There’s simply no denying that the movie going public loves a good action-packed film. The sheer number of sequels for titles like Die Hard, Rambo, and Lethal Weapon are solid testaments to this fact. With so many movies about killers and after a recent viewing of Die Hard and the new Rambo installment, I started wondering who actually has the highest on-screen kill count in “action movies” with multiple sequels.
Now, as I recently pointed in my Star Trek vs Star Wars article, Darth Vader and Kylo Ren committed geocide/mundicide by wiping out entire planets, so of course they have the highest totals overall. I want to see who has the bigger numbers as far as more “hand’s on” killings go.
So, join me as I attempt to find out who currently holds the crown for Hollywood’s Most Notorious Killer.
Round 1: Cops & Robbers
With several different types of killers “growing up” in Tinsel Town, I think we should split this into a couple of rounds. We’ll find out who has the highest kill count and declare a winner of each round, as well as announce an overall winner.
John McClane: Die Hard
Bruce Willis got his big break and opened an entire new genre with the 1988 release of Die Hard. His “average Joe” being thrust into impossible situations spawned wannabes left and right and across five movies, McClane racked up quite an impressive body count.
Die Hard: 10 On-Screen Kills
Die Hard 2: 24 On-Screen Kills
Die Hard with a Vengeance: 13 On-Screen Kills
Live Free or Die Hard: 13 On-Screen Kills
A Good Day to Die Hard: 13 On-Screen Kills
Total Kills = 73
And we’re off… Yippee Ki Yay MotherF*****!
Paul Kersey: Death Wish
A vigilante that I grew up with that definitely holds a special place in my heart. Back in the day, Charles Bronson was one of the baddest of the bad asses and he went on to have 4 sequels, dispatching muggers, robbers, and rapists with ease and there was even a reboot with none other than Bruce Willis taking over the bullet slinging. However, for this battle, we’re only counting the originals.
From as near as I can tell, these are the totals for Bronson’s Kersey:
Death Wish: 10 On-Screen Kills
Death Wish 2: 12 On-Screen Kills
Death Wish 3: 50 On-Screen Kills
Death Wish 4: 36 On-Screen Kills
Death Wish 5: Face of Death: 7 On-Screen Kills
Total Kills = 115
Bryan Mills: Taken
He has a particular set of skills that spawned three movies and a tv series, and Liam Neeson clocks in an impressive kill rate.
Taken: 32 On-Screen Kills
Taken 2: 31 On-Screen Kills
Taken 3: 10 On-Screen Kills
Total Kills = 73
Martin Riggs: Lethal Weapon
Another classic that is definitely in the collection of any self-respecting action movie junkie. We’ll leave the doomed television series out of the count, but let’s take a look at how many have been put six-feet under by Mel Gibson in the Lethal Weapon movies.
Lethal Weapon: 17 On-Screen Kills
Lethal Weapon 2: 13 On-Screen Kills
Lethal Weapon 3: 3 On-Screen Kills
Lethal Weapon 4: 6 On-Screen Kills
Total Kills = 39
Harry Callahan: Dirty Harry
Clint Eastwood was one of the first and perhaps best of the good guys that did things their own way. With memorable lines like, “Go ahead, make my day” and appearing in 4 sequels, Dirty Harry Callahan dispatched bad guys with a scowl and a certain kind of class.
While I couldn’t find a definitive list of the kills per movie, I did find a source that said across the five movies, Dirty Harry killed a total of 43 criminals. Perhaps I’ll watch them over the holidays and get us an accurate count.
Dirty Harry: ?
Magnum Force: ?
The Enforcer: ?
Sudden Impact: ?
The Dead Pool: ?
Total Kills = 43
Winner – That means my man Paul Kersey wins Round 1 with 115 on-screen kills in the Death Wish Movies.
Round 2: Rogue Killers
When you see who is duking it out this round, you’ll see why I had a hard time giving it a title. While none are exactly “rogue,” I couldn’t think of a title that encompassed them all any better. So it is what it is.
Let’s take at the bloodshed left behind by some folks that are super popular among fans and morticians.
With 26 movies under his belt, it’s no surprise that ole 007 has racked up quite the body count. While I’m not going to break them all down (many of them are actually quite low anyway, especially the older ones), I did want to make sure that he got his place on this list with James Bond’s impressive 362 on screen kills.
Though he’s a newcomer in this battle for the crown, with 3 movies and counting, John Wick is no slouch in the killing department. Taking out bad guys with just about everything you can think of, there’s no denying that these movies are action-packed.
