DVD Verdict’s “Objection” podcast created a list of their MOST BADASS AFRICAN-AMERICAN CHARACTERS IN MOVIE HISTORY for MLK day, 2011 (episode #756). Judge David Johnson and Judge Dan Mancini named their TOP 1o:
Honorable Mention: Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian – Star Wars Episodes 5-6
10. Reginald VelJohnson as Sgt. Al Powell – Die Hard
9. Richard Roundtree as John Shaft – Shaft
8. Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu – Star Wars Episodes 1-3
7. Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox – Batman Begins and The Dark Knight
6. Grace Jones as May Day – A View to a Kill
5. Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed – Rocky 1-4
4. Wesley Snipes as John Cutter – Passanger 57
3. Michael Jai White as Black Dynamite – Black Dynamite.
2. Mr. T as B. A. Baracus – The A-Team
1. Danny Glover as Lt. Mike Harrigan – Predator 2
The gentleman at “Objection” specialize in contrarian a-holery, and offer deliberately restive and hilarious positions on cinematic topics. A fine list, full of both mighty (HARRIGAN!) and unusual (Lucius Fox) choices. Conspicuously absent from the list is THE most BADASS African-American Character in Movie History: Samuel L. Jackson as Jules in “Pulp Fiction”. The role is so iconic, so utterly badass, that the Marine Corp plays his “Ezekiel” speech to fire up Jarheads for deployment.
I personally feel as THE single most BADASS African-American Actor in Movie History, Samuel L. Jackson should be exempt from the list altogether. He’s a given. Like the answer to “who is the greatest basketball player of all time,” there’s just no arguing.
I hereby offer an addendum to the original “Objection” list, taken from my collection.
I am not reusing any of the aforementioned actors, no matter how much I want to. For instance, Carl Weathers is an incredible bad ass in “Action Jackson” (where he jumps 20 feet over a speeding car), but as he was listed by “Objection” for “Rocky”, so I won’t include it.
I am only listing actors once. While Bill Duke was badass in “Commando” and “Pam Grier” is badass in everything, I included only my favorite choice.
I’ve only included movies I’ve seen in full, within the past 10 years (sorry Mario Van Peebles, sorry Billy Blanks). I also don’t include non-human characters (Sorry Michael Dorn)… though formerly human is okay. So please feel free to include your own suggestions in the comments section. And now, without further ado…
THE MOST BADASS AFRICAN-AMERICAN CHARACTERS IN MOVIE HISTORY
Ken Foree as Peter – Dawn of the Dead
Blows away loads of zombies, evil zombie kids. Owns the mall. Does his best buddy a solid. Zombie apocalypse survivor. Badass.
Woody Strode as Draba – Spartacus
Kicks the ass of the future slave rebellion leader. Shows him mercy. Defies class system through ultimate sacrifice, igniting spark in future slave rebellion leader. Ripped as hell. Badass.
Denzel Washington and the entire cast of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers – Glory
Charge on Fort Wagner – ’nuff said. Badasses, one and all.
Fred Williamson, Jim Kelly, Jim Brown – Three the Hard Way
This hat trick defies description. Badassery abounds.
Keith David as Frank – They Live
Brawls for absurdly interminable length of time with Rowdy Roddy Piper over sunglasses. Uncovers shocking societal truth, immediately enlists in suicide mission. Badass.
Rudy Ray Moore as Dolemite – Dolemite
Kicks at stuntman’s head, misses, and STILL knocks him out cold (presumably by the intense air pressure generated by foot) . Beds every woman in the movie, gets no STDs. Not the smartest idea in the world… but Badass.
Charles S. Dutton as Dillon – Alien 3
Gives one of cinema’s greatest motivational speeches ever. Bare-knuckle boxes alien. While being torn to pieces by xenomorph, asks it: “Is that all you got?” SuperBadass.
Leave your own suggestions!
By Michael McVey
This is why I go to the movies. Co-writer and director Neill Blomkamp’s debut film is an outstanding amalgam of documentary-style realism,thought-provoking constructs, and lots of hardcore, bloody action. Independently produced by Peter Jackson, the film delivers these elements in the guise of science fiction. And like all great sci-fi, the world of District 9 is a prism through which we see our own selves today.
The premise: 28 years ago, an alien ship arrives suddenly over Johannesburg, South Africa. Despite having advanced technology, the alien inhabitants are malnourished refuges, like worker bees without a queen. Unable to return home, they are met with open hostility from a fearful populace and segregated from human society in a crime-ridden slum called District 9…
The filmmakers make bold choices with casting, languages, locations, narrative structure – all of which succeed in creating something truly original. We feel the world the characters inhabit,just as we feel the characters plight, right up to the jaw-dropping, killer climax.
While not perfect (and definitely not for all tastes), this is an incredibly entertaining film. It features first-rate FX, liberal doses of intense action, and it has a lot on its mind – it is great in the way “Mad Max” and “Aliens” are great. This may end up being my favorite film of the year.