007 Chatter: Our picks of six worst Bond villains

In anticipation for Bond 23, a.k.a. Skyfall (view trailer) coming on November 9th, 2012, Ted and I are starting a new monthly series called 007 CHATTER… look for it sometime in the first week of each month.

I’ve also added a new category for this, so click on 007 Chatter on the category drop-down menu for all Bond-related posts.

Ted’s Picks

In my opinion there has never been a great villain in a Bond film, there were some decent ones but I’m still waiting for the Hans Gruber or The Joker type of villain to appear in a Bond flick. With the upcoming Skyfall, I do hope Javier Bardem can pull off a great villain that I’ve been craving in a Bond film since well forever.

That being said, there were so many bad Bond villains throughout the franchise, below are my top three worst Bond baddies and henchmen/women.

Max Zorin and May Day from A View to a Kill

This was a tragedy, how could you have Christopher Walken playing a villain in a Bond flick and yet his role was so badly-written? I mean come on, it’s Christopher Walken, he could’ve been the best Bond villain ever had the writers came up with a better concept for his character. Instead what they came up with was to have him play a mad industrialist who’s trying to monopolize the tech world by destroying Silicon Valley, really? I think Steve Jobs has done a better job of that and he didn’t even have to kill millions of people to accomplish it. Then they decided to include a henchwoman played by Grace Jones; she’s one scary woman and not in a good way. I’ll leave it at that.

Maximilian Largo and Fatima Blush from Never Say Never Again

There were so many things wrong with this remake of my favorite Bond film, Thunderball. First, Sean Connery was way too old to play Bond, it was creepy watching him romances the very young Kim Basinger. Then somehow they decided not to make the movie exciting, seriously try watching this flick and not fall asleep. In an interview, Irvin Kershner (yes the same director who made The Empire Strikes Back) said he didn’t want to include too many action scenes in the movie but was forced by the studio to shoot a couple of additional of action set pieces. If you saw the movie then you know how lackluster those sequences looked on the screen, Kershner flatly admitted that he just didn’t care for those scenes and decided not to put much effort into directing them. Well Mr. Kershner you accomplished your mission.

But the worse offense to me was the casting or should I say miscasting of the main villain. In the original film, Largo wasn’t a great villain but the actor who played him did a decent job with it. In this remake, Klaus Brandauer was cast as Largo and he might be the least intimating Bond villain ever. I remember the first time I saw this film, when his character appeared on screen, I tried hard not to laugh because he’s such a dorky looking person that I thought, really he’s supposed to be Bond’s main antagonist? Now I thought the casting of Barbara Carrera as the henchwoman Fatima was a good idea but he character was so boring that she didn’t add much to the story, she’s no Xenia Onatopp. To be fair though, the character from the original film wasn’t that strong either.

Dominic Greene and Elvis from Quantum of Solace

I’m one of the few people who enjoyed this film but again they totally miscast the main villain. Mathieu Amalric played the CEO of the mysterious Quantum organization and he was just wrong for this role. He’s not a bad actor by any means but for a Bond villain, I wanted to see someone who’s intimating and can actually kick Bond’s ass. Now I understand that most CEO of big companies look more like Mathieu Amalric, for example Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates came to mind. But in a film world, I want to see a bigger than life person not some dorky looking dude.

To add insult to injury, the filmmakers thought hey why not include a henchman who looks like pedophile and not have him doing anything except looking creepy throughout the movie. The role of Elvis was played by Anatole Taubman, I had to look it up on imdb to make sure since his name was never utter in the film. Of all the henchmen in the Bond franchise, he’s probably the least intimating of the bunch.

HONORABLE MENTION:

Mr. Big/Kananga from Live and Let Die


Ruth’s Picks

Now, my picks are focused on the main villain. They’re agonizingly-bad enough on their own without the *help* of a henchman.

Brad Whitaker in The Living Daylights

I was watching The Living Daylights the day I wrote this. I like this movie, mind you, but man, what the heck was the casting manager thinking casting Joe Don Baker as the shady arms dealer. Up until then, I actually quite like the double-crossing General Koskov (Jeroen Krabbé) and Pushkin is played by the always-watchable John Rhys-Davies. But Whitaker is just sooo cheesy, I mean, even Art Malik as the as the Afghan Mujahideen leader is a thousand times cooler than this guy. The moment he appears I swear this movie just stoop down a few notches to become a barely B-movie action flick!

Such a shame considering how classy Timothy Dalton is as Bond. Even his death being pinned under a giant Wellington statue is rather lame, though his personal war museum of himself dressed up as historical military leaders like Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, even Attila the Hun is preposterous fun.

Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies

I think the idea of a media mogul as a Bond villain is quite clever and timely for the beginning of the 21st century, now if only they cast someone remotely interesting. Johnathan Pryce had zero charisma and his overacting didn’t help matters. I find it hard to believe him in the role of a headlines-obsessed, power-hungry megalomaniac.

