The search for the Greatest Movie Badass of All Time is on! MTV News has asked accomplished filmmakers, actors and you, the audience, to vote for your favorites. Now we’ve tabulated the results and found our 10 finalists for the top spot. Who will reign supreme as the Greatest Badass of All Time? Find out Friday (February 6) at 7:15 p.m. when MTV announces the winner live at New York’s Comic-Con and right here at MTV.com.
Until then, we’re profiling the 10 contenders for the Greatest Badass mantle every day, in alphabetical order. Check out the first nine contenders: “Star Wars” bounty hunter Boba Fett , “Alien” astronaut Ellen Ripley , vigilante cop Dirty Harry , “Die Hard” detective John McClane , Vietnam War vet John Rambo , “Star Trek” tyrant Khan , post-apocalyptic nomad Mad Max , “Wild Bunch” outlaw Pike Bishop and “Terminator” femme fatale Sarah Connor .
Name: [movie id="27261"]Walker[/movie]
Movie: “Point Blank”
Weapon: .357 Magnum
Archenemies: Mal Reese, Brewster, Yost, etc.
Profile: Look at this vintage poster, and tell me Walker isn’t a badass. Now look at the way Walker extracts names from a hostile, and tell me he doesn’t make Jack Bauer look like Mr. Rogers. “There are two kinds of people in his uptight world: his victims and his women,” the film’s tagline said of Lee Marvin’s brutal character. “And sometimes, you can’t tell them apart.”
When we first meet [movieperson id="40712"]Lee Marvin’s[/movieperson] character, he’s accompanying his partner and wife in an Alcatraz ambush of some drug dealers. After a series of betrayals, Reese fills Walker full of lead and runs off with his wife and the money. Coming back from the dead in a way that makes the Bride look like an old maid, Walker will not stop his path of vengeance until he receives the $93,000 that belongs to him. Getting back his wife? He couldn’t care less.
Based loosely on Donald Westlake’s 1962 crime novel “The Hunter,” Walker’s story originally had him named Parker. And when Mel Gibson remade the film a few decades later and called it “Payback,” he changed the name yet again, this time to Porter. But compared to Lee Marvin’s snarling, soulless, intensely focused, so-bad-he’s-good villain, Mad Max couldn’t hold a candle.
|1. Dirty Harry|
|2. Ellen Ripley|
|3. John McClane|
|4. Mad Max|
|6. Sarah Connor|
|7. Pike Bishop|
|9. Boba Fett|
Thirty-two years later, Lee Marvin’s collaboration with “Deliverance” director John Boorman remains a trippy take on ’60s vengeance during the Summer of Love. Stuffed with dreamlike sequences and long periods without dialogue, the film’s one-named protagonist almost seems like he’s already dead — and in his mind, he might as well be. It’s this nothing-to-lose mentality that makes Walker a force to be reckoned with and a badass of the highest order.
But here’s the thing that truly separates Walker from Dirty Harry, Rambo, John McClane and the other finalists in our badass survey: He never actually kills anyone. His “victims” all seem to commit suicide, fall from high-up places or shoot each other. It’s almost like he’s haunting the criminals that stand in his way rather than existing as a terrestrial force that can take their lives.
All these decades later, “Point Blank” continues to haunt us as well. Filmmakers from Fincher to Tarantino have used it as an influence for their modern-day classics, and so many directors would gladly hand over their clapboards in exchange for an actor like the man who created Walker. As “Reservoir Dogs” badass Mr. Blonde once said to a confrontational Mr. White: “I bet you’re a big Lee Marvin fan, aren’t ya? Yeah, me too. I love that guy.”
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