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Face-Off: Martin Riggs vs. John McClane

Apr. 12, 2012by: Paul Huffman
Last week, Cloverfield blasted its competition The Blair Witch Project out of the water with a score of 16-9.

This week, I find myself in an action mood. I find myself feeling it's necessary to show some love to two bad asses that hit the scene to close out the 80's. Ladies and gentlemen I'm talking about Martin Riggs and John McClane. Our own John "The Arrow" Fallon would say these two men wore their balls on their sleeves, both saved the day for four movies and had fun cracking wise while doing it. This isn't your typical "who would win in a fight" discussions. We're about to delve a little deeper, time to look behind the badge.
Introduction
What a way to introduce us to the instability of the mind in which Martin Riggs lives by daring a drug dealer to put a hole through his head, then subduing said drug dealer and damn near putting a hole through his. Everything we need to know about Martin Riggs we see in the look on his face as he's regaining his composure from the results of that scene. Now I ask you Hollywood, if you go through with that abomination of a Lethal Weapon remake you mentioned, is anybody going to pull Riggs off but Mel Gibson? Survey says?
You know how every now and then there are men who come along that every woman wants to be with, and every man wants to simply be? Well there is John McClane in a nutshell. We are introduced to John's way with women, his laid back demeanor, his humor. We discover he's having problems with his marriage, but loves her all the same and is trying to set things right. But he's also a men, and what do we men do? We f*ck things up. A mans man indeed.
Cool Factor
Riggs evolves as a character a little more than good old McClane does. I can't imagine he was a joy to have around before he snapped out of his depression. Hey, dude had a hell of a reason to be. He got way more comical as his character progressed, a great drinking partner if you will. Ten point for grace under pressure as he's uh...working. But what is with the way he treated Leo Getz? Granted, he could be an annoying little sh*t, but come on Riggs, dude earned his stripes in the second film. Bad form. Then..there is all that Kung Fu sh*it he does.
Doesn't John just seem like a man among men? His way of sticking it to his rivals with his wisecracks just made him the coolest man on the planet when I watched these films as a kid. His interactions with supporting characters were always great and sometimes touching (looking at you Carl Winslow). Our man McClane doesn't go jumping into the fray the way Riggs does, but when trouble finds him..damn if it isn't nut up or shut up time for him. That was always more fun and bad ass to me. Am I alone?
Villain Disposal
Riggs puts his special forces training to good use, as would I if I had it. The man is surgeon with weapons. Who could ever forget the "only a few men in the world who could have made that shot" speech? But he has no problem throwing the guns aside and giving Jet Li a fatal run for his money. He is in your face, with a grounded style. I loved the angle in the fourth film they played with Riggs' age catching up with him, something they didn't really employ in Live Free or Die Hard. Ironic that in that film he met he's most formidable opponent, no?
Two words comes to mind when I think of John McClane's ass kicking ability: innovation and improvisation. John's ability to employ whatever is around him at the time to dispose of those who dared to f*ck with him was a site to behold. The first Die Hard film had John most comparable to Riggs in terms of a smash mouth, as grounded in reality as possible kind of way when it came to his killing. As the series went on, John got a bit larger than life. No complaining. I wish I could kill terrorist on the wing of a plane, or chuck cars at choppers. But hey, I'm a man of limited ability.
Quotes
-"Now that's a real badge, I'm a real cop, and this is a real fucking gun!" - Lethal Weapon

-"Come on WE'RE BACK, we're bad, you're black, I'm mad!" -Lethal Weapon 2

-" I can't shoot a dog. People okay, but not dogs." - Lethal Weapon 3

-"Private investigator? Yes, Mr. Getz, I was just wondering if you'd be willing to investigate my privates." - Lethal Weapon 4

-"Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs..." - Die Hard

-"Oh, we are just up to our ass in terrorists again, John?" - Die Hard 2

-" I threw his little brother off the thirty-second floor of Nakatomi Towers out in L.A. I guess he's a little pissed off about it." - Die Hard 3

-"Yippie-kai-yay motherfucker." - All four

John McClane
So there you have it from my end, it is a close race for me. Riggs and McClane are different in a lot of ways, and similar in a lot of ways. But both are just as memorable for me, the pair of them are attached to two of my favorite action franchises of all time. But that's just me, chime in below.

If you have an idea that you'd like to see in a future FACE OFF column, feel free to shoot an email to me at paulhuffman@joblo.com with your ideas and some ideas for the critique to base your ideas off. Thank you and in the meantime...

