Top 10 archers in film
#10 – The whole Persian army (300)They may not have managed to kill a single Spartan, but the subjugated slaves of the drag queen/god-king Xerxes are certainly good at all firing at once. Surely that counts for something? And they legit did block out the sun, which is quite a stunt whether you’re the fawning vassal of a tyrannical conqueror or an improbably chiselled pre-Greek warrior in tiny pants. You go, guys! It’s not the winning that counts, it’s the standing back while Michael Fassbender cuts your boss’s arm off.
#9 – Victoria (The Young Victoria)You’d forgotten about the bit where Vicky does some shooting, hadn’t you? Well, don’t. If there’s one thing our royals need more of, it’s combat skills – the whole country would have been behind the Iraq War if it had been led by the Queen, on a tank, with an axe – and given both the attempts on her life and the huge brood of children she needed to control (sometimes at a distance), mastery of the bow fits Victoria perfectly. Although given how tiny and tubby she was, she’d presumably have had to either stand on a chair to fire or borrow a bow off the squirrels from Redwall.
#8 – Robin Hood (Robin Hood: Men in Tights)Every actor who’s played Robin Hood gets a few opportunities to display absurd archery skills, but we like Cary Elwes’ scattergun approach best. Why fire one arrow when you can fire six? And why admit defeat to a Mafia marksman when you can whip out a Patriot Arrow and just blow up the target? We like your style, Cary Elwes, even if you are looking a bit bloated and awful these days.
#7 – Tristan (King Arthur)In our view, King Arthur is a grotesquely underrated film. Sure, it’s badly written, lazily directed and absolutely chock full of historical inaccuracies, but where else are you going to see Ray Winstone, Mads Mikkelsen and Stellan Skarsgård on the same battlefield? Mikkelsen may wear a stupid furry hat throughout the film, but he’s also a phenomenal shot (at one point he shoots someone who’s in a tree on the other side of Hadrian’s Wall) and the best actor in what is, if we’re honest, a bit of a carcrash. The above video isn’t relevant to Tristan, but it has an amazing title.
#6 – Abigail Whistler (Blade: Trinity)Generally speaking, the highlights of Jessica Biel’s career are the video for I Just Had Sex and any time she isn’t working, but we’re willing to make an exception for the sheer frothing madness of her character in Blade: Trinity. Abigail fires round corners, looses arrows that drill through doors before exploding, and at one point turns her bowstring into some sort of laser with which she immolates a vampire. Take THAT, Willem Dafoe’s crossbow in Daybreakers.
#5 – Dave Spritz (The Weather Man)There are lots of odd things about The Weather Man (chief among them, of course, being ‘who on earth talked Michael Caine into appearing in it?’), but the one that really sticks in the mind is the whole archery thing. Why does Nicolas Cage start practicing archery? Why does he nearly shoot his ex-wife’s boyfriend at his father’s living funeral? Why is Nicholas Hoult in it? We didn’t even remember that he was until we looked at IMDb just now. It’s all mental, although one of Cage’s closing lines: “People don’t throw things at me any more. Maybe because I carry a bow around” almost makes up for everything.
#4 – Nobutada (The Last Samurai)For at least the first two thirds of The Last Samurai, Katsumoto’s son Nobutada mainly fulfils the role of ‘moody bastard’, talking down to his widowed sister and mouthing off to his samurai dad (although he seems happy enough to let Tom Cruise drink himself to death, which isn’t really a sentiment we can argue with). But he finally comes into his own when helping spring Katsumoto from the elegant little room in which he’s expected to kill himself, displaying totally improbable accuracy despite having been shot about fifteen times and hammering home the First Rule of Hollywood Archery – every shot kills. For some reason, part of the above video is in German.
#3 – Merida (Brave)Full disclosure; I haven’t seen Brave, but Caroline suggested I include Merida because it’d give me a chance to talk about the whole Feminisney thing (and there’s nothing very feminist about Jessica Biel or Queen Victoria, to be fair). Then I watched the above clip and did a small cry at my desk. Nothing says ‘sisters are doing it for themselves’ like stirring music, background Billy Connolly and three bullseyes without even standing still. AND she rips her stupid dress up so she can fire properly. What a lass.
#2 – Mathayus (The Scorpion King)There’s virtually no situation in which The Rock isn’t an absolute badman; but he’s arguably at his best as the last Akkadian, a fearless mercenary who goes up against the might of some made up empire to boff Kelly Hu and irritate Michael Clarke Duncan. It’s unfortunate that the evil emperor’s special skill is being able to catch arrows, obviously, but you can’t have everything.
#1 – That one guy (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers)Screw Legolas – The Two Towers would have been EVEN LONGER if the jittery old fingers of this inept Eorlingas bowman hadn’t sent the first arrow flying at Helm’s Deep. We salute you, ancient archer. Hope you didn’t die. (Skip to 3:14 for the opportune moment.)