You know, it might be good for some people to come out of retirement. Like musicians. Who doesn’t want to see their favorite band come out of retirement for one last show? But you know who you don’t want to take out of retirement? Killers. Killers and people who can wreck you with a single punch to the throat. But characters like John Wick, played by the impossibly cool Keanu Reeves, and Bryan Mills from Taken always seem to be pushed to the point of No More Mr. Nice Guy. I wonder why.
Maybe it’s because people love seeing extremely talented fighters in their element. And that’s what all the characters on this list have in common. They’re the kind of people who you don’t want to piss off. Because you wouldn’t like them when they’re angry.
Do you remember what pushed John Wick over the edge? It was his dog. Somebody killed his beloved dog. Sure, his house was broken into and his sweet car was stolen, but you don't mess with a person's dog. Everybody knows that.
And since then, John Wick has killed pretty much everybody and their mother, first in retaliation and then because he's been drawn back into a life he wanted to leave behind. My favorite kill of his is when he took down a giant with a book. A book! Who kills somebody with a book? John Wick, that’s who. Leave him alone.
Bryan Mills - Taken
Bryan Mills from the Taken series (played by Liam Neeson) is ex-CIA, and the main reason he called it quits in the first place was so he could be closer to his daughter. But things go awry when his daughter is kidnapped on a trip to Paris and is being sold off as a sex slave. You would think this would be bad news for Bryan, and it is. But it's much, much worse news for the kidnappers. Because boy oh boy, Mills has a particular set of skills that you don’t want to be on the receiving end of.
Sure, Mills is very handy with a gun, but I’m much more terrified of his interrogation methods. You know, because being strapped down to a chair and being electrocuted until I cry doesn’t sound like my ideal way of spending a weekend.
The Bride - Kill Bill
It was supposed to be a beautiful wedding. But wouldn’t you know it, “the bride” (played by Uma Thurman) gets betrayed by her old boss and coworkers on her special day. Not only that, but she was pregnant to boot. Instead of a baby shower, she was getting showered in her own blood. Now that’s enough to piss anybody off, especially considering she'd tried to leave that life behind. They should've let her.
But, oh, did she get her vengeance. So much so, that the Bride needed two movies to take out the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad and finally kill Bill. My favorite moment of hers is when she rips out Elle Driver’s (played by Daryl Hannah) other eye. Because Elle had it coming. She just didn’t see it coming. And now she'll never see again. Tough luck.
Max Rockatansky just can’t seem to catch a break. First, his wife and child are brutally murdered in the first movie, and then, he gets pulled into a fight between roving marauders and a community of settlers in the second (do I even need to bring up what he can do in a Thunderdome?) I mean, can’t a man cruise the apocalyptic wasteland in peace?
Apparently not, since Max is always being hounded by psychopaths and big dudes like Lord Humungus. But Max is the kind of guy who doesn’t mind driving head first into another vehicle if it means killing your enemies. They don’t call him “Mad” Max for nothing.
Samantha Caine - The Long Kiss Goodnight
The most badass schoolteacher on the planet, Samantha Caine (played by Geena Davis) is living a peaceful life in the suburbs. Sure, she has a bit of memory loss and hires the occasional private investigator to make sense of her forgotten past, but otherwise, life is peachy. That is until she gets into a car accident that knocks her brain back into place and activates her killer mode since she was an assassin in her past life. Now, she can cut carrots like a pro, knock thugs out cold with a pie (a pie!), and (why not?) dye her hair platinum blonde.
Getting her memories back didn't seem to bother her much, but the people who came after her shortly after did. Big mistake.
Ms. Caine is now Charlene "Charly" Baltimore, the kind of killer you don't want to piss off since she doesn't flinch when a gun is pointed straight at her. She also has no problem pushing Samuel L. Jackson out of a moving vehicle, which is pretty pimp given that Jackson would later become the eye patch wearing head of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Robert McCall - The Equalizer
Robert McCall (played by Denzel Washington) would like nothing more than to just hang out in a diner, drink some coffee, and read some fine ass literature. But when he finds out a young prostitute who he befriended (played by Chloe Grace Moretz) is brutally beaten and put in a hospital by some punk in the Russian Mafia, it’s time for him to put down the book, come out of retirement (he's a former DIA agent), and kill everybody in the room.
Like Bryan Mills from Taken, Robert McCall in The Equalizer also has a special set of skills. But his involve setting booby traps in a Home Depot knock-off and then walking in slow motion as the sprinkler system goes off. Not smart, Russian mob. Not smart at all.
Wyatt Earp - Tombstone
Wyatt Earp (played by Kurt Russell) is retired and would like nothing more than to just hang out with his brothers, Virgil and Morgan. But that’s when some no-good red-sash wearing outlaws known as the Cowboys had to mess everything up. And now, it’s personal.
Wyatt Earp is not above surprise attacks at train stations or letting baddies know that he’s coming, and not only that, but that hell’s coming with him. He’s also not above bitch slapping somebody and then staring them directly in the eyes. Wyatt Earp is nobody’s huckleberry, that’s for sure.
Rambo (played by Sylvester Stallone) is pretty much the quintessential, just-leave-him-alone, character. He’d had enough of people spitting at him and calling him a baby killer once he got back from the war to last him a lifetime, and the last thing he needed was for some Podunk police officer to get on his nerves. But the sheriff (played by Brian Dennehy) arrests Rambo, retrains him, and even tries to shave his head. Dumb move, dude, since it flicked on a switch in Rambo’s head that brought him back to his Vietnam days. And now, he can't switch it back off again.
Which is bad news, because when you mess with John Rambo, you better have a good supply of body bags available. Rambo has probably never killed more people than he did in his fourth outing, though, when he got behind a mounted machine gun and just went ballistic. But they had it coming. They drew first blood.
And that’s the list. What are some other characters you don’t want to piss off? Sound off in the comments.
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.
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