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Face Off: Gerard Butler vs. Karl Urban

03.06.2014by: Dave Davis
In last week's Face-Off column, NON-STOP star Liam Neeson had to face himself, as TAKEN face-breaker Bryan Mills against BATMAN BEGINS baddie R'as al Ghul. Most of you agreed that no matter who wins, Liam Neeson wins. (But seriously, R'as al Ghul got the votes.)

This weekend brings the sequel 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE, with a new cast creating carnage in slow motion. For this week's column, let's go back to the face (and body) of the original 300, burly Scotsman Gerard Butler, and put him against another dependable genre regular, the equally scruffy Kiwi actor Karl Urban.
COMIC BOOK ADAPTATIONs
300 - The screen adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel wasn't just Butler's breakout role and a smash success at the box office ($465 million worldwide), the hyperstylish bloodbath also pushed director Zack Snyder onto the A-list, launched an endless wave of visual speed-cranking imitators, and generated a fair share of internet memes.
DREDD - While the "grounded", satire-free version of Mega City One's top lawman seems to have gained plenty of fans, they certainly didn't show up when the 3D flick hit theaters -- it opened at #6 at the domestic box office and then promptly disappeared from the chart (DREDD eventually made around $40 million worldwide on a $50 million budget). Strong video sales have kept sequel hope alive, if improbable.

PRIEST - This dodgy action-horror movie adapted from a Korean graphic novel had Paul Bettany as the vamp-slaying holy man of the title, with Urban as the bluntly named scenery-chewing villain Black Hat. It didn't make much impression domestically but went on to $78 million globally.
VIDEOGAME ADAPTATIONS
LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER: THE CRADLE OF LIFE - In the sequel nobody really wanted but Hollywood accountants demanded, not even Butler's hunky rogue or SPEED director Jan de Bont could help make Angelina Jolie's skinsuit-clad globetrotting archaeologist any more interesting than she was the first time.
DOOM - While nobody really "wins" this category, and there was a distinct lack of Hell demons, at least this screen version of the id Software classic had Urban blasting Mars mutants (including a nifty "first person" sequence) and inevitably throwing down with The Rock himself.
SCI-FI
Butler briefly assisted buddy Christian Bale with battling the king of dragons in the post-apocalyptic REIGN OF FIRE, bounced through centuries with Paul Walker in the best-forgotten TIMELINE, and served as a gun-toting meat puppet in the brain-damaging GAMER.
Besides the post-apocalyptic vampire schlock of PRIEST, Urban has twice sought the Underverse as Necromonger commander Vaako in CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK and sequel RIDDICK, but found far greater success venturing into deep space as the prickly Bones McCoy in JJ Abrams' two rebooted STAR TREK movies. And in addition to blasting beasties in DOOM and cleaning up the streets (or at least Peach Trees block) in DREDD, he's currently a futuristic cop with an android partner on the TV series "Almost Human".
SWORDS AND FANTASY
Before leading the charge in 300, Butler got some sword experience portraying the titular historical warrior in the TV miniseries "Atilla" and battling the "monster" of the epic poem in BEOWULF & GRENDEL
Urban starred in the bloody Viking movie PATHFINDER and appeared (as three different characters) in several episodes of "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" and "Xena: Warrior Princess". But much more prominently, he appeared as Rohan rider Eomer in the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy (well, two-thirds of it), which was kinda successful.
VILLAINY
Butler got his first major Hollywood feature role as Bram Stoker's famous fanged creation in DRACULA 2000, menaced lawyer Jamie Foxx as a vengeful ex-CIA operative in LAW ABIDING CITIZEN, and played the charming small-time crook with a plan in Guy Ritchie's underappreciated ROCKnROLLA.
In addition and making life difficult for intergalactic badass Riddick and vampire hunter Paul Bettany, Urban made every effort to kill Jason Bourne in THE BOURNE SUPREMACY, played an adversarial CIA agent assigned to eliminate Bruce Willis in RED, and stalked Amber Heard and Odette Yustman (can't really blame him there) in the little-seen thriller AND SOON THE DARKNESS
animation
Butler loaned his voice to HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, a box office blockbuster (nearly $500 million worldwide) that has a sequel flying into theaters this year
Urban loaned his voice to last December's WALKING WITH DINOSAURS, which eventually ambled to $125 million globally but was extinct after two weeks on the domestic box office chart
romantic comedies
Almost too many to name, and none of them worth naming
Except for the little-seen New Zealand movie THE PRICE OF MILK, Urban has wisely avoided jumping into the pool of generic romcom material. Unless you count his robo-bromance on "Almost Human".
other stuff
Butler put on the mask for the musical PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, but had to display his rippling physique in 300 for A-list attention. After showing up in a string of romcoms and underperformers (the disappointing MACHINE GUN PREACHER, surfer story CHASING MAVERICKS, Ralph Fiennes' moderately intriguing Shakespeare experiment CORIOLANUS, the universally embarrassing MOVIE 43), Butler finally got back to business and executed a satisfying amount of terrorist head-stabbings while saving the President in OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN, which was successful enough for an upcoming London-based sequel
Most of Urban's major work has been covered above, but he also popped up in the Dark Castle horror flick GHOST SHIP, and his New Zealand efforts THE TRUTH ABOUT DEMONS and OUT OF THE BLUE are certainly worth a view
KARL URBAN
Butler may select (or get offered) a wider range of material, but I'm personally more a fan of Urban as reliably solid go-to genre guy, and I definitely appreciate his insistence on not making crappy romantic comedies (so far), which certainly can't be said of Gerry.

