We at Geek Crusade have big love for Bill Paxton (see what I did there?). Ever since we saw him as the cocky, loud-mouthed, terrified yet courageous Colonial Marine Private Hudson in Aliens, he’s had a firm place in our geek hearts.
We had the distinct pleasure of seeing him in the flesh at Comic Con in 2013, where his Edge of Tomorrow co-star Tom Cruise unleashed Hudson’s immortal line on him: “Game over man, game over!”
Even though the 61-year-old has left us far too soon, Paxton has left us a fine body of work. Here are, in our humble opinion, Bill Paxton’s seven greatest geek roles.
The one that kick-started it all, and the beginning of a long association with director James Cameron. Paxton plays a blue-haired punk who, together with his two equally punkish friends, foolishly decide to take on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator.
The scene is barely a minute long, and the results are predictable. But it was the world’s introduction to a 29-year-old Bill Paxton, who would go on to far greater things.
Paxton teamed up with Cameron again the following year for this sequel to the first Alien, playing the annoying soldier Hudson who would capture audiences’ hearts. The movie is chock full of one-liners for Hudson (“Hey Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?”/”No, have you?”) and still holds up incredibly well more than 30 years on.
It all ends in a glorious, glorious death for Hudson at the hands of the bugs that terrify him so. Rest easy, Private Hudson. You never let any of your comrades down.
3Predator 2 (1990)
Paxton’s appearance in yet another iconic 1980s movie meant that he is literally the only man to be killed by a Terminator, Alien AND Predator, and it’s another herocic death scene for our hero. As LAPD cop Jerry Lambert, he meets his end in a harrowing, dimly-it train scene where he never stops firing his gun at the Predator. Once again, Paxton goes down fighting.
4True Lies (1994)
For an actor whose comedic chops were sometimes underrated, Paxton is laugh-out-loud funny as the used car salesman Simon who pretends to be a secret agent to seduce women. This turns into a real problem when his latest target Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis) turns out to be the wife of one Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger): An actual spy.
Just check out the sequence where Tasker pretends to be interested in buying a car to suss out Simon. The duo are note-perfect, with Simon so oblivious that you wish Tasker would just kill him and put him out of his misery. There’s a reason Cameron kept casting Paxton in his movies: So he could steal the show in scenes like this.
A disaster movie like no other, Paxton is Bill “The Extreme” Harding, a literal storm chaser who teams up with his estranged Jo (Helen Hunt) to chase tornadoes. There really is nothing else to say but watch the damn movie, because the storm scenes will take your breath away.
It’s yet another glorious death scene for our man, as Morgan Earp dies in the arms of his lawman brother Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell). It’s a movie filled with iconic names from the 1980s, from Russell to Val Kilmer to Michael Biehn to Billy Zane. Kilmer is the real standout in what is considered one of THE classic westerns, even if the plot doesn’t quite make sense.
Paxton doesn’t have all that much to do, but hey, our man still steals the show with a death scene that would make the hardest of men cry.
7Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
The role of Master Seargent Farrell, the man who sends William Cage (Tom Cruise) into battle against the alien invaders, was written specifically for Paxton. And how he shines as the wry, sardonic, tough-as-nails Farrell, more than holding his own alongside Cruise.
Cruise and Emily Blunt carry the movie, but it’s Paxton who gives EoT its wry, sarcastic edge, especially the sequences where Cage re-lives the same day over and over again.
Rest in peace, Bill Paxton. Which of Paxton’s roles did you like best? Tell us!