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Face Off: Gary Oldman (Leon: The Professional) vs. Gary Oldman (The Fifth Element)

04.24.2014by: Dave Davis
Last week's Face-Off column put diverse A-list actors Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt against each other, and the majority of you thought that Pitt deserved the prize in that match.

This weekend offers one of Paul Walker's final screen appearances in the action flick BRICK MANSIONS, a remake of the French movie DISTRICT B13 (aka BANLIEUE 13) from writer/producer Luc Besson.

Flipping through Besson's filmography, he was once gracious enough to deliver Gary Oldman in back-to-back roles, a pair of distinctly different but equally memorable villains: manic lowlife DEA agent Norman Stansfield (LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL) and calculating industrialist Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (THE FIFTH ELEMENT). Who's the better bad guy?

(Please note: Face Off is an opinion column. We're not using any actual science to prove or disprove anything. It's just for fun.)
JOB DESCRIPTION
Undercover DEA agent and part-time drug dealer
Billionaire manufacturer and weapons dealer
BASE OF OPERATIONS
New York City
Futuristic New York City
GOAL
Locate his stolen stash of cocaine, and find the "cleaner" who has killed corrupt DEA agents
Acquire the four Element stones for his "boss" Mr. Shadow, aka the Ultimate Evil
OBSTACLES
-Leon (Jean Reno), one of the world's most lethal hitmen

-Mathilda (Natalie Portman), a 12-year-old assassin-in-training seeking revenge on Stansfield for the murder of her family
-Hover cab driver/retired Special Forces operative Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis)

-Leeloo (Milla Jovovich), the ass-kicking Fifth Element
WEAPONs OF CHOICE
-Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum

-pump-action 12-gauge shotgun
The ZF-1 assault rifle with titanium recharger, 3000-round clip, "Replay" button, rocket launcher, arrow launcher (with explosive or poisonous gas heads), net launcher, flamethrower, "Ice Cube" system, and self-destruct mechanism
FASHION SENSE
A sharp beige suit. Classic style!
Pinstripes, green satin, high collars, transparent head-thingy
ACTS OF EVIL
-Viciously slaughters an entire family (well, except one) in cold blood

-Threatens numerous innocents

-Beats the hell out of Danny Aiello

-Dispatches dozens of police officers to certain death

-Shoots Leon in the back before he can escape
-Fires one million employees

-Kills his right-hand man via telephone

-Blows up a few alien mercenaries

-Guns down several cruise liner security staff members

-Shoots Leeloo through a ventilation shaft
WEAKNESSES
- Drug addiction

- Grenades
- Mangalore explosive device

- a cherry
QUOTES
-Norman: "I haven't got time for this Mickey Mouse bullshit!"

-Norman: "I like these calm little moments before the storm. It reminds me of Beethoven. Can you hear it? It's like when you put your head to the grass, and you can hear the growing, and you can hear the insects."

-Norman: "You don't like Beethoven? You don't know what you're missing. Overtures like that get my juices flowing. So powerful. But after his openings, to be honest, he does tend to get a little fucking boring."

-Norman: "It's always the same thing. It's when you start to become really afraid of death that you learn to appreciate life. Do you like life, sweetheart?"
Mathilda: "Yes."
Norman: "That's good, because I take no pleasure in taking life if it's from a person who doesn't care about it."

-Norman: "Death is... whimsical... today."

-Norman: "Bring me everyone."
Benny: "What do you mean, everyone?"
Norman: "EEEVVERRRYYYOOONNNEEE!!!"
-Zorg: "Life, which you so nobly serve, comes from destruction, disorder and chaos. Now take this empty glass. Here it is: peaceful, serene, boring. But if it is destroyed..."
[smashes the glass]
Zorg: "Look at all these little things! So busy now! Notice how each one is useful. A lovely ballet ensues, so full of form and color. Now, think about all those people that created them. Technicians, engineers, hundreds of people, who will be able to feed their children tonight, so those children can grow up big and strong and have little teeny children of their own, and so on and so forth. Thus, adding to the great chain of life. You see, father, by causing a little destruction, I am in fact encouraging life. In reality, you and I are in the same business."

-Priest Vito Cornelius: "You're a monster, Zorg."
Zorg: "I know."

-Zorg: "I don't like warriors. Too narrow-minded, no subtlety. And worse, they fight for hopeless causes. Honor? Huh! Honor's killed millions of people, it hasn't saved a single one. Tell you what I do like though: a killer. A dyed-in-the-wool killer. Cold-blooded, clean, methodical and thorough. Now a real killer, when he picked up the ZF-1, he would have immediately asked about the little red button on the bottom of the gun."

-Zorg: "If you want something done, do it yourself! Yep!"
INSANITY LEVEL
Totally over-the-top nutso
Agitated but devious
NORMAN STANSFIELD
Oldman was really in his dastardly scene-stealing prime in the 90s (DRACULA, TRUE ROMANCE, AIR FORCE ONE, JFK, STATE OF GRACE), but none left quite an impression as much as his collaborations with Besson.

But while Zorg was a uniquely odd and despicable 23rd century asshole, he was ultimately just a lackey for an otherworldly malevolent force. Oldman's performance as the sweaty, seething madman in LEON has earned its rightful place on the list of all-time greatest villains, if only for his meme-generating delivery of a single word: EVERYONE!!!

Agree? Disagree? Which do you prefer?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!

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-1
9:52AM on 04/24/2014

If it wasn't for the photos, I wouldn't remember...