Butler might have a bit more charisma, but Urban makes for a terrific straight man. With the cheesy bad-guy massacre OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN, Butler is at least back on the right track, but Urban has been more career consistent and he gets the edge.

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

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12:56PM on 03/07/2014
my best friend's step-aunt makes $78 /hour on the internet . She has been fired for 10 months but last month her payment was $16687 just working on the internet for a few hours. read http://www.lock90.com
my best friend's step-aunt makes $78 /hour on the internet . She has been fired for 10 months but last month her payment was $16687 just working on the internet for a few hours. read http://www.lock90.com
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9:15PM on 03/06/2014
Karl Urban wins this all day and easily. I enjoy watching Karl Urban in things, not so much with Butler.
Karl Urban wins this all day and easily. I enjoy watching Karl Urban in things, not so much with Butler.
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3:50PM on 03/06/2014

A very simple answer to this question

If they had been cast in each other's roles, who comes out on top? Karl Urban!
If they had been cast in each other's roles, who comes out on top? Karl Urban!
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2:19PM on 03/06/2014

Urban is just under-appreciated, while Butler has got the recognition he deserves

Urban is just under-appreciated, while Butler has gotten the recognition he deserves, but they are quite matched in my opinion, I have always had a desire to see Urban achieve more success, as though I felt like I was rooting for the underdog who never gets the shot he deserves.
Urban is just under-appreciated, while Butler has gotten the recognition he deserves, but they are quite matched in my opinion, I have always had a desire to see Urban achieve more success, as though I felt like I was rooting for the underdog who never gets the shot he deserves.
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-1
12:59PM on 03/06/2014

I agree...

Rock N Rolla was vastly under appreciated, love that movie. I love Urban, but Butler wins this one by a long shot.
Rock N Rolla was vastly under appreciated, love that movie. I love Urban, but Butler wins this one by a long shot.
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12:52PM on 03/06/2014

Karl deserved it. Wish he was batman

Karl has made better choices, in my opinion. Butler has done some really shitty movies. Still want Karl for Batman :(
Karl has made better choices, in my opinion. Butler has done some really shitty movies. Still want Karl for Batman :(
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9:16PM on 03/06/2014
yup, yup and a big yup.
yup, yup and a big yup.
11:01AM on 03/06/2014
I will always be partial to Karl Urban for reviving the Judge Dredd franchise after Stallone's butchering of the material.
Let's all get down on our knees and beg a higher power for a Dredd sequel.
I said on your knees!!!!!!
I will always be partial to Karl Urban for reviving the Judge Dredd franchise after Stallone's butchering of the material.
Let's all get down on our knees and beg a higher power for a Dredd sequel.
I said on your knees!!!!!!
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1:00PM on 03/06/2014
Stallones version, at the time, was pretty good. You have to account for when it was made, cheesy at times, but hardly trash.
Stallones version, at the time, was pretty good. You have to account for when it was made, cheesy at times, but hardly trash.
10:28AM on 03/06/2014
what Robin said I am in shock that some one can make $5097 in 1 month on the computer . you could look here http://www.mac22.com
what Robin said I am in shock that some one can make $5097 in 1 month on the computer . you could look here http://www.mac22.com
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10:09AM on 03/06/2014

Agree with the verdict

Urban is a more capable actor than Butler, but as others have said, Butler is a better leading man.
Urban is a more capable actor than Butler, but as others have said, Butler is a better leading man.
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9:44AM on 03/06/2014
I think Butler is more leading man material, in a lot of Urban's films he is a side character. I loved Dredd, But Butler reigned in 300.
I think Butler is more leading man material, in a lot of Urban's films he is a side character. I loved Dredd, But Butler reigned in 300.
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9:05AM on 03/06/2014

Butler..

