Kurt Russell, Sci-Fi Badass: We Salute You

Here's to you, Snake Plisskin, R.J. MacReady, Jack O'Neil...

By David Wharton | Updated

StargateStargate — Col. Jonathan “Jack” O’Neil (1994)
While the previous two films let Russell shine as an unkillable badass and an everyman who rises to the occasion, respectively, Stargate lets him stretch his muscles with a multi-layered performance as a broken soldier with a death wish. We see early on how lost he’s become in the aftermath of his son’s accidental death, and once we learn of the “package” that he and his fellow soldiers have brought through the Stargate, there’s no doubt that he will push the button if so ordered. Hell, he might even push it either way. And while kids in science fiction movies often trend toward the annoying, O’Neil’s relationship with Skaara (Alexis Cruz) is genuinely affecting, and Russell’s restrained performance is a big part of why it works so well. How good is Russell as O’Neil? He’s so good that when it came time to replace him for the SG-1 TV spin-off, they had to bring in goddamn MacGyver.

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