The Film: Get Carter (1971)
The Assassin: Carter wants revenge for the death of his brother. And he’s going to get it.
Wow, That’s Awesome! Nothing sets a man on a path of destruction more than revenge. And Carter’s not going to rest until he’s made every one of the men who murdered his brother suffer. Brutally. And without remorse. He even kills a prostitute with a lethal heroin overdose. No-one ever said life’s fair.
The Film: Kill Bill (2003-04)
The Assassin: Grudge-bearing woman who wants revenge for her assassin team mates turning on her. Hell hath no fury…
Wow, That’s Awesome! Nothing beats The Bride’s all-out assault on the House Of Blue Leaves for sheer iconic action and ballistic blade-clashing.
Our purposeful heroine wears Bruce Lee’s yellow tracksuit and takes on the Crazy 88s (guess why they’re called that), leaving them all limbless and writhing in pools of their own blood.
The Film: Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead (1995)
The Assassin: “The most lethal hitman this side of the Mississippi” apparently.
Wow, That’s Awesome! Some assassins get their jollies wise-cracking at their victims before eviscerating them. Not so Mr Shhh, who keeps as schtum as you’d assume – he’s the strong silent type, see. Not that he doesn’t like to express himself – through violence. A brilliantly deranged Coens precursor to…
The Film: No Country for Old Men (2007)
The Assassin: Scary bowl hair cut meets Terminator-like single purpose.
Wow, That’s Awesome! The weapon has it here, with Anton’s deadly device a discreet captive bolt pistol that would never arouse suspicion in regular circumstances. It blasts holes in doors, walls, people – the bolt pistol takes no prisoners. Chigurh himself ain’t bad either, modelled on Death and damn near as inescapable.
The Film: Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
The Assassin: A pair of hitmen who are hired by the Axe Gang to deadify their enemies.
Wow, That’s Awesome! Most assassins use guns. Not so this duo. Theirs is a harp. Yuhuh, a harp. A Guqin-Guzheng hybrid, to be more precise.
Channeling their Qi into the harp, they focus the sound waves made by the instrument in order to create deadly weapons – like fists or undead Chinese warriors. Talk about left field.
The Film: La Femme Nikita (1990)
The Assassin: A former heroin addict, Nikita is drafted in to work for French Intelligence.
Wow, That’s Awesome! We love a kick-ass female, and Nikita’s one of the sassiest. Her transformation from urchin to urban nightmare is fantastic, while the sexy ‘do is paired with the ultimate accessory – a shiny new .44 Magnum.
Killing for her is basically foreplay, as exemplified in the scene where she uses a sniper rifle to take out a woman from her hotel bathroom - while her beau waits in the bedroom.
The Film: Crying Freeman (1995)
The Assassin: Yo Hinomura is the Crying Freeman, an assassin who does his job – and then has a bit of a weep about it afterwards.
Wow, That’s Awesome! Cola bottle shades and a flippin’ cool mask - not to mention a series of tattoos to put even Lisbeth Salander to shame - make Yo one cool cat. Whether its riding on explosions in slow-mo or firing guns in slow-mo, he’s gonna put that bullet in his opponent’s head – and, yes, then have a little cry.
The Films: The Bourne Identity/Supremacy/Ultimatum (2002-07)
The Assassin: Amnesia-suffering ex-CIA agent who’s on the run from his former bosses.
Wow, That’s Awesome! Bourne may look like the boy next door, but can the boy next door kill a man using an elastic band and a bit of chewing gum? Didn’t think so.
Bourne’s awesomeness lies in that very ability, with the quick-witted survivalist coming out of just about every single scrap he’s muddled up in with minimal bruising.
Mr Wint & Mr Kidd
The Film: Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
The Assassins: Henchmen to megalomaniac Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
Wow, That’s Awesome! “One is never too old to learn from a master,” purrs Wint, as he watches a scorpion shuffle about on some rocks.
Just another day in the life of these two, who talk about murder and mayhem as if they were discussing last night’s I ’m A Celebrity… Which makes them awesome in our books – the clever kills are just the icing on the dynamite-stuffed cake.
The Film: Layer Cake (2004)
The Assassin: He makes living things dead.