... who ZORG was. That's how unmemorable he was. STANSFIELD isn't among my favorite villains or anything, but I'd say he was pretty memorable.
... who ZORG was. That's how unmemorable he was. STANSFIELD isn't among my favorite villains or anything, but I'd say he was pretty memorable.
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+0
9:36AM on 04/24/2014
To quote Mr Stansfield: BINGO!
To quote Mr Stansfield: BINGO!
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9:28AM on 04/24/2014
I could watch that ZF1 scene over and over again on a loop, but Stansfield was the role that really made me sit up and take notice.
I could watch that ZF1 scene over and over again on a loop, but Stansfield was the role that really made me sit up and take notice.
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9:23AM on 04/24/2014
Gary Oldman in Leon/The Professional for me.
Gary Oldman in Leon/The Professional for me.
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9:09AM on 04/24/2014

Love both but I agree with the verdict

Oldman is the biggest chameleon in Hollywood and this constant rant about DiCaprio deserving to get an Oscar ignores Oldman's craftsmanship and brilliance.
Oldman is the biggest chameleon in Hollywood and this constant rant about DiCaprio deserving to get an Oscar ignores Oldman's craftsmanship and brilliance.
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8:14AM on 04/24/2014
Gotta side with León. They are both great movies and both great roles. But Stansfield would easily make my top 5 movie villains list and it is my favorite Goldman performance.
Gotta side with León. They are both great movies and both great roles. But Stansfield would easily make my top 5 movie villains list and it is my favorite Goldman performance.
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8:11AM on 04/24/2014
Definitely the pill-popping nutjob from Léon. That's one of my favourite Gary Oldman performances.
Definitely the pill-popping nutjob from Léon. That's one of my favourite Gary Oldman performances.
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8:05AM on 04/24/2014
I have to agree and go with Norman Stansfield as well. Love the over the top performance he gives and it's probably one of my favorite performances of all time too next to Kilmer in Tombstone and Hoffman in Rain Man.
I have to agree and go with Norman Stansfield as well. Love the over the top performance he gives and it's probably one of my favorite performances of all time too next to Kilmer in Tombstone and Hoffman in Rain Man.
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7:46AM on 04/24/2014
It's def a tie for me as well. I personally love those two movies and Gary Oldman's performance in The Professional was so disturbingly good. If I had to choose id probably go with Zorg only because Fifth Element is my favorite Sci-Fi film and I've watched it more times then Any Star Wars or Star Trek film. But both are great movies from a one time true craftsman of film.
It's def a tie for me as well. I personally love those two movies and Gary Oldman's performance in The Professional was so disturbingly good. If I had to choose id probably go with Zorg only because Fifth Element is my favorite Sci-Fi film and I've watched it more times then Any Star Wars or Star Trek film. But both are great movies from a one time true craftsman of film.
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6:04AM on 04/24/2014

Suggestion for " the best movie you never saw "

if you guys love Gary Oldman, you should try to Watch his only movie as a director (produced by his friend Luc Besson) : " Nil by Mouth ", a story of a working class family in London, a la Ken Loach, very depressive, very intense, very violent, very hard (the word fuck is used more than 500 times in the movie, so impossible to release this movie in the US television.... lol, I remember a few years ago visiting america, watching on AMC a mob-week, with Scarface, and every " fuck " was beeped,
if you guys love Gary Oldman, you should try to Watch his only movie as a director (produced by his friend Luc Besson) : " Nil by Mouth ", a story of a working class family in London, a la Ken Loach, very depressive, very intense, very violent, very hard (the word fuck is used more than 500 times in the movie, so impossible to release this movie in the US television.... lol, I remember a few years ago visiting america, watching on AMC a mob-week, with Scarface, and every " fuck " was beeped, unwatchable !!!) ; the movie is based on Gary Oldman's own difficult childhood in London, a very good movie you are not used to see ! (precious is the only movie in recent years I can compare to)
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5:47AM on 04/24/2014

a tie for me...


can't choose berween them
Jedd is right : how in the hell J. Hill has 2 oscars noms and Oldman only 1 ??? Oldman deserved at least 1 oscars : Leon, JFK, Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy...you choose

can't choose berween them
Jedd is right : how in the hell J. Hill has 2 oscars noms and Oldman only 1 ??? Oldman deserved at least 1 oscars : Leon, JFK, Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy...you choose
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+1
3:08AM on 04/24/2014
Cmon man! These are like 2 of my favorite Gary Oldman characters. He plays it so safe now. Not that his safe roles are bad ones, but man, I miss his edgy days.
Cmon man! These are like 2 of my favorite Gary Oldman characters. He plays it so safe now. Not that his safe roles are bad ones, but man, I miss his edgy days.
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5:51AM on 04/24/2014
his prestation as a vilain in " the book of eli " was a kind of tribute to his great bad guys roles...
his prestation as a vilain in " the book of eli " was a kind of tribute to his great bad guys roles...
2:03AM on 04/24/2014
Yep, I'd give it to Stansfield too. It's amazing that Gary Oldman can go from that performance to Commissioner Gordon. A fellow schmoe said that Jonah Hill now has more Oscar acting nominations than Oldman, which is slightly upsetting.
Yep, I'd give it to Stansfield too. It's amazing that Gary Oldman can go from that performance to Commissioner Gordon. A fellow schmoe said that Jonah Hill now has more Oscar acting nominations than Oldman, which is slightly upsetting.
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