Which movie is your favourite?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!
Tags: Face-Off

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2:26PM on 04/14/2012

McClane

Good call. Die Hard I will watch once a year (Christmas classic). Can't say the same about Lethal Weapon.
Good call. Die Hard I will watch once a year (Christmas classic). Can't say the same about Lethal Weapon.
Your Reply:



2:17PM on 04/13/2012

Love quoting the quotes!

"Now I know what a TV dinner feels like."
"Now I know what a TV dinner feels like."
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+1
12:01PM on 04/13/2012

McClane by a Mile

C'mon. No Question! "How can the same sh*t happen to the same guy twice??" "You want a liner for that coat Marvin?"
C'mon. No Question! "How can the same sh*t happen to the same guy twice??" "You want a liner for that coat Marvin?"
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9:23PM on 04/12/2012
McClane.

John McClane: You're a racist! You don't like me 'cause I'm white!
Zeus Carver: I don't like you because you're gonna get me *killed*!
McClane.

John McClane: You're a racist! You don't like me 'cause I'm white!
Zeus Carver: I don't like you because you're gonna get me *killed*!
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+4
5:54PM on 04/12/2012

McClane

'I'm gonna kill ya, then I'm gonna cook ya, then I'm gonna fuckin' eat ya!'
'I'm gonna kill ya, then I'm gonna cook ya, then I'm gonna fuckin' eat ya!'
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5:09PM on 04/12/2012
both are great characters but McClane is on another level for being the every man thrown into insane circumstances. Riggs is awesome but he's a loose cannon that flies off the hinges, which makes McClane more relatable.
both are great characters but McClane is on another level for being the every man thrown into insane circumstances. Riggs is awesome but he's a loose cannon that flies off the hinges, which makes McClane more relatable.
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12:44PM on 04/12/2012
McClane. Because he cries less.
great article
McClane. Because he cries less.
great article
Your Reply:



11:55AM on 04/12/2012
If you're pitting 'em against each other, Riggs would prevail. No question. McClane is a cooler guy, yes. He's got that laid-back way that just is easy to identify with. Riggs is tightly-wound and half-crazy, but he can hit pretty much anything he aims at. And while both these guys aren't afraid of diving into the fray, McClane would take his time about it, improvising the best way to tackle the problem. Riggs doesn't think that far ahead, and is only still alive because he is so damn good.
If you're pitting 'em against each other, Riggs would prevail. No question. McClane is a cooler guy, yes. He's got that laid-back way that just is easy to identify with. Riggs is tightly-wound and half-crazy, but he can hit pretty much anything he aims at. And while both these guys aren't afraid of diving into the fray, McClane would take his time about it, improvising the best way to tackle the problem. Riggs doesn't think that far ahead, and is only still alive because he is so damn good.
Your Reply:



11:48AM on 04/12/2012

Damn You!!!

This is too hard.....how do you choose between these two? I guess I'll go Riggs because he is nuts....like me!
This is too hard.....how do you choose between these two? I guess I'll go Riggs because he is nuts....like me!
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11:40AM on 04/12/2012
"That's pretty fucking thin!"
"That's pretty fucking thin!"
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10:52AM on 04/12/2012

Riggs

I have to go with Riggs. He's just too awesome. I wish they kept this scene as his intro instead of that christmas tree one. It would've established just how good a shot he is and how suicidal.
[link]
I have to go with Riggs. He's just too awesome. I wish they kept this scene as his intro instead of that christmas tree one. It would've established just how good a shot he is and how suicidal.
[link]
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10:54AM on 04/12/2012
10:32AM on 04/12/2012

It's a tie!

Virtually impossible for me to choose, but if I had a gun to my head I'd give a slight nod to McClane.
Virtually impossible for me to choose, but if I had a gun to my head I'd give a slight nod to McClane.
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10:10AM on 04/12/2012

not bad...

personally i'd have gone with Riggs
personally i'd have gone with Riggs
Your Reply:



+5
10:05AM on 04/12/2012
Tough one but for me, it's Riggs. He is absolutely crazy but in a good way.
Tough one but for me, it's Riggs. He is absolutely crazy but in a good way.
Your Reply:



+4
9:35AM on 04/12/2012
Will it to me Riggs! Riggs all the way. Cool match but really, Riggs is more badass by far. John McClane is cool and a bad mofo as well but Riggs would tear him up.
Will it to me Riggs! Riggs all the way. Cool match but really, Riggs is more badass by far. John McClane is cool and a bad mofo as well but Riggs would tear him up.
Your Reply:



9:09AM on 04/12/2012

Riggs all the way!

