In the sci-fi prison escape movie, Lockout, Guy Pearce plays a convicted felon named “Snow.” He has a chance for freedom when the government selects him to rescue the president’s daughter from a maximum security penitentiary…in Space!!! I just love when a movie adds “in space” to its title or plot. It adds the necessary amount of ham to make the most serious of movies into over-the-top B movies.
The movie would not be worth watching were it not for the performance of Pearce. His character steals the movie with his never-ending quips and careless attitude. This list is dedicated to him. The anti heroes on this list are not just anti heroic characters, but people who performed acts of heroism, but aren’t doing it for quite the right reasons. These are men who we shouldn’t like for any reason at all, but just can’t quite help but love them.
5 – Mad Max
Mel Gibson plays Max, a family man whose life is turned into hell by a vicious biker gang in the futuristic wasteland of Australia. After his wife and baby are killed he becomes the executioner seeking revenge on the gang who killed his family. Even in the sequels he becomes a selfish savior of sorts for groups who desperately need his help. He is the lone wolf of the apocalypse.
4 – Leon
In the movie, Leon the Professional, Jean Reno plays a hitman who keeps to his own business. Even when death surrounds him, he doesn’t see the need to get involved. It’s only when a 12 year old Natalie Portman’s family is murdered and the killers are looking to tie up loose ends by eradicating her as well, that he gets in the way and defends her. He even teaches her to kill people cleanly. Now that’s a good father figure. What transpires is one of the best face-offs in film. Having Gary Oldman as the villain never hurts either.
3 – Snake Plissken
“The President’s plane went down in New York!” “The president of what…?” Classic Snake. The plot of Lockout is nearly identical to Escape from New York. Snake is the most careless hero out there as he takes on the underbelly of the prison known as New York trying to save the President in one day. Snake is probably the best wisecracking hero this side of Han Solo. (who wasn’t chosen because it feels wrong to include any Star Wars on my lists)
2 – Travis Bickle
Taxi Driver is hardly the place you’d think to find a hero. But as Robert De Niro’s character Travis is slowly descending into madness he ends up doing his part to “clean up the scum off the streets.” As he prepares to assassinate a Senator he ends up saving a child prostitute by killing her pimp and his henchmen. If he asked me if I was talking to him, I would turn and run.
1 – The Man with No Name/Blondie
Clint Eastwood’s characters are all anti heroes. I think his most iconic is the man with no name in Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy. He happens to save people from bandits along his travels and always takes down the bad guy. But there is only one thing he is after – Money.