Wow, That’s Awesome! “Don't piss in my pocket and tell me it's raining.”
Dragan’s gangster chic, getting the fix on Lucky and taking a no-holds-barred approach in attempting to snipe XXXX. He’s also really, really mean – just look at him. We don’t fancy meeting him on a dark, drunken stroll home.
The Film: In The Line Of Fire (1993)
The Assassin: He’s psychotic, but he’s also super smart. A brilliant combination.
Wow, That’s Awesome! This guy’s got style in spades. Those glasses. That hair. The insane glint reflected in those mad eyes. He’s also more driven than a US school bus, determined to take down the US president. His predatory disposition is thanks to a mental breakdown, which means he’ll stop at nothing. Yes, nothing.
The Film: Battle Royale (2000)
The Assassin: Schoolkid sociopath Kazuo just loves killing. Maybe a bit too much.
Wow, That’s Awesome! In the manga, he’s a partly-lobotomised freak, whose severe brain damage means that he feels absolutely no emotion whatsoever.
Which comes in handy when it comes to killing (mostly) defenceless schoolkids. Kazuo racks up his kill score… before his collar is detonated by Shogo.
The Film: Mr & Mrs Smith (2005)
The Assassin: A trained killer who works for a hive of female-only assassins.
Wow, That’s Awesome! They say that spies/assassins have a tough life, but spare a moment for poor old Mrs Smith, if you will.
Not only is she a deadly killer, she’s also a dedicated housewife - arguably a far tougher, more time consuming role. Ensuring that dinner is on the table for her hubbie every night, she’s also found the time to decorate her house in the most stylish of shades. What a gem.
The Film: Léon (1994)
The Assassin: Working for mafia big wig Tony, Léon lives a quiet life in NY’s Little Italy.
Wow, That’s Awesome! Even hired killers need friends, and Léon generally counts his potted planted as his closest. He also loves Gene Kelly musicals, which immediately ups his awesome factor. Add in his determination to win no matter what the cost (hello, grenade vest), and he’s one top fella.
The Film: Three Days Of The Condor (1975)
The Assassin: He kills people for Middle East Operations Director Leonard Atwood while wearing a cool hat.
Wow, That’s Awesome! He’s an Alsation for a start, which is a pretty nifty name for a person from Alsace – hound connotations and all. Then there’s his tired, sad explanation of how an assassin works. And finally there’s his expert kills. Max von Sydow, you rock our world.
The Film: Collateral (2004)
The Assassin: A silver fox with mysterious motives.
Wow, That’s Awesome! It’s hard enough getting across a club to the bar, and then flagging down the bartender as a hundred screeching Essex girls all clamour for their next bottle of WKD. Kudos, then, to Vincent, who navigates a pumping club in search of his victim with all the pro of a lion on the prowl, and inevitably gets his man.
The Film: The Terminator (1984)
The Assassin: A time travelling machine sent back to the 1980s in order to kill Sarah Connor.
Wow, That’s Awesome! Aside from his ability to bark out timeless one-liners (“Sarah Connor?”), the T-800 is the kind of killer you definitely want on your side. Unstoppable, determined and damn near impossible to kill, it/he is a juggernaut of pre-programmed intent.
The Film: The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
The Assassin: Amnesia-suffering schoolteacher Samantha Caine discovers that she is in fact an assassin by the name of Charly, an ex-employee of the CIA.
Wow, That’s Awesome! Unaware of her previous life as a CIA agent, Samantha/Charly’s muscle memory kicks in when she’s attacked by an escaped convict. Without even blinking, she kills her assailant – and is appalled by what her body was capable of doing. Now that’s cool.
Martin Q Blank
The Film: Grosse Point Blank (1997)
The Assassin: Depressed about his current line of work, Blank’s invite to a high school reunion stirs up an old romance.
Wow, That’s Awesome! Blank has many an awesome moment going for him, though tops has to be the scene in which he trades blows with another assassin while at his high school reunion.
Cornered in a school hallway, he uses lockers as something to smash his opponent's face into, before wielding a pen as a deadly finisher.
Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield
The Film: Pulp Fiction (1994)
The Assassins: Hired guns for mob boss Marsellus Wallace.
