So recently I went to a Red Box because I was in the mood for an action movie and then like a sign from God, a light was shed on the movie Escape Plan. Escape Plan is another recent movie in the Sylvester Stallone comeback tour, but it also features somebody else on the comeback trail in Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger. When I was watching this movie I got on my Laptop, which I am prone to do because I’m A.D.D and begin to look at both of their IMBD pages. I remember all these great action movies that I grew up with, but as I was looking at their IMBD pages, I was struck with this uncomfortable feeling, because of how awful almost all their character names were.
The Action movie genre back then was so different then it is now. In the 80’s and 90’s it was basically Sly, Arnold, Segal and Van Damme playing Sly, Arnold, Segal and Van Damme with a different name and plot in every movie they were in. Their character names wasn’t something that most people needed to know or care about, because we already knew these guys, we knew what we were about to get with each of them. It’s pretty jarring to look back now and read the actual names of these characters. So it feels completely normal to make a list of the most awful character names in Action movie history…aka the 1980’s and 90’s.
I included the original movie trailer with each movie and trust me you will want to watch each and every one of those trailers, because each of them is epic. Every single one of the trailers has the same narrator; with his deep, smooth voice…it was a simpler time back then. Once again this list is pretty arbitrary so don’t take too much offense to my list, because in the history of important lists it’s not like its Schindler’s list or anything. With that said, I give you the top 17 all-time awful character names in action movies.
1. Lincoln Hawk in Over the Top:
Take a second and look at that name again……Lincoln…..Hawk. Would the last name Hawk be Scandinavian? Is Stallone trying to play a guy with a Danish heritage? Let me try and summarize what this movie’s plot is. Sly plays a truck driver, who is separated from his rich ex-wife who is about to die from some illness. Lincoln Hawk decides to go get his son (The actor who played him has never been seen from again, I mean ever) from military school. His son is a snot-nosed, brat so Sly try’s to teach him life lessons on the road, but his father in-law who later on would mellow with age as he became Tom Hank’s boss in Big, hires goons to kidnap his grandson to bring the kid to him and more importantly, away from Stallone. Stallone goes to Vegas to compete an Arm Wrestling tournament where the grand prize just happens to be a new Semi-truck and enough money allegedly for Lincoln Hawk to start his own truck driving business, which is his dream. We get to the final scene where this unfolds:
When you look at the name Lincoln Hawk, my first question is, was this changed by Stallone pre-filming or was that the name from inception? The name sounds like it came from a Mad-Libs: Name a President________ Next name your favorite Bird____
And Boom…you get Lincoln Hawk. If I did that, my name would have been Roosevelt Pelican…That could work right?
2. Marion “Cobra” Cobretti in Cobra
Before we get to the name of Stallone’s character in this movie let’s talk about this classic, gritty, almost a documentary because of how real it feels movie. Marion “Cobra” Cobretti was the cop that did things “his way”, meaning he always gets his man, even if it’s going to cost the city and the tax players a jarring amount of money to clean up his mess. This movie has two scenes that should be kept in a museum till the end of time. Both of these scenes by these two thespians show why REAL actors are so special and the rest of us are just mere mortals. This clip of Stallone I personally think you can stack up against any of Brando’s or De Ninero’s best work. Rolling into a dark supermarket, with shades on, parlayed with a toothpick adds just the right realism a scene like this needs, and we can all agree that Stallone F’ing nails it!
This next scene is a incoherent monologue by the bad guy that we really don’t have any back story on, or have any understanding on what is motivations were that led him to this point. All I know is that this dude is very creepy
Any time you can mix in a Toothpick and have the nickname of “Cobra” you know you are in good hands. There’s just so much to like here that I strongly recommend that you give Cobra a look if you haven’t seen it in a while.
