As we all know, whether they are in your life or not, having a dad is a very special thing. They take care of us, look after us, helps us, and generally make sure that we are equipped to get along in this crazy world. (They are of course partners in this endeavor with a significant other but since this IS a Father's Day story we are gonna focus on the men!). And as great as it is to know our dad's, we also get to share our cinematic fathers with people we don't even know. In some cosmic way, we are now related to other moviegoers all because of this paternal person on the big screen that we admire. Now, while we all love seeing a Mrs. Doubtfire-type dad, there's something about seeing a father who isn't afraid to pick up a gun and blow somebody's head off that really grabs us. So, in honor of all the father's out there, we chose these "15 Badass Action Movie Dads" to celebrate! Read this story and give your old man (or men!) a hug from your MovieWeb family.
In this film, not only does Arnold Schwarzenegger escape an airplane in mid-flight, he essentially kills all the bad guys to save his little girl. It isn't because he's willing to kill or fight anybody who gets in his way. It isn't because he's willing to dangle and drop people off cliffs. It isn't even because John Matrix can use his military skills to figure out the coordinates of his stolen daughter's location. It's because when he makes a promise like, "I'll be back", he keeps it!
2Liam Neeson in Taken
Bryan Mills is a bad ass dad for many reasons. He protects his family at all costs. He's willing to travel anywhere in the world on a moments notice to save them. He somehow knows enough about everything so that he can ultimately outwit anybody who messes with him. And all of this is great! However, what we love about him is that he is a man who keeps his "special set of skills" so low key, that people continue to mess with him until he eventually uses those skills to kill them.
3 Darth Vader in Star Wars
Alright, we know that Darth Vader isn't a real person. We know that he was voiced by James Earl Jones more than he was acted by anybody. However, this is Darth Vader we're talking about! He spends the better part of the original three movies trying to kill his own son!! Bolstering his legend is the fact that he essentially is a one man mafia in outer space. When people fail to meet his wishes, he doesn't arrange for a hit. Darth Vader doesn't delegate. He simple uses the force to dole out his own brand of out of this world justice.
Sylvester Stallone as Rocky might be the most accurate portrayal of a badass dad ever. Yes, you have read that right. This guy fights for his family, doesn't know when to leave things alone, argues with his oft-pressed (but loyal) wife, and always shows up for work and gives it his all. Whether he is fighting against the system vs. Apollo Creed, or the whole country of Russia vs. Ivan Drago, for street credibility vs. Tommy Gunn, or father time vs. Mason "The Line" Dixon, Rocky is a kick ass dad who's heart is always in the right place.
5Bruce Willis in Die Hard
John McClane is a guy who could potentially throw in the towel at any moment. He has a wife who seems ready to dump him at every turn. His children even seem ambivalent to him. And there's always somebody out there trying to blow his head off! Yet, somehow this fairly ordinary schmo manages to triumph in the end. True, he often looks like death on a cracker. But if your home was invaded by terrorists, wouldn't you want this guy resting on the couch waiting for them?
Henry Jones, Sr. isn't the kind of guy you would expect to be up for adventure. Like his son Indiana Jones, who gets most of the credit, this guy seems more comfortable at the symphony than he does fending off Nazis. However, there is a real confidence that Henry Jones has that makes you have to respect him. He is bookish. He is refined. Yet, when the chips are down, this guy can get his hands just as dirty as the next guy. Add to this that he's not afraid to share women with his son, and that takes this whole "kick ass" discussion to another level.
7Peter Weller in Robocop
The heart of Robocop is not the awesome (for their time) effects. It is not the comedy inherent in this role of a robot police officer. The heart is the fact that this half man/half machine discovers his heart halfway through this masterpiece of a film. Once that genie is out of the bottle, the robot/human can't ever put it away again. Making it Robocop's mission to reconnect with his humanity, takes almost as much weight as his final denouement with the full on, robot police officer.
