Top 10 Deadliest Movie Mercenaries Ever
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Top 10 Deadliest Movie Mercenaries Ever

VOICE OVER: Peter DeGiglio WRITTEN BY: Garrett Alden
The action genre wouldn't be the same without mercenaries! For this list, we'll be going over the best and most compelling fighters, soldiers or other individuals of similar type for hire throughout the history of popular cinema. Our countdown includes "John Wick", “The Transporter”, “Star Wars”, and more!
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Top 10 Movie Mercenaries


Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 movie mercenaries.

For this list, we’ll be going over the best and most compelling fighters, soldiers or other individuals of similar type for hire throughout the history of popular cinema. They don’t need to be mercenaries in a war setting though; they could just be anyone who consistently gets paid to commit specific acts of violence and have no lasting allegiances.

If there’s an iconic soldier of fortune who was unfortunate enough not to make our list, please let us know in the comments!

#10: Barney Ross

“The Expendables” franchise (2010-)
The Expendables are an elite lot of mercenaries played by some of the action genre’s most prominent stars. Every member of the group deserves recognition, but we had to go with their leader, Barney Ross. Not only does the guy manage to wrangle a squad of the most “extra” fighters and killers in the world, but he’s also skilled in combat and quick on the reload, as seen throughout the film series. Staunchly loyal and protective of those he cares about, Barney Ross is a good leader and a better friend. With more “Expendables” movies supposedly in the works, we hopefully haven’t seen the last of Ross and his team.

#9: Vincent

“Collateral” (2004)
A hitman visiting Los Angeles, Vincent is hired to murder witnesses in the trial of a drug lord. Vincent hires and coerces a cabby named Max to drive him around for the night as he takes out his 5 targets. Although generally cautious and intelligent in the way he approaches his work, Vincent is also skilled in the art of improvisation. Armed with a nihilistic outlook, Vincent enjoys waxing philosophical about his views on life and the inherent selfishness of humanity. Vincent is deadly in combat and utterly without remorse. Still, we can’t help but think he probably regrets getting into Max’s cab by the end of the night.

#8: Frank Martin

“The Transporter” franchise (2002-08; 2015-)
Frank Martin will transport anything for a price—no questions asked. Even, say, Vincent’s briefcase in “Collateral.” Yes, that’s actually Frank! Anyway, despite his calm, professional nature, even Frank has a limit and his movies often feature his employers asking too much or pushing him too far. They soon learn, to their cost, that Frank isn’t just an expert driver with impeccable fashion sense—the man is also retired from SAS Special Forces. Whether he’s using a car, gun, or just whatever object is close at hand, Frank Martin kicks serious butt! The things Frank can do to a roomful of goons with improvised weapons would make Jackie Chan blush!

#7: “Sanjuro”

“Yojimbo” (1961) & “Sanjuro” (1962)
The man who calls himself “Sanjuro” is a nameless ronin, or masterless samurai. Sanjuro owes allegiance to no one, but he tries to help where he can. In “Yojimbo,” he comes across a town with feuding crime families. Using his skills with a blade, he’s able to get himself hired as a bodyguard. By playing the crime lords off one another, he manages to bring peace to the town. “Sanjuro,” the sequel, sees him become involved with corrupt government officials in order to expose their wrongdoings. The ultimate gruff, lone warrior archetype, Sanjuro is partially inspired by classic Western gunslingers, but also went on to inspire new westerns in kind—specifically a famous unofficial remake.


#6: Isador “Machete” Cortez

“Machete” franchise (2010-13) & “Spy Kids” franchise (2001-11)
An ex-Mexican federale, Isador “Machete” Cortez isn’t picky about the jobs he takes on. Whether it’s babysitting his niece and nephew in their spy adventures, or taking contract work from the U.S. government, Machete does it all. Except text. As skilled with firearms as he is with his namesake weapon, Machete also invents plenty of gadgets. And he’s definitely got a certain way with the ladies. He’s like a Mexican James Bond crossed with Q and Charles Bronson! A grizzled badass of the highest order, Machete may be in some ridiculous movies, but he’s also ridiculously cool.


