ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Bruce Campbell: The Chin Who Saved the World

Updated on July 27, 2011
Bruce Campbell
Bruce Campbell | Source

He is known by many names such as , Sam Axe, Ash, and Brisco, but to most TV and movie fans we know him as "The Chin". And that chin with the actor behind it, who's actual name is Bruce Campbell has for over 30 years fought demons, shot outlaws, and drank beers all to make the world of TV and movies a better place to be.

Bruce Campbell is one of those rare actors who can easily play lead roles, but may be more suited for the character type. His body of work over the past 30 years is both impressive and highly unusual. Whether fighting off possessed humans (Evil Dead), wandering around the jungle (Congo), or owning a book store that irritates one of the employees (The Ellen DeGeneres Show), Bruce has shown a wide range of roles, yet he seems to play only one type of character, one that’s similar to Bruce himself. He’s a handsome rogue that has enormous screen presence, yet he doesn’t take himself all that seriously. In that vein, he’s somewhat similar to actors like Gary Cole or Patrick Warburton, who have played characters so dry you could light a match on them.

Bruce got his start in films thanks to his good buddy Sam Raimi and launched the “Evil Dead” series. That association has lead to Bruce appearing in almost every Raimi film since, save for “The Quick and the Dead” in which his small part was left on the cutting room floor. He also is well liked by the Coen Brothers who cast Bruce in small roles in some of their films like “Fargo” and “The Hudsucker Proxy”.

Today, Bruce is best known playing the “sidekick” role in USA’s highly rated “Burn Notice” series. Bruce plays former Navy Seal Sam Axe, who’s often sucking down beers and “mohitos” while helping his pal “Mikey” (Jeff Donovan) out with an assignment. The series has the throwback feel of a 70’s detective show, but the action takes center stage.

Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe

With the release of the Burn Notice two-hour film, “The Fall of Sam Axe”, Bruce shows he can once again carry a lead role in a TV series. The film takes place before the events of the Burn Notice series began. In “Fall”, Sam is still in the Navy and has been assigned a task in a South American country to find a rebel leader and, with the help of that nation’s special forces, capture him. Of course, few things are as they seem and sure enough, Sammy has sided with the rebels and is desperately trying to get out of the country.

The first thing I noticed about “Fall” was just how much weight Bruce has lost, a fact mentioned in the first Burn Notice episode that followed the film. His cleaned-up appearance fits well with the situation and while the film itself feels a bit too “TV”, that is, the production budget clearly doesn’t match the cinematic attempt, Bruce handles the lead role so well that the film flies by. There’s even an awkward, but loving nod to his past when Sam throws a chainsaw through a truck’s windshield.

Here are a couple more DVDs to recommend if you enjoy Campbell’s work, I picked the two that I feel best show his range, comic flair, and rogue demeanor.

Evil Dead 2

Yup, while the original has its merits, Evil Dead 2 had the budget and sheer lunacy to become a horror classic.

In this film, Bruce plays the mild mannered Ash who returns to the cabin in the woods where the “evil spirits” killed several of his friends. Naturally his girlfriend come along and before you can say, “Don’t read aloud from the Book of the Dead”, all hell breaks loose.

Highlights include Ash being attacked by his now headless girlfriend, an argument between Ash and his own reflection in the mirror, and his final solution in dealing with his possessed hand is one for the ages.

Evil Dead 2 combines grotesque make-up effects and sharp horror story with an almost Three Stooges style comic glee. Bruce plays just about every emotion known to man from absolute panic to total, maniacal hysteria. It’s a performance that’s would be worthy of an award, if they make awards for such things. It’s certainly an entertaining performance that fits perfectly with the film’s atmosphere that all comes to a conclusion in one of the most inspired cliffhanger endings in horror movie history.

The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.

Yea, “Jack of All Trades” was okay, even entertaining at times, but despite his buddy Raimi producing the series, Bruce’s character never really fit the look, budget or even intent of that series.

“Brisco County” on the other hand was almost too inspired for its own good. Bruce plays the title character, a bounty hunter that’s the son of a famous lawman who gets killed in the line of duty (very briefly played by R. Lee Ermey) and sets off to find his father’s killer(s). Along the way he gets help from fellow bounty hunter Lord Bowler (a very funny Julius Carry) and has, as the title of the series indicates, a lot of adventures.

The series seemed like an updated version of the very popular “Wild, Wild West” show from the 1960’s, updated as in “throw everything AND the kitchen sink” into the overall storyline. Not only does Bruce face down the standard bad guys from the Old West, he must recover mysterious golden orbs and encounter time travelers. The show developed a cult following…for the thirteen or so people who watched…before Fox cancelled the series after one year because of really, really low ratings.

This may be the ultimate Bruce Campbell role as he certainly fits well into the Old West and his good looks combined with an unusually calm demeanor play off the series use of in-jokes, modern references and slam-bang action. I feel that had the series toned down the more “sci fi” elements, it may have become a classic.

If anything, “Brisco County” had one of my favorite scenes of all time (sorry, I cannot recall that particular show’s title). In it, Brisco and several others are trapped in a large bank vault when they hear the tumblers of the lock start to roll, Brisco screams out the combination, but to no avail as they roll past the combination. On the second try, the door unlocks and reveals Comet, Brisco’s horse, as the one who unlocked the door. As everyone else is staring in disbelief, one of them says Comet must be the smartest horse in the world. To which Brisco calmly replies, “It took him two tries so he ain’t that smart.”

Now that is pure Bruce Campbell.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Farkle profile image


      7 years ago

      I am a fan of Bruce Campbell, he is a great and versatile actor. I liked him since The movie "Evil Dead 2".

      Great review, thanks!

      Vote Up, awesome and I'm now following!

    • nighthag profile image

      K.A.E Grove 

      7 years ago from Australia

      I thoroughly enjoyed reading this review of one of my fave actors, thanks for the info :)

    • Luna B. profile image

      Lindsay Blenkarn 

      7 years ago from Irvine, CA

      Great review of one of my absolute favorite character actors! I've always enjoyed the times that Bruce Campbell has popped up (usually unexpectedly) in various films and I was so pleased when he was given a main role in Burn Notice. (And even more pleased when his character got his own special!) Once again, great hub!

      I'm voting this awesome, interesting and up! :)


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)