I’d like to take a moment to honor Danny Trejo in recognition of his remarkable achievement of going from being little more than a “That Guy” in action movies throughout the 90’s, to landing his first legitimate starring role in Robert Rodriguez’s Machete.
In my early childhood I knew him as “that ruddy-complexioned guy that dies all the time.”
Later on I knew him as a much friendlier personality in the form of the voices of Enrique on King of the Hill,
and well; himself, in the videogame Def Jam: Fight for New York.
Well, it’s about 20 years overdue, but finally the day has come that we can all say we know Danny Trejo as the star of his own movie.
Anyway, in honor of Danny Trejo and the host of other perpetually typecast actors, I’d like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the “That Guy’s” of action cinema.
What is a “That Guy,” you ask?
A “That Guy” is one of those actors that is consistently typecast in various bit-roles, typically along the lines of “ugly thug #1” or “dude that gets shot.”
It goes without saying, that the vast majority of “That Guy’s” end up playing villains throughout the entirety of their careers.
Think of it this way:
If you’ve seen an action movie actor enough times that you know their face, but not their name; chances are they’re a “That Guy.”
Over the years there have been a handful of “That Guy’s” that have ascended to legitimate celebrity, though every case is essentially a million to one shot.
For the most part though, a “That Guy’s” claim to fame generally springs from the list of big name action stars that have killed them throughout their career.
Take Sven-Ole Thorsen for example:
and to top it all off, he’s been torn apart by Arnold Schwarzenegger more times than I care to count.
Best of all though, not only has ‘ole Sven been killed by Ah-Nold more times than I’ve used the word “fuck” on this blog, he’s also accomplished the astounding feat of being killed by Arnold twice in the same movie franchise.
Said franchise would of course be the Conan series.
Sven was in both films, playing 2 different characters, though in Conan the Destroyer he was fitted with a dorky looking helmet, most likely to hide his appearance.
No article about “That Guy’s” can be made without mention of the uber-prolific Thomas Rosales Jr.
You may of course remember him as the deaf as fuck Hispanic mercenary, Carter, from The Lost World.
Another example of the quintissential “That Guy” I’d like to point out is the classic “Azn That Guy,” Al Leong.
If ever there was a need for an Asian “That Guy,” in any action movie ever, chances are Al Leong was considered for the part.
With his distinctive beard and outrageous bald spot, Mr. Leong made in appearances in such classics as Bill and Ted’s Excellent adventure (as Genghis Khan no less) and Big Trouble in Little China, as well as achieved the honor of being killed off by industry greats like Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon),
Tee hee, that was silly.
Though in my eyes he’s nowhere near as accomplished as either of the other 2 men above, Patrick Kilpatrick is a “That Guy” that deserves mention, if not for his awesomely-badass name, then for the sheer strength of his performances.
Few “That Guy’s” can match Kilpatrick’s ability to stand out from the crowd with his creepy mannerisms and borderline down-syndrome kid facial structure.
That being said, Mr. Kilpatrick’s been killed by Steven Seagal in Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, Bruce Willis in Last Man Standing, Arnold Schwarzenneger in Eraser, and he even got to be the primary antagonist in the Jean-Claude Van Damme prison actioner, Death Warrant.
Not only that, he got to fight Treat Williams in The Substitute 4: Failure Is Not An Option.
I happen to like Treat Williams…
Anyway, I don’t want to overstay my welcome with this tribute post, so I’ll just finish by rattling off a few more “That Guy’s” that deserve to be known somewhere on the internet.
Tommy Lister, thanks for being the president of THE WORLD in The Fifth Element, and giving us Deebo in Friday, and Zeus in No Holds Barred. Foh’ real man, I don’t think anyone else could’ve done so much with so little.
Anyway, there’s a shit ton of other “That Guy’s” deserving of recognition, and perhaps we’ll get to them another day, but for now, here’s to hoping they all know they’re appreciated.
Remember, just ’cause I don’t know your name doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what you do.