*** SPOILER WARNING *** - This award contains spoilers. Read at your own risk!
Time to celebrate the biggest bad ass of the year. Last year, the award went to Keanu Reeve's highly productive killing machine John Wick. Who will take home the honors this year?
Favorite Bad Ass Nominees:
I've always liked Samuel L. Jackson but he just seems to be getting better with age. If you thought he was a bad mother F'er in Pulp Fiction, just wait until you get a load of his character Major Marquis Warren in The Hateful Eight. He's a clever, cunning, no-nonsense, racist-hating, gun-slinging bounty hunter who quickly takes control of the film.
There's a reason this one-armed warrior woman is a favorite of the Citadel's warlord Immortan Joe. She's a great driver and an exceptional warrior to boot. In fact, she's the only female soldier in all of Joe's army. Imperator Furiosa is one of the strongest female leads in recent years. She's captivating as she fights to free Joe's enslaved Five Wives, as well as herself, from his rule.
It's no small feat that Rebecca Ferguson's Ilsa Faust has landed this nod over fellow co-star Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt, but she's genuinely the more worthy candidate. Ilsa is a quintessential female bad ass, who steals every scene she's in. Her fight scenes are just incredible. I've truly never seen a cooler female spy. Here's to hoping she'll be back!
Chris Kyle was a real life ultimate bad ass, who ended his four tours in Iraq with the highest confirmed kill count in U.S. history. Known first and foremost as the deadliest American sniper, Kyle also shows he's adept in other areas of combat. His skill level is nothing short of extraordinary, but his devotion to his duty and to saving lives is what makes him a real hero.
Benicio Del Toro's Alejandro plays most of the film as a shadowy, intimidating presence, who knows first hand the dangers of Mexican drug cartels. He keeps mostly to himself, never exposing his true intentions for revenge until he strategically pounces on his prey. He's a true lone wolf who takes over the film with his focus and ferocity.
And the Winner Is...
Favorite Bad Ass
I was having a great time watching Sicario, but then was blown away by the final act of the film as it shifts its attention to Del Toro's Alejandro, who reveals himself as the true hitman of the story. It's a well-placed and unexpected twist that is immensely satisfying and engaging. As everything shifts away to a different direction, it simultaneously falls perfectly into place. This is Alejandro's story, and it's an unforgettable tale of revenge. We discover that he's been playing everyone all along, all for the chance to come face to face with the man who killed his family. The way he tactically takes over the story of the film through his ingenuity and resolve is what makes him my favorite bad ass of the year. We can sympathize with his pain, but we know just as he does that this revenge won't solve anything, nor will it reduce the amount of bloodshed caused by the cartels. All it can offer him is a small amount of personal justice and satisfaction.