Whether it be slow motion shoot-outs, ass kicking kung-fu or just Angelina Jolie strutting around in next to nothing, the silver screen has always been kind to the morally questionable profession of contract killing.
So here it is, a list of the 10 best movie assassins to ever grace our screens…
10 – Michael Sullivan, Road to Perdition
Cold, calculated and – beneath it all – a family man, Tom Hanks makes a surprising turn as Michael Sullivan, a character who is not afraid to get his hands dirty. The final confrontation between Hanks and Paul Newman in the rain-soaked street is an intense and memorable scene and Hanks proves his versatility once again and pulls off the moustache look quite nicely.
9 – El Mariachi, Desperado
This guy is as comfortable behind a gun as he is behind the guitar, and bagging Salma Hayek on the side isn’t bad going either. The character El Mariachi played by Antonio Banderas was also in two other features (although Banderas only played him twice), but Desperado stands as one of the best action films of the 1990s featuring one of the best assassins.
8 – Vincent, Collateral
One of the Cruiser’s best performances and his standout of the last decade, Vincent is an impulsive assassin, going with the flow or whatever. He’ll chuck a fat Angelino out the window without batting an eyelid.
7 – The Jackal, The Day of the Jackal
Neither man nor watermelon stands a chance against this classic cinematic assassin. The role that made Edward Fox a star of the time was played in the remake by Bruce Willis (for some reason with a dodgy bleached haircut). The original remains a cinema classic and handed us one of the coolest cinema villains.
6 – Anton Chigurh – No Country For Old Men
Striking fear into any heart that lays eyes on his haircut. Anton leaves fate to decide whether to kill his victims or not. Deservedly winning an Oscar for the role, Javier Barden creates one of the greatest villains of all time.
5 – The Bride, Kill Bill
She made slicing through 88 trained samurais look like cutting through butter and managed to make someone’s heart explode by finger-tapping their chest. The Bride is fuelled by bloody vengeance, until she gets all weepy eyed at the end, that is. Still she remains Quentin Tarantino‘s best creation.
4 – Martin Q. Blank, Grosse Point Blank
The most relatable assassin on the list, he’s depressed, lonely and stressed. Returning home for a reunion sets things back into motion and being hunted down, he brings out all the tricks to stay alive. John Cusack makes the character effortlessly cool and has unofficially followed up the film with this year’s War Inc, which is apparently a bit rubbish.
3 -T-800, Terminator
It’s not your average assassin that starts off walking around butt naked into biker bars but then this is a robot. Arnie’s most famous role had the Austrian hulk killing anything that moves and, with a near indestructible body, he is probably the hardest to kill on the list.
2 – Jason Bourne, The Bourne Identity/Supremacy/Ultimatum
We always thought that Matt Damon was like a Streisand, but he’s rocking the shit in this one! Damon came out of nowhere and smashed us around the face with a book, giving us the best assassin/spy of our generation. Silent and deadly, this guy could kill you with a bit of sticky back tape if he needed to.
1 – Leon, Leon
From start to finish Leon approaches everything with thorough thinking and complete dedication. He doesn’t make things up on the fly like Bourne, Vincent and Sullivan and it wasn’t until Natalie came along that he finally gained a weakness. The hardest, coolest, coldest killer around, Leon is cinema’s best assassin by a long shot.
So what do you think? If it came to be one big tussle between the list who would win?
[story by David A. Scarborough]