28 June, 2011

Top Ten Most Kick-Ass Men in Sci-Fi TV and Film

By Bernice Watson

The girls have had their turn, now it’s time to turn our attention to the guys of sci-fi film and television. It’s been a tall order, sci-fi is full of men who kick-ass day in, day out. Some of them have special powers, some of them have bulging muscles and some of them just never say die – others just like a damn good barroom brawl! 

There have been a few scuffles among the Liberation Frequency writing staff while trying to narrow down the list of contenders (no Geeks were harmed in the making of this list), cries of outrage echoed across the internet, tears were shed, hands were wrung, friends became enemies but eventually dissenters voices were quieted (mostly using a pair of rolled-up socks and a length of duct tape) and the final list  was formed.


10. Captain Malcolm ‘Mal’ Reynolds

Appears in: Firefly television series, Serenity

Played by: Nathan Fillion

Mal Reynolds may claim to be just another pirate trying to make his way in the galaxy with no interest in the greater good; but scratch the surface and you’ll find a man who fought bitterly to the very last in the brutal Unification War.  As a sergeant in the Independents Army he put his life on the line many times over for a just cause.

As captain of the good ship Serenity he never shies away from a fight and has even been known to instigate a few brawls just for kicks. Quick with his side arm and happy to trade punches with the best of ‘em, Mal is not only damn good in a fight but he’s got nerves of steel too.

In the film, Serenity, he takes on uber-assassin The Operative, eventually beating him in a fist-fight despite being injured himself.


9. ‘Mad’ Max Rockatansky

Appears in:
Mad Max, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome

Played by: Mel Gibson

Already the Main Force Patrol’s top pursuit driver and bad ass cop in dystopian future-Australia, Max Rockatansky becomes a revenge fuelled agent of death after his wife and infant son are brutally murdered by a group of vicious gang members in a retaliatory attack for Max’s role in a fellow member’s arrest.

Driven by grief and fury he hunts down the gang members responsible, torturing, shooting or just driving to death every one he finds in an unstoppable rampage of utter carnage.

In Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome Max takes on Blaster in hand-to-hand combat in Thunderdome and, despite taking a fairly savage beating during the battle, still manages to come out victorious against the much larger opponent.

Max may be a maverick, more often looking to protect his own interests rather than be a hero, but time and again he gets the better of feral gang members and the fiendish dregs of the broken society he lives in.


8. Juan ‘Johnny’ Rico

Appears in: Starship Troopers, Starship Troopers 3: Marauder

Played by: Casper Van Dien

Originally a member of Willie’s Wildcats but later, after surviving the death of most of the team during “Operation Bughouse”, transferred to “Rasczaks Roughnecks”, Johnny Rico is the epitome of a good soldier in the Terran Mobile Infantry. With a ready store of bravado and reckless courage, Johnny just wants to take down the bugs in any way he can.

Rico leads the mission into the heart of the bug’s lair on Planet P with orders to capture the ‘brain bug’. During the mission he leads a two-man team to rescue Carmen from within the bug’s labyrinthine underground tunnel system.

With square-jawed, fiery-eyed determination, Rico just never says die.


7. Richard B. Riddick

Appears in: Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick, The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury

Played/Voiced by: Vin Diesel

With his bulging muscles and eerie, surgically-altered eyes, Riddick isn’t a man you want to take on in a fight. The last of the legendary warrior race of Furyans, Riddick is hard man living in a harsh galaxy in the 27th century. Capable of acts of extreme violence and dangerously unpredictable, Riddick generally subscribes to an ‘every man for himself’ philosophy but on occasion performs acts of heroism not in keeping with his standard modus operandi.

While stranded with a handful of others on the barren world ‘Halo’, Riddick takes on a swarm of vicious nocturnal predators, using his night-time ‘Eyeshine’ vision and martial arts experience to help the group escape. Throughout his life Riddick has made a career of escaping more than one hundred high security prisons and penal colonies he has been sentenced to serve time in since childhood.

Riddick is a formidable fighter, both through natural ability and training. His acute senses, lightening fast reflexes, immense stamina and high pain threshold make him an intimidating opponent in any fight. Not only does Riddick possess impressive physical abilities but his iron will, resourcefulness and keen mind give him the advantage in almost every conflict.

Like I said, not a guy you want to take on in a fight!


6. S.D Bob “Snake” Plissken

Appears in: Escape from New York, Escape from L.A

Played by: Kurt Russell

Ex-special forces commando/war hero in World War III turned criminal, Snake Plissken is hard man even before he turns against the right wing US Government and decides to lead a life of crime.

Recruited by the same government he loathes to help save the president after Air Force One crash lands inside New York Prison, Snake rescues the president from the anarchic sub-state with only his impressive martial arts skills and balls of steel to guide him.

In Escape from L.A, Snake is once again ‘convinced’ (this time because he has been injected with a deadly virus) to attempt an impossible mission. Charged with retrieving a black box that has been taken by the president’s traitorous daughter into the heart of the totalitarian police state of Los Angeles, Snake once again locks and loads to save the world. Albeit against his will. 


5. Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer


Appears in: Predator

Played by: Arnold Schwarzenegger

There were a number of roles for which Arnold Schwarzenegger could have made this list, but his iconic performance as Major Alan "Dutch" Schaefer in 80s sci-fi classic Predator gets the nod (even fellow commando Blain could have made this list).  

