There’s a quick line toward the end of No Country For Old Men when Woody Harrelson is explaining to Josh Brolin’s character the pinch he’s gotten himself into. After hearing about the homicidal maniac chasing him, Lou Ellen Moss (Brolin) responds by simply grunting, “Who is this guy supposed to be, the ultimate bad ass or something?”
Javier Bardem played the character Lou Ellen Moss was referring to, but the ultimate bad ass in movies today is Tom Hardy. In 2008, he broke through by starring as the title character in Bronson, a violent criminal who spent 28 years in solitary confinement. Following that, he was a tough guy (and closeted homosexual) in British director Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla and then cleaned it up a little bit alongside Leo in Inception.
Last year’s Warrior is when he really became a force, though, as a soldier who went AWOL only to show up in an MMA tournament… to take on his brother… and deal with his alcoholic father. Warrior is two and a half hours long but it zips by in what feels like an hour. In it, Hardy plays Tommy Conlon and brings back the super macho ass kicker that Mark Wahlberg would sell out his own mother to be. A few minutes of Hardy as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises has been released and was met with criticism because apparently it was hard to understand what he was saying. I didn’t even notice. I was too busy turning into a little kid who was pretending to be the wicked tough guy I just saw on TV.
One true mark of an ultimate badass isn’t just knocking people out and always having the right line ready. In Tailor Tinker Soldier Spy Hardy plays a British spy who’s gone missing. He appears with feathery hair and in close so colorful I’d pity him if he ever had the misfortune of meeting Tommy Conlon, much less Bronson. It takes some serious gall to break the mold of a muscular hard ass. Just imagine Vin Diesel or The Rock as a heartbroken softie.
Eat your heart out Marky Mark.