Wesley Snipes: His Hardest Heroes and Best Baddies

Action superstar Wesley Snipes, in his first leading role since 2012’s cult hit Gallowwalkers, returns to the screen as FINAL RECALL, as a no-nonsense survivalist trying to stop aliens from taking over planet Earth, and attempting to convince a cabin full of teens what is at stake – basically, the end of humanity. Featuring Snipes charging around the woods in army gear, with a pump-action shotgun, blasting at the invaders, FINAL RECALL showcases the versatile actor on top form. Here are ten more memorable roles – from gangster to cop to vampire to Expendable – from the unstoppable Snipes…

New Jack City (1991)

This was the film that propelled Snipes into the A-list, playing a crime lord who gets rich on selling crack cocaine in New York in the Eighties, with Mario Van Peebles as the cop trying to bring him down. The film was a smash hit, taking over fifty million dollars in the US, on a budget of eight million; spawned a legion of imitators, and established Snipes as a face to watch.

Passenger 57 (1992)

Snipes is security expert John Cutter, stuck on a plane with the world’s most notorious hijacker, Charles Rane, played by Bruce Payne. Rane is on his way to prison, so naturally he decides to do what he does best and take over the plane, and it is up to Cutter to stop him. Equally at home playing the villain or hero, Snipes is superb here as the latter, an ‘ex-cop with a bad mouth, a bad attitude, and a bad seat. As the tagline goes, for the terrorists on flight 163 . . . he’s very bad news.

White Men Can’t Jump (1992)

Snipes was on a winning streak in the first half of the Nineties, with this box office sensation grossing nearly $100million worldwide. Here he proved he was a dab hand at not just mean and moody thrillers, but comedy, in a brilliant sports caper directed by Ron Shelton (Bull Durham), with Snipes and Woody Harrelson as a pair of basketball hustlers who push their luck too far.

Boiling Point (1993)

An adaptation of the novel Money Men, by Gerald Petievich (author of To Live And Die In LA), with Snipes as Treasury Agent Jimmy Mercer, hunting down a couple of counterfeiters who have killed his partner. Dennis Hopper and Viggo Mortensen are the unlucky duo who find themselves looking down the barrel of Wesley’s gun, in this underappreciated thriller from Kubrick producer turned crime flick director James B Harris.

Demolition Man (1993)

A fantastic sci-fi thriller, with Snipes switching to bad guy mode once more – here as a cryogenically frozen violent criminal, who escapes into the 21st century after he is defrosted for a parole hearing, who runs amok in the future society where crime is a thing of the past. Cue Sylvester Stallone as his cop nemesis, brought out of suspended animation to stop him.

The Fan (1996)

In one of his best roles, Snipes is a top baseball player being stalked by Robert De Niro. In the film, Snipes is having a bad season and his stalker thinks he can help – but, of course, he does anything but. Directed by the late, great, Tony Scott (Top Gun), this an effective, gripping thriller.

Blade (1998)

Blade is arguably the actor’s most famous role, and a groundbreaking one, being the first time an African-American actor fronted a superhero film. Half man half vampire Blade’s is job is simple – kill all the evil vampires on the planet (this might account for the fact there are two sequels – a vampire killer’s work is never done). Stylishly attired in shades and full-length leather coat, Snipes’ character became a staple Halloween costume from this point on.

The Art of War (2000)

An underrated, big budget, thriller, packed with double crosses and action, with Snipes as a United Nations fixer who has been framed for murder of the Chinese ambassador, who has to dodge both the FBI and Triad gangsters, as well as find out what the hell really happened.

Gallowwalkers (2012)

Adding another iconic horror hero role to his CV, Snipes is Aman, a gunman with a curious problem – anyone he kills comes back from the dead, so Aman has a horde of zombies on his trail, wanting revenge. It’s time for back up, so he enlists the help of a young hotshot shooter to help him. It’s as if Clint Eastwood wandered onto the set of Dawn of the Dead and it’s great.

The Expendables 3 (2014)

Any action hero worth their salt simply has to appear an Expendables film, the blockbuster franchise that sees a gang of serious tough guys travelling the globe to take down notorious villains. Sharing the screen with Statham, Schwarzenegger and Stallone (and that’s just the ones starting with S), Snipes fits in perfectly – the only question is, what took him so long to join? And here’s hoping he’s in part four!

FINAL RECALL is released on DIGITAL DOWNLOAD 14th August, and DVD & BLU-RAY 21st August 2017, courtesy of Signature Entertainment.

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