While I don’t know if 2012 was a banner year for badasses in cinema, we weren’t left wanting for any, that’s for sure. This year we were able to find stone-cold cool behavior from a wide swath of characters, good guys and bad alike. As for the “demographic breakdown of these characters, we’ve got a teenage girl, a bike messenger, and a stuffed animal. With that, let’s get cracking on a motley A-Team of badasses. Enjoy.


Duh. Of course the guy in the Quentin Tarantino revenge film of 2012 is going to get the nod, though it could almost as easily go to Christoph Waltz for his role as the sublimely sympathetic bounty hunter in Django Unchained.

Django is tough as nails as demonstrated by his time spent in slavery, but he never lost his touch with a gun, which we quickly learn as he picks off the bad guys left right, and center.


I was reluctant to put Bane on the list because he was designed to be a badass, and I prefer unintentional (or less obvious) badasses in my films, like Danny Devito’s Penguin. That guy was a secret waddling badass.

Nonetheless, Tom Hardy plays the hulking, mysterious heavy in such a fashion that it’s hard not get on board with his general misanthropy and those nifty suspenders and that mask. I want one of those masks that just sprays painkillers into my mouth at all times.

In fact, this entry is probably more suited to be “Bane’s Mask” than Bane himself.

Katniss Everdeen

A girl makes the list, and this isn’t just window dressing. Katniss is hell with a bow and arrow, looks out for her friends, and kills boys twice her size in the Hunger Games. What’s not to like?

But beyond the action, Kat’s act of stepping up for her little sister was her most bold move. It could have backfired, but that would have made for a really, really sad and surprising film. Katniss lives, Primrose her sister lives, and Peeta dies.

Just kidding. Does Peeta die?

Watch the movie and find out. You seriously haven’t seen Hunger Games? GOD.


You don’t need to be carved from wood or spit hellfire to be a badass. Sometimes, you can just be a guy who knows his place in the world, and derives his pleasures from weed, beer, and scattered hook ups. And if you’re a former child star stuffed animal, then all the better.

Ted is my favorite badass of the list, because where other men would use their fists, he harnesses the power of “not giving a f*ck.” And that’s an element of enlightened badassery that most action stars just don’t have.

Magic Mike

For the ladies. Magic Mike himself may not have been a badass but his depiction resulted in a pretty mindblowing turn of events – people were able to, for the first time in recent memory, witness a male stripper without wanting to punch him in the face.

You can chalk it up to director Steven Soderbergh, you can chalk it up to Channing Tatum, or you can chalk it up to our deep-seated desire to break down and LOVE male strippers, but Magic Mike makes (male) stripping respectable.

Ok, I got carried away. (Male) Stripping isn’t respectable, but he made it tolerable.

And those abs…


Bike messengers are more often than not similar to their over-the-top depiction in Portlandia. A jackass “indie” guy who treats the fact that he delivers messages like some sort of calling from God.

Well…Wilee from Premium Rush is no different. The film creates mountains out of molehills, romanticizing a subculture to an extent that would make even the producers of The Fast and the Furious blush.

It’s a silly movie, but it’s one that’s done pretty well, in a realm of imagination that hasn’t existed. And those little moments where Wilee’s journey presents several different outcomes based on his decisions are a lot of fun, but mostly because he crashes, then dusts himself off.

You know…like a badass.

The Iceman – Richard Kulinski

He might not be cartoonishly evil, but a real-life mafia hitman, especially when played by the ubercreepy Michael Shannon, is terrifying in completely different fashion. Shannon’s portrayal of Richard Kulinski, familyman-cum-murderer is icy not just due to the role’s depravity, but the believability resulting from the fact that a) it’s a true story, and b) Michael Shannon is a great actor.

The film hasn’t hit theaters in wide release yet, but it’s made its way through the festival circuit, and who could wait to put this guy on the list for 2013? Not me, apparently.

He would seem a bit out of place in the Hunger Games, though.

Shit. Now I want him to be in the next Hunger Games.