3. John Matrix in Commando
Seriously…….his name in this movie is John Matrix? Were the writers even trying here? John Matrix is not the name of a human being, nobody in this history of the world has known somebody with the last name “Matrix” and if you say you do, then I’m calling you a liar. This movie is filled with half the cast from The Predator. It’s almost like this was an acting troupe going together from movie to movie in the 1980’s, like Judd Apatow has pretty much the same crew of actors in movie to movie, Arnold had his marvelous crew too. I just can’t get over how horrible Arnold’s name is in this movie, I mean call him “John Smith” if you have to, but don’t name him “John Matrix”. I actually don’t remember much about this movie other than a young Alyssa Milano is in it as well as Rae Dawn Chong who was suppose to be a big thing but it never happened for her. I’m guessing what may have hurt her career was co-starring in one of the most offensive, really-uncomfortable-to-watch-now movies of all time in Soul Man…Just watch the trailer if you don’t know what I’m talking about.
4. Alex and Chad Wagner in Double Impact
Anytime a movie trailer that features the deep voice voice-over can go “Starring Jean Claude Van Damme………. and Jean Claude Van Damme” you know you are in for something special. I like the name Chad Wagner for Jean Claude, it just brings me joy for some reason. When you see and hear Jean Claude speak you would definitely think his name could be Chad right? Jean Claude out of all these action stars from the 80’s and 90’s was the absolute best at the love scenes. Nobody does a Rated R love scene like the muscles from Brussels. It must be the perfectly feathered hair and his creepily slow caresses. Not much more to say about his movie, I mean its Jean Claude playing twins, one who is clean cut, more white collar and then the other twin is the brooding wildcard, with slicked back hair, who doesn’t take shit from anybody. Let’s move on.
5. Cameron Poe In Con Air:
So a military hero, gets into a bar fight defending himself and his girl from some dudes that for whatever reason are resentful towards a solider and during the fight that he didn’t start or want any part of, one of the belligerent instigators is accidently killed. You would think that the legal system would be understanding and based on the facts at the very least give him a slap on the wrist, but no, the Judge inexplicably decides to throw the book at him? I don’t know about you, but I haven’t been at a lot of bars where a guy minding his own business in a military uniform gets heckled. Plus it would be hard to imagine a judge would view a guy getting jumped by three guys to be at fault and because of his military background needs to be taught a lesson? Very confusing the first ten minutes of Con Air are. Anyways, besides this absurd plot, we do get a couple great names in
Cameron Poe, played by Nic Cage, who was gunning for the Kevin Costner award for most showboat-ee, horrible accent in a movie. The name Cameron Poe is pretty flashy but it’s not even the flashiest name in the movie, which of course belongs to the great John Malkovich as Cyrus “The Virus”. This movie is actually pretty entertaining, but it has the weird thing where LeAnne Rimes and Trisha Yearwood both sang the same song for some reason. Was this like a West Coast/East Coast Hip-Hop battle? I guess Trisha Yearwood won because her version is played with clips from the movie?
Remember this phase in the mid to late 90’s where all these movies would have a cheesy music video like that with their movies? I smell my next blog topic!
6. John “The Eraser” Kruger in Eraser
I remember seeing this opening night at a movie theater in San Jose, CA. Before the movie started, One of the theater employees came onto a microphone and said, “Prepare to be erased!!!!!. It was like being at a WWE show or something. Not quite a name like John Matrix, but having the nickname, “The Eraser” does give you immediate credibility in the action movie genera. I actually think this movie for what it is, still holds up, or better said it’s still watchable without too many unintentional laughs, which mostly come from Vanessa William’s acting throughout the flick. I think this was supposed to be her coming out party into films and I think time has told us that her campaign never quite had legs.
7. John Spartan in Demolition Man:
I mean how lazy was the guy who came up with this name for Sly? The villain (Wesley Snipes) has an awful name in this as well in Simon Phoenix. What is it with Bird names for characters in movies? Anyways, this movie did make over a hundred million dollars and I remember seeing this in the theater and pretending it was really cool, but really if you re-watch it now…it kind of sucks. John Spartan sounds like a name some tool uses as their gamer name to play Call Of Duty online. When you combine that name and then the name Simon Phoenix…well that’s quite the one two punch for a viewer to handle. Sandra Bullock actually replaced Laura Petty during the filming of this movie, which I’m guessing happened because A League of Their Own came out and everybody hated Laura Petty as Kit so much that it got her permanently black-balled from Hollywood. This movie is really bad…I stand by that statement.
