Every great hero needs a great villain to face and eventually defeat … but true villains are rarely keen to get their hands dirty, they are the thinkers, the evil geniuses … wrestling in the mud with the good guys is above them. That is where their brooding henchmen come in, they step out of the shadows and form living barriers that must be passed before true heroic victory can be achieved. Some are totally obedient and unquestioning, others have a deadly personality all of their own but all are ready for combat, they live for it and normally get very well paid to provide it.
Here are 15 of the most memorable and deadly henchmen & bodyguards in movie history.
15. Man Of Steel 2013
THE MUSCLE – Faora
THE BOSS – General Zod
Faora is Zod’s loyal and sadistic second-in-command. She is the first Kryptonian to address Earth’s military forces in person and eagerly engages Superman in battle despite only recently becoming familiar with her new found abilities provided by Earth’s atmosphere and sunlight.
Cold, emotionless and proud Faora displays a bloodlust when faced with combat, she is a relentless warrior who enjoys inflicting pain and remains fearless at all times due to her years of military training. In her own chilling words, “A good death is its own reward”.
14. Titanic 1997
THE MUSCLE – Spicer Lovejoy
THE BOSS – Cal Hockley
Cal Hockley boards the doomed Titanic with his bride-to-be Rose DeWitt Bukater, destined for America and a prosperous future as heir to a steel company fortune. Feeling trapped and isolated by the loveless, arranged marriage that awaits her across the ocean Rose befriends and quickly falls in love with a young free-spirited artist called Jack Dawson. The young couple attempt to hide their feelings for each other but are constantly shadowed and suspiciously observed by Hockley’s menacing valet and personal bodyguard Spicer Lovejoy.
Lovejoy is calculating, intelligent and fiercely loyal to his employer. As Hockley becomes increasingly agitated and frustrated by the behaviour of Rose and the presence of Jack, Lovejoy remains an ice cold source of advice and cunning schemes, many just as dangerous as the distinctive silver gun he always carries concealed in his coat.
13. 3:10 To Yuma 2007
THE MUSCLE – Charlie Prince
THE BOSS – Ben Wade
When deadly outlaw Ben Wade is surprisingly captured, local sheriffs and a desperate rancher named Dan Evans join forces to deliver him to Yuma territorial prison and to justice. A simple plan with one massive complication … Wade’s gang now led by his psychotic right-hand-man Charlie Prince, are going to do whatever it takes to free their leader. Prince is fiercely loyal and at times highly intelligent in his thinking and planning but underneath the surface there is a short tempered, intense killer with no remorse or compassion for those standing in his way.
His quest to free Wade intensifies and is ultimately successful after he kills Dan Evans but unbeknownst to Prince, Wade and Evans had formed a strong bond in their time together causing an enraged and reformed Wade to swiftly kill Prince and all the other surviving members of his his ex-gang.
12. The Black Hole 1979
THE MUSCLE – Maximilian
THE BOSS – Dr. Hans Reinhardt
Returning to Earth after a deep space exploration mission, the crew of the USS Palermo encounter the long-lost USS Cygnus, a massive ship that is somehow able to sit within close proximity of a nearby black hole and remain unaffected by the gravitational pull. Once onboard the crew of the Palermo discover the brilliant but unhinged Dr. Reinhardt alive and well, he claims to have spent twenty years studying the phenomenon and believes he has finally devised a way of protecting the Cygnus for a journey into the black hole itself.
Maximilian acts as Reinhardt’s protector and chief enforcer, which includes keeping the supposedly robotic crew of the Cygnus working as they should and being an intimidating presence to unleash upon any unwelcome visitors who might want to interfere in their plans and potentially expose Reinhardt’s dark secrets.
11. Lethal Weapon 1987
THE MUSCLE – Mr. Joshua
THE BOSS – Gen. Peter McAllister
General McAllister is an ex-special forces operative and highly decorated war veteran who has since become the leader of a drug dealing empire named ‘Shadow Company’. His second-in-command and most trusted henchmen is the emotionless and brutal mercenary known simply as Mr. Joshua. Mr. Joshua helps McAllister keep all aspects of Shadow Company running smoothly through intimidation and fear, at one point even obediently holding his own arm over a naked flame to terrify a potential drug buying client into showing more respect.
When LAPD detectives Riggs and Murtaugh begin investigating Shadow Company and McAllister, Mr. Joshua is unleashed and tasked with making sure they don’t get close enough to interfere with the operation, by any means necessary.
