September 25, 2004

Max Zorin

Greedy businessmen are always looking for a way to gain a monopoly on their own particular market. In the case of Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) and Zorin Industries, it's computer microchips. And what better way to eliminate your competition - namely, California's Silicon Valley - than to arrange things so the Earth will swallow them whole? If it's good enough for Lex Luthor, I'd say it's good enough for Max Zorin.

Project Main Strike is a little idea concocted by Zorin to initiate earthquakes along major fault lines, resulting in devastation for Zorin competitors and an incredible market share for Zorin Industries. Well, if there's one man in the world who can save these United States companies from doom, it's... a British Secret Agent. James Bond (Roger Moore) is on the case, tracking Zorin and his associates, like the heart attack on two legs, May Day (Grace Jones). Bond is discovered and while Zorin orders numerous attacks on his life, Bond survives nonetheless.

Eventually, Agent 007 finds himself facing a decision: go after the bomb, or Zorin. May Day tragically changes sides too late - "And I thought that creep loved me!" - sacrificing herself to move the bomb away from the target area and dying in the resulting blast. Already making his getaway, Zorin takes flight in his own blimp, heading toward San Francisco Bay. Bond naturally finds a way to tag along, and before you know it, he's duking it out with Zorin on top of the Golden Gate Bridge. In the end, a French Industrialist is no match for a British Secret Agent (no matter how old both of them are) and Zorin perishes after a long fall.

Max Zorin is actually the product of bad genetic engineering, the result of Nazi experiments to make highly intelligent babies. The side effects, however, made them psychotic as well. Zorin has parlayed those smarts into creating an internationally successful business, but his psychotic side pushes his greed to far. Zorin goes so far as to kill competitors rather than subvert them through honorable ways, and as long as his actions make him another dollar, the ends will always justify the means.

INTELLIGENCE - 8: Superintelligent yet psychotic; his strategies are powerful but usually morally wrong and/or illegal.

POWER - 4: Physically, he is an average older man. Those Nazi experiments didn't give him superstrength too.

VILENESS - 10: Every Bond villain has got to have great bodyguards to do the killin', but Zorin sure does enjoy killing people too.

SWAY - 9: He is eccentric, highly confident, and prepared for anything. Difficult to intimidate.

PURITY - 10: The bottom line is what's important, and no one - not even dear May Day - is worth more than that.

PHYSICAL - 4: The high life affords Zorin the opportunity to dress extremely well. But he wouldn't want to get his suit dirty.


Posted by Destro at 07:08 PM

December 09, 2003

Headless Horseman

A great evil has descended upon the small village of Sleepy Hollow. Bodies are being found without their heads, and the locals believe that a creature known as the Headless Horseman is responsible, exacting revenge for its own untimely (albeit deserved) demise many years before. Sent to investigate is New York City constable Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp), who employs scientific method and educated deductions in his search for the killer. His only problem seems to be his penchant for fainting at the sight of blood.

Crane does not buy the local story of revenge, however, and follows the clues where they lead him. Usually, they lead to mysterious revelations regarding the well-bred Van Tassel family, especially young Katrina (Christina Ricci), and to further entanglements with the Horseman. The constable is determined, though, and he uncovers a conspiracy whose shadow looms over the most prominent figures in the town, the same people who are coincidentally ending up without heads.

The Headless Horseman is not the architect of evil, however, as the real villain behind this treachery is Lady Van Tassel (Miranda Richardson). In an attempt to steal the Van Tassel fortune - and exact a long-brewing revenge over the very family that shunned her own many years ago - she assembled a long list of victims to be killed, thereby allowing her to assume control of the Van Tassel family. The Horseman would provide the means, as well as a prime suspect for authorities. To do so, she would be able to control the dark rider utilizing the mystical powers of her long-forgotten sister, hidden deep in the woods.

Her mistake, however, was to think she could always control such a creature. Upon the discovery of the true villain, Crane managed to break the spell upon the Horseman, and with his head back where it belonged, the Hessian (Christopher Walken) would make Lady Van Tassel pay for her wicked deeds. All in all, the intense fear caused by the Horseman's various appearances around town were nearly as lethal as the raw physical power with which he operated. But finally, with the spell broken, the Horseman would be able to ride into the great beyond, and once and for all, he would go there intact.

INTELLIGENCE - 6: The Horseman is an efficient killer, stalking his prey in intelligent ways.

