Movie heroes are generally supposed to finish what they start. However, sometimes circumstances call for things to go differently. Be it a premature death or some other form of unexpected twist, it’s a good thing these guys had a strong supporting cast to finish things out. Before we get going, THIS IS YOUR SPOILER ALERT.
Anyone still here? Great! Let’s begin.
8. V For Vendetta
V (Hugo Weaving), a charismatic freedom fighter (or terrorist depending on whose side you’re on), pretty much takes out the Norsefire government, but he doesn’t cross the finish line — at least, not without help. V takes multiple gunshots and dies in the arms of Evey (Natalie Portman). It is she who sends his body, via train and stocked with explosives, to Parliament per V’s plan. Boom. Good guys win.
7. The Cowboys
Wil Andersen (John Wayne) is shot in the back by coward villain Long Hair (Bruce Dern). He bleeds out while telling his “boys” how proud he is of them. In honor and revenge, they subdue the only other adult on their cattle drive and use him to get the upper hand on the bad guys. Here’s the speech that seals the deal.
6. For A Few Dollars More
Star Clint Eastwood in his role as Monco is the expected favorite to finish off villain El Indio (Gian Maria Volonte). Indio is bad news. He kills a man’s wife and child and makes him watch. He does something to warrant the revenge of Colonel Douglas Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef). Mortimer and Monco set out on a mission to kill Indio. We’re sure something will happen to Mortimer and it will be Eastwood who finishes, but that’s not the case. Instead Monco facilitates the final duel between Mortimer and Indio. Mortimer wins.
5. To Live And Die In L.A.
William Petersen (Grissom from CSI) is the lead cop after a murderous counterfeiter (Willem Dafoe). He has an inexperienced partner in John Vukovich (John Pankow), but it’s this partner who finishes off the baddie after said baddie causes the death of our hero via shotgun blast to the face. Ouch. (At the 9:22 mark.)
4. L.A. Confidential
Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) is undoubtedly the lead star. He’s the most nuanced character, the most experienced, and the most charismatic. You expect him to overcome his demons and uncover the LAPD conspiracy, but before that can happen, he’s shot in the chest unexpectedly by his superior. That leaves it to two young police officers — and then small-time actors (Guy Pearce and Russell Crowe) to finish the job, which they do in the riveting shootout at the Victory Motel.
William Wallace (Mel Gibson) loses all of his loved ones to the English. They end up publicly torturing, humiliating, and executing him in front of his men. However, it’s that final word — “FREEDOM!!!!” — that leads to the rebellion that will eventually win Scotland’s independence.
2. Last Of The Mohicans
Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis) is clearly the lead; so why is it the old man versus the horrifying Magua (Wes Studi) in the final fight? First time seeing this, I was sure Magua would kill him and it would come down to him and Hawkeye. Not the case. Hawkeye watches on as the old man — the true “last of the Mohicans” — quickly executes Magua in one of the most lopsided fights in movie history.
1. The Departed
An undercover cop (Leonardo DiCaprio) versus an undercover criminal (Matt Damon). Surely the good guy’s going to win, right? Well, he almost does. Then, at the 3:12 mark of the video, this happens:
Luckily, Dignam (Mark Wahlberg), the loose cannon, has a score to settle, and does he ever.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this look at Movie Heroes who didn’t finish the job. For more list movie fun, check out our 8 Saddest Screen Deaths.