Time Out remembers 10 of the most laughable movie bad guys in cinema history
Time Out staff
Have you seen Iron Man 2 yet? Robert Downey Jr. was as excellent as ever, but what did you think of his foe?
Mickey Rourke as dreadlocked geriatric Whiplash looks like a character who will go straight into the pantheon of ridiculous film baddies.
Here are some of the guys he might meet when he gets there...
Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) in Avatar
Fiendish plan: To wield the immense firepower of the Earth’s military scouting team and get a tribe of blue rainforest beatniks to skedaddle off of some mineral assets. In 3D. Standing in the way: Hollywood movie convention and Sam Worthington plugged into a computerised pod and taking charge of the body of one of said rangy azure tree-huggers. What’s his weakness: The fact that he’s a tired conflation of every bad guy movie cliché (including unsightly facial scar) in film history makes his unchecked aggression all too predictable. Chances for rehabilitation: Nah, you’d gradually wean him off the knives, grenades and all-male showers then he’d hear In the Army Now on the radio and it’d be all back to square one.
Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman) in The Fifth Element
Fiendish plan: To control the universe through a combination of mystic energy and weird hair. Standing in the way: Plucky, Gaultier-clad cabbie Bruce Willis and his gibbering sidekick Milla Jovovich, plus a motley selection of overdressed new romantic oddballs – including Ian Holm, Chris Tucker and, um, Luke Perry – who all look like they’d rather be somewhere, anywhere else. What's his weakness: In a word, overacting. Oldman had already proven his silly-villain chops as pill-sniffing New York cop Stansfield in Luc Besson’s Leon, and the wacky Frenchman gave him even more rope to hang himself in this daft, DayGlo, gap-year sci-fi nightmare. Chances for rehabilitation: Could probably get a job doing catwalk security at Paris Fashion Week. Otherwise, slim.
Nuclear Man (Mark Pillow) in Superman IV: Quest for Peace
Fiendish plan: To kill off Superman Standing in the way: Well, Superman, obviously, plus occasional hindrance from supposed cohort Jon Cryer and the distraction of his courtly she-he man-love for hulking naïf, Mariel Hemingway. What's his weakness: The dark side of the moon: Nukes is powered by the sun, so just draw the curtains and he’s as much use as a jam cardigan. Chances for rehabilitation: Last seen propping up the core of a nuclear power plant, so not good.
Ziro the Hutt in Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Fiendish plan: To seize control of the Hutt crime empire from nephew Jabba. Standing in the way: The Jedi, the clone army, the Sith, Jabba’s gangsters, a total inability to run away – you wonder how these Hutts got so powerful in the first place, considering. What's his weakness: Well, the fact that he looks like a painted slug and talks like an oversexed gumbo chef may not actually be classified as weakness in the Star Wars universe. So we’ll go with ambition. Chances for rehabilitation: First step: weight watchers.
Richie Madano (William Forsyth)in Out for Justice
Fiendish plan: Well, ‘plan’ is overselling it a little, as his aim appears to be to goad Steven Seagal’s chop-socky beat cop to breaking point by shooting up his family and friends for reasons relating to a childhood falling out. Standing in the way: Seagal, of course, who goes on a movie-length search-and-destroy mission which involves him striding into every low-life dive in town and showing who’s who with the help of an eight ball in a sock. Delivers the line ‘has anyone seen Richie?’ in vaguely patronising tones just over 800 times during the film. What’s his weakness: His short temper. Trying to elude a killing-machine cop and then opening fire on women and children is hardly the stealthy comportment the situation might require. Chance for rehabilitation: Prior to him getting a corkscrew to the frontal lobe, the right concoction of anti-depressants might have made a respectable man out of him.
Adolf Hitler (Martin Wuttke) in Inglourious Basterds
Fiendish plan: Same old, same old. Standing in the way: Brad Pitt and his motley Anti-Nazi League of behind-enemy-lines cutthroats, heavy hitters and an expendable gaggle of faceless, tremulous, knock-kneed Upper East Side types. Good luck with that! What's his weakness: Self-aggrandisement coupled with ironically poor strategic nous. Locking himself and the entire Nazi High Command into a is just asking for trouble. Herr Hitler and his SS scurf eat leaden death over the supporting feature. Chances for rehabilitation: N/A
Prince Vigo the Carpathian (Wilhelm von Homburg) in Ghostbusters II
Fiendish plan: To transform New Yorkers’ seething proletarian rage into luminescent pink goo, and thereby escape from a painting. Seriously. Standing in the way: Clue’s in the title: three wisecracking Saturday Night Live alumni and one token newcomer with even less to do than in the first movie are on a mission to take Vigo down. What's his weakness: Well, being trapped in a painting doesn’t help. Plus he’s stuck with probably the most fawning, ineffectual sidekick in history, and let’s face it, the plan as a whole is pretty lame. Chances for rehabilitation: A sandblaster should do the trick.
ED-209 in Robocop
Fiendish plan: To shoot up the flick-knife wielding street toughs of Old Detroit and pave the way for the concrete-and-steel bourgeois nightmare of Delta City. And prove that there is a future for a state police force run by a shady arms conglomerate. Standing in the way: A chrome-plated back-from-the grave bad-ass called Robocop. What’s his weakness: Like the Daleks, ED-209 operates like a dream on level terrain, but the moment something like, say, a short flight of stairs come into the equation, it’s game over. Oh, and he does occasionally kill innocent civilians for no reason, but they’re working on that. Chances for rehabilitation: Zero. He’s dismantled and used for cheap student shelving in time for the sequel.
Kasper Gutman and Joel Cairo (Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre) in The Maltese Falcon
Fiendish plan: To kill, maim and waffle their way to the fabled, jewel-encrusted winged raptor of the title. Standing in the way: Humphrey Bogart’s hard-bitten, two-fisted private dick, Sam ‘Bucket’ Spade, a mess of dead bodies and some spunky, blackhearted dames. What's their weakness: Verbosity and incompetence respectively: Gutman is the sort of chap who’d thank you even if you’d just thrown up over him and Cairo is a self-hating nutcase that’s just one hissy-fit away from total mental collapse. Neither of them could talk, force or otherwise cajole candy from an especially sleepy baby. Chances for rehabilitation: Good to very. Both were last assumed to be in police custody and facing serious limbo time, but neither are especially bad lads and a good spell in chokey should straighten them out.
TX (Kristanna Loken) in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Fiendish plan: To obliterate the human race, paving the way for the second coming of McG. Standing in the way: The Governator, a lady vet and the John Connor no one remembers because he’s not young and dreamy like Eddie Furlong or grizzled and abusive like Christian Bale. What's her weakness: Sheer averageness. Seriously, did the producers really think we’d fall for that old Star Trek trick of ‘hey, we’ve got no new ideas, how about we just get a chick’? Chances for rehabilitation: Who’d bother?