I love John McLane but Riggs is the winner in my book. An edgier, cooler and more badass persona (Lethal Weapon 4 aside) than McLane.
I love John McLane but Riggs is the winner in my book. An edgier, cooler and more badass persona (Lethal Weapon 4 aside) than McLane.
Your Reply:



8:52AM on 04/12/2012

Is it just me

or are the winners to these always a lock? Riggs is great, but he's obviously not as classic as McClain ... is he?
or are the winners to these always a lock? Riggs is great, but he's obviously not as classic as McClain ... is he?
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6:52AM on 04/12/2012

Gotta give it to Riggs

I like the Die Hard film better simply because Riggs was neutered so much in the Lethal Weapon sequels, but there's no way McClane beats Riggs in head to head battle. No way.
I like the Die Hard film better simply because Riggs was neutered so much in the Lethal Weapon sequels, but there's no way McClane beats Riggs in head to head battle. No way.
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5:48AM on 04/12/2012
Gotta go with McClane. I think he was more fun throughout his movies, while Riggs took a while to get out of his mad shell. Both are kickass characters, but Riggs gets the edge.
Gotta go with McClane. I think he was more fun throughout his movies, while Riggs took a while to get out of his mad shell. Both are kickass characters, but Riggs gets the edge.
Your Reply:



6:56AM on 04/12/2012
First you said McClane, then you said Riggs. Which is it?
First you said McClane, then you said Riggs. Which is it?
5:13AM on 04/12/2012
Riggs without a doubt. When it comes to being badass, there is no competition, Riggs all day. And honestly those quotes you have up there, the Riggs ones are way better except for the one obviously great one by McClane. So right there Riggs wins.
Riggs without a doubt. When it comes to being badass, there is no competition, Riggs all day. And honestly those quotes you have up there, the Riggs ones are way better except for the one obviously great one by McClane. So right there Riggs wins.
Your Reply:



+3
3:12AM on 04/12/2012

Riggs for me

The decision was to close, however my tiebreaker was done by The character Martin Riggs. Riggs has more depth, and history behind him, and it ties in to every film.
From suicidal, to avenging his murdered wife, to not wanting Murtaugh to retire, to not being able to marry until he has closure.

Tie breaker.
The decision was to close, however my tiebreaker was done by The character Martin Riggs. Riggs has more depth, and history behind him, and it ties in to every film.
From suicidal, to avenging his murdered wife, to not wanting Murtaugh to retire, to not being able to marry until he has closure.

Tie breaker.
Your Reply:



2:33AM on 04/12/2012
Yep. McClane. Why? Because Yippy Ki Yay Motherfucker.

Though I give an edge to Riggs when it comes to the 'killing long-haired Asian 80s character actor Al Leong' category.
Yep. McClane. Why? Because Yippy Ki Yay Motherfucker.

Though I give an edge to Riggs when it comes to the 'killing long-haired Asian 80s character actor Al Leong' category.
Your Reply:



2:27AM on 04/12/2012

John McClane

Riggs' schtick gets old and boring by Lethal Weapon 3 and McClane remains awesome, even when hairless and fuck wordless in the fourth film.
Riggs' schtick gets old and boring by Lethal Weapon 3 and McClane remains awesome, even when hairless and fuck wordless in the fourth film.
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1:52AM on 04/12/2012

Too close!

I would probably give it to Riggs. Maybe McLane. Okay McLane. No wait. Riggs. Yeah, I'd go with Riggs. Remember when McLane said Yippee-Ki-yay Mother Fucker! That was awesome. McLane it is. Holy shit, remember that bad ass fight between Riggs and Gary Busey! That was bad ass. Riggs, without a doubt. Remember when McLane.... I better stop. I can't decide.
I would probably give it to Riggs. Maybe McLane. Okay McLane. No wait. Riggs. Yeah, I'd go with Riggs. Remember when McLane said Yippee-Ki-yay Mother Fucker! That was awesome. McLane it is. Holy shit, remember that bad ass fight between Riggs and Gary Busey! That was bad ass. Riggs, without a doubt. Remember when McLane.... I better stop. I can't decide.
Your Reply:



1:18AM on 04/12/2012

John McLane

because he took down Hans Gruber, the most bad-ass villain in either franchise.
because he took down Hans Gruber, the most bad-ass villain in either franchise.
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+1
1:04AM on 04/12/2012

Very Close

That's a close call but I gotta go with Captain, my Captain; Martin Riggs.
That's a close call but I gotta go with Captain, my Captain; Martin Riggs.
Your Reply:



+13
1:00AM on 04/12/2012
John McClane. Riggs is too unstable. But McClane? Cool & Calm. And he disposes bad guys with efficiency.
John McClane. Riggs is too unstable. But McClane? Cool & Calm. And he disposes bad guys with efficiency.
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+13
12:34AM on 04/12/2012
McClane all the way.
McClane all the way.
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