#5: Beatrix Kiddo

“Kill Bill” (2003-04)
Also known as Black Mamba, or just “the Bride,” Beatrix Kiddo is an ex-international assassin who retires after becoming pregnant with her boss’s baby. However, the titular Bill and his Deadly Viper Assassination Squad don’t believe in the concept of retiring—and so they attempt to murder Beatrix. After awakening from her coma, Kiddo sets out on a rampage of revenge to kill Bill and her other former colleagues. Possessing nearly superhuman skill in the art of the samurai sword and unarmed combat, Kiddo is a veritable one-woman army. Given that she’s able to slice her way through dozens upon dozens of people in her quest for revenge and survive being buried alive, Kiddo is one tough mama. Sorry – “Mamba.”

#4: Deadpool

“X-Men” franchise (2000-)
They don’t call him the “Merc with a Mouth” for nothing! Even before he gained mutant powers that let him heal from virtually every injury, Wade Wilson worked as a freelancer doing odd jobs— like dealing with stalkers. But after becoming Deadpool, the irreverent antihero really steps it up. In addition to tracking down the villains who disfigured him, Deadpool also takes contract work that pits him against dangerous international criminals. Deadpool is handy with his blades and quite the marksman. Still, his deadliest weapons are easily his razor-sharp wit and his ability to break the 4th wall.

#3: John Wick

“John Wick” franchise (2014-)
Don’t believe the rumors: he’s not actually the boogeyman – he’s the one you send to kill the boogeyman! An ex-contract killer, John Wick is pulled back into his old life after the death of his wife and the loss of his dog. Other assassins react one of two ways when they face the hitman: they either tremble in fear or geek out at the prospect of fighting him. But both paths lead to the same conclusion—defeat. Wick’s fights are legendary, whether he’s using his fists, knives, or even a pencil. Oh, and he also uses guns—lots of guns. If this were a list based purely on how deadly a character is, John Wick would be a contender for the top spot.

#2: Boba Fett

“Star Wars” franchise (1977-)
When most people think about bounty hunters in movies, one name often springs to mind first – Boba Fett. Among the galaxy’s most notorious mercenaries, Boba Fett has taken many jobs, working for organized criminals like many Hutts and even the Empire itself. Sporting durable and weapon-filled Mandalorian armor, Fett’s iconic look has earned him lasting fame among “Star Wars” fans and pop culture in general. Given how little he appears in the movies themselves, it’s a testament to how cool Fett is that he’s managed to become as popular as he has. Still, his role in expanded media has certainly helped. The more time we spend with Boba Fett, the greater his legend becomes.


Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Léon, “Léon: The Professional” (1994)
This Cleaner Has a Heart of Gold
Leon https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/992974a3-2870-467b-b4c8-0d6d5e741695

William J. Johns, “Pitch Black” (2000)
In Some Ways, This Bounty Hunter Is Worse Than the Murderer He’s Transporting

Major Alan "Dutch" Schafer, “Predator” (1987)
Always Ready with a Quippy Line, This Son of a Gun Goes 1v1 Against a Predator!

Bullet-Tooth Tony, “Snatch” (2000)
This Bounty Hunter Certainly Has a Way with Words… & Creative Violence

Tyler Rake, “Extraction” (2020)
A Black Ops Mercenary Who Gets in Over His Head

#1: The Seven Samurai

“Seven Samurai” (1954)
In this classic film, a village being harassed by bandits turns to seven masterless samurai to protect them. This group of mercenary ronin are so archetypal and influential that, in the decades since the film was released, the “seven samurai” plot has spread throughout pop culture. Still, of the countless characters that the seven samurai have inspired, none have ever been able to match the original ragtag team of warriors for hire. Maybe this is because the film’s epic length allows us to get to know them better. Or maybe it comes down to the performances. Then, there’s director Akira Kurosawa’s brilliant work behind the camera. Whatever the reason, these seven samurai are cinema’s greatest mercenaries.
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