But I think both actors are great. Butler just needs to start choosing better roles. Love Urban , I just think he needs more lead roles although I loved his supporting roles in LOTR, Bourne, and Star Trek. But I'm going to go Butler by the smallest of margins!
But I think both actors are great. Butler just needs to start choosing better roles. Love Urban , I just think he needs more lead roles although I loved his supporting roles in LOTR, Bourne, and Star Trek. But I'm going to go Butler by the smallest of margins!
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8:44AM on 03/06/2014

No contest

Honestly, aside from 300, and Reign of Fire, I can't stand Gerard Butler. Urban by a landslide...
Honestly, aside from 300, and Reign of Fire, I can't stand Gerard Butler. Urban by a landslide...
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8:42AM on 03/06/2014

I'd pick

Urban too cuz he's been in so many great movies and roles but the other column is misleading for Neeson. MOVIE 43 was great. It was funny and nice to see sonething halfway original outbof hollywood. And Machine Gun Preacher was another great movie with a moving story, however it was most likely innapropriately named.
Urban too cuz he's been in so many great movies and roles but the other column is misleading for Neeson. MOVIE 43 was great. It was funny and nice to see sonething halfway original outbof hollywood. And Machine Gun Preacher was another great movie with a moving story, however it was most likely innapropriately named.
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8:43AM on 03/06/2014
And I meant for Butler not neeson. Must have had a brain fart.
And I meant for Butler not neeson. Must have had a brain fart.
8:26AM on 03/06/2014
Definitely Urban, and I'd rather watch Dredd than 300 any day.
Definitely Urban, and I'd rather watch Dredd than 300 any day.
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8:01AM on 03/06/2014

If I had to sleep with another man it would be Karl Urban

Keep it quiet though, this isn't the kind of thing I want getting out on the Internet.
Keep it quiet though, this isn't the kind of thing I want getting out on the Internet.
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7:47AM on 03/06/2014

Karl Urban

He's the better actor, he can be funny (STAR TREK) and his low points aren't as dismal as Butler's.
He's the better actor, he can be funny (STAR TREK) and his low points aren't as dismal as Butler's.
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+2
7:45AM on 03/06/2014

Karl Urban

Really likeable person and even when he's in a not that great film he makes the best of it. Also, everyone should see Out of the Blue - such a great film.
Really likeable person and even when he's in a not that great film he makes the best of it. Also, everyone should see Out of the Blue - such a great film.
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5:39AM on 03/06/2014

He is the Law

Karl Urban. Loving Almost Human aswell at the moment.
Karl Urban. Loving Almost Human aswell at the moment.
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5:37AM on 03/06/2014

karl urban

Cant stand butler!
Cant stand butler!
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5:36AM on 03/06/2014

KARL URBAN all the way

Whilst I have nothing particularly against Butler (aside from being - in my opinion - a very weak Phantom) this is an easy win for Karl Urban.

Urban may not quite the the a-list headliner (yet) but he instantly improves a film by being in it and is usually one of the most watchable actors in a film (the Treks, Red just for a couple of examples)... And yes - like others have said - Urban SHOULD be Batman!

I hope he gets a ton of a-class films over the next few years :-)
Whilst I have nothing particularly against Butler (aside from being - in my opinion - a very weak Phantom) this is an easy win for Karl Urban.

Urban may not quite the the a-list headliner (yet) but he instantly improves a film by being in it and is usually one of the most watchable actors in a film (the Treks, Red just for a couple of examples)... And yes - like others have said - Urban SHOULD be Batman!