10. Robocop 1987
THE MUSCLE – Clarence Boddicker
THE BOSS – Dick Jones
As Vice President of OCP (Omni Consumer Products) Dick Jones is as ruthless as they come within the boardroom … but when he needs ‘street-level’ problems handled he calls on murderous Old Detroit crime boss Clarence Boddicker to take care of matters. Boddicker has a cold and total disregard for human life and a festering dislike for the police. He has forged connections and alliances at every level within the city and these connections make him almost untouchable, even to law enforcement.
Boddicker’s hatred and cruelty reach new depths when he and his gang corner and brutally attack a young police officer and family man named Alex Murphy. Ironically the mortally wounded Murphy becomes the perfect candidate to be revived and reborn as the cyborg crime fighter Robocop and he would eventually expose and defeat both Boddicker AND Dick Jones leaving the city a safer place to live … temporarily.
9. True Romance 1993
THE MUSCLE – Vincenzo Coccotti
THE BOSS – Blue Lou Boyle
When a young dreamer named Clarence Worley, unintentionally steals a bag full of drugs from a psychotic pimp, he and his new bride Alabama Whitman, decide to leave town and sell the drugs to start a new life together. As they begin their dangerous journey they make a stop to visit Clarence’s estranged father Clifford, and tell him where they are heading before driving away. Unfortunately for everyone involved the bag of drugs was officially owned by a powerful local mobster, the unseen and mysterious, Blue Lou Boyle. Shortly after the young couple depart Clifford is attacked and comes face to face with Boyle’s chief enforcer and Sicilian Consigliere, Vincenzo Coccotti.
The fearsome Coccotti calmly and coldly explains the situation and demands to know where the drugs are heading making it perfectly clear Clarence and Alabama will not survive what is to come. Knowing he is doomed no matter what he says Clifford decides to spend his remaining minutes on Earth mocking Coccotti and saying nothing of use to him … This amuses and enrages Coccotti who proceeds to shoot him in the head and depart having found the information he needed anyway taped to the refrigerator door.
8. Oldboy 2003
THE MUSCLE – Mr. Han
THE BOSS – Lee Woo-Jin
Lee Woo-Jin has a plan, a plan to exact revenge. The plan will require precise actions and perfect timing, Mr. Han is there to ensure Woo-Jin is safe until such a time when everything is revealed and protection is no longer a concern.
Proficient in martial arts Mr. Han is calm, silent and deadly, able to defeat opponents with a mere flick of his hand or a blindingly fast combination of throws and punches. He is the near impenetrable human shield standing between Woo-Jin and the fury of the man he imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae-Su.
7. Total Recall 1990
THE MUSCLE – Richter
THE BOSS – Vilos Cohaagen
When a humble construction worker named Douglas Quaid discovers his memories have been erased and his entire life is a lie he travels into space on a journey to uncover the truth and confront the one man who might just have all the answers … Mars Colony governor Cohaagen.
From the moment he starts his quest Quaid is relentlessly pursued by Cohaagen’s chief lieutenant and enforcer Richter, a rage filled engine of violence who smashes and shoots his way through any obstacles in his path and regularly ignores direct orders as his hunt for Quaid becomes more personal than professional. Richter is the ultimate ‘loose cannon’ but makes up for it with enthusiasm and sheer determination … He simply never stops.
6. The Spy Who Loved Me 1977
THE MUSCLE – Jaws
THE BOSS – Karl Stromberg
When British and Soviet submarines equipped with Nuclear Weapons vanish, James Bond 007 is sent to investigate. The trail of information eventually leads him to the culprit and mastermind of a deadly, apocalyptic scheme … shipping tycoon Karl Stromberg. Stromberg wants to use the stolen weapons to trigger a global nuclear war and then retreat to the bottom of the ocean with his followers, emerging in the future to build a new civilisation based on his beliefs and teachings.
Jaws acts as Stromberg’s protector and assassin, following his orders with silent and brutal efficiency. Standing at over 7ft tall and fitted with a set of deadly metallic teeth, Jaws as an opponent is impossible to overcome physically but he lacks intelligence and can be easily tricked as Bond discovers when they battle within ‘Atlantis’, Stromberg’s underwater command centre and base. Unlike nearly every other henchman on this list Jaws outlives his master and would return to confront 007 once more.
