On March 30, it was announced that Bruce Willis was ending his acting career. The cause was diagnosed aphasia – a disease that causes speech disorders. Perhaps this news did not come as a big surprise to fans of the 67-year-old actor, because even before that there were rumors about Willis’s health problems, due to which he was no longer able to memorize a voluminous text. Probably, the consequence of the disease was the actor’s participation in rather dubious projects in the last few years. However, even the roles in passing and outright failed tapes are not able to erase all his merits and successes. For many, Bruce Willis is a childhood hero with whom films could be viewed over and over again. Let’s remember the ten best of his acting works.
1. “Strong nut”
Well, how else? For many Russian-speaking viewers, Bruce Willis is associated with police officer John McClain, who is able to deal with a group of terrorists alone. The first “Hard Nut” was, among other things, a springboard in the career of Bruce Willis. The film, based on the novel Nothing is Forever, was prepared at a time when the action genre was extremely popular and even oversaturated. Therefore, the authors of the film wanted to invite an already established star, but Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere and other famous actors of their time for various reasons refused. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger did not want to participate in a film about “evil Germans”, given his German accent. And then the producers turned their attention to the young Willis, who at that time was already appearing in TV series and on TV, but was still waiting for his debut in a big movie.
McClain’s image differed from the usual action heroes of the time, thanks in large part to humor. Agree, if you compare McClain and the conditional John Matrix from “Commandos”, it seems that these characters are from different planets. Pepper and humor were largely attributed to the film by Willis himself, who invented jokes and improvised on the set, and as a result helped create one of the best action movies in the history of cinema. Well, McClain’s crowning phrase is “Yupikaay, mazafaka!” in itself can evoke warm nostalgic feelings and the desire to reconsider the “Hard Nut”.
2. “Sixth Sense”
“How often do you see them?”
Oh, there were times – Willis had hair, and M. Knight Shyamalan made quality films … Curiously, the two most successful films of the director were with Willis. And if “Invulnerable” was warmly received, but did not receive universal adoration, the “Sixth Sense” became a cult film. Bruce Willis plays child psychologist Malcolm Crowe, who is once attacked by his former patient. After recovering from his injuries, the hero meets another troubled child who claims to see ghosts. Well, then… you probably already know. And if not, then continuing to describe the events would be a crime. “The Sixth Sense”, of course, was remembered by many for its plot – the tape is not devoid of touching and very penetrating scenes. And Bruce Willis, like his filmmaker Hailey Joel Osment, did a great job with them. So Willis once again proved that he is able to express himself in completely different images and genres.
3. “Fifth element”
“Major Dallas, you are entrusted with a task of the utmost importance.”
– What kind of job?
“Save the world.”
“The Fifth Element” is a film that was literally made for Bruce Willis. In it, the actor again, as in “Hard Nut”, was able to organically combine his own coolness of the action star and a sense of humor. Few people in Hollywood were able to cope with saving the world in such an ironic and adventurous manner, especially if you need to tense your muscles at the same time. Luke Besson shot a bright, light and a little crazy action movie, which at one time was a record amount spent on special effects. It is unlikely that among Russian-speaking viewers over the age of 18 there is at least one person who has not watched “The Fifth Element”. And in many respects this popularity is connected with the acting trio – Milla Jovovich, Bruce Willis and Chris Tucker. The relationship between the last two is a separate art form, which overshadows the line of love. So if you miss Bruce Willis, who saves the world in outer space in burlesque scenery and weighed the cuffs of the funniest orcs in the galaxy, it’s time to revisit The Fifth Element.
4. “Criminal reading”
There weren’t many films in Bruce Willis’s career that, so to speak, claimed high awards. By and large, there are only two of them: “Criminal Readings” and “Kingdom of the Full Moon”. And if in the second Willis had a very small role, then in Quentin Tarantino’s film the actor shone, and his image was remembered by the audience. In “Criminal Readings”, Willis played the role of a dirty boxer Butch. The audience must have remembered the cult scene, where Willis deals with two perverts, deciding to rescue a man who recently shot Butch himself in revenge for the lost bet. “Criminal Reading” is a kaleidoscope of ingenious dialogues and multifaceted scenes, and Willis became an interesting part of Tarantino’s plan.
5. “Death to her face”
By 1992, Bruce Willis had finally established himself as a militant star – by that time, two parts of “Hard Nut”, “The Last Boy Scout” and “Hudson’s Hawk” were released. Willis’s characters, of course, differed from the characters of Schwarzenegger and Stallone, but still remained cool guys with a sense of humor and the ability to pile up all the ill-wishers. That’s why it was more interesting to watch Willis in “Death to Her Face”, where he played Ernest Manville – a weak-willed and insecure shoemaker. But this role turned out to be perfect for the actor. In the black comedy, which at times slips into the absurd, Willis looked very organic with his glasses, liquid mustache and disheveled hair.
