WGTC Weekly Throwdown: What Is The Best Cinematic Violent Spree?

the purge 1 640x360 WGTC Weekly Throwdown: What Is The Best Cinematic Violent Spree?

Arguments – they’re part of life. We’re all competitive beasts, never wanting to admit fault or defeat, and will go to great lengths when defending our honor when challenged or threatened. Arguments have started wars, shattered relationships, broken families, declared victors, but have also awarded respect. A win will always be a win, but longstanding respect and admitted defeat are far greater trophies than another tally mark on a record sheet somewhere. That’s where our story begins for this group of alcohol swigging, loud mouthed master-debaters (had to make that joke once, c’mon!), connected by our love of whiskey, which is only overpowered by our love for all things pop culture – cinema, music, television, gaming, you name it. Inebriation and verbal assaulting, how could this go wrong?!

Needless to say, all we do now is argue about pop culture and hot topics of the day. Despite sounding like the grunts and groans of a pack of psychopaths, we decided to translate our debates into a readable affair. This means that every few weeks or so, we will be posting our thoughts on upcoming releases and pop culture in general. Since agreeing is for peace-loving hippies, our arguments will be broken up into two sides, and the winner is decided by the readers. Yes, our fates are in your hands!

Before we begin though, allow us to introduce ourselves.

Rob: Born on December 2, 1978, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, his Portuguese parents, Maria Manuela and António José Furtado, were emigrants from the Azores, both from São Miguel Island. They emigrated to Canada in the late 1960s. He was named for Soviet gymnast Robbie Kim. His siblings are Michael Anthony and Lisa Anne, and they were raised Roman Catholic. At age four, he began performing and singing in Portuguese. Rob’s first public performance was when he sang a duet with her mother at a church on Portugal Day. He began playing musical instruments at the age of nine, learning the trombone, ukulele and – in later years – the guitar and keyboards. At the age of 12, he began writing songs, and as a teenager, he performed in a Portuguese marching band. He has acknowledged his family as the source of his strong work ethic; he spent eight summers working as a chambermaid with his mother, along with his brother and sister, who was a housekeeper in Victoria. He has stated that coming from a working-class background has shaped his identity in a positive way. Also violent movies and video games.

Gem: Gem has lived the secluded life of an academic, dedicated to a better understanding of critical analysis. Emerging from five years struggling to insert page numbers into Word, Gem indulged in the world of film to satiate her creative side – from which burst the need to obliterate those who do not agree with her inane, profane ranting. Her most critically acclaimed debate was executed at this year’s Comic Con when she swayed a crowd of riotous nerds into agreeing that yes, a coat rack could defeat Wolverine. The opposition doesn’t stand a chance.

Nato: Traveling back in time from a dystopian universe where pop culture debates are a game of life and death, Nato (formerly Natobombious Kick-Assious) continues to extend his unbeaten streak against the competition he now sees in three (barely) functioning alcoholics who devour useless entertainment factoids like the bottles of Jack taped to their hands. Matt can make a case for anything, but enjoys the new challenge of debate through writing, disabling his hypnotically enchanting “hair-flip” closing visual, typically bringing competition to their knees with one swiftly punctuated “swoosh.” Who needs a closing argument when you have great hair? You’re about to witness the great lengths he’s willing to go and mighty stretches he’s willing to make, abandoning all notions of self-respect just to deliver the most convincing arguments conceivable. A pop-culture chameleon, Nato can do it all. We promise we’ll do our best to contain him, but it might be too late already…

Alex: Formed from the recovered DNA of Stephen A. Douglas, Ben Franklin, and Socrates, Alex is an unstoppable force in an argument. Basically every epic speech in every courtroom movie/TV show ever was copied verbatim from arguments Alex has made. If the world listened to his points on abortion, gay marriage, or America’s healthcare system, all people would finally be in agreement. But why waste his talents on such minutia? It’s the world of the media that sparks the fiercest debates, and thus his fiercest opinions. But just because he’s such an eloquent debater in person doesn’t mean that doesn’t translate into his writing. Some argue the pen is mightier than the sword. Well Alex doesn’t write with a pen, he uses a sword to slice paper into the words that crush those who disagree. Whoever opposes him ought to fear for not only their dignity, but their safety as well.

Today’s Argument: What is the best violent spree shown on film?

Some audiences shy away from the violence that has become so prevalent in the media, but our throwdown team is in agreement that a quality violent flick can be a great cathartic experience. That’s why we’re still talking about The Purge. Whether you loved it, hated it, or were somewhere in the middle, there’s no denying that there was some pretty epic violence going on in that flick. So what we decided to argue this week is which one, of all the violent sprees in the history of cinema, is the very best.

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Alex – American Psycho

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Who doesn’t love a great violent spree? What’s better than watching someone or some group of people violently slaughter everyone in sight? (I’m talking about in movies you sickos).