John Wick: 77 On-Screen Kills
John Wick Chapter 2: 128 On-Screen Kills
John Wick 3: Parabellum: 94 On-Screen Kills
Total Kills = 299
With more sequels planned, Reeves may well be on his way to kicking everyone’s ass on this list.
The vampire slayer is one of those that many of us wish would make a comeback, but as it stands, Blade has an impressive kill count with his 3 movies.
Blade: 65 On-Screen Kills
Blade 2: 77 On-Screen Kills
Blade Trinity: 30 On-Screen Kills
Total Kills = 172
James Braddock: Missing in Action
Well, no true action-movie list would be complete without a little Chuck Norris, so thankfully he had a couple of sequels that racked up some impressive kills.
Missing in Action: 70 On-Screen Kills
Missing in Action 2: 24 On-Screen Kills
Missing in Action 3: 52 On-Screen Kills
Total Kills = 146
John Rambo: First Blood/Rambo
Though the character died at the end of the original book, Stallone and crew crafted Rambo into a long-lasting character that millions around the world know and love. While McClane’s kill count went down after the second installment, Rambo went the other way.
First Blood: 1 (though he really didn’t even kill him)
Rambo: First Blood Part II: 75 On-Screen Kills
Rambo III: 115 On-Screen Kills
Rambo IV: 254 On-Screen Kills
Rambo: Last Blood: ?
Unfortunately, after several attempted searches, I wasn’t able to find an official kill count for Rambo Last Blood. Since I happened to recently watch it, I know the total is quite high (and rather bloody I might add) but I can only give him 20 at this time. I didn’t attempt to count them and it wouldn’t be fair to give him more than that.
Besides, it’s not like it hurt his numbers that much.
Total Kills = 465+
More Hollywood Killers
So of course, Rambo comes out as the clear winner among the bad asses, but outside of singlehandedly taking on whole countries, I was pleasantly surprised to see Kersey as the top gun in Round 1. Take a look at the honorable mentions below and a complete list of our entries today.
Okay, technically not a killer since it’s a group of guys that has changed a good bit over the series of movies. However, as we’re on the third installment with what has been billed as starring the best action stars and apparently there’s more planned, I thought the guys should be mentioned.
The Expendables: 221 On-Screen Kills
The Expendables 2: 489 On-Screen Kills
The Expendables 3: 221 On-Screen Kills
Total Kills = 931
John Matrix: Commando
Though not a sequel and yeah he appeared in numerous Terminator movies, but Schwarzenegger wasn’t really a killer. However, he definitely had an impressive count in Commando with tagging 87 confirmed kills.
The Bride: Kill Bill
Uma Thurman is one of the only female killers to get a sequel so far, and while her number of kills in the second installment were considerably lower, she still has passed out enough toe tags to make it into this round.
Kill Bill Vol 1: 76 On-Screen Kills
Kill Bill Vol 2: 1 On-Screen Kill
Total Kills = 77
Unfortunately for Ethan Hunt of Mission Impossible fame, I couldn’t find kill counts beyond the third movie. I can only spend so much time on these things and this article already turned out WAY longer than I anticipated LOL.
Anyway, Cruise’s movies looked to be headed for kill-list destiny considering he had 43 total kills just in installments 1 – 3, but from what I can tell his numbers dropped drastically after number 3 and it looks like he may have stayed below 50.
The Best of the Best Hollywood Killers
That’s every single action movie with sequels and high body counts that I can think of. If there’s something I missed, be sure to let me know below. Otherwise, who is your favorite bad ass? Are there specific ones that you watch fairly regularly?
Mine is Die Hard. Like many of you, it’s on my list of Christmas movies to watch (though I also argue that Lethal Weapon is just as much of a Christmas movie but maybe that’s just me).
Paul Kersey won Round 1 with the Cops & Robbers category and Rambo kicked ass and took names in Round 2, going on to win the entire battle with what probably approached, and maybe even surpassed, 500 kills.
Had this been a full on battle of just overall action movie kills, this could have been a much different outcome.
Anyway, here’s a TLDR list of the top killers in action movies with sequels.
#1 — John Rambo – 465+ Total Kills
#2 — James Bond – 362 Total Kills
#3 — John Wick – 299 Total Kills
#4 — Blade – 172 Total Kills
#5 — James Braddock – 146 Total Kills
#6 — Paul Kersey – 115 Total Kills
#7 — The Bride – 77 Total Kills
#8 — Bryan Mills – 73 Total Kills
#8 — John McClane – 73 Total Kills
#9 — Dirty Harry – 43 Total Kills
#10 — Martin Riggs – 39 Total Kills
Best Honorable Mention – The Expendables – 931 Total Kills