8. Lt. Ray Tango in Tango & Cash
Another movie that gets more points from me because there are two awful names; in Ray Tango and Gabe Cash, which just saying those names gives me awkward goose-bumps. I’m almost convinced that they came up with the characters names first before they wrote one word of this script. The plot of this movie is really strange. Somehow they both get set up and framed for a crime they didn’t commit by the Town “bad guy”, they get found guilty on the basis of an audio tape that was clearly fabricated that would never be immiscible in any court in this country. After being found guilty, they are supposed to be sent to a club fed type of prison, but instead get sent to apparently the worst prison in the world on the orders of the Bad guy played by Jack Palance. Apparently in Los Angles (where the movie takes place) Palance is the dark prince who reigns over the city. He even has a room with a lot of mirrors that is never explained, that would never serve any practical purpose to have, except to serve as a contrived set piece in an action movie. So Tango and Cash are two completely different people; Tango is the straight laced, does everything by the book, white-collar cop and Cash is the wildcard, cocky and brash, but together they become quite the duo to be reckoned with and learn that sometimes in life you can’t judge a book by its cover.
9. Jericho Cane in End of Days
To be honest, I know I’ve seen this movie, but I don’t remember a single thing about it. All I know is that Arnold’s character’s name in this movie is Jericho Cane…Does Arnold really look like a “Jericho”? The name Jericho Cain sounds like a bad soap opera name for a villain. This movie co-stars Gabriel Byrne is plays the same perpetually pissed off character in every single movie he was ever in. In every Gabriel Byrne movie, five minutes don’t go by where he does not put his hand on his head, looking like he has a monster migraine. Back to this movie though…and I actually don’t have much to add other than Arnold’s name in the movie is Jericho Cain.
10. Joe Hallenbeck in The Last Boy Scout
So maybe not the most flashy name on this list, but I have a special place for this movie in my heart, because somehow I talked my mom into letting me see it in the theater when I was in the sixth grade, with my friend Juice(Not O.J). This movie has gotten lost in time somewhat, but I remember that it did seem to have some good buzz around it when it first came out. The plot is a little convoluted. All I remember is that Halle Berry played a dancer or stripper that gets gunned down because one of the seventeen Wayne’s brothers wants to get back into football, and she had some tape recordings to blackmail somebody important. Basically I put this movie on this list because of how good the trailer is, with Bruce Willis hitting us with his Bruce Willis-ness throughout the preview. I mean is this character and the character from Die Hard the same person? At worst they’re first cousins, right? I used to try to talk like this character, which was odd when I was eleven years old..I would talk in a raspy, smokey voice and repeat lines from this trailer, like when the bad guy says “I want to hear you scream”, in a deep Bruce Willis voice I would say “Play some rap music”. I was such a character as a kid right…..Cool story bro.
11. Frank Dux in Bloodsport
Based on a true story about an American? Then why does Frank Dux have a bad accent? How about Ogre from Revenge of The Nerds and Forrest Whitaker in supporting roles in this? Forrest Whitaker for as good as he is and has been, has really been in some horrible movies. Go look at his IMBD page if you don’t believe me. If you don’t remember this movie and couldn’t understand the trailer laying out the whole plot of you, this movie is about Frank Dux proving he can do the splits better than anybody else in Asia, which leads to other people getting mad at Frank Dux because they think they can do the splits the best, which leads to some of these people fighting one another…The end.