When it comes to movies there have been a ton of great stories centered around some very violent killings. But when it comes to sorting through the hordes and picking the best, most memorable spree, well there’s one that splatters much higher than the rest. That’s Patrick Bateman in American Psycho.

First of all, there is no voice and mannerisms more fun to imitate than Bateman’s. (Again I’m talking about imitating the way he acts, not imitating the killing. Jeeze. Sickos.) Bateman carries out his kills in the purist psychopathic method ever captured on film. What’s more enjoyable than watching Christian Bale dance to Genesis or Huey Lewis as he prepares his ax and plastic tarps to catch the blood and guts which will soon spill out of his victims? The answer: Absolutely nothing. Bale turns this extremely violent, extremely narcissistic character into one of the most fun characters to watch.

Bateman’s spree isn’t the largest in scope, there are tons of movies where way, way more people are mowed down, but his is epic purely because of the manner in which he carries out his plan and how effective he is in killing absolutely everyone he desires. The only real hitch comes from within his own head. If only he had been able to never care about killing anyone, who knows how long he could have gone on killing and how many tallies he could have added to his body count.

Part of what makes his spree so great is how it overtakes his life. He isn’t killing for some greater purpose, or because he’s being forced to by someone else. He legitimately enjoys killing people, so his pleasure derives from finding what he loves in life and acting on it. There’s a life lesson to be had in there for sure. He’s always looking to lure someone else into his house and kill them, just so he can get the next thrill. He loves killing and his spree shows that.

Sure, the film is a bit ambiguous as to how many or who at all he killed, but regardless of what actually happens, what we see on screen is a series of gory kills, so I’ll take that at face value and say there’s no better violent spree in film than Patrick Bateman’s.

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Gem – Terminator 2

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The idea of arguing over which display of total disregard for human life is “the best” is unnerving. Of course, we’re here to debate over the depiction of such terror within the four walls of cinema. There are a number of criteria you could instigate to determine how a spree is more violent than another. I’m choosing to ignore the most obvious ones such as body count, blood spatter projection, etc. My choice for the most violent spree in cinema clutches at the title because it stems from the cold, calculated liquid metal hand of Terminator 2’s T-1000. It originates from the CPU of a friggin’ robot.

When you think about it, violent rampages in film are more often than not the result of a human being’s decision to go loco. War, injustice, being called chicken…these are a few of the reasons characters have for going nuts. They’re the collateral damage of an emotional fallout. For the T-1000 there are no such justifications. His (yeah, yeah robots have no gender) reign of blood across Los Angeles is the result of his circuitry.

The T-1000’s jaunt to track down and kill John Connor, a teenage punk who’ll one day become the leader of the resistance, is relentless. He’ll literally stop at nothing. This is perhaps why he’s so terrifying, as explained to Connor’s mother, Sarah in the first film: he cannot be reasoned with.

Okay, okay, you wanna know why I think his spree is the most violent? Simple: he’s programmed to efficiently kill humans. Upon arriving in L.A. he quickly kills a cop in order to assume his identity and gain access to his records. His hunt begins and he doesn’t give a toot about human loss.

During his first tussle with the T-800, a poor bystander gets mowed down in a flying wave of bullets. When he narrows down his search for Connor, he becomes more cunning. Not content with mere information from Connor’s foster parents – he kills them both. Assuming the form of his foster Mom, his arm morphs into an elongated blade and shoots forth through his foster Dad’s head, spearing the milk carton he’s chugging from. It’s quick, ruthless and horrifying.

That’s why his chosen method is so violent. He can adapt to his situation. Arriving at Pescadero, the institution in which Connor’s birth mother is incarcerated, he sneaks up behind a guard. Again assuming his form, he mercilessly stabs him through the eye, lifting up the twitching body of Lewis as he flails in the final throes of life. The fundamental fact that he cannot be talked out of violence lends his spree all the more power.

Stealing law enforcement vehicles he takes out two more innocents; a bike cop and a helicopter pilot (“Get out.”) From what we’ve seen before we know how he’ll make these two suffer. After delivering the deadpan line, “Say, that’s a nice bike,” to the cop the scene cuts elsewhere. But, we know he’s in for a world of pain.

So far, his body count has unraveled to serve the purpose of him gaining access to John Connor. As the film reaches its climax, the T-1000 gets vicious. His knowledge of human relationships is used to exploit the bond between Sarah and her son. Cornering Sarah, he threatens her life and then gets vile. He stabs her through the shoulder, no intention of killing her, twisting the long blade as her bones crunch. In order for the T-1000 to mimic Sarah’s voice she must “call to John.” He’s unrelenting, knowing she’ll do anything to protect her son but even she cannot endure the pain he dishes out. In his last moments, it’s the emotional violence that turns him from a killer into a total bastard.

His spree might not be the biggest in terms of on screen blood loss, or even an immeasurable body count, but his violence is the most basic. Life becomes expendable to him in order to affect the outcome of a war on a post-apocalyptic earth. A war that can be won by his kind. By the machines.

We may be offered only a hint at his propensity for suffering, but his true menace extends into an unimaginable future where violence prevails and no human is safe.

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Rob – Ichi The Killer

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As somebody who uses violence on a day-to-day basis just as a way of getting things done, I would say that there’s little I enjoy more than a good old fashioned violent spree. Be it murder or maiming, nothing makes me happier than the wanton destruction of people or property. When you have an interest, or viewpoint, you’re more able to appreciate the joy
of seeing that particular interest, or viewpoint, depicted in a thrilling way on the big screen.

For this reason, I am going to put forward Takashi Miike’s ultraviolent Ichi the Killer as my pick of the bunch, with regards to violent sprees. No other film quite cuts it (so to speak) as far as wanton, near-meaningless violence goes. I’m not saying that Ichi the Killer is the only violent film to come from Japan, far from it – the place is paved with gallons of cinematic blood. Films like Battle Royale, Audition, Visitor Q (more cartoonish and surreal), the Tetsuo series, even Takashi Miike’s TV show MPD Psycho all prove Japan’s violent mettle. But what draws me to Ichi the Killer is the combination of great performances, a charismatic central protagonist, a good story, and the aforementioned gallons of blood.

It concerns a young man named Ichi, who is being used by local hoodlum Jijji to provoke a yakuza war. Ichi happens to be a masochist, and Jijji uses that in conjunction with some questionable mental manipulation to start a killing spree of epic proportions. The story becomes more convoluted, involving planted memories and such, but what stands out after repeat viewings is a scene involving Ichi taking on a group of yakuza in a small room. This is just one small battle in the middle of the one-man war that Ichi represents, and it actually happens off-screen. The camera stays on a wall near the doorway and, as the scene carries on audibly in the background, copious amounts of blood and guts arrive on said wall, culminating in an actual dismembered face, removed fully from the skull, landing and sliding down perfectly in front of the camera.

If you want violence, the likes of which you’ve never seen, see Ichi the Killer. It will make you realise how just a little violence in your day will go a long way.

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Matt – Doom

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Disclaimer: Violence is bad and I don’t condone it. Innocent lives are lost every day due to some horrible atrocity, and that isn’t something to be taken lightly. If the world were a peaceful place where everyone held hands and and just partied together 24/7, we’d all be better for it.

But since we’re talking about violent sprees in fictional movies, and I’m a rational human being who can separate fantasy from reality, blatant acts of uber-violence don’t get much better than when Karl Urban goes all First Person Shooter mode in Doom. Yes, I proudly own Doom and display it in my DVD collection, especially since it has a sweet Steelbook collectors case. Go ahead, judge me.

Anyways, but why pick that scene? Um, because it’s a little slice of horror/sci-fi shoot em’ up heaven that literally puts us in the nostalgic world of the video game Doom, showing Urban blasting through baddies and putting us face to face with some of Doom’s demons in real life. Capturing the essence of the game, the scene runs through everything from Urban ripping head shots through his scope to blowing a more vicious baddy up with a mine, all culminating with Urban’s hand-to-hand battle with a now grotesque monster form of Pinky – eventually incorporating a chainsaw. It’s one thing to play through scenes like that seeing video game graphics, but it’s a completely different beast watching the magic of Hollywood bring one of the most iconic video game franchises to life.

You can argue about the total film’s quality all you wan’t, I know Doom in it’s entirety is an absolute guilty pleasure, but the FPS scene stands out for gratuitous carnage and gleeful squeals. If you want to appreciate the scene even more though, check out the special features on the Blu-Ray to see how they put this whole ordeal together (to the other five people out there who own it). Every little detail was considered, all the way down to gun placement. For example, a normal FPS would have the gun taking up more space on the screen, but for the purposes of cinema and showing as much content as possible, they were able to only bring the gun up fully when necessary, letting Urban’s character hold it downward a majority of the time. Every little detail was considered. Oh, and don’t even get me started on how production was able to achieve the free-flowing one-shot feel of the whole scene, orchestrating choreography to perfection, while in actuality they had to make a few cuts. Bravo.

You can rain on my Doom parade all you want, but nothing will ever squash my love for this scene. For one, brief moment in time, I get to pretend I’m Karl Urban, blasting evil hell-spawns away in a blaze of violent glory. Sure, I could just play the video game I guess, but this is even LESS work, if that was physically possible?

Sarge: “I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO DIE!”

The arguments have been made! Now it’s your turn, head to the comments section and weigh-in on which literary characters you’d love to see Leo play!

And if you liked this Throwdown, maybe you’d like to check out one of our past arguments, such as which literary characters we’d love to see Leonardo DiCaprio play?

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