characters on this list he might not kick a lot of ass, his pitch black evil streak is more than enough to earn him a place here.

Aliens (Jenette Goldstein) 

You need only look at Goldstein’s acting resume to realise the reason that James Cameron calls her “The Human Chameleon”, I mean do you remember her as Jenelle in “Terminator 2: Judgement Day”? What about the maid in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”? Hows about the Irish mother in “Titanic”? Chances are that if you’re like me you didn’t, which is what makes her such a surprising badass (only kind of in reverse) as rather than carve a career playing roles similar to her stand out performance here as Vasquez it remains her sole badass role.
Vasquez is memorable not only for being a badass, but for giving us a rival alpha female to Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley, as she proves herself more than (aswell as frequently more) capable to holding her own with her male marine counterparts, as especially proven during the marine’s first contact with the titular aliens, as while those around her are losing their heads and turning themselves into easy alien pray, she simply weigh up the situation and screams “Let’s Rock”. So much of a badass is Vasquez she even ensures that she goes out with a warrior death with the help of a handy grenade.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Linda Hamilton)

If there was one badass on this list that I wouldn’t want to face it would have to be Sarah Connor, who here is a far cry from when we met her previously, having spent the years since her first confrontation with The Terminator having left her training for the prophesied Judgement Day.  However having been confined to a mental institution after her failed attempt to bomb a computer factory, she is has taken on an almost feral state when we meet her again. It’s a startling transformation and one which only becomes only clearer when you compare the Sarah Connor of the first film with the version we see here.
Hamilton’s commitment to accurately portraying the role only further helps here, as she went under an extensive training regime, which saw her losing 12 pounds via a non-fat diet, while also taking on judo and military training to help further hone the character to the pinnacle of badassery, as here is 100% pure alpha female!

Zombieland (Woody Harrelson)

When I think of Harrelson it is always his more comedic roles, which he has spent most of his career, usually playing in some variation of his breakthrough role as Woody on "Cheers"

True he might have given us a badass turn prior to this film as Mickey in “Natural Born Killers”, but it was mainly showcased at the end with everything else being generally mindless violence as part his and Mallory’s psychotic nature. Here however as Tallahassee he is purely about kicking zombie ass, with enough time having passed since “Natural Born Killers” to ensure him a place on this list, as it truly feels like a new side we are seeing to Harrelson, while his last stand from a carnival stand over further cementing his place here on the list.

And now for my wildcard entry on this mix I give you….

The Rock (Sean Connery)

Okay, Okay I know your all no doubt questioning how Sean Connery could be considered a surprising badass, after all here is a man who 95% consider to be the definitive James Bond, who all future Bonds are measured against.
So why did I choose to include him on the list? Well while Connery might have kicked a lot of ass as Bond, but it was always with a witty remark which defused the violence of what had just witness him do. Here as ex SAS member Mason, he essentially gives us an elderly Bond only with a more badass edge, as he proves that age has zero effect on his ass kicking abilities, judging by the impressive body count he racks up while still snarling out classic lines like

"Your "best"! Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen.”

True Connery might be an established badass, but here he proved that he was still as capable even in the twilight years of his acting career.

So there you have it my personal favourite surprise badasses, but who else has pulled their own Surprise badass moment?


  1. Great mixtape. Here is another name for your wild-card, Liam Neeson in everything he has done since he turned 50. Rob Roy and Dark Man were his only notable action roles then from The Gangs of New York onwards he only seems to play badass’.

    Thanks for taking part.

  2. @Andy: For myself Neeson would be my wildcard choice if I make a follow up to this mixtape, as had to Emmit Billy Connely (Boondock Saints)and Eric Borgosian (Under Seige 2) from this mix so chances are high that's he will appear on the follow up.

    It is a weird kind of midlife crisis he's had were instead of buying a sports car, he has reinvented himself as a badass, essentially for myself from "Taken" onwards.

    Thanks for putting this blogathon together.


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