12. Jack Burton in Big Trouble in Little China
Ok, Not really a bad, unique name, but it gives me a chance to showcase this gem. Really its one of my all-time favorite movies. It seems like one of those flicks that anybody under the age of thirty has never seen or heard of. It doesn’t seem to ever be on T.V, but trust me if you haven’t seen it before, it’s definitely worth your time. I feel like those last two sentences should be the blurb on the back of the blue-ray edition. Do yourself a favor and give this movie a look, because Kurt Russell has never been better before or since
13. Harry Stamper in Armageddon
So I saw this movie, in the theater, high as a kite (It was 1998, I was 18…It was Oregon…that’s what we do..or did) and so this movie at the time actually scared me. I mean an asteroid hitting earth seems somewhat plausible in all seriousness right? Did the real life top Oil-driller see this movie and say “shit, I better get ready for this.”? Other than in England with the Prince, are there anymore Harry’s walking around on this earth? Harry Stamper played by Bruce Willis, who played this part with a zest that makes me think that somebody was standing off camera with a sack of money with a big dollar sign on it that they would throw to him after every completed scene as motivation. The name Harry Stamper I would guess was used because it’s the least likely name you would associate with someone who was going to save the planet. It’s the name the producers thought was the most blue collar sounding. Remember Ben Affleck was all Ben Affleck-ee in this movie?
Later in the movie his rocket crashes onto a broken off piece of the Asteroid and somehow he drives on this asteroid in a doon-buggie and somehow jumps it onto the other asteroid….Michael Bay loves to take liberties with science and plausibility’s.
14. Darren McCord in Sudden Death
Apparently Jean Claude Van Damme is Irish….Darren McCord? What, was Patty McShamrock already taken? Somehow in this movie he actually ends up playing the goalie..
I get that goalies wear big, thick masks but is nobody on that team going to notice that there’s a stranger playing goalie for them? Professional sports teams our like families, there with each other for like six months out of the year, it’s a little perplexing to think that Van Dam could just slip into the net like he’s Patrick Roy without any teammates, opponents, arena staff or camera’s catching him. In awful fashion, Van Damme somehow is an awesome goalie even though it’s clear he’s never played before as he makes ridiculous save after ridiculous save. I actually kind of like this movie to which is the sick part. I think out of all the Van Damme movies, this is the most general-audience friendly.
15. Mason Storm in Hard to Kill:
I had to include one Steven Segal movie on this list and what better one to choose then the one where his character has a Porn name in, “Mason Storm’. I looked it up, this movie made 40 million dollars. Watch that preview again and ponder that again….this movie made 40 million dollars. There was a time in this country, where Steven Segal was a bankable commodity….Chew on that for a minute. Segal always had that look like he’s slightly out of shape. Not fat, but maybe seven pounds overweight. Segal also capitalized on the early 90’s “guys with pony tails” phase that we’ve all tried to forget ever happened.
16. Castor Troy in Face Off:
I put this farther down on the list because this is the bad guy’s name in the movie, but it’s really hard to think of a more awful name for a character then Castor Troy. What was the process for coming up with that name, because I really want to know the genesis for how that name came out of somebody’s mouth. Castor Troy now that I think about it, might be the douchest name in movie history. The movie when it came out was a huge hit, but looking back now it’s pretty absurd. Once the Face-off-thingy happens with Cage and Travolta you get each of them trying to do an impression of the other one for the majority of the movie and it is great…and not in the true sense of that word. Cage actually does a pretty good Travolta and does show some acting chops, but Travolta trying to do Cage is just awful. Can we all agree that Travolta has really only been good once in the last thirty years(Pulp Fiction)?
17. Dalton in Roadhouse:
R.I.P Swayze! Really, Roadhouse feels like it should have been a western movie, taking place in the late 1890’s. I mean it’s about a bar that gets too wild every night, so they bring in Dalton, who I guess, is a bar-whisperer to clean the place up. On IMDB it just lists the character’s name as Dalton, with no last name. I just want to guess what it is or what I would have come up with. I think I would go with Bordeaux…Dalton Bordeaux. That works for you right? I heard there remaking this movie, which will probably be horrible unless they cast the Swayze role with Shia LaBeouf…then I would watch that movie when it came out.
Hope you enjoyed my little list here. If you got any favorites that I left off, feel free to leave them on the comment section below. On my next blog I will be covering the Back To the Future trilogy and the lingering questions I still have with it…..