Who is the biggest badass in entertainment history? It's the kind of hypothetical that could keep a group of guys up until the wee hours of the morning, with plenty of booze fueling the debate, of course. Regrettably, Bullz-Eye’s Badass Bracket is a BYOB affair, but don’t let that distract you from the task at hand.
Voting ended April 26
It'd be nice to write something original for once, but the fact remains – Indiana Jones has surprised us yet again. After upsetting #1 seed Jack Bauer in the first round and then steamrolling over the likes of Doc Holliday, John McClane and Maximus, the archaeologist-turned-adventurer will now face off against his most formidable opponent yet: Batman. Sure the Dark Knight has been just as much of a wild card in this competition as his challenger, bouncing the bracket's other #1 seed Dirty Harry in the Sweet 16 while also knocking off staff favorite Tony Montana, but he hasn't advanced to the final match quite as easily as Indy. It'll be interesting to see how the two iconic heroes match up, specifically because they're so similar in so many ways. And before you declare shenanigans on this whole bracket, remember one thing: none of us ever thought either one of these guys would get this far.
A discussion on whether MobsterA is a bigger badass than TroubledHeroB can become, we learned, a bit heated.
“It took a hail of bullets to take MobsterA down.”
“TroubledHeroB tore a guy's throat out with his bare hands, man!”
Impressive, both. But which is badder? Which guy would you least like to meet in a dark alley? Which guy would you most like to have on your side in that alley? Why are you alone in an alley so late at night anyway?
After several phone and email conversations comparing the credentials of this sadistic freak with that lovable villain, we settled on a group of 32 entertainment tough guys (and gals) who’ve spilled way more than their fair share of fake blood. Some walk the righteous path, some walk the wicked, and some travel both, but they’re all worthy entrants in the Badass Bracket. The only caveat: they have to be human with no special powers. Sorry, Terminator and Superman, but that means you're disqualified.
We split the 32 contestants into two brackets and seeded each bracket 1-16. Now, it’s on you. Who’s a bigger badass, Jack Bauer or Indiana Jones? Jules Winnfield or Keyser Soze? Each week, we’ll open up different portions of the bracket for voting, with the winner of each matchup moving on to the next round until we’ve crowned a badass champion. Vote for your favorite badasses once every 24 hours, and click the bracket above to follow along.
FINAL FOUR in review
Voting ended April 18
Seriously, man, what the hell…? Not that we didn’t like it when Indy was up against that guy in Cairo and, after his opponent wowed the crowd with his expert sword-handling abilities, Dr. Jones just pulled out his revolver and shot the guy, but even odds-makers in Vegas would’ve called you a fool for betting against Maximus. (Of course, you could’ve taken consolation by ending up as one of the richest fools in Sin City.) There’s a time when even the biggest Indiana Jones fans have to admit that Indy might’ve just gotten lucky, and, baby, this is that time. As far as Batman taking down Lee, it’s not quite as unrealistic, comparatively speaking. Lee’s an unquestioned martial arts master, but Batman’s…well, he’s Batman. Fists of steel are all fine and well, but we haven’t seen Lee sporting any equivalent of Batman’s utility belt; combine that with the Dark Knight’s own skills at hand-to-hand combat and his past track record of taking down opponents far more powerful (and a hell of a lot crazier) than Lee, and, suddenly, you can see how Bats scored the win.
ELITE EIGHT in review
Voting ended April 11
We’ll be the first to admit that the performance by Indiana Jones in our bracket has left us – what is the technical term for it – freaking gobsmacked. He has now taken out three men notorious for their ability to both take and administer a savage beating, the latest victim being John McClane. As a reward, Jones must now get in the ring with Maximus, who has laid each of his opponents thus far to complete and utter waste. Things aren’t looking bright for the good doctor, but then again, we thought Jack Bauer would clean his clock in the first round, so what do we know.
The Dark Knight, meanwhile, continues to clean up the bracket one scumbag at a time, putting an end to Tony Montana’s reign of terror and coke. His opponent? Lee, who bested Rambo by…11 votes. That is not a typo. Eleven, measly, votes. We’d say tough luck, but we suppose Rambo should be used to that sort of thing by now.
SWEET SIXTEEN in review
Voting ended April 4
The Sweet Sixteen proved to be a mixed bag of close matchups and blowouts, with a few upsets sprinkled throughout. The marquee battle between Dirty Harry and Batman was certainly the most exciting of the bunch, with the Dark Knight eeking out a win over the Enforcer by just over 100 votes. Lee’s unexpected win over Ripley was among the most surprising, however, as the quiet master took a commanding early lead and never looked back. Maximus and Rambo proved once again that they deserved their high seeds with easy wins over Sonny Corleone and Rooster Cogburn, while Hannibal lost the battle of brain versus brawn with Conan the Barbarian. The remaining matchups featured Tony Montana’s half-expected (but still close) defeat of Jules, Indiana Jones’ thrashing of Doc Holliday, and John McClane’s win over Bond.
ROUND 2 in review
Voting ended March 28
If there's one thing we learned during the second round of the Badass Bracket, it's that Buffy Summers has some of the most devoted fans in the world, making the early returns on her match with Batman even closer than we expected. And yet, despite the initial Buffy push and, yes, even a barrage of pro-Buffy voter fraud, the Dark Knight emerged triumphant. Meanwhile, top seeds Dirty Harry, Ripley and Rambo all disposed of their opponents quite easily, and Tony Montana delivered a not-so-surprising upset of staff-favorite Walker Texas Ranger. The rest of the matchups also offered little drama: Jules handily dispatched Keyser Soze, Rooster Cogburn proved that one eye's plenty good enough to defeat Al Swearengen, and Lee smacked Shaft around in our Battle of the '70s Badasses.
ROUND 1 in review
Voting ended March 21
Apparently, we sold Indiana Jones short. He was, it seemed, being set up for a major thrashing at the hands of CTU super agent Jack Bauer, but the good doctor pulled off the mother of all upsets by knocking out the top-seeded Bauer in the first round. At one point Indy owned better than 60% of the votes before Bauer's furious late-week surge tightened the gap to just over 5%, but the comeback bid ran out of gas (and time). That wasn't the only first-round upset, though, as the Bride fell victim to James Bond's charm and apparent popularity. Meanwhile, John McClane mopped the floor with Tyler Durden, and in a classic battle of old vs. new, Sonny Corleone whacked Tony Soprano. Conan showed Casey Ryback just how much of a barbarian he really is, and what of Maxmius' battle with James Dalton? Just as we expected, though the match between Ash Williams and Doc Holliday was an out-and-out brawl, with the polls split 50/50 before a final push sent Doc on to round three. As a result, the Round of 16 will be heavily represented by the veteran badasses, with many of the new blood favorites sent packing far earlier than expected.