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

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.)
Undercover DEA agent and part-time drug dealer
Billionaire manufacturer and weapons dealer
New York City
Futuristic New York City
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
-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
-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
A sharp beige suit. Classic style!
Pinstripes, green satin, high collars, transparent head-thingy
-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
- Drug addiction

- Grenades
- Mangalore explosive device

- a cherry
-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?"
-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!"
Totally over-the-top nutso
Agitated but devious
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?



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