The Top 10 Most Unlikely Movie Badasses

January 8, 2010

When we go to an action movie, we expect our hero to look like Captain America and kick ass like Batman.  That's why you've got guys like Stallone, Willis, and, before he decided to head off to the fantasyland of politics, Ah-nold.  However, sometimes you find badasses in unexpected shapes and sizes.

Source: Lionsgate

By Jeff Kelly

10. Mr. Miyagi (The Karate Kid)


Source: Columbia Pictures

There's a classic scene in The Karate Kid where Daniel is getting his ass kicked by the dreaded Cobra Kai.  Okay, so there are about 12 scenes like that in the first 20 minutes of the movie.  But we're talking about the scene where he's rescued by a karate master who kicks the ass of every single member of the Cobra Kai and is then somehow confused (by Daniel) for Spider-Man.  Did we mention this version of Spider-Man is a short, chunky, elderly Japanese handyman who used to serve up malts and burgers to Richie Cunningham?  Yeah, we can see the confusion there too, Daniel.  The best way to tell them apart, though, for future reference?  Spider-Man doesn't need chopsticks to catch flies.


9. Margie Gunderson (Fargo)


Source: PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

Okay, so on the one hand Margie Gunderson is a smart, savvy cop who clearly has a good head on her shoulders and knows her s***.  On the other hand, she's about 14 months pregnant and constantly suffering from morning sickness, which doesn't really play into the whole "badass" thing.  Still, all Margie Gunderson did was waddle around the great snowy wastelands of Minnesota and North Dakota solving a complex kidnapping and murder, singlehandedly taking down a psychotic Peter Storemare in the process.  And take it from us, we've tried it and can attest to the fact that Peter Storemare is far more crafty and devious than you might think.


8. Dale Denton (Pineapple Express)


Source: Relativity Media

Before Seth Rogen was actually (and inexplicably) cast as a superhero in The Green Hornet, he played Dale Denton, a weed-smoking process server who dates a high school chick.  A super hot high school chick, sure, but still.  Creepy.  Typically our action heroes don't come in the form of chunky, scruffy-looking potheads, but sure enough by the end of Pineapple Express, Dale Denton is wielding machine guns, going toe-to-toe with a drug kingpin, and somehow managing to carry James Franco to safety despite not wearing any pants.  Sounds like someone's been stealing movie ideas from our dreams!


7. Elvis (Bubba Ho-Tep)


Source: MGM

The first of two entries on this list who are old enough to collect social security, "Elvis" is an old man convinced he's the actual Elvis, still alive and well (well, maybe not well) in a nursing home that is unfortunately being terrorized by an ancient and evil mummy.  As far as we know, that's the only kind of mummy, but we're not experts.  In any event, Elvis takes it upon himself, with the help of an old black guy in a wheelchair who is convinced he's JFK, to take out this Bubba Ho-Tep and save the rest of the senior citizens from being devoured.  Of course as soon as the mummy was defeated, the old people probably started complaining about how he never calls anymore.


6. Samwise Gamgee (Lord of the Rings)


Source: WingNut Films

When you picture an action hero, you probably don't picture a little three foot rotund dude with big hairy feet and a green thumb, right?  But over the course of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Frodo's loyal gardener turns into the most badass hobbit of them all, though we're still not sure what was up with that "Mr. Frodo" s***.  Still, Sam works over goblins with frying pans, fights off giant spiders, and takes care of a tower full of orcs seemingly by yelling angrily at them.  And then when Mr. Frodo decides to bitch out and give up, Sam goes ahead and carries his lazy ass up the side of Mount Doom.  So remember, if you ever have a dark lord that needs an ass-kicking, you'd better have Sam Gamgee on your speed dial.

5. Eric Cartman (South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut)


Source: South Park Studios

Back before he was protecting the streets of South Park as The Coon, Cartman was fighting off a resurrected Saddam Hussein with some weird electric powers brought about by cursing and crazy anime background effects.  One of the simultaneously greatest and most despicable characters in television history, Cartman is not exactly the type of guy you'd expect to become a bonafide superhero and destroyer of evil, which is exactly what he winds up being at the end of Bigger, Longer and Uncut.  Who would have thought the fate of the world would lie in the hands of a foul-mouthed eight-year-old fatass?


4. The Frog Brothers (The Lost Boys)


Source: Warner Bros.

First of all, to answer the question we know you're about to ask: no, being Corey Feldman doesn't automatically make you a badass.  But Feldman and his equally goofy counterpart Jamison Newlander (yes, we had to look it up) find themselves at the heart of one of the most awesome vampire movies ever made, kicking undead bloodsucking ass every step of the way.  And seriously, when Feldman is arguably the tougher of the two brothers, you know you're facing an uphill battle.  Of course legend also says that standing up to vampire Jack Bauer makes your balls grow 10 sizes and turn to iron, so they've got that going for them, too.


3. Shaun Riley (Shaun of the Dead)


Source: StudioCanal

One of the primary reasons we love Shaun Riley is the fact that he's like so many of us.  He's nearing 30, he's a slacker, he's stuck in a job with no future that he doesn't really care about, and his girlfriend is telling him to grow up and stop playing video games and drinking so much with his fat slob of a best friend.  Oh, and then he gets attacked by zombies.  Only unlike us, when the shit hits the fan Shaun hits back with vinyl records and a cricket bat, and by the end of the movie he's bloodied and looking like some awesome combination of Rambo and Chris Walken from the end of Deer Hunter, one of the few survivors of a zombie apocalypse that wiped out most of London.  And then he turns right back into a lazy bum who does nothing but watch TV and drink beer.  Again, the similarities between us and Shaun are just scary.


2. Hit Girl (Kick-Ass)


Source: Lionsgate

Okay, so maybe we're cheating a little bit by including a character from an as yet unreleased movie.  However, all you need to do is watch the red band trailer for the upcoming film Kick-Ass (which also casts McLovin as a vigilante superhero) and you'll immediately find yourself deathly terrified of a 14-year-old girl for the first time since eighth grade, this time in the person of Hit Girl, a badass little chick with a fouler mouth than a Tarantino movie who sheds twice as much blood.  And this probably marks the first time in history when yes, it's okay to back out of a fight with a prepubescent girl because you crapped your pants in fear.


1. Carl Fredricksen (Up)


Source: Pixar

Maybe the only thing worse than getting your ass kicked by a little girl?  Getting worked over by an old man.  And in the case of Carl Fredricksen we're talking about an elderly man who stands approximately four feet tall and needs a cane to shamble along in his last few years on earth.  But there he is at the end of Up, fighting off talking dogs and dueling with a world-renowned explorer (who, we admit, had to have been about 112 years old based on what we can gather from the movie).  It's not like he's a former marine or anything, either.  No, the dude is a retired balloon salesman.

Of course, he does have that old man strength going for him, and that s*** is deadly.