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Published:April 8th, 2006 03:39 EST
2004: Anti-Heroes are back with a vengeance- Part II (a)

2004: Anti-Heroes are back with a vengeance- Part II (a)

By Garrett Godwin

In the 1970s, movies such as Death Wish and Dirty Harry became very successful at the box office, spawning four sequels for each movie throughout the 1980s and 1990s.  The ingredient for their success is because of two key things. The first is the theme of "an eye for an eye"-- fighting fire with fire and/or overcoming evil with evil.  The second is the main character of those movies is an anti-hero, always walking and crossing somewhere along the line between right and wrong-- good and bad.  The anti-hero coldly brought the bad guys down with street and vigilante justice.  Now, these films are back-- with a vengeance.

Kill Bill, vol. 1 & 2: Writer/director Quentin Tarantino's bloody epic of the mission of the Bride (Uma Thurman): to hunt down those responsible for putting her in a coma-- leading to a climatic showdown with her former lover/boss, Bill (David Carradine).

Man on Fire: Oscar winner Denzel Washington as a bodyguard going after the people responsible for the kidnapping of the little girl (Dakota Fanning) he was hired to protect.

The Punisher: The movie adaptation of the Marvel Comics character-- the anti-Batman (minus the cape and cowl!) who's a cross between Charles Bronson (without the mustache!) and Rambo (minus the mullet!).  Skilled in knives, weapons, and martial arts, ex-Fed Frank Castle (Thomas Jane) sets out to wipe out the criminal organization responsible for the brutal deaths of his family, leading to his sole purpose in life.  If society won't punish the guilty, The Punisher will.

The rise of the onscreen anti-hero continued with the Pitch Black sequel, The Chronicles of Riddick, in which escaped convict Riddick (Vin Diesel) finds himself as the last line of defense for humanity.  Following Riddick, there was Catwoman (Halle Berry), who was always walking the line between good and evil.  Next was Wesley Snipes back as the Daywalker in Blade: Trinity, this time taking on the baddest of all vampires: Dracula (Prison Break's Dominic Purcell).

2004 was the rebirth of vengeance movies, but continue the rise of the movie anti-hero.  If you like your characters somewhere between good and bad, then these are the films for you.  You want anti-heroes, you got them-- onscreen!