One led the Roman army to glory and was enslaved by the jealous son of the Roman Emperor, while the other led the townsfolk of Jasper, MO to rebel against a tyrannical businessman and was a slave to the love of Kelly Lynch against a fireplace. All kidding aside, these two would match up rather well in the ring. Sure, Maximus may have better armor, but Dalton has much, much better hair.
Maximus Decimus Meridius
Russell Crowe, "Gladiator"
After leading his men to victory against an army of German barbarians, the last thing Maximus was ever expecting was a demotion, let alone an attempt on his life. True, the tough-as-nails general managed to elude his would-be murderers, but his wife and son weren’t so lucky, so you can understand why he’s feeling a little vengeful around childhood pal Commodus, who masterminded the whole betrayal. Still, Maximus wasn’t the emperor’s go-to guy for nothing. His leadership skills in the ring are legendary (without him, the rest of those gladiators were toast against the Roman legion), and his work with a rusty blade tends to result in a bloody good time. Tragic hero? Maybe. Absolute badass? You bet.
Definitive badass moment:
Going up against Rome’s undefeated champion obviously isn’t challenge enough, as Maximus is also forced to ward off a pack of bloodthirsty tigers at the same time.
Classic badass line: “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”
Occupation: General turned gladiator
Strengths: Deadly with a sword, a master strategist
Weaknesses: Lets his emotions get in the way
Patrick Swayze, "Road House"
You won’t find a single badass on this list whose skin glistens in the early evening summer sun like that of “cooler” James Dalton. The ultimate late ‘80s man’s man, Dalton is Zen cool and I’m-all-fuck-you-up hot, and is often both at the same time. Even when the naughty girlfriend of local heavy Wesley does a striptease on the stage of the Double Deuce, Dalton simply lifts up his hand for her to take as he guides her offstage and off the premises. The man who walks in with an arrow-shaped blade at the tip of his cowboy boot, however, receives no such courtesy. And don’t even think about stopping that beer shipment, punk, lest you want Dalton to bust open a can of something else entirely.
Definitive badass moment: During a long and grueling bout with local thug Jimmy, Dalton goes for the jugular, literally; he tears Jimmy’s throat out with his bare hands, sending Jimmy's lifeless corpse floating down the river.
Classic badass line: “Pain don’t hurt.”
Strengths: Has the second best roundhouse kick in the bracket, along with the world’s greatest mullet
Weaknesses: If he’s so good, what’s he doing working at places like the Double Deuce?