Sunday, April 19, 2009

A James Bond Retrospective - Henchmen

The term "Bond villain" carries behind it the weight of a half-century of cinematic evildoing; it conjures forth images of rogue billionaires, genocidal madmen, captains of industry, tyrants, masterminds, born leaders. If not for efforts of 007, the question isn't whether Bond villains would rule the world, but merely which one.

But probing further, it must be pointed out that with two or three exceptions most lead Bond villains have little martial talent and put in a room with James Bond there's no doubt that Bond would easily bend them over his knee. They may be old, they may be out of shape or even straightforwardly fat, they may be deformed. But their musculature isn't what makes these madmen intimidating, it's their limitless money, their callous and epic vision, their incalculable genius, and of course, their henchmen.

Behind each and every Bond villain stands teeming hordes of henchmen, the relatively unsung heroes of Bond villainy - loyal servants, hired gunmen, brawny thugs, heartless killers, colossal supermen, vile seductresses, computer geniuses, paid-off military and government leaders, and more faceless, nameless, machine gun-wielding mooks than can be counted. This crew has forsaken an honest living for their tiny slice of money and power, and many of them can go toe-to-toe or beyond in one-on-one combat with 007. They can kill Bond's lovers and allies, infiltrate governments, assassinate leaders, steal nuclear weapons, storm compounds, hack computers, and are the most deadly weapons in any villain's arsenal.