The Top 10 Bad Boys of Britain (Blog)

Category: Misc./General Career News | Posted by: DaisyMay
Article Date: January 28, 2009 | Publication: Reelz Channel | Author: Thomas Leupp
Publication/Article Link:Reelz Channel

Cinema has not always been kind to the British. All too often, lazy filmmakers have reduced the residents of the United Kingdom to a handful of crude stereotypes, portraying them on the big screen as either stammering fops (Hugh Grant), oafish hams (Rowan Atkinson), effete villains (Jeremy Irons), or prancing prettyboys (Jude Law, Orlando Bloom, Jonathan Rhys Meyers -- we could spend hours on this one alone).

In an effort to combat this hideous practice, we present a list of actors who've proven that Brits can't always be so easily pigeonholed. In fact, sometimes they can be pretty darn badass.

Michael Caine -- Get Carter
Caine laid waste to Newcastle's criminal underground in this 1971 thriller, playing a London gangster out to avenge the murder of his brother. Never before, or since, has there been a more stylish hitman. Sylvester Stallone's 2000 remake, set in Las Vegas, bordered on blasphemy.

Ben Kingsley -- Sexy Beast
Talk about versatility -- two decades after winning an Oscar for his portrayal of gentle, non-violent Gandhi, Kingsley was nominated for another one (and got robbed by Jim Broadbent) for playing loud-mouthed sociopath Don Logan in Jonathan Glazer's gritty heist flick.

Sean Connery -- Highlander
Connery's badass credentials are irrefutable, stretching all the way back to his first turn as Bond in 1962's Dr. No. But he arguably reached his peak in 1986's Highlander, in which he couldn't be bothered to alter his trademark accent, despite playing a character named Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez.

Terence Stamp -- The Limey
As an aged British ex-con who crosses the pond to track down the men responsible for his daughter's death, Stamp's violent antics in Steven Soderbergh's noirish 1999 thriller made Superman II's General Zod look downright tame in comparison.

Patrick Stewart -- Star Trek: First Contact
Okay, okay. Rarely, if ever, has the word "badass" ever been uttered in association with a Star Trek flick, but Stewart made a compelling case for the moniker in 1996's First Contact, the greatest of the "next generation" Trek movies.

Gerard Butler -- 300
As the Spartan King Leonidas in Zack Snyder's sword-and-sandals epic, Butler made no effort to hide his thick Scottish brogue while handing verbal beatdowns to the Persian emperor Xerxes and his emissaries. After stumbling a bit with the weepy romantic drama P.S. I Love You, he redeemed himself as a hip London tough guy in 2008's RocknRolla.

Jason Statham -- Crank
The closest thing the U.K. has to a full-time professional badass, Statham cut his teeth in Guy Ritchie's macho heist flicks before moving on to a successful solo career as the Jean-Claude Van Damme for a new generation, busting heads in various over-the-top, B-grade action flicks. The most ridiculous -- and most entertaining -- of which is 2006's chaotic Crank.

Ray Winstone -- Beowulf
Sure, he benefited from a number of CGI "enhancements" as the hero of director Robert Zemeckis' motion-capture version of the Old English tale, but the stocky Winstone is every bit the real deal, having slain his share of beasts during his former career as an amateur boxer.

Daniel Craig -- Layer Cake
Americans got their first real taste of Craig's muscular, understated cool in Matthew Vaughn's acclaimed 2004 debut, in which the future Bond played a successful drug dealer whose retirement plans are sabotaged by a series of double-crosses. Don't be surprised if Craig emerges as the frontrunner to play Steve McQueen in the upcoming biopic of the American movie icon.

Liam Neeson -- Rob Roy
We'll always have a soft spot for his performance as a redneck vigilante in Patrick Swayze's 1989 flick Next of Kin, but it was in 1995's Rob Roy that Neeson truly earned his badass stripes, taking down hordes of wig-wearing dandies like Tim Roth's Archibald Cunningham. Let's just pretend that The Phantom Menace never happened, shall we?

Honorable Mentions: Clive Owen, Christian Bale, and Pierce Brosnan.