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25 September, 2007 / Erik

Tough Guy Contender #1

So, the last post had a response and started discussions in real life. So, I’m starting a semi-regular feature to seek out the American Tough Guy. Phase two of that plan would be to write the American Tough Guy script. So, tonight, I present our first contender: Michael Chiklis.

Evidence in Favor: His portrayal of corrupt cop Vic Mackie on the Shield is stellar year after year. Chiklis’s bull-dog face always foreshadows an explosion of violence and ass-kicking, which he delivers expertly. These are important qualities for our Tough Guy to possess. Also, he looks good in a black leather jacket. This is also key for certain roles. Chiklis can also handle scenes where characters joke around, bare their souls, or challenge each other without resorting to violence. All those years in the wilderness taking parts like the Commish and yes, even John Belushi have made Chiklis appreciate his current position as one of TV’s great characters. A transition into film Tough Guy would be an easy move for him when the Shield concludes next year.

Problems: In real life, Chiklis is a teddy bear. Also, his film work to date has been a bit (Yar, puns ahead!) Grimm. For Chiklis to do good work, the scripts have to be there for him. Sadly, the best we can muster is fifth-rate family fare that encases all his talents in rubber. Where’s his chance to play a down-on-his-luck hatchet man with a severed head in his passenger seat?

Why He’s Not a Tough Guy already: Vic Mackie, while a bad-ass, is not honorable in the American Tough Guy sense. Even when the Tough Guy is a criminal, he asserts a morality audiences recognize. While the audience hopes to see Mackie and his Strike Team prevail, there is always the understanding that they are wholly corrupt and outside the Tough Guy Morality. Chiklis is so closely identified with this character, it’s hard to see him as right honorable at this time.

Of course, given the right material, that could change so easily.

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One Comment

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  1. Tim / Sep 26 2007 2:31 pm

    Another popular contender (if you only for you to disprove): Samuel L. Jackson.

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