Perhaps his first prominent blockbuster role, Johnny 23 was a convicted rapist on Nic Cage’s doomed convict flight. While many of Trejo’s roles offer a little contrast, this ain’t one of ‘em. He’s a straight bad guy rapist here, wearing a tattoo for every woman he’s raped. Good times all around, no?
He even dies in glorious fashion (no spoiler alert because if you haven’t seen Con Air yet, you don’t deserve spoiler alerts), with his arm still handcuffed to the plane after the crash, but the rest of his body…elsewhere.
I never realized that in Heat, one of the great crime sagas of the past…ever, he went by “Trejo,” which, unless you’ve recently suffered a head injury, you’ll realize is his actual last name. Zany, right?
Trejo is the wheelman for the big bank heist crew, but has to bow out when he realizes he’s being tailed. Despite being his typically characteristic hard-ass self, we see Trejo in a very physically and emotionally vulnerable state as he lays beaten to within an inch of his life, asking De Niro’s character to kill him as he doesn’t want to live without his wife, who was killed by his assailants.
Sure, it demonstrates a soft side, but asking someone to kill you because you lost your wife is still insanely hard core. Imagine what he would have done to those guys if he wasn’t gravely injured. It probably would have looked something like: