The two most important characters in any action movie are the hero and the villain. Every Luke Skywalker needs a Darth Vader, every John McClane needs a Hans Gruber, and every Neo needs an Agent Smith. But a sidekick can provide a fun foil to the hero and also provide some much-needed comic relief amid the tension and spectacle of violence.
From Indiana Jones’ young ward, Short Round, to Leon’s 12-year-old protege, Mathilda, to Han Solo’s Wookiee sidekick, Chewbacca, the action genre is teeming with sidekicks as iconic as the heroes. that they accompany.
ten John Connor (Terminator 2: Judgment Day)
James Cameron made many changes to the original terminator formula to shake up the stakes for the bigger, bolder, and arguably better sequel, T2. The most obvious change is that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 is a protector and an even more advanced Terminator is the bad guy, but Cameron also uses this angle to switch to a lighter tone.
The director focuses on John Connor’s dysfunctional but undeniably sweet relationship with the T-800. It starts out as a boy and his dog story before turning into a father-son dynamic.
9 Frozone (The Incredibles)
A few years before the superhero genre dominated Hollywood, Brad Bird satirized superheroes in The Incredibles. The most prominent character dynamic in the film is within the titular dysfunctional family of metahumans.
But Mr. Incredible also shares a heartwarming friendship (and a beloved superhero double act) with Samuel L. Jackson’s ice-powered icon Frozone.
8 Officer Anne Lewis (RoboCop)
Paul Verhoeven Satirical Sci-Fi Actor Analysis RoboCop tends to revolve around the film’s sharp social commentary, but it’s got plenty of well-drawn characters – like Murphy’s partner Anne Lewis, played spectacularly by Nancy Allen.
Lewis’ characterization marked a refreshing change of pace for female representation in 80s action cinema. She is not sexualized; she is defined by her tenacity and loyalty as a friend. Instead of being a sweetheart, like the female leads in countless other action movies, Lewis is a platonic friend to Murphy.
7 Goose (Top Gun)
Tony Scott’s Superior gun may blur the line between action movie and military propaganda, but it’s an undeniably spectacular film with dazzling aerial cinematography and emotionally engaging characters to back it up.
Tom Cruise’s Maverick is the star of the series, but Anthony Edwards provides strong support as Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, his radar intercept officer and best friend. Goose’s death hits hard, because their ride-or-die friendship rings true.
6 X-23 (Logan)
While writing the Oscar-nominated screenplay for LoganJames Mangold combined the revisionist Western themes of Shane with the story of the father-daughter road of moon paper.
Dafne Keen shared impeccable on-screen chemistry with Hugh Jackman as Wolverine’s long-lost cloned daughter, X-23. The film’s brutal hard-R action sequences show that X-23 is just as bloodthirsty, volatile, and unstoppable as her father.
5 Short Tour (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom)
After The Raiders of the Lost Ark paired Indiana Jones with love interest Marion Ravenwood and wisecracking sidekick Sallah, the prequel cursed temple gave him a less interesting love interest in Willie Scott and an even more compelling sidekick in Jonathan Ke Quan’s Short Round.
Before reconnecting with his own father in The Last Crusade, Indy became a caring father figure to Short Round. Short Round’s naivety and clumsiness cause him to cause more problems than he solves, but he has guts and Indy admires him.
4 PC Danny Butterman (Hot Fuzz)
Played hysterically by Nick Frost opposite Nicholas Angel by Simon Pegg, Danny Butterman is the Randy Meeks of Warm fuzz. Danny is obsessed with action movies and became a cop so he could be a badass like John McClane, while Nicholas is much more strict and rule-abiding.
In the finale, Danny can finally live out his Tequila Yuen fantasy as Nicholas goes to town with guns, lots of guns. Since he knows all the tropes and conventions around him, Danny constantly emphasizes the artifice of the action genre.
3 Al Powell (Die Hard)
One of the reasons audiences fall for John McClane in die hard is that he is a lone wolf who single-handedly attacks a band of terrorists. But McClane has a sidekick in Al Powell, another cop he can trust, played brilliantly by Reginald VelJohnson.
Powell may not stand by McClane for most of the film, but their walkie-talkie conversations provide some of the film’s warmest moments (and some of the story’s most emotional twists).
2 Chewbacca (Star Wars)
Luke Skywalker is the central protagonist of the original star wars trilogy, but sniper anti-hero Han Solo enjoys the spotlight just as much. Han is, of course, supported by his trusty sidekick Wookiee Chewbacca.
Harrison Ford is such a great actor – and so perfect for the star wars universe (despite his indifference towards him) – that he managed to create one of the most endearing friendships in the history of cinema alongside a “conveyor belt”.
1 Mathilda (Leon: The Professional)
Like the compelling story of a sympathetic hitman, Leon: the professional feels like a precursor to John Wick. Jean Reno plays the titular hitman, but Natalie Portman steals the show as Mathilda, his 12-year-old apprentice.
After her family is massacred by a corrupt DEA agent, Leon takes newly orphaned Mathilda under his wing as a protegee and trains her as a killer.
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