5. Die Hard 1988
THE MUSCLE – Karl
THE BOSS – Hans Gruber
When Hans Gruber and his gang of heavily armed and well prepared terrorists enter and take control of Nakatomi Plaza on Christmas Eve they do so with swift and brutal precision, they are there to gain access to the heavily protected vault and steal the millions of dollars worth of bearer bonds contained within. Unfortunately for them a lone New York police detective named John McClane is in town visiting his estranged wife and she just happens to work for the Nakatomi Corporation …
Of all the terrorists involved in the heist the most intense and deadly is Karl, Gruber’s chief henchman. He is short tempered and arrogant but seems to have formed a professional working relationship with Gruber. Mutual respect and an unspoken bond are evident from time to time even though they rarely agree on how things should be handled. Shortly after the building is locked down McClane confronts and kills one of the gang who just happens to be Karl’s brother, this shifts his focus from the robbery itself to gaining revenge on McClane and sets both on a path to an inevitable and brutal confrontation.
4. Kill Bill 2003
THE MUSCLE – Gogo Yubari
THE BOSS – O-Ren Ishii
Leaving behind her days as a hired killer and member of the notorious ‘Deadly Viper Assassination Squad’, O-Ren Ishii becomes the head of a large Tokyo based crime organisation, constantly protected by her own personal army (The Crazy 88) and a petite but lethal teenage bodyguard named Gogo Yubari.
Despite her young age Gogo is proficient in combat techniques and the use of deadly weapons such as the Meteor Hammer. She is loyal and dedicated to O-Ren but deeply disturbed and angry, at times killing for fun or out of sheer boredom, she places no value on human life. When the vengeful Beatrix Kiddo (The Bride), arrives in Tokyo to kill O-Ren she remains wary knowing a confrontation with the psychotic 17 year old is probably inevitable, her concern turns out to be justified and after a ferocious the Bride is left victorious but despondent.
3. Goldfinger 1964
THE MUSCLE – Oddjob
THE BOSS – Auric Goldfinger
Goldfinger is a successful businessman and gold bullion trader who devises an ambitious scheme to attack Fort Knox and detonate a nuclear device rendering all of America’s gold reserves useless due to radioactive contamination. This will drive up the price of his own gold and make him one of the most powerful men on the planet. As ever James Bond is dispatched to deal with the situation and save the day. Constantly shadowing Goldfinger is his mute chauffeur and personal bodyguard Oddjob.
A short but powerfully built brute of a man who enjoys intimidation and carries out assassinations for Goldfinger when necessary, frequently using his bowler hat that has been adapted with a razor sharp metallic rim to become a deadly weapon of choice. Oddjob lives for physical confrontations and always greets 007 with a sinister and knowing smile just before they fight. Like many great henchmen Oddjob is eventually defeated due to a lack of intelligence and quick thinking rather than brawn, which Bond was constantly unable to deal with.
2. Star Wars: Episodes 1, 3, 4, 5, 6
THE MUSCLE – Darth Maul / Darth Vader
THE BOSS – Darth Sidious / The Emperor
Sidious began his rise to power through misdirection and disguise, taking the form of dithering but well meaning Senator Palpatine, of Naboo. This perfect facade plus the Sith ability to cloud Jedi minds ensured his intricate plan for galactic domination would remain a secret to the very end. When direct actions needed to be taken Sidious would turn to his loyal henchmen and Sith apprentices rather than expose himself to potential dangers or risk exposure. The Sith only step out of the shadows when it is absolutely necessary and the time is right to reveal themselves …
In the early stages of his grand scheme his apprentice and eager assassin was named Darth Maul, a young and confident warrior who was used as a living weapon at a crucial moment to confuse and distract the Jedi council. As his victory neared Sidious corrupted an arrogant and conflicted young Jedi named Anakin Skywalker, he became the fearsome Sith lord Darth Vader and would rule alongside his master for many years as the man once known simply as Palpatine became the Emperor of the entire galaxy.
1. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior 1981
THE MUSCLE – Wez
THE BOSS – The Lord Humungus
It is the near future and society has collapsed due a devastating global war. Fuel has become the most precious commodity of all and control of the precious “Juice” is a constant cause of conflict and death. When ‘Mad’ Max Rockatansky, encounters a group of brave and surprisingly moral settlers hiding within a barricaded oil refinery he reluctantly agrees to help them escape the clutches of wasteland tyrant Lord Humungus and his gang of post-apocalyptic psychopaths who have encircled the refinery demanding entry and access to the stored fuel.
The most fearsome of Humungus’s deranged followers is his lieutenant Wez, an animalistic and brutal killer who seems to have abandoned his humanity altogether and thrives on chaos and bloodshed. Humungus has to regularly restrain Wez and keep in him line but tolerates the volatile henchman knowing his presence will be useful when the time comes to take what they want by force. Max and the settlers eventually make a run for it with the fuel loaded into a tanker but are relentlessly pursued by the gang members, and Wez in particular, who knows it is now time to deal with the situation in his own unique way.