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Badass thespian Bruce Willis deserves an award for having one of the most diverse filmographies of any action movie star. He manages to tackle a wide range of different material and navigates everything from the huge badass bombast of the Die Hard films to more dramatically intense material like Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. But it’s his humor and wit that keeps audiences entertained and interested when he throws a curve ball and shows off his excellent sense of comedic timing. There’s not a role that exists that Bruce Willis can’t handle with gusto. It's no wonder there's so many badass Bruce Willis movies. With his ability to connect with audiences, we're always in for a treat when he takes on the role of a leading man. Here are some of our favorite badass Bruce Willis movies that show off the width and breadth of his talents.
The Expendables 2
Sylvester Stallone sought out Bruce Willis to return for the sequel of The Expendables in an expanded roll. Bruce Willis plays a secret CIA agent known as Church who heads a mission aimed to retrieve an item from an airplane outside of the country. He sends the team to Albania, but they are ambushed by international criminals and their boss Jean Vilain, who is an arms dealer played by Jean-Claude Van Damme. Willis joins the crew later on in Albania and frees them along with a set of miners. Together they team-up to pursue Jean Vilain. Willis’s ruthless uncompromising personality in The Expendables 2 demonstrated his ability to hold his own alongside some of the biggest badasses of action cinema.
Death Becomes Her
Taking a break from the action scene, Bruce Willis stars in a fantasy comedy film alongside Meryl Streep, Isabella Rossellini, and Goldie Hawn. The movie is based on a fight against time as this star-studded cast drinks a magic potion that is said to grant eternal youth. Willis plays Dr. Ernest Menville, a plastic surgeon who is engaged to Helen Sharp (Goldie Hawn). Although he is engaged to Helen, he becomes smitten with Meryl Streep’s character named Madeline and ends up breaking off his engagement with Helen to marry her. While this might go against the grain of what most might consider to be a traditional badass Bruce Willis movie. Death Becomes Her manages to show off how Bruce Willis is a thespian chameleon, able to effortlessly change through different genres of film.
The Whole Ten Yards
Another movie where Bruce Willis gives off the tough guy image for a humorous vehicle. Here he plays a killer for hire named Jimmy. Willis returns alongside costar Mathew Perry. This film is the sequel to The Whole Nine Yards, where Willis has retired from his chaotic life of crime and tries to maintain a low-key lifestyle where he spends his days cooking and cleaning in Mexico. Yet, his wife Jill, played by Amanda Peet, has the hunger to stay in the business. Jimmy has convinced authorities that he’s dead by falsifying dental records with the help of Nicholas played by Matthew Perry. The movie was filled with lots of laughs, wit, and an excellent plot as Bruce Willis fights to maintain a normal life while simultaneously fending off the Hungarian mafia.
Live Free or Die Hard
Willis delivers another action-packed thriller in movie where his pecks are not the only thing he shows off on the big screen. Fans of the Die Hard franchise will love Bruce Willis’s commanding performance amidst the amazing stunts that won’t disappoint badass Bruce Willis action film junkies. Detective McClane realizes what’s going on around him and then implements an incredible plan that can only be executed with help of computer geek master hacker Matt Farrell played by Justin Long. Together they work to track down the mysterious figure that has been masterminding the cyber attack on America's infrastructure. The interplay between Justin Long's obnoxious millennial and Bruce Willis's begrudging baby boomer leads to some of the best comedic moments in the entire series. Willis doesn’t fail to leave us at the edge of our seats and watching him drive a car into a helicopter and hang on to a harrier jet easily makes this a must have inclusion on the list of Badass Bruce Willis movies.
Die Hard with a Vengeance
Die Hard with a Vengeance marks the third cut of the Die Hard franchise and the adventure starts off from the very beginning as everyone’s favorite misfit cop, John McClain, returns on the scene. In this installment of the series, McClane is suspended from his job with the NYPD because of a drinking problem he developed. If that wasn’t bad enough, an unpleasant part of his past returns to haunt him. Terrorist bomber, Simon, played by Jeremy Irons, continues to use McClane as his contact while bombing public places and proceeds to torment the detective by providing him with vague clues to his whereabouts. Teamed up with Samuel Jackson playing Zeus, the duo make one of the best buddy cop teams ever to tear their way through the big apple as they fight to save the city.
The Whole Nine Yards
Putting Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry to work together in a film was destined to be a guaranteed hit. This movie not only has a great plot that immediately hooks the audience in, but it’s a perfect mix of action and comedy. This black comedy is based on the premise of an ex-hitman trying to move in to the suburbs. Willis plays Jimmy who is released from prison and moves in to the burbs right next door to Oz Oseransky played by Matthew Perry and his wife Sophie who's played by Rosanna Arquette. Watching the bromance develop between these two is pretty amusing and when Sophie is kidnapped by the Hungarian mob, Jimmy and his wife return back to their old criminal-minded hitman ways to get her back. If being a hitman trying to adjust to the suburbs doesn't count as a badass Bruce Willis movie then we don't know what does.
Die Hard 2
If you’ve ever in doubt that the same thing can happen twice, then you haven’t seen part two of the Die Hard film series. Bruce Willis finds himself asking the same question in yet another basement and another elevator just one year after preventing a terrorist takeover in a high-rise building outside of Washington, D.C. In this sequel, McClane finds himself in a heap of trouble when he picks his wife up from the airport at the same time that a South American political figure who is accused of smuggling drugs arrives. What happens after features some of the best stunts to ever be seen among the list of badass Bruce Willis movies.
Towards the beginning of his rise in Hollywood, Bruce Willis wowed audiences everywhere in this iconic role that placed him at the top of Hollywood’s A-list. Willis redefined the action genre when he effortlessly portrayed a modern day John Wayne with his John McClane character in the original Die Hard. Willis did an excellent job of convincing fans that he was a no-nonsense blue collar New York cop with a trigger happy nature and a very foul mouth. His character was humble with an underlying heroic attitude that truly defines a typical New York City police officer there was no greater thrill then seeing him take down a team of Eurotrash yuppie terrorists. This film redefined the action genre and lead to a whole bunch of imitators, but even to this day counts as one of the greatest pieces of action cinema ever created. Die Hard isn't just one of the most badass Bruce Willis movies, it's one of the most badass action films ever made.
The Fifth Element
In this film, Willis made it clear that saving the world is what he’s made for! Playing a retired special forces major, who is now a modern-day cab driver, Bruce falls head-over-heels for the genetically perfect woman played by Milla Jovovich and sets out on a mission to help her recover mystical artifacts to save earth and the universe itself from a cataclysmic evil that threatens to destroy everything. Directed by famous french action auteur Luc Besson, The Fifth Element was easily the most amazing sci-fi films to come out since the original Star Wars. It's no wonder that you can still see people cosplaying as characters from The Fifth Element even today.
Unlike other action stars Bruce Willis is a like a fine wine and only grows richer and more robust the more he ages. This 2010 action comedy plays on the perception of Bruce Willis as an aging action hero. Inspired by the comic book series of the same name, Red is about a retired black-ops agent named Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) who often flirts by phone with an employee at the GSA’s pension office played by Mary-Louise Parker. After a squad raids his home he fears that they’re next step will be going after her. He sets out to Kansas City to save her, but that doesn’t go as smoothly and he's forced to recruit some of his other elderly former black-op's partners to help save the day. This action comedy plays into his aging action persona and Mary Louise Parker is absolutely hilarious and sexy in one of her first major films after the break-out success of Weeds.