Movies where one good guy picks off a group of bad guys one by one.

I love movies like this. I had NEVER EVER seen Die Hard. Simply because I didn’t think I’d like it.

But I’m watching it now…and I love it! Bruce Willis is like a one man army. There’s, what, 12 bad guys and he’s picking them off one by one by one.
I love movies like that. Reminds me of two others like that that I really enjoyed (where just one guy slowly whittles down a huge group of bad guys): Air Force One was a lot like that. So was Cliffhanger.
And The Rock was just like that too…only it had two guys doing it (Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage).
Give me more movies where this happens! Where a person is obviously trapped in a situation or place with many bad guys and yet, in the end, wins based on taking them all out one by one by one.
I know there’s got to be hundreds of them.

Here’s a couple:
Mr. Majestyk (Charles Bronson)
Blind Fury (Rutger Hauer)

Blind Fury is pretty awesome.

There were a lot of movies that were made after Die Hard came out. There were a lot of “Die Hard on a…” type movies involving boats, trains, in schools, and even on a cargo plane with a stealth fighter in it. Die Hard kind of established a sub-genre of action movies.

There’s also Commando where Arnold mows through about 5000 bad guys armed with only Rae Dawn Chong, a heavy machine gun, some gardening tools, and his wits.

Most Segal movies.

Under Siege (Steven Segal movie, but it’s good)

Batman Begins

First Blood and Rambo

If Die Hard were told from the terrorist point of view, it would be a horror flick.

Pale Rider ends with Clint Eastwood singling out and picking off the baddies.

I just looked this movie up on Wikipedia to make sure I wasn’t confusing it with High Plains Drifter. The Wiki article was illuminating. All the times I’ve seen Pale Rider, I never noticed all the parallels to Shane. Duh.

This may actually be the best idea for a movie I’ve ever read. Make it happen!

For certain values of “good guy”, High Plains Drifter may qualify. Eastwood’s character is…not really a nice person at all…but he does pick off some arguably worse guys one by one.

For that matter, he’s no Boy Scout in Pale Rider either.

Paul Blart, Mall Cop. Very funny, and fits the theme.

Kill Bill vol. 1 & 2.

The Bride hunts down and kills the members of the gang of assassins to which she used to belong.

I wish I’d seen Die Hard in the theater, but I didn’t because of their stupid ads. The poster said “The odds are 12 to 1 . . . that’s just the way he likes it!” Which sounded pretty stupid. Turns out, the great thing about the character is that he doesn’t like it; almost getting killed twenty times is a huge pain in the ass, and he’d love it if the cavalry could ride in and save the day. But they can’t, so he’s stuck with what is truly a shit job.

And as you expressed, the great thing about his method is its simplicity. No matter what kind of criminal or technical genius the main badguy is, no matter how clever his plan, McClaine’s response is to start killing his henchmen, one by one (or in small groups), until there’s nobody left.

A similar approach is taken in another movie in which Alan Rickman also plays the bad guy: Quigley Down Under.

Quigley Down Under. Tom Selleck plays a wild west sharpshooter who takes a job in Australia.

Damn, I may need to watch that again tonight. It’s one of my favorite movies.

There’s a scene in Tears of the Sun where a couple of sharpshooters (at least one of them a bona fide sniper, maybe both), start picking off bad guys marauding a village from a distance one by one while the rest of the team moves in to mop up the rest. A few cool shots of bad guys getting aced right before they’re about to kill some random innocent person.

Taken has Liam Neeson killing half the city of Paris one by one while trying to recover his kidnapped daughter.

As for all of the best examples I could think of, they’ve already been called, most notably Air Force One

The classic: Yojimbo. Toshiro Mifume picks off two gangs of bad guys, one and two at a time. (It’s based on Dashiel Hammet’s novel Red Harvest, possibly the template for this sort of story)

The movie has also been remade many times. Some include:

For a Fistful of Dollars
Last Man Standing

Bad Day at Black Rock also owes a lot to it.

Another one with two guys taking out the trash: Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds in City Heat.

Huh. I wondered about this: I saw Last Man Standing, then years later read Red Harvest and assumed the former was closely based on the latter. Then I saw LMS again and realized how different (and inferior) it was, but figured there must be a connection.


Payback follows this method, I think, as do any number of computer games.


Bruce Lee Game of Death. (Well, not all of it is Bruce Lee, but that’s another story.) It’s a terrible film, but fits the OP.

Speaking of classics, High Noon falls in the category, if you don’t count the temporary assistance sheriff Gary Cooper got from his bride, Grace kelly.