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The Best Un-Assassin-Like Movie Assassins

In honor of the new Joaquin Phoenix movie ‘You Were Never Really Here,’ we celebrate the hit men who look like anything but killers

You Were Never Really Here drops today, and it looks like a hard-boiled, action-filled, assassin extravaganza with Joaquin Phoenix rocking a crusty beard and busting open skulls with a metal hammer. He is, though, nothing like other movie assassins — besides all the killing, that is. There’s no cool jacket, no sleek sunglasses and no black leather gloves. Instead, Phoenix’s character, a former FBI agent suffering from PTSD who disrupts sex-trafficking rings, looks like he’s about to rummage through your trash for bottles and cans before he starts to fuck shit up. Which got us thinking about these 11 other unconventional assassins…

John Cusack as Martin Q. Blank in ‘Grosse Pointe Blank’

Who He Typically Kills: He’s your run-of-the-mill assassin taking on contracts for evil big-business executive types. The twist? His latest contract happens to be in the same place as his high school reunion.

How He’s Not Typically Assassin-Like: He’s dressed like a used car salesman. Add to that the fact that he’s played by John Cusack, and you have one of the most neurotic assassins ever created.

It’s Cusack, So…: …of course, there’s going to be a scene where long lost loves reunite while 1980s music plays in the background. This time, though, he’s holding a pistol instead of a boombox.

Nicolas Cage as Joe in ‘Bangkok Dangerous’

Who He Typically Kills: Joe is hired by various nefarious organizations and crime families to take out high-profile targets all over the world.

How He’s Not Typically Assassin-Like: First, peep the hair:

Couple that with a floral shirt likely stolen from Newman in Jurassic Park, and you have one awkward looking contract killer.

Where This Performance Sits on the Cage Crazy Spectrum: At about a seven. He has a few of his classic freakout moments, but for the most part, he’s quiet and subdued, really feeding into the lone-wolf trope, which in a way, makes him even a little creepier than usual.

Chris Pine, Kevin Durand and Maury Sterling as the Tremor Brothers in ‘Smokin’ Aces’

Who They Typically Kill: They’re actually on a mission to kill one person in particular, but they generally kill high-profile targets, often employing a kill-them-all, ask-questions-later mentality.

How They’re Not Typically Assassin-Like: They aren’t smooth or stealthy; they’re blunt objects meant to fuck up everything in the worst way possible.

Which Chris Is This Again?: Chris Pine. The pretty one. The only Chris one really needs to know. (Also: The one from Star Trek.)

Steve Carell as Gru in ‘Despicable Me’

Who He Typically Kills: Whomever he needs to in his bid for global domination.

How He’s Not Typically Assassin-Like: What assassin/evil villain do you know rocks a scarf and tight black pants? He looks like he’s about to judge a modeling competition, not take over the world with his adorable adopted daughters. Then there’s his penchant for making death devices that seem more suitable to making young children laugh than homicide.

Is Anyone Killed to That Pharrell Song like “Stuck in the Middle with You” in Reservoir Dogs?: No, but the Minions do acclimate to — and start to run shit — in a prison all to the music stylings of Pharrell’s “Freedom.”

Nao Ohmori as Ichi in ‘Ichi the Killer’

Who He Typically Kills: It’s a bit complicated. He isn’t necessarily an enforcer for the Yakuza, but he is being used by people in the Yakuza in order to pit yakuza clans against one another.

How He’s Not Typically Assassin-Like: As far as I can tell, he’s a guy who’s normally quite dorky/cowardly; he becomes, though, a sexually-charged homicidal maniac when enraged.

Where Erections Come Into Play: Literally whenever he kills someone. (Seriously.)

Putter Smith and Bruce Glover as Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint respectively in ‘Diamonds Are Forever’

Who They Typically Kill: They’re assassins working for famous Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld (the guy Dr. Evil was more or less based on), taking care of any link between Blofeld and a diamond-smuggling pipeline from South Africa to the United States (by way of the Netherlands).

How They’re Not Typically Assassin-Like: Mr. Kidd has Gallagher’s bald spot, while Mr. Wint looks like he could teach middle-school calculus. Not to mention, they often finish each other’s sentences and hold hands.

Where They Fall in Bond Villain Lore: Maybe the first queer male characters in the Bond universe?

Juan Sebastián Calero as Navegante in ‘Narcos’

Who He Typically Kills: Whoever the cartels want him to kill — whether that be for Pablo Escobar himself or for the Cali Cartel.

How He’s Not Typically Assassin-Like: It’s all in his look: The thinned out hair, the floral shirts. Even his face screams drunk father with no skills. But he’s one of the baddest motherfuckers in the whole series, surviving one cartel as it falls and easily fitting into the new one.

Who Would’ve Played Him in Vincent Chase’s Medellin: I think Turtle could’ve played Nevegante with flying colors. It’s all about being the most unassuming, and Turtle (aka Jerry Ferrara) was the most unassuming member of Vince’s crew. And yet, he still ended up becoming the most successful of the bunch (financially at least). The same can be said of Ferrara himself as he’s arguably had the best career post-Entourage.

Lou Diamond Phillips as Cisco in ‘The Big Hit’

Who He Typically Kills: He and his crew are normally hired out to take down high-profile targets connected to powerful crime families.

How He’s Not Typically Assassin-Like: He’s a hot-headed fuck-up who in a very stupid rookie movie, accidentally kidnaps the god-daughter of the man that employs him.

The Ed Hardy of It All: Yes, there was the gold tooth, but Cisco also wore tight shirts with weird graphics — a sort of proto-Ed Hardy look. This was Lou Diamond Phillips having fun, dropping massive amounts of ‘motherfuckers’, rocking a gold tooth, and channeling his best Nick Cage, Cisco was peak 90s. And lets not forget about the tight shirts with weird graphics.