The ten most killer movie assassins of all time
Why is the assassin such an enduring archetype?
Audiences seem to have an endless appetite for watching the adventures of people whose job is to kill for money, particularly when they start to wrestle with issues of conscience. How many movies at this point have started from the notion of the professional killer who's got "just one more job to do"?
When the HitFix movie team decided to put together a gallery of their favorite assassins in honor of tomorrow's release of "Three Days To Kill," the new Kevin Costner film, the biggest problem seemed to be narrowing everything down to the list of their very favorites. There are so many of these characters that have become icons that we could probably end up doing two or three of these galleries without running out.
I love the range of tones that are represented here. Talk about a genre that covers a lot of different ground. How can you put "Kill Bill," "No Country For Old Men," "Grosse Pointe Blank," and "In Bruges" in the same genre? They are only loosely similar in the broadest of terms, and maybe that's the key to the ongoing popularity of the archetype. Once you establish that someone's a professional killer, you can tell almost any kind of story with any kind of tone. You can be absurd. You can go ultra dark. You can make a movie that is pure action or purely contemplative. Look at how John Woo's "The Killer" draws inspiration from Pierre Melville's "Le Samouri," but how they end up being about as different as films can be in execution.
Actors must love being able to play characters like this. You're basically playing a character without subtext, someone whose every action leaves a mark on the world, and wrestling with a moral awakening is great dramatic fodder to dig into for a performer. Dig in and then let us know… did we pick your favorites here, or do you feel like putting out a contract on us after you read the list?
"Three Days To Kill" opens tomorrow.
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
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