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Kevin Costner Movie Villains


by Marko Peric

Kevin Costner has been in a decent number of movies, at last count forty, give or take, although roles like "Man in Alley" in Frances or "Frat Boy #1" in Night Shift aren't exactly cornerstones of a career. But Costner is best known for big, bloated epics, which is somewhat odd, since he's only responsible for a handful of them. But in typical G/B/U style, this isn't a column about Kevin Costner. It's about the villains. Because what's a big, bloated epic without a larger-than-life bad guy?

Alan Rickman's Sheriff of Nottingham: I have to feel bad for Alan Rickman. He's a classically trained stage actor, a good one. But what does most everyone think of when they see him? The over-the-top Sheriff of Nottingham from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Of course, that's only because he was entirely too good of a villain. Look at how it stacks up. He's ambitious. He fights dirty. He's a megalomaniac. He kills his cousin for messing up once to often. He has no problem with killing little kids. He worships dark powers. He even keeps a witch on retainer. In short, this isn't someone you want to mess with. He only loses in the end because he gets stabbed with his own painfully ironic dagger. This is a villain. In short, very Good.

Dennis Hopper's Deacon: Confession time. I liked Waterworld. Not like I like The Killer or The Princess Bride, but I enjoyed it. It's no where near as bad as people say it is. Not that it should have made the AFI's 100 list, mind you. I do have some issues with the writers, however, or more specifically who ever came up with the names of the characters. Or to be accurate, didn't. Kevin Costner is the Mariner. A hero called the Mariner. Sad. But not so sad as a villain stuck with the moniker Deacon. I understand the whole neo-religious-while-still-having-a-simple-name thing, but deacon just doesn't cut it. So I suppose it's fitting that Dennis Hopper plays a villain as sad as his name. He's got a Napoleon complex going on, he has loads of loyal followers, but he says stuff like "He's like a turd that won't flush!" (in reference to Kevin Costner's Mariner, this quote does work on an unintentional level). How inspiring. And let's not forget about the nastiest prosthetic eyeball you'll ever see. No offense to Dennis Hopper, but the Deacon is Ugly.

Will Patton's General Bethlehem: "You're no general. You're not even a good painter." This pretty much sums up Will Patton's general Bethlehem. How did he get to be in charge of a rampaging militia army, especially one where leadership can be challenged for at any time? Now, I've never met Will Patton. Maybe he's a whole lot more intimidating in real life. But I'm fairly sure that given three weeks at my local neighbourhood fight club to toughen up, I could wipe the floor with him. Why doesn't he have people lined up around the block challenging him for leadership? This is an army he's running, not a boy scout troop, you would think at least some of the members would be in decent shape and have enough combat training to have a go at the general. He doesn't project anywhere near the force he needs for the job. Put maybe Rutger Hauer, or Christopher Walken or John Malkovich in this role, and then I'll believe that he's keeping his job because no one can/will fight him.
And that's not Bethlehem's only problem. He thinks he's enlightened, he's thinks he's brilliant. He leaves Kevin Costner alive in a fashion that would make a 007 type criminal mastermind proud. And let's not forget his name is Bethlehem. Bad.


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