There’s just something we love about movie assassins.
There’s something bizarre about our fascination with movie assassins. It’s as if we can’t get enough of the romanticized version of a contract killer that Hollywood loves to put on the big screen. Honestly, I think it’s because secretly we all have people in our lives we’d love to strangle, and these movies let us live vicariously through them. It might not be healthy, but that’s just the way it is. But hey, I won’t tell if you won’t. Still, there are a lot of movie about hit men out there and some are a lot better (and cooler) than others. That’s why I took the time to put together this list of the 10 Best Movie Assassins. I’m sure a lot of these entries are will come as no surprise to connoisseurs of the professional murderer genre, but I threw in a few curve balls just to keep it interesting.
10. Anton Chigurh (No Country for Old Men)
This is a list full of representation. After all, not all movie assassins are angry white guys. Starting off the list we want to show how accepting we are of everyone of all shapes, sizes, colors, and creeds, that’s why the hitman with the worst haircut ever is coming in at number 10. Despite having a haircut that guarantees he will never get laid, Anton is absolutely terrifying. His character is a total psychopath and really follows the saying, “if you’re good at something, never do it for free.” Plus, his weapon of choice, a bolt gun, shows that he sees his targets as animals just waiting for the slaughter. He’s smart, relentless, and is absolutely terrifying.
9. Martin Blank (Grosse Pointe Blank)
Martin is definitely the funniest and possibly most neurotic of all the movie assassins on this list. His reason for killing is that he has a certain moral flexibility that proved useful while he was in the army. Of course, the private sector pays much better so, here he is. A hitman in the midst of a mid life crisis. So, he does what any guy would do, hits up his high school reunion to reconnect with his lost love. It’s really romantic until his arch rivals show up to kill him and he’s forced to balance a personal and professional life. He’s one of the few contract killers that’s honest about what he does, which gives him a small sense of virtue.
8. Ghost Dog (Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai)
Not every movie assassin subscribes to a life of terror or violence. Ghost Dog follows a very specific and ancient code. That doesn’t mean that he won’t do some slice and dice from time to time, but deep down he has an unshakeable sense of honor that allows for some moral flexibility. Like a lot of hitman movies, he finds himself the prey instead of the hunter when a job goes bad. What makes him perfect for this list though is that he is completely unique. Ghost Dog is very much a modern day samurai who finds himself in the service of the mob. However, when the mob turns on him, he makes them regret it.
7. Hanna (Hanna)
Most movie assassins at least have their driver’s license, but not Hanna. By far and away she is the youngest killer on this list, but that doesn’t make her any less deadly than the others. Trained from birth by a former black ops agent to be a perfect killing machine, the intention was never to have her take on his trade, but to protect her from those that would come looking for her. Unfortunately for the young woman, she finds herself separated from her father figure and forced to take the fight to those who thought she was weak and defenseless. Lucky Hanna is such a badass because it gives this list a much-needed dose of girl power.
6. Ah Jong (The Killer)
Sometimes movie assassins do the wrong thing for the right reason. Now, I could get pretentious and gasp at the fact that some people haven’t seen this John Woo classic, but instead, I’m going to tell you how lucky you are that you get a chance to watch a film that gives us a hitman we can all feel sympathy for. Ah Jong is a contract killer who takes one last assignment to make enough money to help restore the sight of a blind singer. Just like so many before him though, he’s double crossed by his boss. Still, Ah Jong has a purpose and he won’t rest until he finds redemption.
5. Alejandro (Sicario)
One of the newer movie assassins, Alejandro keeps his skills secret until it’s time to act. A man with a tragic past, Alejandro shows that anyone can be pushed far enough by monsters to become one. A former prosecutor in Mexico, it wouldn’t seem like he would have what it takes to make it on the list. However, seeing what monsters do has taught Alejandro a lot and he uses their own vicious methods about them. He’s so good at it, that the CIA recruits him to help with the war on drugs. Let’s just say that the war is looking a little one sided now that Alejandro has a target to focus his rage on.
4. Vincent (Collateral)
Tom Cruise normally plays the good guy in movies. This time around though, he plays a movie assassin that can only be described as a silver fox. He’s cunning enough to know how to get to targets and even use people to do his work for him, plus he has quite a head of silver hair. Vincent is a force of nature. Once he sets his eyes on a target, nothing is going to stop him. He’s so good, that he just walks through obstacles in his way. Impressive, considering how many obstacles LA can throw at him. However, the real reason he makes this list is because he consistently demonstrates just how cold blooded he is.
3. Jason Bourne (The Bourne Franchise)
Bourne is a tricky one. He is a former assassin working for a secret branch of the CIA, and he was one hell of an assassin. Now though, he’s a man looking for his past and future, as he tries to escape his old line of work. Of course, his skill set certainly comes in handy when it comes to getting away from other professional killers. He even finds a few targets of his own to go after along the way. Jason Bourne belongs on this list because he is observant, and his improvisational skills are remarkable. He can find his way out of any situation and turn anything into a weapon. The other members of this list would be hard pressed if they found him as their next target.
2. Leon (The Professional)
A few years ago I would have said that Leon is the undisputed best movie assassin. Even though there’s a new king in town. It’s still a close call. Leon is a hitman you can’t help but fall in love with. He’s so incredibly broken that all he has anymore is his job until he finds a young girl in desperate need of his help. It’s only then that this killer becomes a guardian. Still, his old skill set comes in handy as he takes vengeance on those that hurt his new friend, and New York is helpless against this seasoned pro. If you haven’t had a chance to see The Professional, it’s probably the movie on this list that I recommend the most.
1. John Wick (John Wick 1 and 2)
Long live the new king of movie assassins. What makes John Wick so incredible is that nothing will stop him. He exhibits near superhuman will level, that strikes fear in the hearts of anyone who knows him. John’s determination is his greatest weapon and not even life threatening injuries can stop him. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that inciting incident for his rampage is the death of his adorable puppy. After that, everyone who experiences his wrath deserves what they get. John is number one on his list because, as one man said, “John wasn’t exactly the Boogeyman. He was the one you sent to kill the f@#*%$! Boogeyman.”
There you have it, ten of the best movie assassins Hollywood has to offer. Of course, there are dozens more of them out there, so comment below with your favorite cinematic contract killer. I’m always looking for more great movies to watch so any new ones would be awesome!