I hope he gets a ton of a-class films over the next few years :-)
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3:47AM on 03/06/2014

Gerard Butler

Both actors are great, but I'm a bigger fan of Butler. 300, Law Abiding Citizen, Gamer, Olympus Has Fallen, Machine Gun Preacher, Reign of Fire, and RockNRolla are all solid and good films. Plus, I think he does a better job of making films better by just being in them (hence why his romantic films are tolerable. And also that he's much more charismatic with his roles.
Both actors are great, but I'm a bigger fan of Butler. 300, Law Abiding Citizen, Gamer, Olympus Has Fallen, Machine Gun Preacher, Reign of Fire, and RockNRolla are all solid and good films. Plus, I think he does a better job of making films better by just being in them (hence why his romantic films are tolerable. And also that he's much more charismatic with his roles.
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+1
3:39AM on 03/06/2014

Karl urban

He has something about him , like Paul Walker had that you instantly like him, and after seeing Dredd and now his series almost human i really dont understand why they didnt cast him as Batman, he has the age the looks, body and perfect voice for the role. Becoming more and more a fan of him, also didnt realize for a while he played a badguy in a bourne movie.
He has something about him , like Paul Walker had that you instantly like him, and after seeing Dredd and now his series almost human i really dont understand why they didnt cast him as Batman, he has the age the looks, body and perfect voice for the role. Becoming more and more a fan of him, also didnt realize for a while he played a badguy in a bourne movie.
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10:38AM on 03/06/2014
retlaw, I agree with you completely!

Van-damage82, he was talking about likability, not acting talent.

Soloist, I don't know about that. Urban has been in more high profile movies than Christian Bale had done before playing Batman and that turned out well.
retlaw, I agree with you completely!

Van-damage82, he was talking about likability, not acting talent.

Soloist, I don't know about that. Urban has been in more high profile movies than Christian Bale had done before playing Batman and that turned out well.
7:38AM on 03/06/2014
2 things, urban would have made an awesome baman, but csnt see him as wayne. I also think he is not the right size for this type of batman. We need a BIG. Batman to take on superma.

Also fuck paul walker he was a shit actor in a shit franchise.
2 things, urban would have made an awesome baman, but csnt see him as wayne. I also think he is not the right size for this type of batman. We need a BIG. Batman to take on superma.

Also fuck paul walker he was a shit actor in a shit franchise.
4:09AM on 03/06/2014
Like I said below in another reply post, he would have made a great Batman for us fanboys, but the smarter decision was to go with someone with a little more star power like Affleck. We need someone experienced for the role which Affleck is and knows what it takes to play someone like Bruce Wayne/Batman. And the fact that he could direct his own Batman film would be amazing.
Like I said below in another reply post, he would have made a great Batman for us fanboys, but the smarter decision was to go with someone with a little more star power like Affleck. We need someone experienced for the role which Affleck is and knows what it takes to play someone like Bruce Wayne/Batman. And the fact that he could direct his own Batman film would be amazing.
2:15AM on 03/06/2014
Karl Urban. He was a pitch-perfect and hilarious Dr. Bones, was an excellent Dredd, is very good on Almost Human and hasn't starred in a hundred dismal rom-coms. My favourite thing Butler has done is How to Train Your Dragon. I'm a huge fan of the Phantom of the Opera musical so I'm still more than a little sore about how miscast Butler was in the part.
Karl Urban. He was a pitch-perfect and hilarious Dr. Bones, was an excellent Dredd, is very good on Almost Human and hasn't starred in a hundred dismal rom-coms. My favourite thing Butler has done is How to Train Your Dragon. I'm a huge fan of the Phantom of the Opera musical so I'm still more than a little sore about how miscast Butler was in the part.
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+0
1:44AM on 03/06/2014

Gerard

and I've never seen any of his rom-coms so don't let my avatar fool ya. :)
and I've never seen any of his rom-coms so don't let my avatar fool ya. :)
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+4
1:35AM on 03/06/2014

Karl Urban, no contest!

He should have been Batman.
He should have been Batman.
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9:19PM on 03/06/2014
oh yeah ricky, he should be Indy!
oh yeah ricky, he should be Indy!
10:11AM on 03/06/2014
I see, so if I like a specific person for Batman who didn't get cast, I should just let it go. But If it's something you dislike (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), it's fine for you to harp on it at every opportunity?
I see, so if I like a specific person for Batman who didn't get cast, I should just let it go. But If it's something you dislike (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), it's fine for you to harp on it at every opportunity?
9:40AM on 03/06/2014
He should be the next Indiana Jones
He should be the next Indiana Jones
5:35AM on 03/06/2014
He would have been to close to bales batman.
He would have been to close to bales batman.
3:49AM on 03/06/2014
Yes, he would have made a great Batman, but just let it go already.

Either hop on the Affleck train or not.
Yes, he would have made a great Batman, but just let it go already.

Either hop on the Affleck train or not.
1:17AM on 03/06/2014
Karl Urban for me. He seems very likeable and down to earth. Love him in The Bourne Supremacy and Dredd.
Karl Urban for me. He seems very likeable and down to earth. Love him in The Bourne Supremacy and Dredd.
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