5 Films Where Bad Guys Really Get What They Deserve
Admit it ...
Sometimes we just want to see bad things happen to bad people. Some people are real jerkasses that unfortunately get away with a lot of jerkassy behavior. In real life, jerkasses don't always get what's coming to them, and sometimes we're left REALLY wanting to see some justice that never comes. That's the fantastic thing about art - and especially books, graphic novels, videogames, and cinema - it lets us in to a reality of our choosing. One that the hero always wins, or that true love exists, or that bad guys can be redeemed ... or one where the bad guys really, really get what's coming to them. Indulge in your dark side with these five films, their stories are written around giving the bad guys a taste of their own medicine.
and shepherds we shall be ...
Fraternal twins Connor and Murphy MacManus are forced to kill or be killed when they accidentally run afoul of the Russian mob. After surviving their initial ordeal (by dropping a toilet onto a dude's head from the roof of an apartment building!) the brothers receive divine instructions to go on a righteous rampage through all the scumbags in Boston.
What happens next is the reason why Boondock Saints remains a cult classic. Joined by their bumbling associate, Rocco, the trio go on a killing spree that cuts bloody swaths through the organized crime outfits in Boston. They end up pissing off the scummiest of scumbags in the process, and what we're left with is all out war that only becomes more personal with each passing scene.
What really makes Boondock Saints a great film is how unapologetically cathartic it is. The film is gritty and real despite its fantastical take on vigilantism (and how law enforcement reacts to it), and you'll find yourself cheering the brothers on as they commit monstrous acts against even bigger monsters.
And oh man, the opening sequence. Best choice of music, ever.
Boondock Saints Intro
The Boondock Saints intro effectively sets the tone for the entire film.
Music: Blood of Cuchulainn by Mychael and Jeff Danna
The Punisher (2004)
Si vis pacem, para bellum
The Punisher has always been a story of evil people getting their just rewards, but the 2004 film starring Tom Jane is my personal favorite. For the unitiated, The Punisher is the story of Frank Castle - a loving family man whose entire world is stolen away from him in a bloody spray of violent, misguided retribution. He goes on to deliver cold, unflinching justice to the scum of the earth wherever he finds it. In this particular incarnation of The Punisher, Frank Castle is an undercover FBI agent involved in a gun-running bust that - despite law enforcement trying to take everyone alive - goes horribly wrong. The son of Howard Saint (John Travolta) is killed in the crossfire. Saint is a murderous businessman involved with the local drug cartel, and eventually traces the bust back to Frank Castle, who then orders the execution of Frank's entire family.
What really makes 2004's The Punisher a great film is Tom Jane's performance. He becomes Frank Castle in every way - a wickedly clever, surprisingly unstoppable but still entirely human force of retribution. Beyond that, the film goes to great lengths to make the villains as unsympathetic as possible, and you'll take guilty pleasure in witnessing Frank Castle deliver fitting punishment to the Saint crime family.
The Punisher (2004) Trailer
The best Frank Castle film to date, bar none.
Kill Bill Vol 1 and 2
Wiggle your big toe
Kill Bill was the revenge movie that defined an entire era. It has a very minimal set-up that serves as a backdrop for the high flying action and ultra-stylized visuals of this very obviously Tarantino film. Uma Thurman plays The Bride - a former world class assassin who attempts to quit the trade and live a normal life when she discovers she's pregnant. Her hopes for normality are shattered when her former employer (Bill, played by David Carradine) and associates show up to her wedding rehearsal and brutally murder her entire wedding party and future husband. The Bride wakes up in a hospital 4 years later and commits her entire existence towards revenge against her former boss and fellow assassins.
Kill Bill takes refuge in audacity, and the result is a winning formula. The violence is so over the top that you'll forget that you're watching a live action film at times, it crosses that line of being so cartoonish that it's no longer off-putting for the squeamish (well, I suppose your mileage may vary). Despite being a very one dimensional formula for a plot set up, the characters are all surprisingly deep and well developed. While you'll never feel sorry for any of the people that The Bride slices to ribbons, you'll understand their motivations and feel The Bride's grim resolve as she cuts down her former associates.
Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2 Official Trailers
Consider the Kill Bill series a single, REALLY long film. You really can't appreciate one without the other, and would be doing yourself a disservice if you missed out on either one.
Smokin' Aces - These flowers have wilted. Call the florist.
A dying Las Vegas mob boss takes out a $1 million hit on his former protégé, Buddy "Aces" Israel, a sleazeball magician turned mafioso who has agreed to turn state's evidence against his former masters. The high dollar contract attracts lowlifes from around the world to a Lake Tahoe resort - where Aces is enjoying one last bender of debauchery before entering protective custody.
The best part about Smokin' Aces is that there aren't any good guys in the mix, with the possible exception of the bounty hunter crew who are still definitely a shade of grey. The formula is unique in the sense that you end up rooting for everyone and no one at the same time. You'll witness bad guys commit atrocities against their fellow bad guys, and you can enjoy the cathartic release guilt-free. In the end the real winner is the viewer, as the rogue's gallery of hired guns, bounty hunters, assassins, and deadly vixens all pay an incredible price for living like jerkasses.
Smokin Aces Official Trailer
You probably heard we ain't in the prisoner-takin' business; we in the killin' Nazi business. And cousin, business is a-boomin'.
Hitler did a pretty good job at making sure him and his cronies would be culture's punching bag for many, many decades to come, and the position is well deserved. Inglourious Basterds is another Tarantino offering depicting the story of Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) and his 8 man, all Jewish commando unit. Their primary job is to employ guerrilla tactics inspired by Native American tribesmen against Nazis, with the hope that their brutal form of combat demoralizes the Wehrmacht. Aldo even commands his men that they each owe him a debt of 100 Nazi scalps. The film reaches its climax when Aldo's unit cooperates with a vengeful French theater owner (Shosanna - played by MÃ©lanie Laurent) in a high-stakes gambit to eliminate several high ranking Nazi leaders.
Inglourious Basterds is a refreshing take on World War 2 films. Really it's more about World War 2 films than it is about World War 2, but that's getting into another topic entirely. What we know as historical fact is that there was a major portion of Hitler's command specifically dedicated to committing horrific atrocities against anyone that wasn't part of their perceived "master race". What Inglourious Basterds does is show that same brutality visited upon the Nazis themselves. What I found to be really compelling was how the two opposing forces are handled in the film. The Nazis are evil, plain and simple, but they're never presented as anything other than "Lawful Evil", calmly and systematically inflicting their brutality as if it were an everyday chore, and doing it with great pomp and decorum. Lt. Aldo Raine's men, on the other hand, are a force of violent chaos, taking great sadistic pleasure in performing heinous acts against the monsters they've been sent out to hunt. This is the film to watch when you feel like seeing a Nazi eat a face full of baseball bat.