Ahead of the release of The Avengers: Age of Ultron this month, we here at The Indiependent are celebrating by looking in depth at the most defining achievements of it’s spectacular ensemble cast. Today, we’re looking at the career of one badass; assassinating, decapitating motherf*cker.
This man has been around for what seems like forever, but Director Nick Fury himself; Samuel L. Jackson is certainly a household name nowadays (unless you live under a rock of course). Jackson has always been somewhat of a star, an enigmatic presence in any film, but ever since his Oscar-nominated work as hitman Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction, his career has shot to super-stardom. Totally timeless with some classic quotes to follow, here are Samuel L. Jackson’s defining moments.
Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction (1994)
“Say ‘what’ again. Say ‘what’ again, I dare you, I double dare you motherf*cker, say what one more Goddamn time!” As the charismatic, Bible-bashing hitman Jules Winnfield in Tarantino’s masterpiece Pulp Fiction; Jackson rose to cult status, even 20 years later people remember this as probably his greatest role to date. Not just earning Jackson cult status, but an Oscar nomination, as Best Supporting Actor. Jackson’s on-screen chemistry with John Travolta’s Vince Vega is to be marvelled at, both such contrasting figures; yet seem to effortlessly combine as a real kick-ass duo. As Jules, Jackson’s sheer talent shined through, making himself an extremely powerful on-screen presence; certainly receiving the audiences undivided attention. It’s not often you see a role so comical yet so powerful, and it’s for that reason,that Jackson’s performance is so memorable. To see him get an Oscar nomination, despite not getting the win, is a refreshing fact, as it is clear how much effort Jackson put into making this role, and the film; so special. Certainly his greatest role to date, which would set up the rest of his career as one ‘bad motherf*cker’.
In typical Jackson style, he just had to portray the coolest Jedi master of them all, Mace Windu. Armed with a purple lightsaber, as well as just generally being badass, Jackson stood out as a fan favourite in what can only be described as a disappointing prequel trilogy to debatably the most successful film franchise of all time. Windu’s demeanour, his calm nature mixed with first class fighting abilities make him such a great character to watch. Undoubtedly his finest moment; the arrival in Geonosis, just in time to save Obi-Wan, Anakin and Padmé, telling Count Dooku and his comrades: “this party’s over”. Followed by his ceremonious decapitation of Jango Fett, cementing himself as the most kick-ass Jedi master since Master Yoda himself. If a person were to read a character description of Mace Windu then asked which actor would portray him best, I’m almost certain that 99.9% of people would say Samuel L. Jackson, he is just that good at playing, cool, badass characters that all the fans will love; perhaps why his death at the hands Anakin/Vader was so heartbreaking. Another great Jackson role, my personal favourite of his, and one that further cemented his kick-ass nature, I mean watch this scene:
Oh how we despised Jackson as the DiCaprio-loving, Django-hating Stephen in another of Tarantino’s classics, Django Unchained. For perhaps the first time in his illustrious career, not a single person could surely say they weren’t filled with happiness when the miserable, evil Stephen was killed at the hands of Django. Jackson really made this role his own; and what makes it so different from most of his previous roles that despite having it’s comic nature, Jackson really nailed the bad guy image, and his on-screen chemistry with notably DiCaprio’s Calvin Candie and Jamie Foxx’s Django really created another standout performance. Despite not receiving many plaudits like DiCaprio or Christoph Waltz (who won an Oscar for his role as Dr. King Schultz), Jackson is certainly an integral piece of the fantastic puzzle that is Django Unchained. In such a surprising turn of events to play the bad guy, Jackson thoroughly impressed as the villainous Stephen, so much so that I think anyone who’s seen the film can say this was the most fulfilling scene of all:
Well if Django was anything to go by, seeing Jackson play another villain, this one hellbent on world domination and ridding the world of the ‘undesirables’ (normal people); was very exciting, and it didn’t disappoint. Ever comical as well as evil, Jackson’s rather camp, lisp-filled stint as billionaire madman Richmond Valentine in Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service was an absolute triumph. Valentine quickly became one of the most memorable and loved movie villains of all time, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a super-villain who’s scared of blood, violence and wears snapbacks and Nike trainers. Jackson makes Valentine totally his own, though not totally as badass as Mace Windu or Jules Winnfield, and even more evil than Stephen; he simply helps make Kingsman a truly great film, and if you haven’t seen it, it’s such a must-watch on an overall basis; simply helped by Sam Jackson being in another superb role.
Since his brief cameo after the credits of Iron Man, then his first in-film appearance during Iron Man, Jackson’s importance in the MCU as the eyepatch-wearing, leather clad boss of S.H.I.E.L.D has grown from film to film, most recently in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where to the shock of the audience we believed him dead, fortunately however, this was not the case. Jackson’s performances as Nick Fury are nothing short of enigmatic, dividing opinion between fans, mainly because as a character he doesn’t have that likability that oozes out of characters like Iron Man or Thor. Despite this, Fury is an integral part of the MCU, bringing together Earth’s mightiest heroes in Avenger’s Assemble and the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron. Jackson is the perfect actor to play Fury, down to his thriving on the badass role, which Fury certainly has, as he commands attention and is that powerful he can manage to even put Tony Stark on a leash for a time. Another badass Sam Jackson role, where he seems to thrive so well.
Other notable performances include: The Incredibles (2004), Jackie Brown (1997) and Snakes on a Plane (2006), Jurassic Park (1994), Coach Carter (2005), Die Hard With A Vengeance (1995)
Words by Elliott Jones