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THE SEVENTH FLOOR > HEAVY HITTERS: The Best Underling compilation.

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message 1: by Samuel , Director (last edited Aug 22, 2015 03:08AM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
A spin off from the antagonist thread. We focus on the little guy. The henchman. Your more powerful/influential antagonists will keep one on retainer to do the heavy lifting and killing if they aren't combat trained.
Spy novels, films and TV series. Your nominations please on who you consider the greatest minion.


message 2: by Samuel , Director (last edited Aug 22, 2015 03:12AM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
I'll start. He might have not been the most formidable combatant, but Dario from the "License To Kill" James Bond film is perhaps the most terrifying. It's because his actor made him the most chilling example of a man whose humanity had been sucked out, leaving a malevolent dark void, since Red Grant. And he didn't need metal teeth or a Bowler Hat to scare the living daylights out of James Bond. Who he tried to stuff into a cocaine shredder among other things....


message 3: by Samuel , Director (last edited Aug 22, 2015 03:18AM) (new)

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Better Off Dead (Victor the Assassin, #4) by Tom Wood

Surprisingly, the Victor series hasn't had many true henchman. Only 3. The first is more of a skilled contract employee hired on short notice and the second got fooled long enough for Victor to cap him with his FN 57. However, in the fourth book, we have Sinclair.

A South African Private Military Contractor, he's been hired by a SIS officer running a deniable black operation on British soil (she's deliberately breaking her service's mandate regarding not operating domestically to save her own hide for reasons explained in the book) to help her solve a problem. Where the other members of the hit-squad she acquires fail, she utilizes him instead.

The man is as competent as the main character, but he isn't afraid of repeatedly demonstrating that he loves his work. A lot. Especially with the KABAR and sound suppressed Glock 18 he brings along for the job. His two loves in life are death, bloodshed, spreading pain to his victims and combined with his gleeful sadism akin to that of a pack of hyenas ripping apart a lion, he made a memorable impression.


message 4: by Feliks (last edited Aug 22, 2015 12:27PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) What a great thread idea

My first vote:
'Fawn' from LeCarre's 'Honourable Schoolboy'. It is one novel where perhaps the most charismatic and really, most incorrigibly fiendish figure is a henchman in the camp of the good guys. An ingenious twist. Nearly everyone else in the book is a gentleman, or knows what a gentleman is, and knows the value of it. Not Fawn. In 'Tinker, Tailor', Fawn had a very brief cameo role as a flunky in charge of an agency's safe-house. He was a nondescript member of 'Housekeeping department'. In 'Schoolboy', (now that George Smiley has been made head of the Circus), Smiley is assigned a 'minder' and it turns out to be Fawn. He is fair-haired, humorless, & brutal. Slightly-built and ferret-like; but with taut/wiry muscles and quick-twitch reflexes. More, he is simply obsessed with his own excellent performance towards any task given him. It doesn't just end there. His petty viciousness figures greatly in the story's climax.


message 5: by Feliks (last edited Aug 22, 2015 03:18PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) can't neglect mention --and early on, too--Elisha Cook Jr portraying the gunsel 'Wilmer' in John Huston's 'Maltese Falcon'

"Just keep on ridin' me. They'll be pickin' lead out of your belly."
"I get it. The cheaper the hood, the gaudier the patter, eh?"





message 6: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Feliks wrote: "What a great thread idea

My first vote:
'Fawn' from LeCarre's 'Honourable Schoolboy'. It is one novel where perhaps the most charismatic and really, most incorrigibly fiendish figure is a henchman..."


Ah yes, Fawn. The man painted a beach in South East Asia with the honorable schoolboy's brains as I recall.
That child-like dependency on George combined with his utter viciousness when going to work was a great contrast. Jekyll and hyde.


message 7: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
From a film. The Bourne Supremacy. We have a man only know as Krill. He works as an officer of Russia's FSB by day, and in his off time, acts as a the main trouble shooter for an oligarch with a secret. A crack shot, he's a rather persistent sort of fellow who manages to put the lethal Jason Bourne on the defensive in the climax by getting a large Mercedes G Wagen and repeatedly trying to ram him with it.


message 8: by Feliks (last edited Aug 22, 2015 03:23PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) couple from radio

'Fang' --the classic, cowardly but malevolent Chinese henchman. Will do anything, obey any command, carry out any order with that supreme remorselessness and that kind of blank, dull, mute, obtuseness that always earmarks such figures in pulp storytelling. Fang is the henchman of the evil villain, 'The Octopus' in the Speed Gibson air serial.

