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Coolest Movie Characters of 2005

EVERY year, Hollywood throws up a number of colourful personalities we would love to be, or know, in real life.

Perhaps the coolest of cool characters are reserved for the likes of Steve McQueen, in Bullitt or The Great Escape, Clint Eastwood, in his Spaghetti Western persona, or George Clooney or Brad Pitt, in their Ocean’s Eleven guise.

But 2005 conjured up several memorable turns, including the likes of Brad Pitt and Mickey Rourke – but which films were they selected for?

10) Thomas Jane in Stander

Stander

Reason: If you thought Ocean’s 12 had cornered the market on how to make a heist movie cool, then wait ‘til you get a load of Andre Stander, the youngest captain in the Johannesburg Police Force during the Seventies, who went on to become South Africa’s most notorious bank robber. What made it even more astounding was the fact it was true.
Cool moments: Robbing the same bank twice in one day as well as knocking off another that was located next to a police station.

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9) Kevin James in Hitch

Kevin James in Hitch

Reason: Women always say they place a sense of humour above good looks. Step forward Mr James. In the romantic comedy Hitch, he stole many of the movie’s best moments by forming an excellent relationship with Will Smith’s love doctor and a truly hilarious but touching affair with Amber Valletta.
Cool moments: Not so much cool as endearing – I mean, if he can dance ridiculously and spill his food all over himself and still get the girl of his dreams, we all have a chance – right?

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8) Nicolas Cage in Lord of War

Lord of War

Reason: He may ultimately be the villain of the piece but Nicolas Cage’s suave gun-runner, Yuri Orlov, was as slick as they come when negotiating his way around the arms trade. Even when cornered by Ethan Hawke’s digged Interpol agent, he managed to smooth-talk or buy his way out of a problem. Cage was as charismatic as ever – but the film crucially did not seek to glorify Orlov. Rather it made some very pertinent points that didn’t go down that well with US critics.
Cool moments: Whether seducing the woman of his dreams or keeping himself alive by negotiating another arms deal (for Rambo’s gun) with a trigger-happy dictator, Orlov had what it takes to be cool, calm and collected under fire.

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7) Joel Gion in DIG!

Joel Gion in DIG!

Reason: There can be few more interesting characters depicted in film this year than the real-life rock star, Joel Gion, formerly of indie group, The Brian Jonestown Massacre. While lead singer Anton Newcombe proceeded to continually undermine the band’s chances of success, you can’t help but laugh at Gion’s attempts to enjoy the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle while it lasted.
Cool moments: Too many to mention but attempting to clinch a record deal in Newcombe’s place while stoned rates as a classic moment in the documentary.

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6) Bruce Willis in Sin City

Bruce Willis in Sin City

Reason: While most of the plaudits went to Mickey Rourke (and deservedly so), Willis still shone as the dogged police inspector who went to extreme lengths to protect a beautiful young girl from the clutches of a murderous paedophile. His story book-ended Robert Rodriguez’s visually stunning movie and Willis remained as tough as they come, swapping his usual witty machismo for something far more gritty.
Cool moments: Dealing with Yellow Rat Bastard – both times.

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5) Stephen Chow in Kung Fu Hustle

Stephen Chow in Kung Fu Hustle

Reason: Stephen Chow is rapidly emerging as the new Jackie Chan of his generation. Following the popularity of Shaolin Soccer, he followed it up with the truly madcap hit, Kung Fu Hustle, which found him as a petty thief who lands in a world of trouble while attempting to become a member of the notorious Axe Gang.
Cool moments: Taking on all-comers in the movie’s martial arts finale, or the numerous moments of sheer silliness on his way to becoming The One.

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4) Robert Downey Jnr in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Robert Downey Jnr in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

What we said: Robert Downey Jnr has long been one of the coolest customers in Hollywood and Shane Black finally provided him with a role that played to his strengths. Hence, the hapless character of Harry was tailor-made for him to fast-talk, play vulnerable and display some savvy ability with a handgun. Oh, and he gets to lose a finger in the process!
Cool moments: Attempting to coerce a dog into giving back his finger and killing off the baddies while hanging off a freeway by holding onto a corpse.

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3) Brad Pitt in Mr & Mrs Smith

Brad Pitt in Mr & Mrs Smith

Reason: It was a toss up between Pitt’s character in Ocean’s 12 and his hip assassin in Mr and Mrs Smith, but the latter swung it because he got to fight and kiss Angelina Jolie, as opposed to Catherine Zeta Jones. Pitt genuinely seemed to be having fun in the role, whether providing glib deliveries or dispatching the villains in supreme style, his chemistry was explosive – as was the film’s box office.
Cool moments: Fighting with Mrs Smith in a tussle that literally brings down the house and facing off to the villains during the movie’s John Woo-style finale.

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2) Mickey Rourke in Sin City

Mickey Rourke in Sin City

Reason: Mickey Rourke enjoyed a strong year with compelling turns in both Sin City and Domino. The latter saw him employed as a bounty hunter alongside a mis-cast Keira Knightley (which marred his coolness slightly) but the former provided him with a perfect vehicle for his particular brand of cool. His ex-con Marv was an ugly heavy who vows revenge after waking up next to the dead hooker he has only just fallen in love with – and boy does he deliver it in spectacularly bloody fashion.
Cool moments: Just about every single one that he’s on screen.

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1) King Kong in King Kong

King Kong

Reason: He may be mostly CGI but Peter Jackson’s King Kong was an astonishing creation. Whether frolicking on the ice in Central Park with Naomi Watts’ Ann Durrow, facing off against three T-Rexes on Skull Island, or swatting at the bi-planes from the top of the Empire State Building he provided audiences with the ultimate thrill ride of the year. You laughed, you became awe-struck and, yes, you did cry!
Cool moments: Ice skating in Central Park, mountaineering up the Empire State and winning the ultimate smackdown between himself and not one but three T-Rexes. Kong truly was the one King that ruled them all this year.

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