Roger Murtaugh is a guy who, the moment we see him, needs a vacation. His kids are growing up way to fast, he's got a case that looks unsolvable, and he's been assigned a partner who is less than mentally regular. Yet, somehow, amidst all that, Murtaugh ends up being one of the coolest action hero dads of the 80s and 90s. He's not afraid to defend his family. He never backs down from any challenge. And even better, when his kids get out of line (like getting caught for smoking pot), he isn't afraid to dole out some of that good, old fashioned dad justice. And he proves that he's really never too old for this shit.
9Nicolas Cage in Kick-Ass
Recalling the dads from such shows as "Father Knows Best," but merging that with a knack for killing, takes a true gift. Damon Macready is that gift and more. The fact that he trains his daughter to be a lethal killing machine, just adds to his luster on this "Bad Ass Dad's List." Here is a guy who in some ways seems to channel Mr. Rogers, yet he flips a switch and can become Mr. Rambo. The Kick-Ass films are a stylized hyper-violence. Who would've thought they could have given us a film with a dad we'd all like to bring to a brawl?
Arnold Schwarzenegger is a such a kick ass dad-type that he's made it on this list twice. Who else could play a global killing machine, only to see that veil lifted when he suspects his wife of having an affair with Joe Salesman? While the ass kicking in this film is a tad more refined than that of Commando, the the fact that butts are getting kicked remains a common denominator. We all want a dad who's gonna be able to kick some tail. Harry Tasker seems to be able to do this (and more!) in multiple languages!
How in the world is Furious Styles on this list? He doesn't actually kick any ass in Boyz N the Hood! Alright, before you start going all Laurence Fishburne in The Matrix on us, we think it's safe to assume that at some point in his life, Furious Styles was an ass-kicker. Look at his first name for crying out loud! However, one just needs to see the way he keeps his son Trey in line to realize that, when the chips are down, Furious Styles can still bring it, cause he's straight outta Compton!.
Okay, so we've got Megatron and Optimus Prime, yet somehow Mark Wahlberg manages to stand out in this film as the dad we love to see beat people up. Amidst this bonanza of crazy, over the top special FX, Mark Wahlberg brings a lot of humanity to this regular guy (well, as regular as a guy can be in a Michael Bay film). Whether he's doing battle, assisting or being assisted by these battle bots, Mark Wahlberg always remains Mark Wahlberg and darn it who wouldn't want a dad like that? And, he 'owns' his own real-life Transformers!
13Clint Eastwood in Tightrope
Clint Eastwood was but a spry 54 when he played dad Wes Block in this film. He's got two young daughters who are suddenly curious about the birds and the bees. Making matters worse? He also has a serial killer on his hands who seems to be trying to get close to him! Yet, amidst all this craziness, there is Clint Eastwood being Clint Eastwood and who doesn't love the idea of having Clint Eastwood for a dad. Whether he's spitting out one liners or giving somebody the "Clint Look," one thing is for sure, having this guy as your badass dad would be anything but boring.
14Nicolas Cage in Con Air
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Nicolas Cage brings a lot to this role. Coming two years after his Oscar Winning turn in Leaving Las Vegas, Nicolas Cage played this lovable dolt who just wanted to see his family again with a sense of true earnestness. He isn't mugging for the camera. He isn't creating cinematic moments to tug at the heart strings. In the role of Cameron Poe, Nicolas Cage is playing a dad who just wants to be reunited with his family and he will kill anybody who gets in the way of that. Seems fair enough to us!
15Will Smith in After Earth
Will Smith plays a soldier who is stranded with his son on a future version of Earth. At some point, they had to to escape this planet but now they've been literally shipwrecked there. Will Smith's son in the movie wants to follow in the great soldier footsteps of his father. The allegories to Hollywood, the real life Will Smith and his real life son are plentiful. However, despite whatever action scenes we may see in this film, how badass is it that Will Smith chose to make this movie as an expression of love to his son? Badass indeed.
We sure hoped you enjoyed reading this. So how did we do? Did we leave your favorite badass dad off the list? Let us know how you feel! Good or bad we can take it!