I find him to be a weak villain in every sense of the word, he never even fight Bond or anyone in a hand-to-hand combat, and he manages to mock Michelle Yeoh’s Wai Lin’s Kung Fu moves. I mean she’s a skilled Chinese spy, I kept wishing she’d just break his neck in one swift kick!! When Bond finally offed him with his own sea drill (ouch!), it wasn’t a moment too soon.

Renard in The World in Not Enough

Now, unlike the two I mentioned above, Renard is actually played by a capable actor, Robert Carlyle. So it’s a pity that he’s written up to be such a feeble character. It had so much potential, I mean the guy has a friggin’ bullet in his brain which makes him immune to pain as it destroys his senses. You’d think he’d be this cool, bad-ass baddie, but he barely has any screen time and ends up playing second fiddle to his lover Elektra.

Now, I actually like French actress Sophie Marceau in the role of an oil heiress who falls for the man who abducts her. Interesting story if it had been explored a bit better, but the whole two-villains idea falls flat here. Poor Carlyle, not only does he have to put up with having this constipated look throughout the movie, he also has to put up with Denise Richards playing a nuclear scientist!!

HONORABLE MENTION:

Nick Nack (Hervé Villechaize) in The Man With the Golden Gun

Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens) in Die Another Day


Now that you’ve read our pick of the worst Bond villains, check out my wish-list of actors I’d like to see as 007’s nemesis.



Well, those are our choices, folks. Now, who’s YOUR pick of the worst Bond villain ever, let us know in the comments.

41 thoughts on “007 Chatter: Our picks of six worst Bond villains

  1. Ahah! Poor Carlyle indeed. As you know, I’m a great admirer of “my good friend” Boabby. Unfortunately, like so many underwritten roles of late, he’s wasted. He suffered a similar fate in the terrible ‘Eragon’. He done what he could with the poor material but ultimately like his Bond villain, it’s a poor piece of writing and having even feature in a film with the toothy Denise Richards is bad enough. Shame really.

    1. Yeah, it’s really a bummer Mark. I don’t know why studios cast talented people only to waste ’em w/ sub-par script! It’s insulting that he wasn’t even on screen that much, hence my ‘second banana’ comment. I haven’t seen ‘Eragon’ but I think I’d rather watch How To Train Your Dragon again! Yep, the less said about Denise Richards the better!

  2. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ted and company:

    Excellent topic for dissertation today!

    You’ve picked five less than marginal bad guys. Which may be a contributing factor to my on and off affair with Bond.

    Where are the Alan Rickmans? The Brian Coxes? The Tom Hardys? The Frank Langellas? or The Ed Harrises , J. E.Freemans or Dan Hedayas and their ilk who can pull off evil and malevolence as others go through their morning ablutions?!!!

    Christopher Lee phoned it in and was wasted as Scaramanga. While Chris Walken was too over the top as Zorin.

    Maybe the Bond franchise should look towards Jason Statham, Damian Lewis or Dexter Fletcher as henchmen as well?

      1. jackdeth72

        Hi, Ruth:

        Absolutely!

        Have Jason play a re-vamped ‘Oddjob’. Decked out in tailored Saville Row finery. I think Jason would look smashing in a Bowler with its trademark razor brim. Definitely has the moves and attitude to put most to shame.

        1. Hear, hear! Now I’d like to see the hand-to-hand combat between him and Craig, man that’d be sooo bad ass even those guys in the Expendables would cringe watching it!

  3. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ruth and company:

    What name is certain to strike paralyzing fear in the hearts of mere mortal men around the globe?

    Elliot Carver! …. Seriously?… Really?… You’re going with the first name of the never been kissed by a girl, Uber Gamer and Techno Geek that lived two door down from you in college?!!!

    No.

    The name that strikes fear is Ernst Stravrou Blofeld!!!. Or Aurelio Zed, if you’re a criminal.

    Where’s Cillian Murphy and a floofy, diamond chokered silver cat when you need one?!

    Excellent choices, BTW!

    1. Hello Jack! Ha..ha..ha.. you’re right about the name thing. Elliot just doesn’t make you shudder like Blofeld or Hugo Drax! Plus Pryce just looks so feeble that he won’t scare a little girl even if he tried! Ahah, I’d never picture Cillian Murphy stroking a fluffy cat sitting in a wheelchair, but hmmm, who knows, that guy can do anything! 🙂

  4. I actually really enjoyed Jonathan Pryce in “Tomorrow Never Dies,” which is one of my favorite Bond flicks. No, he doesn’t fight, but then again most of Bond’s villains are the mental types not the physical ones. I never cared for Hugo Dax from “Moonraker,” as he seemed like a poor man’s Goldfinger, and a rather bland one at that. I’m actually surprised nobody mentioned the version of Bloefeld with hair in “Diamonds Are Forever” or whoever the forgettable villain was in “For Your Eyes Only” (I just watched that movie again the other night, and it still isn’t coming back to me).

    1. I didn’t dislike ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ as I like Michelle Yeoh, but sorry I really can’t stand Pryce in that one. He..he.. well, I actually put Hugo Drax as one of my five favorites, I like how elegant and cold he is, plus that name itself is cool. “For Your Eyes Only” is one of my guilty pleasures from one of Moore’s Bonds, and I do remember the villain: Kristatos, I thought he’s pretty good.