POWER - 8: Supernaturally strong, skilled with the sword, and could ride like the wind.

VILENESS - 10: Sliced and diced men, women, and children in a number of juicy ways, always involving some kind of dismemberment.

SWAY - 2: Intimidation is for people with heads. We chop heads off around here!

PURITY - 8: Completely controlled by Lady Van Tassel at first, the Hessian just wanted to rest in peace after he regained his head.

PHYSICAL - 10: If a headless rider on a giant horse doesn't scare ya, nothing will.


Posted by Destro at 04:14 PM

September 30, 2003


In The Rundown, an American named Hatcher (Christopher Walken) has taken over an area of the Amazon jungle in the middle of Brazil to dig for gold, and more importantly, the hiding place of a priceless artifact that a "fortune hunter" named Travis (Seann William Scott) has supposedly found. All the while, Hatcher claims to be the salvation of the people of El Dorado, bringing them into the civilized world by building their "city" in the middle of the jungle. If charging people for the shovels they dig with is fair, and a dozen shacks equals a city, perhaps he's okay after all.

One man who knows Hatcher is all wrong right from the get-go is "retrieval expert" Beck (The Rock), a bounty hunter hired to come to South America to bring home Travis. Hatcher forces Beck to pay a kickback to allow him to let Travis leave, but as soon as he decides the time is right, doublecrosses Beck, telling him Travis will never leave, at least, not until the Gato del Diablo artifact is in his own hands. Beck fights Hatcher's boys and runs off with Travis into the jungle, and the chase is on.

Hatcher greatest (or worst) quality has to be his arrogance. While working the people of El Dorado to early graves, he casually wears shimmering gold chains around his neck. While the rebels, hoping to drive Hatcher out of town, hide in the jungle, Hatcher sends his gang in clean house, finding Beck and Travis in the process. While his boys do the dirty work, Hatcher still finds time to get his trigger finger dirty too. Eventually, he does end up with the Gato in his hands, but has to fight off Beck not only to regain control of it, but to survive as well. In the end, the townspeople get exactly what they want, and Beck delivers on all of his promises. That's certainly something Hatcher never did.

INTELLIGENCE - 6: Hatcher is a shrewd capitalist who has found his own isolated niche in the jungle.

POWER - 4: Can handle a gun, but is a bit too old to get involved in the fisticuffs personally.

VILENESS - 8: Doesn't fight fair, makes deals he has no intention of honoring, and patronizes everybody.

SWAY - 8: Uses intimidation and his off-kilter delivery (pure Walken) to keep foes off balance.

PURITY - 7: Hatcher is extremely possessive of the town, the jungle, and everything else there, but in the end, he knows his limits.

PHYSICAL - 3: As Roger Ebert notes, villains often wear the titled hat. Indeed.


Posted by Destro at 01:16 PM

April 11, 2003

Maximillian Shreck

Maximillian Shreck (Christopher Walken) has the charisma and intellect to make him one of the most successful and powerful businessmen in Gotham. So it comes as no surprise that he would crave even more money and power, and in the process get the attention of that "trust fund goody-goody," Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton). However, when he defies Wayne and the Mayor and joins forces with the criminal kingpin, The Penguin (Danny DeVito), then he gets Batman's attention.

Shreck's desire for power is his undoing. He begins to get out of control, pushing his secretary Selena Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer) out of a window to cover up his own little conspiracy. In the process, he helps unleash the Catwoman... but then again, who could've seen that coming? The problem is that Maximillian Shreck is a businessman at heart and doesn't want to get pulled too deep into the nefarious schemes of the Penguin. That, in turn, puts him on Penguin's bad side and ultimately leads to his demise, because let's face it: if you've got two supervillains and a superhero after you all at once, you're in deep shit.

INTELLIGENCE - 7: This highly-successful business tycoon didn't get to where he was by good looks.

POWER - 4: No wonder he wants to build a huge power plant. He lacks so much physically.

VILENESS - 9: Not many bosses will actually push their secretary out a window, no matter how badly they want to.

SWAY - 8: If he can convince Gotham that the Penguin is a good Mayoral candidate, he's damn good.

PURITY - 6: He craves power, but in the end he'll look to save his own corrupt ass (and even his son's).

PHYSICAL - 2: Great suits, but that's some crazy-ass hair.


Posted by Destro at 08:57 AM