While watching Katie Taylor batter another peer in to irrelevance this week, even my extreme dislike for patriotism and jingoism was put on hold. Katie is such a legend that I’d happily let her beat me around the head (maybe not the face directly) with her big gloves while she repeatedly told me that I was a worthless peon.
But, actually, she’s not the only one. On reflection there are some people out there who are so awesome that they have earned the right to pummel me to within an inch of my life and, not only would I not fight back, I wouldn’t even consider assault and battery charges.
So, I present to you the top five persons – scratch that – top five icons who are welcome to kick the crap out of me if they so wish.
5. Bruce Willis
So cool, that even being completely hairless doesn’t reduce my respect for him. Whether he’s taking smug to a new level in “Hudson Hawk“, goofing about with YMCA moustache in “Mortal Thoughts” or dressed up as the Easter Bunny in “North“, Bruce Willis only ever appears to be one exaggerated cigarette-drag away from punching a Bruno-shaped hole in someone’s head.
The scene of my demise: Willis walks up to me in a busy restaurant, removes cigarette from his mouth and throws it to the floor a split second before he punches me right in the mouth. I fall in a heap. He picks me up by the shirt collar, his wild eyes dancing with a lack of self-control and says “Two words: over easy.” He drops me, picks up his cigarette, puffs on it with an air of self-satisfaction and grabs a scone from a startled onlooker’s plate as he effortlessly pushes the diner door ajar and exits.
He needs no elaborate setup.
4. Hulk Hogan
He might be bald, perma-tanned and a little slow making his way around the wrestling ring now but back in the day the Hulkster was…um…
Okay so not much has changed in twenty-five years for the legendary sports entertainer, bad actor and occasional bass player. But you can’t deny the cultural impact that Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea had on small and big kids alike in the eighties and nineties. He put the kibosh on The Iron Sheik, refused to be intimidated by large grunting mandroid Zeus and politely lay down for Sylvester Stallone seeing as how Rocky III was his film and all.
Wrestling might be “fake” but Hogan is 300 pounds, six-foot stupid and has 24 inch pythons. He’d wreck you.
The scene of my demise: Just as Hulk’s former wife Linda is about to succumb to my leery advances, the Immortal One kicks in the front door of his own former family home – pauses to snarl and flex – and stomps (slowly) in my direction. But wait! What’s this!? I’ve anticipated the situation, reach in to my jacket and pull out a small beaker of deadly acid! I throw it in Hulk’s face and he screams as he falls to the ground, writhing, with his hands over his eyes. I immediately leap on top of him and instigate my own three count.
But, at two, Hulk flings me several feet in to the air! He’s on his knees, eyes are wide open in spite of the burning acid and he’s making embellished air-blowing motions through his O-shaped mouth. I climb groggily to my feet and club the Hulkster over the head with my forearm. He no-sells, continuing to blow precious air in my direction. I close-fist him to the forehead but again it has no effect!
He climbs to his feet and circles me while shaking his fists and arms wildly. He’s Hulking Up! I stop him in his tracks with another right hand but he just stares, points, blocks a further punch attempt and knocks me down with one blow. He sees the opportunity to put me away (while I shift my position slightly to allow him to hit his signature move), runs against the nearest ropes (wall) and drops his leg across my throat. My entire body feels the impact as he scrambles over me, hooks my leg and has Linda make the three count. Hulkamania runs wild while my larynx is crushed by his tree-sized limb.
3. Vinnie Jones
When Vincent Peter Jones got a part in 1999 gangster film “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” as “Big Chris” no one could have imagined that his movie career would end up surpassing that of his 13 year professional football career. Sure, he played characters called Bullet Tooth Tony, Sphinx, Killer, Juggernaut and Smasher O’Driscoll. But he acted alongside Nicolas Cage, John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and Tom Berenger FFS!
The coolest thing about Vincent is that he actually is a fairly ok actor. That might sound like I’m damning him with faint praise but how many former sports stars make the transition to the big screen and actually entertain? Ok, you can’t beat this guy and maybe this guy. But Jones manages to be convincing because he really is a psychopath (and I’ve been to the bar – I’m not surprised he got involved).
The scene of my demise:
That’s the only thing you hear before Jones nuts you. You might even be in a different room at the time. He’ll still get you.
2. Kathy Bates
She might be in her sixties and happy enough to lend her voice to big screen cartoon characters and appear in lightweight TV movies now. But once upon a time Kathy Bates was a formidable ass kicker. If she wasn’t being arrested for chucking an old woman down the stairs or being an unlikely forty-something prostitute, she was a nurse performing impromptu reverse surgery on helpless writer Paul Sheldon. She has more awards than I have awards and is so successful that she’s never had to lower herself to parodying the Annie Wilkes character. Well, maybe just this one time.
The scene of my demise: After an unexpected whirlwind romance, Kathy and I end up moving in together. Everything is going well for a few months until she starts to get more and more controlling.
“Come on, Kathy!” I say. “Why are you being such a bitch?”
“Because sometimes being a bitch is all a woman’s got to hold on to,” she replies.
Then she kicks me in the balls and smashes my ankles with a mallet.
1. Liam Neeson
Until recently Liam Neeson was the Scottish guy from “Rob Roy”, the Russian guy from “K-19: The Widowmaker” or the German guy from “Schindler’s List”. After 2008′s “Taken” he became the guy you’d most want to be related to if you were kidnapped by Albanian human traffickers. Delivering a kill rate of “are you kidding me?”, Neeson decimated the broken English-speaking demographic faster than Rosetta Stone could create it.
The scene of my demise: I glance in the direction of the phone as it rings. I have no intention of picking up. I walk towards it. The answer machine kicks in with a simple, generic greeting and a resonating beep. I listen intently.
“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want,” the voice begins.
“Neeson,” I say with a smirk.
“If you’re looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money.”
“Not likely after the success of ‘Taken’ and ‘The Gray’,” I reason.
“But what I do have are a very particular set of…”
“Yeah, yeah. Set of skills. Heard it all before,” I say, mockingly.
“Shut up!,” he shouts as I look around me, bemused. “Now, where was I?”
“Set of skills…?” I reply uneasily.
“Right. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.”
“I’ve had enough of this.” I lean in close to the machine: “Good luck”.
With that, a fist comes through the answering machine, smashing me in the face and sending me flying on to my back. Neeson, somehow, climbs out of the answering machine (but full size and with a trench coat on) and delivers devastating kicks to my face every time I try to struggle to my feet.
“I’m sorry,” I gasp. “I’m sorry…”
“I believe you,” he says, while standing over my bloodied carcass with his foot raised. “But it’s not gonna save you.”