Michael Ironside Turns 64, Still Intimidates Us: Today In Science & Science Fiction

By David Wharton | 7 years ago

IronsideMichael Ironside is one of those guys who was born to be the villain. Sure, he’s played decent human beings too, but there’s a reason the guy will always be “Richter” from Total Recall to me. He’s just so perfectly sadistic and ruthless and just plain nasty. Part of it’s the voice, part of it’s that sneering look he does, the one a tiger gives you right before it chomps down on your throat. He also gets the second-best death in Total Recall, and he’d be even higher up the list of Great Sci-Fi Movie Villains were it not for the existence of Ronny Cox, a man I once described as “the Black Plague in a bespoke suit.”

Of course, Ironside already had a memorable villain on his resume before he played Richter. A decade earlier, he earned his place in the sci-fi pantheon as Darryl Revok in David Cronenberg’s Scanners. If you don’t recall the role, he’s the dude who does this to people:


One Ironside footnote you might not know about — I didn’t until I started writing this article — he could have been either Murphy/RoboCop or Clarence Boddiker in, well, RoboCop. In fact, Ironside was director Paul Verhoeven’s first choice for the lead role, which eventually went to Peter Weller. IMDb claims he had to bow out because he proved too bulky for the suit they had designed, but I can’t find an official cited source for that part, so take it with a grain of salt. Either way, much as I love Ironside, it’s hard to imagine anybody other than Weller and Kurtwood Smith playing RoboCop and Boddicker, respectively. Although I can can hear Ironside giving a great reading on the line “Bitches, leave.”

Ironside is also one of those actors who can put on a military uniform and completely sell it. He’s Lt. Jean Rasczak in Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers, he replaced the departing Roy Scheider on SeaQuest DSV, and he played General Ashdown in Terminator Salvation, but we won’t hold that movie’s mediocrity against the guy. Even if we were going to, we’d have to immediately refund all the points we detracted because he voiced Darkseid in the Justice League cartoon. Friggin’ Darkseid. (If DC does get around to making a live-action Justice League movie, they could do a lot worse than having Ironside record all of Darkseid’s dialogue, regardless of who they cast to play the role.)

Michael Ironside turns 64 today, and GFR wishes him a great one. Seriously. I mean it. Please don’t make my head explode.

See you at the party, Richter!

Today in Comics

Battlestar Galactica #8 (Dynamite Entertainment)

‘Dreams of the Thirteenth’ continues! The Galactica has led the fleet into an uncharted storm zone to escape the Cylons, but danger awaits. Haunted by chilling dreams of the lost colony of Earth, the crews of the fleet encounter a vast and mysterious artifact at the heart of the storm. Sensors report that the Cylons have pursued the fleet into the storm. Which is the greatest threat… what lies ahead or what snaps at their heels


City: The Mind in the Machine #1 (IDW Publishing)

New from Darby Pop! Ben Fischer helped build the world’s greatest surveillance system, Golden Shield, which utilizes every camera, cell phone, and computer in San Francisco to battle crime. There is only one problem: Golden Shield can’t work without a human mind to operate it, resulting in a controversial melding of man and machine. Writer Eric Garcia (Anonymous Rex, Matchstick Men) delivers an action-packed story that questions the roles of security and technology in our modern society.


EGOs #2 (Image Comics)

The hero-epic of the far future continues as Deuce, the EGOs’ leader, flies off to battle with his army of [CENSORED]s. Meanwhile, his estranged wife Pixel must deal with an army of new team applicants. Featuring: Costumes! Battles! Masse, the Living Galaxy! Blood and gore! Uncomfortable emotions!


The Fuse #1 (Image Comics)


Working homicide 22,000 miles up on an orbiting energy platform, in a five-mile-long jury-rigged steel city stuffed with a half million people, with no help from your so-called colleagues back on Earth, is more than tough…it’s murder!

Cynical, foul-mouthed veteran ANTONY JOHNSTON (UMBRAL, Wasteland, Daredevil) gets partnered with fresh-faced idealist JUSTIN GREENWOOD (Wasteland, Resurrection) for a new crime series with attitude! Murder, mayhem, and mystery—22,000 miles straight up.


Great Pacific #13 (Image Comics)


When a mysterious visitor washes up warning of UFOs and invaders from space, Chas Worthington finds his grip over New Texas threatened. But if the aliens are coming, Chas knows just the leader the earthlings need to represent them — himself!


Star Wars #14 (Dark Horse)

Ben Kenobi haunts Darth Vader’s dreams, even as the name Skywalker occupies his waking thoughts. The Rebel victory over his former flagship has exposed spies and incompetence within the Empire, and Vader has decided an off-the-record mission of vengeance is needed to clear his head-and restore his reputation!


The Walking Dead #121 (Image Comics)

“ALL OUT WAR,” Part Seven

In the aftermath of the unthinkable.


The X-Files: Season 10 #9 (IDW Publishing)

‘Chitter’ A missing persons investigation leads Agents Mulder and Scully into a disgusting mess of human sacrifice, enough bugs to keep your skin crawling long after the issue is over, and The X-Files’ newest ‘Monster of the Month.’ But what is ‘The Chittering God,’ and why does it hunger for Dana Scully?