6. “12 monkeys”
“12 Monkeys” is one of the few works by Bruce Willis, in which there was almost no room for humor. The film tells the story of the near future, in which the Earth faced a dangerous virus that put humanity on the brink of extinction. Willis plays prisoner James Cole, who is asked to go on a dangerous journey in a time machine to find the source of the virus and neutralize it in exchange for an amnesty. Naturally, things go wrong, and after a series of events, Cole finds himself in a psychiatric hospital with the hero Brad Pitt. And this duo turned out to be really successful.
Terry Gilliam’s philosophical fantasy thriller is one of Willis’s most brilliant works, where he hardly had to wave his fists. By the way, it is in “12 monkeys” that we see Willis for the first time with his head completely shaved – in those years the actor was actively fighting baldness and was very worried about it, but the director supported Willis, calling his bald head a “monument of cranial architecture.” And before the filming, Terry Gilliam collected a whole collection of clichés related to the image of Willis in the movie, and passed them on to the actor, saying that in “12 monkeys” they will have to be abandoned.
7. “The Last Boy Scout”
“The Last Boy Scout” came out a couple of years after the success of the first “Hard Nut”. Like many Willis films of the time, this one turned out to be a lively comedy action movie. At the center of the plot is a private detective who was once the president’s bodyguard and even saved his life, but because of his straightforward and sometimes rude nature, he lost his career and became addicted to the bottle. The hero even has a symbolic name – Joe Hallenbeck, which can be translated as “hell and back.”
Willis’ character receives a simple order to become a stripper’s bodyguard. It’s just that Joe can’t complete the task, and the girl is killed. Willis’ hero is investigating the victim’s boyfriend, former athlete Jimmy Dix. Well, then, according to the law of the genre, it turns out that behind the ordinary murder lies a confusing and mysterious story and a whole handful of bad guys. By the way, Willis probably didn’t have to adapt to this image for a long time, because before his acting career he managed to work as a bodyguard and a private detective, as well as a bartender.
“Baby” is not the most popular acting work of Bruce Willis. A cozy family movie about a 40-year-old image consultant Russ – he built a successful career, but could not come close to happiness. The usual course of the hero’s life is disrupted by an unexpected meeting – with an eight-year-old himself. Rass has to look at the journey with his own eyes and rethink it, and at the same time remember how he once dreamed of getting a dog and becoming a pilot. “The Kid” did not win the special love of critics, and did not shine in the box office, but this is the same example of a touching and cute movie from the 2000s, watching which makes you feel warm.
Michael Bay’s Armageddon has been shown on TV probably a hundred times. Ordinary viewers liked the epic film about saving the Earth from an asteroid by a group of drillers. You may have shed a stingy tear as a child when Bruce Willis’s character sacrificed himself for his daughter’s lover, whom he disliked all the way. But film critics did not appreciate the emotionality of the scene, as well as all of Willis’ acting, and presented him with the Golden Raspberry. To some extent, this is a logical decision, because who in their right mind would sacrifice themselves for Ben Affleck?
One way or another, “Armageddon” still focused on special effects and scope, rather than the depth of acting. However, this does not mean that Willis filonil on set. For example, in the finale, in a scene saying goodbye to his daughter, the actor held a photo of his own child in his hand to achieve greater credibility and sincerity. By the way, it was after “Armageddon” that the actor first stated that he was tired of militants, although, as we know, he never left the genre for good.
10. “Slevin’s lucky number”
“Kansas City shuffle is when everyone looks to the left and you go to the right.” With this phrase at the beginning of the film, Bruce Willis has already made the picture cool. And it is not so important that in “Slevin’s Lucky Number” his character is not in the lead roles and most of the picture is a kind of ghost. Willis, accustomed to playing good guys and flaunting a sense of humor, this time played the role of a professional and cold-blooded assassin. “Slevin’s Lucky Number” is beautiful with its twisted plot and final twist, and Willis became the “cherry” in it. And, of course, his image from the past with a gorgeous mustache is a work of art that should be exhibited in art galleries.
You can probably remember a dozen other great movies starring Willis – the same “Nine Yards” or “Invulnerable”. Although in the context of Willis, sometimes the quality of the picture itself was not so important, because it could always be more than compensated by the charisma of the actor. Take the same awkward “Hudson Hawk”, which for the sake of Willis can be reconsidered without remorse and even advise friends (very close). Well, “Color of the Night”, literally destroyed by critics, is probably still stored in the hearts of many women, because how hot there was a young Willis! Yes, the actor has almost no individual awards, except for the “Golden Globe” at the beginning of his career for the series “Detective Agency” Moonlight “. However, this can hardly be considered an objective measure of the importance of the actor. After all, Bruce Willis really was able to become an idol of a generation (perhaps not even one), breathe new life into the militants and give many of us happy childhood memories.