  5. Okay, I grant you that Joe Don Baker is not a very good villain in The Living Daylights. At all. But…the one guy threw exploding milk bottles. Exploding milk bottles!!! That has to count for something.

    1. Ha..ha… I actually like Necros, he’s the tall Blond guy w/ the exploding milk bottles!!! Plus he’s got a nice hot bod in a Speedo, so yeah, he makes for an awesome henchman 😉

  6. Though I love Mads Mikkelsen he character Le Chiffre was terrible and weird he should at least get raspberry for that not his fault just bad writing.

    1. Ted S.

      You didn’t like Le Chiffre? I thought he was pretty good as Bond’s antagonist, too bad they killed him off so early in the film.

        1. Ted S.

          I think they really wanted to stay as faithful to the novel as possible, it’s been a while since I read it but Le Chiffe messed up Bond’s manhood pretty bad, like the film. I was actually surprised they included that scene in the movie.

  7. I was ready to battle if you picked a lot of choices, but I’ll admit that I’m pretty good with most of the picks. I don’t agree with Renard because of Carlyle. All the honorable mentions are worse than him. While I don’t remember much about Quantum of Solace, I think Amalric did an okay job.

    I definitely agree with Fatima Blush, Max Zorin, May Day, and Whitaker. Those are all awful villains. Other possibilities include Hugo Drax in Moonraker and Blofeld in Diamonds are Forever. Those guys are bringing little to the table.

    1. Ted S.

      I didn’t think Amalric was bad in it but I thought he was just totally miscast in the role, I mean that fight scene between him and Bond was kind of comical because screamed like a little boy every time threw a punch at Bond. They should’ve cast someone as physical as Craig for that role since it required him to have hand to hand combat with Bond.

  8. ilovethatfilm

    I think the fact that I can’t even remember the two from Never Say Never Again at all, says everything I need to say here!

    I must be one of the only people who quite liked Eliot Carver. Well actually like you, I liked the idea anyway. Shame he wasn’t a bit more of a match for Bond.

    1. Ted S.

      The more you forget about Never Say Never Again the better, it’s a bad Bond flick.

      I like the idea of media mogul as the villain but the writers totally screwed up on to use Carver in the movie, he started out good but then he became the usual cartoonish villain. And I enjoyed Tomorrow Never Ties myself, in fact it’s my favorite of all of Brosnan’s Bond films.

    1. Ted S.

      Yeah I don’t know how you can cast someone like Walken and made his character so uninteresting and boring.

    1. Ted S.

      Ha ha, maybe I should’ve look at their characters that way but they were just way too cartoonish for liking. The funny thing is Christopher Walken sort of played the same character in Batman Returns and I thought he was great in that movie.

  9. Great article! I don’t really remember any of Bond vilains well, so I guess they are not too good. I did like the evil chicks like Famke Jansen and Sophie Marceau, though. I hope Bardem will do good job, I’m sure he will actually – he has so much charisma this cannot possibly fail.

    1. Evil chicks, ha…ha.. LOVE it! Yes I do like Famke Jansen and Sophie Marceau a lot, they beat the male villains any day. I think Bardem can bring that sinister quality as a Bond baddie, I mean we know how scary he was in No Country For Old Men.

  10. As you know, I’m not really too knowledgeable about the Bond universe but I would totally agree about Dominic in Quantum of Solace. Really weak villain and his sidekick Elvis is hilariously bad. I guess it was some kind of a not-so-clever joke, it couldn’t be any other way.

    1. Ted S.

      Yeah I’m not sure why the Elvis character was even in the movie, he didn’t do anything except looking weird and creepy. Usually a henchman would actually do some harm to people and try to kill Bond.

  11. Alex Withrow

    Oooh great post here. Dominic Greene, Brad Whitaker, and Elliot Carver have got to be three of my least favorite Bond villains ever. So so bad.

    Well done!

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  13. I dunno, I have never really thought about it in that way. Maybe I am just not as into the Bond franchise as I thought I was. It may just be that I think they are pastiches. But Toby Stephens (and the film) were pretty lame.

  14. I thought the same thing the other day when I was watching The Living Daylights. I don’t like Brad Whittaker as a villain. He was annoying. And I agreed about Renard. I don’t like the latest villain from Skyfall, but I think he’s quite interesting in a humorous way…

    1. Hi again Nina! I really appreciate your comments. Yeah, I’m not a huge fan of Bardem’s Silva. Seems like these days they have to inject some kind of homo-eroticism to everything! Is that supposed to ‘modernize’ the movie?? I like the classic villain like Drax even if Moonraker is ludicrous in many ways as well, ahah.

      1. Hi again Ruth! Yeah, I was going through FC’s posts on Bond yesterday and somehow ended up commenting on a few…
        Yep, I think it is! It was a little shocking because all the other previous villains were Different, but when I got used to it, it wasn’t that bad, but still I’m not much a fan. The classics are better, except I can’t look at the villain with the cat (his name slips my mind…) because I keep thinking about Dr Evil from Austen Powers haha

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