Special Edition: Hans’ Solo


Note: I’m taking the day off from Autism Awareness, because a) I’m dog-tired and b) I’m frankly running out of topics. So, as part of fellow blogger Clay Morgan’s (educlaytion.wordpress.com) ongoing pop culture Lolapalooza, I wrote a short piece explaining my choice for the greatest movie villain of the 1980s. After some deliberation (The Terminator? The Predator? Ed Rooney?) I went with Alan Rickman’s delicious Hans Gruber from Die Hard. Enjoy, my readers!

“And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer.” Benefits of a classical education. ~Hans Gruber, Die Hard

Let’s face it; the 80s had some of the most memorable movie villains. You had the bombastic (Clubber Lang), the Communistic (Ivan Drago), the completely incompetent (Ed Rooney), the cybertronic and unstoppable (The Terminator.) When I look back to the Decade of Excess, there’s no greater personification of cool yet purely evil than Hans Gruber of the first Die Hard.

It takes a special breed to toss around classical references like so many bodies through the air. Gruber is a badass, but he’s a cultured badass in a tailored suit and a Eurotrash beard. He’s an evil mastermind who takes umbrage to the word “terrorist.” This also marked the film debut of British actor Alan Rickman, with his impeccable deadpan timing and silky-smooth baritone. Does it get any better than a guy who recently got voted by Empire magazine as the 17th greatest movie character of all time (for the record,  John McClane came in at #12.)

Gruber’s straightforward in his motivation. He won’t hesitate to blow cops away or take innocent women hostage to get what he wants. It takes guts to try and upstage the maverick wisecracking hero in his own movie…and Gruber damn near steals the entire show from McClane. He also gets one of the best death scenes in ANY film. Can you really think Die Hard without visualizing his fall at the end? Gruber proved so popular, in fact, that his brother Simon (Jeremy Irons) became the villain for the third Die Hard.

Sure, there were plenty of evil aliens, cyborgs, bullies and school administrators in the Reagan years. Still, I’m taking the guy whose mind is deadlier than any muscles or weapons will ever be. Not to mention his accent. I’m a sucker for a villain with a sexy accent, all right? Sue me and send the bill to the Nakatomi Corporation.

 

 

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on April 22, 2011.

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