Every action film provides the seemingly unbeatable baddie; the antagonist that even our lean and mean hero would struggle to overcome, leading us to an epic climatic showdown.
Whether the fight takes place in the streets, the ring or even on the fringes of the galaxy, we are never far away from a memorable battle.
Ferocious bouts are what supercharge the highly-anticipated Kickboxer:
It is time to draw your sword, raise your fists and prepare for war…
Hans Gruber – Die Hard
Cunning, maniacal and fiercely intelligent, German terrorist Hans Gruber is the perfect serving of salt in John McClane’s many wounds. Played the late, great Alan Rickman in his Hollywood studio debut, Gruber and his henchmen attempt to steal some $640 million from a vault on Christmas Eve after holding up a Los Angeles tower block, taking a plethora of hostages.
Whilst Gruber’s first instinct isn’t to get his hands dirty, he is able to manipulate and control those surrounding him – ensuring their trust before pulling the trigger. He is the very definition of evil, and only a claret-smothered, sweat-beaded Bruce Willis can bring him to justice just before Santa visits town.
T-1000 – Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Harnessed with palpable menace by Robert Patrick, T-1000 remains one of the most dizzyingly brutal action movie foes. A technological leap ahead of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s original ‘800 Series’ model, T-1000 is made of “mimetic metal poly-alloy”, which means it can shape-shift, mimic anyone, flow through any opening and survive most mechanical damage.
The droid is at his most deadly however when he straddles the beam; enabling the ability to impersonate and largely take on human form, whilst shifting a particular body piece – for example his arm – and turning that into a piercing blade which causes a hideous casualty. Whilst Arnie’s Terminator can certainly take a hit, bullet and everything in between, the T-1000 is the most ruthless of assailants, and the inevitable showdown is remarkable.
Howard Payne – Speed
The ever-brilliant Dennis Hopper has always played a memorable villain (Blue Velvet, anyone…) but he is downright insane and potentially unstoppable as Howard Payne. Armed with an oversized cellphone as opposed to a shotgun or blade, Payne created an immaculately formed and complex explosive device which is attached to a bus. If the said vehicle reaches any speed BELOW 50mph, it will detonate.
This wonderfully mad circumstance kick-starts a thrilling endurance test as Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock fight for the lives of the community and themselves, whilst attempting to bring this madman to justice. The fights are as explosive and exhilarating as that hurtling people-carrier…
The Predator – Predator
Kevin Peter Hall’s performance as The Predator is simply astonishing. His presence evokes unparalleled dread, yet the spectator still desires to see more and more. Before Arnold had to take on the aforementioned T-1000, he was stationed in the most unforgiving of landscapes: the jungle. Isolated as his armed crew are picked off one-by-one, this seemingly impossible threat is wreaking serious havoc.
Equipped with devastating lasers and gifted with the power of invisibility, The Predator stalks his prey through thermal heat sensors. This ability to track and capture silently, before a bloodcurdlingly-nasty kill makes him one of the greatest villains ever; regardless of genre. The final bout between Arnie and the beast in question is dynamic and captivating, as well as unintentionally hilarious. “GET TO THE CHOPPA!!!”
Agent Smith – The Matrix
Slickly dressed in a black suit, inscrutable behind darkened sunglasses, Agent Smith looks extremely ordinary. Just another business man you pass on the street. Except he isn’t. In fact he is a human-loathing, genetically-crafted weapon whose sole purpose is to suppress rebellion and maintain ‘order’.
However such attention to rules becomes weakened when he develops a personal vendetta against Keanu Reeves’ Neo. The sentient computer programmed-being is able to bend the rules of physics and control any non-awakened human’s simulated body within the Matrix, leading to some breathtaking fight sequences. We all know and love “Bullet Time”…
Bennett – Commando
Exiled from the US Commandos due to his relentless desire to kill, Bennett has been nursing a deep-seeded vendetta against the organisation and indeed the man who cost him so dearly. Hidden away in the fringes of South America, Bennett plots his dastardly revenge on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Matrix which involves faking his own death.
Favouring knife-fights to shootouts, Vernon Wells’ antagonist is a seriously nasty, vindictive presence who adores bloodshed. Psychotic and entirely unhinged, he lacks any true sense of loyalty to his comrades, country or former leaders, and instead devises a scheme to ensure maximum suffering and harm to Arnie’s all-action hero. The fight is violent and bruising, concluding with a seriously savage impaling act.
Ivan Drago – Rocky IV
Sylvester Stallone’s ‘Italian Stallion’ is one of modern American film’s most beloved underdogs. Rocky rose to the many challenges in his life, and fearlessly overcame them in spectacular fashion. But everyone has competition, and few rivals are as beguilingly troublesome as Dolph Lundgren’s Russian powerhouse Ivan Drago.
The physical embodiment of Cold War Russia: a Red Army captain, standing tall at a whopping 6ft 5in, he has true killer instinct, yet operates in disarming silence. Hyped up on a troublesome cocktail of steroids, advanced computer-programmed training and insatiable bloodlust, Drago lets his fists and form do the talking. He barely utters a word, but speaks volumes regardless. His final fight with Rocky is so iconic, and so damn brutal.
Anton Chigurh – No Country For Old Men
Another silent killer on our list, albeit one with extremely different circumstances and practices. A traditional Hollywood nemesis would be equipped with a more frequent weapon; say a gun, sword, or nuclear device, but Anton Chigurh is no ordinary villain. He favours chance in every situation; enabling fate to be decided at the toss of a coin, and he’ll blast you down with a gas-compressed bolt gun designed to execute cattle.
Deftly portrayed by Javier Bardem – who went on to rightfully claim the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor – Chigurh is a hitman for hire, but his methods are beyond regular. As opposed to being a straightforward murderer, he is rather an idea of one; blurring the social and spiritual lines of life, crime and punishment. He is also a tracker, and follows Josh Broil’s hapless chance-bandit like a snarling hound.
Deckard Shaw – Fast and Furious 7
Anyone who is willing and indeed able to take on both Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson is not playing around. After Dominic Toretto and his “family” put beloved brother Owen in the hospital, Jason Statham’s bigger, badder and older sibling Deckard Shaw made it clear that the score must be settled. Within five minutes, he has already caused explosions and fiery deaths, so he is very much ready to do battle.
Sporting incredible combat skills and athleticism, as well as a ferocious urge to drive fast and live faster, Deckard previously proved his bid to destroy Dominic’s life after mercilessly killing Han at the end of Tokyo Drift and Fast and Furious 6, and he shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. He and Toretto throw down a number of times in the film, but the final bout in which they sword-fight with muscle car chrome and metal is insanely savage and endlessly awesome.
Darth Vader – Star Wars
Quite possibly the most famous and globally-renowned villain in Hollywood filmmaking. Before turning to the Dark Side, Darth Vader was Anakin Skywalker; a poor slave boy from Tatooine who knew his way around an engine. After suffering the loss of the most important people in his life, including his mother and his wife, his sadness turned into rage, eventually turning him into the masked and heavy-breathing monster sitting in the display cases of Star Wars fans world-over.
James Earl Jones’ towering performance is one founded upon intimidation and control. Vader truly is the superior. A ruthless cyborg who will kill anyone and anything in his way, ensuring he attains galactic domination. But by Return of the Jedi, he uses his last ounce of humanity by sacrificing himself to save his son’s life. What makes Darth Vader one of the greatest villains ever is the fact that he wasn’t really a villain to begin with.
Catch the film on VOD on Friday, the 30th of September and check out all the release info on Kickboxer: Vengeance right here.