A while ago, my writing partner Matticus suggested doing an episode of Versus which featured characters from movies that have been remade going against each other. For example, he suggested doing Glenn Ford (1957) vs. Russell Crowe (2007), both of whom played Ben Wade in 3:10 to Yuma. While that is a very good idea, it’s one I can’t do. It’s not just because I haven’t seen the 1957 version of that movie, but it’s because I don’t think I’ve ever seen both of any movie that has been remade. At least, I can’t think of any. The only one that’s even close is Red Dawn. I’ve seen the original and parts of the remake (I was sick at the time and was in and out of sleep during the entire movie).
So, instead, what I’ve decided to do with this episode is match up people who have played the same character, but in different movies. The first matchup is a three man fight to the death…well, a fight until I pick a winner, anyways.
ROUND ONE: JACK RYAN: ALEC BALDWIN (THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER) VS. HARRISON FORD (PATRIOT GAMES, CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER) VS. BEN AFFLECK (THE SUM OF ALL FEARS)
I know what some of you are thinking: What about Chris Pine? He just played Jack Ryan too.
You’ve got a point. However, I won’t be using him for a couple of reasons: One, I haven’t seen it yet (Although it’s on my to-do list), and, two, just from the previews, it looks like a different take on the character. In the new one, it looks more like he’s supposed to be a CIA agent, when in the others, he was an analyst.
Let’s go over each one, starting with the first man to play him: Alec Baldwin. Alec’s version of him was almost all analyst. For the most part, he was a thinker, a plotter. Towards the end, he shot a gun a few times, but most of the action was done by others. All in all, he did a good job, but he was not very badass.
Ben Affleck’s take on Jack was more of an active role than Alec’s. Ben beat the hell out of a German killer and helped John Clark infiltrate a Russian base. He’s also able to prevent a war from erupting between Russia and the United States. Pretty impressive.
Last comes the man who had the most screen time as Jack Ryan: Harrison Ford. In Patriot Games, while with his family in London, Jack saves a British dignitary (or maybe it was a member of the royal family. Hell, I don’t remember) from assassination by Irish terrorists. The terrorists then follow him and his family back to the states and, in the end, he defeats them. In Clear and Present Danger, he’s forced to take over as director after James Earl Jones gets sick and, eventually, dies. He finds out the agency is being run illegally to help Columbian drug runners and he goes down to Bogotá to kick their asses.
It has to be Harrison Ford. Not only did he do as much analyzing as the other two did, but he also kicked a lot of ass. Plus, he’s Harrison Ford. That automatically makes him cooler than almost everyone else.
ROUND TWO: BATMAN: MICHAEL KEATON VS. CHRISTIAN BALE
I know that two other men played him in movies, but I’m not counting them. Batman and Robin was one of the worst things ever, so that eliminates George Clooney from consideration. Val Kilmer gets eliminated because the only thing that made Batman Forever watchable was Jim Carrey.
Christian had more movies than Michael. Overall, Christian’s movies were better than Michael’s too. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s the better Batman.
After all, Christian’s Batman voice was annoying as hell. It sounded like he was trying to talk after someone poured lava down his throat. He also had a lot more help from his supporting cast. Alfred, Lucius Fox, and Commissioner Gordon all did much more to help Batman’s cause in the Christian Bale movies. Alfred and Gordon did next to nothing in the Michael Keaton movies and Lucius Fox wasn’t even in them.
Michael Keaton had to contend with a weaker villains, though. Jack Nicholson’s Joker wasn’t nearly as formidable as Heath Ledger’s. I’d also take Ra’s Al Ghul over the Penguin any day of the week.
So, who wins?
I’m going to have to give this one to Christian Bale. He had to face tougher villains. His movies were also way better. The original Michael Keaton Batman was good, but Batman Returns was kind of weak.
Agree with me? Disagree with me? Let me know in the comments. Also, if you have an idea for a matchup that you’d like to see me do, feel free to fill out the form below.