Shoot 'Em Up opens this week, and Clive Owen is making Bugs Bunny look all sorts of tough and cool. He banters. He sexes up the ladies. He handles guns like a pro. Heck, he even tries to buy them with food stamps. All this badness and guns has thrown me into an antihero state of mind. But before I can go a-listing, we've got to decide what an antihero is.
Blending all of the vague definitions together, your antihero is basically the person who doesn't imbue the classic attributes of heroism. This could mean being inept and stupid, but for the means of this list, I'm going for the antiheroes whose methods, manners and intentions can be questioned. Some are good guys who do bad things, some are bad guys who do good things. Some just don't care as much as a good hero should. But they're all so uber cool that whether you've seen the films or not, you know who they are, and you might just be quoting them.
Note: Only one cop is included on this list, and it isn't John McClane -- he's much more of a bitter hero than a questionable antihero.
Harry Callahan -- Dirty Harry (1971)
I know what you're thinking: "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself a question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?
While I love most of the guys on this list, the one who has to be there above all others is Dirty Harry Callahan. He might be a cop trying to keep the streets safe, but instead of upholding the law, he enforces morality with his gun, boot, or whatever else he can find. In the first of the action series, Callahan is hunting down Scorpio, a serial killer loosely based on the Zodiac killer. He tortures suspects when he needs to, and does it all in a suit, tie and sweater. Most of all, he's "Dirty," but no one knows the specific reason why.