Out Of The Furnace features a cast of hard men who are also incredible and extremely well-respected actors. With a selection of roles under their belt which showcase their ‘rough guy’ exterior, to mark the DVD and Blu-ray release of Out of the Furnace on 2nd June 2014 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment, we take a more in-depth look at these roles and assess which one would win in a fight. Bale, Affleck, Harrelson, Dafoe and Whitaker – ready!
Films include… Reign of Fire, Equilibrium, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Terminator Salvation
First up, we have Christian Bale. The actor’s first action film came in the form of 2002’s Reign of Fire, in which he played Quinn Abercromby. Training for the role by boxing and an extreme workout regime, Bale’s character was the leader of a community of survivors and before too long is forced to take on fire-breathing Dragons to protect the world he lives in.
Equilibrium followed that same year, with Bale this time playing John Preston, an elite law enforcer in yet another dystopian society. Featuring a fictional martial art branded Gun Kata (a merging of gun-fighting and hand-to-hand combat), Bale mastered this art in a role that boasts the record of third most on-screen kills in a single film ever (118, for those interested.)
It was only natural that Christopher Nolan opted to cast Bale as Bruce Wayne in his 2005 franchise re-starter, Batman Begins. Although Wayne still lives the millionaire playboy lifestyle, Bale added an altogether much more scrappier and dangerous slant, meaning when he donned the cape and cowl, his Batman proved a real force to be reckoned with right through the trilogy, merging fighting technique with gadgetry genius (The Dark Knight in 2008, and The Dark Knight Rises in 2012.)
…and if that wasn’t enough, let it not be forgotten that Christian Bale has played John Connor in Terminator: Salvation, a Resistance fighter who leads a rebellion against Skynet, a dangerous artificial intelligence system. Director McG cast Bale in the role as he claimed he was ‘the most credible action star in the world’, and even revealed how Bale broke his hand punching a Terminator prop on set.
Hard-guy Rating: 5/5
Films include… Gone Baby Gone, The Killer Inside Me
Despite not seeming physically empowering, Casey Affleck’s role in the 2007 crime thriller Gone Baby Gone (directed by his older brother, Ben) is that of Private Investigator Patrick Kenzie; tough when he needs to be, it is through the actor’s dialect that he truly conveys his tough guy credentials, belittling and intimidating more of the fearsome characters throughout.
The Killer Inside Me followed in 2010, a role in which Affleck played a dependable small town Texan Sheriff who, underneath his pleasant exterior is a sociopath who bears extremely violent sexual tastes. He may not be able to scrap with the bulkiest of them, but psychologically, this is the role in which Affleck delivers a knockout blow to his peers.
Hard-guy Rating: 3/5
Films include… Natural Born Killers, Rampart, True Detective
Natural Born Killers was directed by Oliver Stone, written by Quentin Tarantino and unveiled back in 1994; Harrelson plays Mickey Knox, an efficient killer who is just as comfortable managing weapons as he is using his bare hands, as witnessed in an extended scene where he breaks a fellow prisoner’s neck during a yoga session). Based on the infamous spree-killer Charles Starkweather, Harrelson plays Knox with brute force, creating an alarming sense that if you were to cross him in the street, you’d probably be inclined to turn and walk the other way.
Harrelson starred in the 2011 film Rampart, which told the story of dirty LAPD veteran Dave Brown after the fallout of the Rampart scandal which saw widespread corruption in the policing of hoodlums in the streets. Harrelson plays up Brown’s characteristics of not being afraid to resort to violent behaviour with forcibly harrowing consequences, his erratic personality unnerving the watching audience no end.
Most recently, Harrelson has starred in the HBO series True Detective in which he plays Detective Marty Hart alongside Matthew McConaughey’s Detective Rust Cohle. Again, here he plays a lawman whois willing to go that extra step to not only enforce what he believes in, but to acquire results. Working on the case of a murdered girl, the conspiracy he and Rust uncover becomes deeply personal, pushing Marty to limits he never knew he had – shots are fired, punches are thrown and relationships are shattered.
Hard-guy Rating: 4/5
Films include…Platoon, Spider-Man, Triumph of the Spirit, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, The Hunter
Willem Dafoe’s rise to fame was solidified with his role in Oliver Stone’s Vietnam classic Platoon (1986). Playing the heroic Sergeant Elias, Dafoe depicts him as a valuable mentor to many of the other soldiers who find themselves more out of their depth and terrified by the horrors of war. Dafoe’s efforts saw him nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
In 1989, he starred as Salamo Arouch in Triumph of the Spirit in which he showcased his athleticism by playing a Jewish boxer (horrifically forced to fight over internees to death in a death camp at Auschwitz). Dafoe also played the devilishly dangerous Barillo in Robert Rodriguez’s Once Upon a Time in America, a character so violently unstable it’s difficult to doubt his ability at coming out of a scrap on top.
Not only did the actor display his hard man combat skills in 2011 Australian thriller The Hunter, but his stealth skills as his former mercenary Martin David heads to Tasmania to gather samples of the Tasmanian Tiger. Avoiding booby traps, setting his own and coming face to face with Tigers, Dafoe trained with a bush survival expert who taught him essential practical tips.
Hard-guy Rating: 4/5
Films include… Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai, Repo Men, The Last Stand
In Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai, Whitaker played a serene mob hit ma, playing a cold-blooded killer with warmth ensuring Whitaker as the actor who could play character who would probably give you a cuddle before killing you. Following the ancient code of the samurai, Ghost Dog is a skilled assassin and one to be feared despite his serene exterior.
Whitaker starred alongside Jude Law in 2010’s Repo Men playing a repo man who reclaims artificial organs designed by a corporation known as ‘The Union’ in 2025. Coming up against extreme force, Whitaker’s character – himself requiring a heart replacement following a ‘cardiac repossession’ gone wrong – beats his way through the film, using weaponry and fighting skills unlike any the actor had yet displayed; something the actor similarly attributed to his role in the Arnie film The Last Stand in which he played an FBI agent chasing an escaped drug cartel leader.
Hard-guy Rating: 3/5
It’s pretty clear to see that the winner of this contest can be no other than Christian Bale. Despite fierce competition from his fellow Out of the Furnace actors, all who prove a fight wouldn’t be as evenly matched as one might suspect. With a strong case to support each of them, there is no denying that Bale would trounce them all. I mean, the guy is John Connor and Batman…
See them all lock heads on screen when Out of the Furnace is released on Blu-ray and DVD on 2nd June 2014 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.