Next to Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson himself, he’s the next biggest star to conquer both the WWE ring and the movie theater. Dave Bautista has worked his way up through the ranks from bit-part bad guy roles to some of the most indispensable parts of beloved blockbuster franchises.
The 6'3" man-mountain has gone toe-to-toe with some of the biggest and baddest that the movie industry has to offer. He’s proven himself a total badass no matter what planet he’s on and he’s shown as much real courage and loyalty offscreen as he has on it. Here’s our salute to the ten most badass roles of Dave Bautista’s movie career so far.
Diaz is a mercenary from the pseudo-reboot of Vin Diesel’s other other action franchise, Riddick. He’s hardened muscle for a particularly despicable boss who has a penchant for putting his bounty’s severed heads in hermetically sealed boxes. He winds up on a no-name planet, with just under a dozen other mercenaries, to kill Vin Diesel’s title character. It goes as well for them as you’d think.
Diaz isn’t exactly meant to be a likeable character but he’s almost saintly compared to Diesel’s savage anti-hero. Plus, it’s not really possible to ride through a monster-infested storm on a flying space motorcycle and not look like a total badass.
9 Trent DeRosa
You’ve got to be a pretty badass character to be the man that gets called in to help escape artist action hero Ray Breslin when he’s in a bind. And you’ve got to be an even bigger badass actor to get top billing with Sylvester Stallone – especially when the star you’re replacing is none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Trent DeRosa makes his first appearance in Escape Plan 2: Hades but he’ll back again very soon in Escape Plan 3: The Extractors. Judging by his back-and-forth chemistry with Stallone in their first outing, it’s no wonder why he’s sticking around in the franchise. It is a mystery why he hasn’t appeared alongside Stallone already in an Expendables movie, though.
8 Tong Po
You might hear the name Kickboxer, think of the Jean-Claude Van Damme ‘80s movie and assume that that’s all there is to the story. But you’d be very wrong. The still-running franchise was rebooted for its sixth outing in 2016 and Bautista was brought in to kick things off as the movie’s very big, very bad villain.
Tong Po is a prominent figure in the lethal underground Muay Thai boxing scene in Thailand. He commands a cult-like compound of followers and makes public displays of strength, like smashing solid stone obelisks with his fists. His chief mouthpiece hypes him as “The champion of all champions. The man who defies the laws of physics. The man who is responsible for more than half the deaths in the ring in the last two years, usually in the first round.” He's kind of like The Mountain from Game of Thrones, but with a really bad hairdo.
7 Brass Body
Brass Body is exactly what he sounds like. He’s a man with a brass body. How does that make sense? Well, first consider that the movie that he’s from is called The Man with the Iron Fists and it should start to make more sense. Brass Body is a ruthless mercenary who rips people’s throats clean out with his bare hands and he hits people so hard that his fists growl like a tiger.
The directorial debut of Wu-Tang legend RZA, The Man with the Iron Fists is a totally unashamed salute to over-the-top kung-fu movies. Between Russell Crowe’s English accent and a man with fists made of actual iron, Brass Body isn’t even the most unbelievable thing in the movie. But he is one of the most memorably badass.
Everest is a “healthcare professional” who also has to “un-heal” people, from time to time. He’s the assistant to the head nurse at the Hotel Artemis, a members-only hospital for criminals set in a dystopian near-future Los Angeles. The hotel has strict rules about no weapons and no guests killing other guests but, considering the guests’ line of work, the rules aren’t always followed. That’s where Everest comes in.
Everest can take out a squad of armed riot police with nothing more than his fists and a first aid box. But don’t think that makes him some heartless brute, he’s actually a very sweet guy. His main job is helping out the head nurse, who suffers from extreme agoraphobia, and she leaves the hotel to him at the end of the movie.
5 Michael Knox
Bautista’s 2018 movie Final Score is a throwback to the heyday of Die Hard clones from the ‘90s and his lead character lives up to the action hero legacy. Knox is former solider who’s taking the daughter of a fallen comrade to a game at West Ham stadium in London when it's taken over by the standard array of Russian bad guys for the usual Russian bad guy action movie reasons.
Bautista has only recently started to be typecast as a good guy and he makes up for a lot of the enjoyable action movie badassery that he’s been missing out on with Michael Knox, like sticking a goon’s head in a deep fryer and jumping a motorcycle on the stadium’s roof. Better late than never.
From the 2017 movie Bushwick, Stupe is another former combat soldier character for Bautista but a much more heartfelt one. During the beginning of a second American Civil War, he becomes the rescuer and protector of a young woman trying to make it out of the fighting in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Other productions have let Bautista be as physically badass as Stupe is in the movie but they've never allowed Bautista to really show his acting chops as much as he does with the emotionally tortured veteran. In his final scene, the audience comes to care for Stupe in a genuine way that demonstrates the massive potential that’s still left to discover in Bautista’s tenure as one of the industry’s go-to badasses.
3 Drax The Destroyer
An instantly classic character and the moment that transformed Bautista from heel to hero in the eyes of moviegoers, Drax the Destroyer has been become one of the most beloved faces of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s a fearless warrior with a blindspot for metaphors and a singular mission to kill all those responsible for the murder of his family.
Drax showcases Bautista’s funnier side but he’s no joke in battle, though he can be seen howling with laughter at the prospect of taking on a squad of armed guards. Though a little blunt sometimes, Drax learns to open his heart a little again with his newfound family 'The Guardians of the Galaxy’ and he stole all of our hearts in the process.
2 Sapper Morton
Sapper Morton doesn’t appear in Blade Runner 2049 for very long, but his presence is felt throughout most of the movie and he’s almost the spirit of the whole story. Sapper is a Nexus-8 model of the artificial humanoid workers of Blade Runner’s future called Replicants. With super strength – even by Dave Bautista standards – and intelligence that's at least equal to the people who designed him, he’s one tough foe. In a world where his kind is hunted and murdered just for living too long, he makes it a long way before he finally bites the bullet.
After surviving a notoriously bloody battle called Calantha, the former medic escapes with another group of Replicants and ends up as a protein farmer just outside of Los Angeles. What really makes him a top-level badass, though, is that he essentially sacrifices himself to protect his former network of rebellious slaves. Knowing he’s beaten, and not wanting to risk giving up any information about the earth-shattering secret of his former group if he’s taken alive, he essentially suicides by cop. His final words echo throughout the movie and his sacrifice is not in vain.
1 Mr. Hinx
One of the most memorable Bond movie henchmen for quite some time, Hinx is a Terminator-like assassin for the shadowy Spectre organisation. He enters the story when he brutally kills a fellow Spectre assassin for the honor of tracking down and killing a rogue member. He coolly walks up to his cohort, slams his head on the meeting room table and, without saying a word, gouges his eyes out in front of everyone before snapping his neck.
Sporting a customized double-barreled pistol as well as his deadly metal eye-gouging thumbnails, Hinx is a force to be reckoned with. The big, blistering fight scene between him and Bond got so intense, in fact, that Craig seriously injured his knee; shutting down production while Craig underwent arthroscopic surgery. They finished the scene, and Hinx got thrown from the train at the end, but fans would love to see him back as a replacement for fan favorite immortal henchman Jaws. Bautista’s said he’s down for it, so keep those fingers crossed.