Six Movie Villains Who Were Really the Good Guys

1 Rutger Hauer Blade Runner

Roy Batty from Blade Runner (1982): Roy was the leader of the rogue Nexus 6 Replicants (Bio-androids) who escaped from the Off-World colonies, killing several people on their way back to Earth. Blade Runners (Replicant hunters) are sent to find and “retire” (kill) them. First Holden is sent but gets shot and then Deckard is pulled back into the service of the Blade Runners to find Batty and the others.

What did Batty and the others want? They wanted to live longer and they wanted freedom. The Replicants were created to serve humans, in various capacities. For instance, Roy was a soldier/assassin while Priss was a “pleasure model” (sex slave). They were also given a brief 4-year life span in order to keep them from developing their own personal identities and emotions, which might encourage them to rebel.

Roy and the others simply wanted “more life”. Four years wasn’t enough and they wanted to live a normal life-span, like humans do. They also didn’t want to spend their entire existence in the service of humans. True, they did kill people but it was all done for their own survival or in self-defense.

1 harrisRock

Brigadier General Francis X. Hummel, USMC from The Rock (1996): Brigadier General Frank Hummel and his adjutant Major Tom Baxter, along with some loyal members of the U.S. Force Recon Marines and a bunch of hired mercenaries, steal a supply of deadly VX Gas and take 80 hostages on Alcatraz Island. Hummel threatens to launch rockets containing the gas against San Francisco unless the government pays him and his group $100 million.

Why did he want this money? He wanted to distribute it to his men and the families of Recon Marines who died on clandestine missions under his command and whose deaths were not compensated by the US government, as they should have been. He asked that the money come from a special military Slush Fund, not from public money. 

At the end, we find out that Hummel was bluffing. He never intended to launch the rockets or to kill anyone. He was tormented by the fact that he had to fight and kill the SEAL Team that came to stop him. He deliberately missed with the first rocket he launched and refused to fire the second one (although the mercenaries decide to fire it anyway). If his plan had worked as intended, no one would have been hurt.

1 rooney

Dean Edward Rooney from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986): Ed Rooney, the Dean of the High School where Ferris Bueller attends (when he’s not ditching class) believes that Ferris is playing hooky once again. Since he has no proof and Ferris’ mother does not believe Ferris would do such a thing, Rooney decides to catch Ferris in the act. He makes several unsuccessful attempts to catch Ferris during the film, which don’t go well for him.

Ed Rooney was the Dean Of Students, who was in charge of discipline and preventing truancy. His job was to make sure students weren’t cutting out of school. His duty was to record and report truancy. That’s what he was paid to do. Ferris was a habitual truant, consistently skipped school (9 days in a single semester) but used his home computer to hack into the school database to cut that number down to three in the records. Rooney felt that Ferris was an extreme case, and decided that the only way to do the job he is paid to do was to physically catch Ferris in the act. He was just doing what the school board required him to do. He was earning his salary.

1DawnApes1

Koba from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014): Koba started out as one of the loyal inner-circle for Caesar, the leader of the simian society on the post-plague Earth. Caesar had once rescued Koba from a science lab and Koba swore loyalty to him. Ultimately, the two have a falling-out over the surviving humans, who Caesar trusts but Koba doesn’t. Koba sets fire to the apes’ home, and then, unseen by anyone, shoots Caesar, causing him to fall from a high tree. Koba blames humans for all this. With Caesar assumed dead, Koba takes charge and begins a war against the humans, rampaging through their city. He also imprisons any ape still loyal to Caesar.

Why did Koba hate and distrust humans so much? Before the plagued ravaged human society, Koba was held for years in a science lab where humans did horrible, painful experiments on him. He still carries the physical, as well as mental scars of what he endured for those terrible years. When the human survivors first encounter the apes, the first thing they do is to shoot one. Caesar leads a troop of apes to intimidate the humans into keeping out of Ape territory. This doesn’t work and the humans come back anyway.

Looking at this from Koba’s point-of-view, you can see why he was horrified and furious. He didn’t want humans within 1,000 miles of the ape’s home. When Caesar welcomed a few of the humans into Ape territory, a bitter argument broke out between the two, and Caesar gave Koba a ‘don’t forget whose boss’ beat-down. Already, just the presence of humans, was causing a break-down in the cohesion of ape culture.

Koba really believed that destroying the humans was the best thing for his race, even if it meant betraying Caesar, who had once saved him from the humans. His methods were obviously extreme but considering how he’d been tortured, you can understand why he overreacted.

1 peck

EPA lawyer Walter Peck from Ghostbusters (1984): When lead Ghostbuster Dr. Pete Venkman refuses to allow Walter Peck of the EPA access to his special “storage facility” for ghosts, the angry Peck returns with a warrant and a ‘cease-and-desist’ order. He orders the storage facility deactivated, despite Venkman and the other Ghostbusters warning him that a shut-down could be dangerous. Peck shuts down the storage facility, and all the ghosts escape, running rampant across the city in the service of Gozer the Destructor.

Why did Peck do this? Because it was his job. As a representative of the Environmental Protection Agency, he was assigned to check the storage facility to see if it emitted any hazardous chemicals. Venkman, being a naturally rebellious person, refuses to allow the EPA to inspect this facility. Naturally, Peck takes the next step of coming back with a court order and a cop. (He announced earlier that this is exactly what he would do next.) That’s standard procedure when an environmental hazard is suspected. He followed by the book and did his job.

If Venkman had just allowed Peck to take a look at the facility from the beginning, none of what followed would have happened. Venkman was the jerk here, refusing to cooperate with a federal organization for no reason other than to be a wiseass. He even got ghost-slime on Peck when they first met. Peck remains calm and warns Venkman of his next step but Venkman still refuses to cooperate. Peck was right and the EPA has a duty to investigate strange facilities and devices like the ones in the Ghostbusters HQ. When you have guys walking around with “unlicensed nuclear accelerators” on their backs, someone needs to check up on these people.

1 heston

Cardinal Richelieu from The Three Musketeers/Four Musketeers (1973-74): D’artagnan and his three fellow musketeers (Athos, Porthos and Aramis) are loyal to King Louis and his Queen, Anne of Austria.  When Richelieu, the powerful and influential Cardinal of France learns that Queen Anne is having an affair with England’s Duke of Buckingham, Richelieu tries to expose the Queen, using the help of his agents the Comte de Rochefort and Milady De Winter. The Musketeers foil Richelieu’s plan and defend the queen’s reputation. 

Why was Richelieu so determined to expose the Queen’s affair? Because it was treason. France was on the verge of war with England and Queen Anne’s actions were treasonous. Richelieu was afraid that Anne would give important French government secrets to her foreign lover, which could be used against them if war commenced. Richelieu loved France and was fanatically dedicated to protecting his country. As he pointed out, “I have no enemies…only those of France”.

D’Artagnan and the Three Musketeers were wrong. D’artagnan was young and in love with the Queen’s dressmaker Constance, who convinced him to protect the queen, despite her treason. The Three Musketeers had sworn a vow to defend the King and should really have joined with Richelieu to prove that Anne was unfaithful to him, but they didn’t for two reasons…one reason was the long-time rivalry between Richelieu and King Louis; while the other reason was their friendship with D’artagnan, who sided with the queen.  In the end, although Richelieu was thwarted in his efforts, he was gracious in defeat and even gave D’artagnan a promotion to Lieutenant of Musketeers.

Did I forget any other bad guys who were really good guys?