Wednesday, March 14, 2012

LXB | March Madness: Ash Williams vs Jack Bauer

For the first three weeks of March, we're going to answer the question, one match at a time, of who would win if 12 movie tough guys were airdropped into an abandoned city and only one could escape.

This is another tough one, but for a different reason than some of the others. The problem is Ash, who - let's face it - is a cartoon character. We love him because he's impossibly awesome. He's a whiny, little dork who inexplicably becomes a badass demon hunter with resourcefulness that would make MacGyver jealous. It's difficult to imagine that a guy who can cut off his own, demon-possessed hand with a chainsaw could be beaten by anyone. On the other hand, he's cowardly and inept at times, only showing competence when he's killing demons and tossing out one-liners. So the question is: how seriously do we take him, and - by extension - this contest?

We have two choices: either we embrace Ash's cartoonishness or we consider him to be a real character with real flaws that can be exploited by an opponent. If we let him stay a cartoon: he wins the whole thing. It's like putting Bugs Bunny in the brackets. You're never going to kill him and sooner or later he's just going to drop an anvil on your head. The problem is that that makes the whole competition ridiculous and pointless. Or more ridiculous and pointless than I want it to be.

The second option's major problem is that it takes all the fun out of Ash. I hate to do that, but it's the lesser evil. If the contest is going to continue past this bracket, we've got to put Ash in the same arena as everyone else. That means acknowledging that he's extremely inventive and persistent when his life is on the line, but also kind of lazy and cowardly and fond of his own voice.

Jack Bauer on the other hand is a no-nonsense machine who does whatever it takes to get the job done. I think that while Ash is still making jokes, Jack caps him from a distance and moves on.


Brian (Cool & Collected) said...

In hindsight, Conan the Barbarian should have clearly been in that 16th slot that Ash had filled.

Michael May said...

Oh, man! That's a cool idea. I wonder what would happen if Conan dropped through a time portal at the end to fight the winner...


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