Dutch is already a seasoned badass going into Predator - ex-Green Beret, leader of an elite Special Forces team, but his exploits in the film push him over the top into extreme levels of kick assedness. Dutch is not only a perfect physical specimen, but he also possesses a MacGuyver-like ability to lay traps and use his environment to his advantage. He accomplishes what no other human could do - he uses his strength, intelligence and resourcefulness to get the better of the universe's apex predator, The Predator! 

Anyone who can give a massive alien hunter armed with invisibility and superior technology a spanking and who has moved beyond the mundane standard handshake of lesser men to the truly testosterone-filled mid-air arm wrestling as a formal greeting is clearly kick ass!!


4. Alex Murphy (RoboCop)

Appears in:
RoboCop 1 – 3, RoboCop TV Series

Played by: Peter Weller (RoboCop 1 – 2), Robert John Burke (RoboCop 3), Richard Eden (TV Series)

You’re a good cop working in a corrupt city crippled by organised crime. You and your partner chase a group of hardened criminals to a dodgy warehouse. Do you a) break off the chase until you can return with reinforcements or b) discharge your duty as an officer of the law and confront the evil bastards on their own turf with nothing but your pistol for protection? Well, if you’re Alex Murphy there’s not even a choice, you storm in there and do what you swore an oath to do – put the punks away or die trying.

Sadly for Officer Murphy he meets his demise in that warehouse but the point is that even before he became the cyborg super-soldier known as RoboCop he was a hard man who didn’t shy away from potentially lethal confrontations. After he becomes RoboCop he is the ultimate law enforcement machine, singlehandedly taking on all crime in the city. It takes an assault canon to even make a dent in RoboCop.

There can be no doubt that he’s one tough customer. 


3. Anakin Skywalker (aka Darth Vader)

Appears in:
The Star Wars films

Played by: Hayden Christensen (Episodes 1 – 3), James Earl Jones/Dave Prowse (Episiodes 4 – 6) 

Some may feel that Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader has no place on this list, and at number three no less, but, if you can bring yourself to look past him being a whining little bitch through Episodes 2 and 3 (and just disregard Episode 1 entirely), Anakin Skywalker is a bad ass!

Anakin has phenomenal power in the force, he's a pilot of unmatched ability, excels at lightsaber skills and can basically pull off any stunt (except taking on Count Dooku, that kind of backfired on him). He was supposed to be the most awesome of them all and that was why it was such an epic tragedy when he betrayed the Jedi and turned to the dark side. And look what happened when he did? BAM! Whole Jedi order pretty much destroyed. And that continues into the original trilogy where he's Darth Vader - everyone is absolutely terrified of him and by that stage he’s only half the man he was, physically.

Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader kicks ass. Hell, he takes out Emperor Palpatine.  He earned his place on this list.


2. Captain James Tiberius Kirk

Appears in: Star Trek television series, Star Trek I – VII, Star Trek XI

Played by: William Shatner, Chris Pine

James Tiberius Kirk is a sci-fi giant. Week after week Kirk took on all comers with nothing but his bare fists. Again and again he took the punches and just kept on coming.

How many shirts did that man sacrifice upon the altar of galactic peace, saving his crew or defending the moral right? How many times did he get the shit kicked out of him? How many times did he execute a swift dive roll to the side only to pop up from behind a boulder to nail the enemy with ever-perfect aim or floor some alien crony with one god-like punch to the chin?

Kirk never shied away from a challenge. In Star Trek IV he goes back in time in order to bring back whales and save the future, in Star Trek V he meets God and he is not impressed, in Star Trek VI he is sent to the infamous prison of Rura Penthe but he escapes and in Star Trek XI he saves the Federation, beats the Kobayashi Maru (okay, he cheated but still) and becomes the youngest ever captain in Starfleet history. 

Face it, the man is epic.


1. Neo (aka Thomas A. Anderson)

Appears in: The Matrix Trilogy

Played by: Keanu Reeves

Thomas A. Anderson starts off as just another slightly-anemic-looking disaffected office worker slaving his life away in a meaningless, soul-destroying job but he soon becomes one of the most memorable of science fiction heroes.

Admittedly, pretty much all the main characters in The Matrix are hardcore but when Neo finally reaches his full potential and delivers the spanking of a lifetime to Agent Smith it is surely one of the most satisfying kick-ass moments in sci-fi. The action in The Matrix is so slick and takes place on such a mind-bendingly epic scale that it blew audience’s minds worldwide. 

Neo tops this list because, within the world of The Matrix, he surpassed the abilities of not only his fellow humans but also the very machines who designed the system. He reached previously unattainable levels of kick-ass. The man is Hardcore with a capital ‘H’.

So there you have it folks, the Liberation Frequency Top Ten Most Kick-Ass Men In Sci-Fi TV and Film. It wasn’t easy to narrow so many incredible characters down to a measly ten, there was much soul-searching and indecision involved. If you think we’ve blundered or overlooked someone vital then please hit the forum and let us know!

Honourable mentions go to:

Admiral William Adema, Todd 3465, Colonel Steve Austin, Ka D’Argo, John Sheridan, Kyle Reese, Morpheus, Grammaton Cleric John Preston, Yoda, Ronon Dex, Teal’C, Korben Dallas, Spike Spiegel, Capt. J. T. Robbins, Worf, Jayne Cobb, The Terminator, Kai, Obi Wan Kenobi, Han Solo and many many more!

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