Wow, That’s Awesome! Jules may be an unsympathetic killing machine, but he’s also a man of religion. During one particular job, he even recites Ezekiel 25:17 to his imminent target, the lousy worm that is Brett. He’s not averse to debating the philosophy of a Big Mac, either, which just shunts him higher in our estimations.
The Film: Taxi Driver (1976)
The Assassin: Disillusioned driver, who takes it upon himself to rid the Chicago streets of scum.
Wow, That’s Awesome! Vigilante Bickle has a moral compass, which sets him apart from other assassins.
A self-appointed killer, Bickle’s unhinged but obviously has his heart in the right place. Mirror banter reaps endlessly quotable dialogue (“you talkin’ to me?”), while his final, bloody stand-off is the thing of movie legend.
The Film: Le Samouraï (1967)
The Assassin: An exacting assassin who has never aroused suspicion thanks to his methodical, precision approach.
Wow, That’s Awesome! Costello lives to kill, and his life reflects that. His apartment is better organised than the whole of the FBI, showing that he really is the tiger in the jungle.
He’s also a total perfectionist, following a stringent code of duty and going about his work with clockwork precision. And he’s French. Awesome.
The Film: Road To Perdition (2002)
The Assassin: Orphan Sullivan was raised by mob boss John Rooney, and works as his enforcer during the Great Depression.
Wow, That’s Awesome! Sullivan proves what kind of a man he is when he decides to kill father-figure Rooney, who is responsible for the offing of Sullivan’s family.
See, they discovered that he was working as an assassin, which pretty much signed their death contract. As Sullivan confronts Rooney in the pouring rain, they have an emotional stand-off before Sullivan pulls the trigger.
The Film: Ghost Dog (1999)
The Assassin: Known only as Ghost Dog, this killer follows the samurai code as he goes about his business.
Wow, That’s Awesome! Originality is key here, with Dog an unusual mix of gangster, mafia mate and samurai sword-wielder. He’s softly spoken, but boy can he do some damage. He even jumps around to the sounds of RZA before Tarantino did it with Kill Bill.
The Film: The Killer (1989)
The Assassin: Jong resolves to do one last job in order to earn enough money to help a woman blinded during one of his previous jobs.
Wow, That’s Awesome! A rare hitman who actually possesses honour! Despite being a cold-blooded killer, Ah Jong tends to want to do right and completes his jobs with honour, elegance and blood-soaked reverence. Doesn't mean he won't resort to be a bit of bare handed killage, of course.
The Film: Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
The Assassin: Another time-travelling hitman, still a cybernetic organism but this one possessing the ability to morph into anybody he comes into contact with.
Wow, That’s Awesome! The morphing thing is top notch. So is the fact that this Terminator can repair himself when he’s hit with bullets, his mercury genetics absorbing the pellets.
But it’s the cold, emotionless way with which the T-1000 goes about his business that makes him really awesome – he’s a leaner, meaner version of Arnie’s T-800.
The Film: The Jackal (1997)
The Assassin: Known only as ‘The Jackal’, he’s hired by a mobster in retaliation against the FBI.
Wow, That’s Awesome! White blonde hair. Muscular process. A gun. And one cocky attitude. Sure everything going on around him is a little bit drab (the critics weren’t kind to this remake), but Willis is his usual enigmatic self. And we just can’t get enough of that.
The Film: Crank (2006)
The Assassin: Brit hitman who’s poisoned and has to keep his adrenaline levels up if he wants to live.
Wow, That’s Awesome! It’s the role that made The Stath famous, and rightly so. As assassin Chev, he’s a bundle of nervous, frantic energy, racing against himself and the poison in his system to survive. Cue a series of completely wild, insane acts through which Chev seeks to keep his adrenaline bursting. Breakneck stuff.
The Film: The Mechanic (1972)
The Assassin: Bishop leaves no stone unturned when it comes to killing, working efficiently and never leaving a trace.
Wow, That’s Awesome! Bishop is nothing if not a forward thinker. He knows that some day another assassin may get the better of him. So he booby traps his car for when apprentice Steve will inevitably turn rogue.
Bishop gets his revenge from beyond the grave when Steve (scary name, fella) goes to nick the diseased chap’s wheels – and ends up toast.