Non Sequitur: Battle of the Badasses


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Battle of the Badasses, Vol. 1: Kurtwood Smith vs. Michael Ironside

As unbelievable as it may seem, Kurtwood Smith and Michael Ironside have never appeared together in a movie. 1So sayeth I believe this is because the combined badassedness of the two would be nigh-impossible to contain in a single motion picture. Auditoriums in which the Smith/Ironside film was being shown would hemmorhage badassery, which would then flood the multiplex and take over every other film being shown. Two doors down in That Charming English Fop, Hugh Grant would suddenly pull a Scarface and fatten every stiff upper lip gathered ’round the delightful, period-accurate dinner table with a Louisville Slugger. Clear across the multiplex, the children watching Shrek 4: Ogre and Ogre Again would recoil in horror as the beloved green grump began to feast on exquisitely-pixelated human flesh.

Clearly, a head to head, no holds barred, balls to the wall showdown between these two men—men who define the very essence of badassishness—is out of the question, but I can always dream.

Kurtwood Smith: Badass

Kurtwood Smith may be most recognizable to contemporary audiences as Red Forman in the television series That 70’s Show. Red is the father of not only two children, but also the word “dumbass,” which he apparently created to describe his son. There is no question that Red is a badass, but the character is played for laughs, and most incarnations of Ironside-badassitude would wring Red Forman out like an overused snot rag.

To find the quintessential Kurtwood Smith badass it is necessary to leap forward one decade, to 1987. In RoboCop Kurtwood Smith portrayed Clarence Boddicker, 2RoboCop was almost the movie that would have oozed badassery: Michael Ironside was at one time up for the role of Alex Murphy, which ultimately went to Peter Weller, who—without the benefit of a … Continue reading the man who was directly responsible for Alex Murphy’s transformation from ordinary police officer into the ass-kicking titular character. Boddicker began by obliterating Murphy’s hand with a pump-action shotgun, then turned him over to his men, who fired round after round into the helpless cop’s prone body. Boddicker himself then delivered the killing shot, a blast directly to Murphy’s right temple. The scene is one of the most brutal, vicious moments in cinematic history, and Clarence Boddicker scared the ever-loving crap out of fourteen-year-old me.

Michael Ironside: Canadian Badass

Whereas Kurtwood Smith’s image has been softened over the years, Michael Ironside remains a hardcore badass. One look at the man tells you two things: first, he’s fully capable of tearing your face off and nailing it to a wall; second, he’d enjoy it.

Ironside (Canada’s premiere badass) has had a career full of badass roles, from the malevolent Darryl Revok in Scanners (1981) to the malevolent Richter in Total Recall (1991) to good guy badass Sam Fisher in four installments of the Splinter Cell video games. 3Ironside as Fisher is the ne plus ultra of perfection in voice casting. Even when he’s not playing the villain, Ironside will break both your arms just to see you dance like Michael Flatley. Where Kurtwood Smith as Clarence Boddicker scared the crap out of me at fourteen, Michael Ironside as Michael Ironside scares the crap out of me at thirty-three.

Movie fans may recall the hype generated when badasses Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro appeared together for the first time on screen in Heat (1995). I submit that the meeting of those two powerhouses was not only anti-climactic but would pale in comparison to the jaw-dropping, nut-crunching spectacle of a Kurtwood Smith/Michael Ironside showdown. The event could only be described as an earth-shaking collision, the movie could only be titled Badass, and all other auditoriums in the multiplex would have to be evacuated any time it was screened.

1 So sayeth
2 RoboCop was almost the movie that would have oozed badassery: Michael Ironside was at one time up for the role of Alex Murphy, which ultimately went to Peter Weller, who—without the benefit of a cyborg body—barely registers on the Badass Scale.
3 Ironside as Fisher is the ne plus ultra of perfection in voice casting.

15 responses to “Non Sequitur: Battle of the Badasses”

  1. Rae Avatar

    Kurtwood Smith gets girl points for being the Shakespeare hating Dad in Dead Poets Society. He was eeeevil and forced poor pretty Robert Sean Leonard and his cheek bones to die. Bad Kurtwood Smith!

  2. KJToo Avatar

    [Comment ID #3341 Will Be Quoted Here]

    I’m pretty sure you mean “Badass Kurtwood Smith!”

  3. Rae Avatar

    I’m a lady…I would never use a term as uncouth as Badass!

    ;- )

  4. blob Avatar

    There’s a man in my way, Lambert.

  5. KJToo Avatar

    [Comment ID #3343 Will Be Quoted Here]

    For all I know, “badass” could have an entirely different, innocuous meaning in Scotland, whereas some nondescript, harmless word like “trumpet” has connotations that involve latex and reptiles.

  6. KJToo Avatar

    [Comment ID #3344 Will Be Quoted Here]

    That’s what I’m talking’ about! You can practically smell the badass coming off the guy.

    Okay, that doesn’t sound good.

  7.  Avatar

    Two doors down in That Charming English Fop, Hugh Grant…

    While Smith and Ironside are indeed badasses, Grant is an asshat, who’s name should not even appear with Smith and Ironside – unless, of course, they are both pounding lumps on his bean.

  8. KJwon Avatar

    Hey! I was ‘anonymous’ without even trying! oops.

    It’s that asshat Hugh Grant’s fault.

  9. LolaJ Avatar

    I still say it is a shame you didn’t mention Ironside’s pivotal role as Ham Tyler in the classic sci-fi phenomenon (yes, phenomenon): V.

    Tyler was definitely a badass in V. And even though he joined with the “good guys” in their epic war against the alien lizards, I submit that did nothing to dilute in any way his badassity.

    Badassity, I said.

  10. KJToo Avatar

    [Comment ID #3349 Will Be Quoted Here]

    I blame my parents. I wasn’t allowed to watch “V: The Series” when it originally aired in 1984, so I wasn’t exposed to Ironside’s badassity. I should purchase the entire kit and kaboodle on DVD one of these days.

  11. KJToo Avatar

    [Comment ID #3348 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Oh, come now. Hugh Grant is my second favorite charming English fop!

    I should probably look up the word “fop” to make sure it means what I think it means…

  12. Rae Avatar

    Who comes topper at foppery than Hugh?

  13. KJToo Avatar

    [Comment ID #3352 Will Be Quoted Here]

    I’ll catch flack from my wife for calling him a fop, but it’s Colin Firth.

    This badass post needs more badass comments and less foppery!

  14. LolaJ Avatar

    From Merriam Webster, “fop”: 1. a foolish or silly person; 2. a man who is devoted to or vain about his appearance or dress: coxcomb, dandy.

    Colin Firth is NOT a fop.

    Hugh Grant … maybe. But then again his mugshot…

  15. KJToo Avatar

    [Comment ID #3387 Will Be Quoted Here]

    As predicted: flack from my wife.

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