Another: 'Fury Shark' in the Captain MidNight air serial; one of several underlings to her father 'Ivan Shark'. Fury Shark is kind of a young Natasha from Rocky/Bullwinkle. Thick, slavic accent; ambitious; greedy; sadistic. Specialist in torture. Always quick to suspect, ready to condemn, and eager to eliminate any rival; whether to her own aims or even just anyone who outshines her in her father's esteem. She is slavishly devoted to her father's prestige and power. She looks somewhat like this:




message 9: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
The Last Man (Mitch Rapp, #13) by Vince Flynn

In this book, we have a chap named Kassar. He's a contract employee for a senior member of the ISI top brass.
He also happens to be the only sane man compared to his boss. Competent and lethal, he a fantastic aversion of the usual tropes associated with Muslim antagonists (not a religious zealot for starters), does most of the heavy lifting throughout the book and after one slight too many, terminates his boss.


message 10: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Countdown by David Hagberg
Crossfire by David Hagberg

In these two books, we have a KGB killer called Arkady Kurshin, who acts as the personal asset of two spymasters.
He's savvy at his job, taking advantage of other peoples weaknesses very easily. Others hesitate. He doesn't and merrily leaves a trail of bodies from Tehran to Lisbon. However, as he progresses in the two stories, he psychologically deteriorates into a less competent but creepy assassin. It's fun to watch his decent into madness to say the least.


message 11: by Samuel , Director (last edited Aug 22, 2015 05:04PM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Before Dario, the most realistic/terrifying henchman in the James Bond franchise was Red Grant. Just a well dressed dead man hunting a government assassin with a perfectly plausible custom watch. A consummate professional with issues. Robert Shaw killed it with his performance.


message 12: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Similar to the discussion thread "What makes a compelling antagonist?", what makes a good henchman? Competence, distinct appearance or psychological state?


message 13: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Skill and psychological state.
Reason why the Red Grant/James Bond dance to the death in the From Russia With Love film is because the former was the perfect foil. A killer who can knock the nine bells out of 007, but unlike Bond, one who happens to be a smug sociopath underneath the gray suit.


message 14: by Feliks (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) Well, Red Grant is not a henchman, in my eyes. He is a serious threat. A most formidable villain.

A henchman's best qualities are his quirks. This is just off the top of my head. He's got to present an element of extremism, idiosyncrasy; obtuseness; he needs to be a near-Dickensian character. He gives comic relief, usually; or illustrates some subtle aspect of the theme or comment on the culture, which the author is trying to present.


message 15: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin | 167 comments Jaws, from a number of Bond movies, is an archetype henchman in my mind. An absolute oddity of a man and one tough cookie to take down. His exit in 'Moonraker' was however cheesy as hell!


message 16: by Feliks (last edited Aug 23, 2015 09:21AM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) good one. agree that his first appearance in TSWLM was menacing indeed.

the idea of puny Roger Moore trying to knock him down was embarrassing.

I pretty much groan at almost anything Moore ever did. He always looked 'bothered' and 'pained' when confronted with any obstacle. Whereas Connery looked appropriately) pissed off whenever faced with boredom or inactivity. Connery's Bond always looked as if he craved something freaky to happen or else he was gonna punch a wall. Its like he wanted to slaughter some scumbag as often as the movie plot might let him. Connery's Bond would have loved to kill Kiel.


message 17: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
It's the teeth which I found annoying. Sure it's to make him distinctive (and it doubles as a literal bullet magnet) but they're highly inefficient weapon.


message 18: by Feliks (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) yeah and totally bogus in that there's no way he could bite through a tram car cable!


message 19: by Samuel , Director (last edited Aug 23, 2015 02:00PM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Feliks wrote: "yeah and totally bogus in that there's no way he could bite through a tram car cable!"

I mean he was a big guy. Could've beat someone to death if he wanted to. Sadly he got stuck in the more "quirky" age of the Bond Films and couldn't be used to his full potential.


message 20: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
"It's one of those archetypes that are important in the Bond stories, the henchman, the executioner, and it's either length or width. In this case it's both!"- Christoph Waltz/Franz Oberhauser/Ernst Stravo Blofeld on his henchman.


message 21: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
The new James Bond henchman seems to be a mix of Oddjob's bulk and endurance along with Red Grant's skills. Since they couldn't give him a bizarre weapon, they instead made do with one of the few real life, working double barreled pistols on the market. One trigger pull means two .45 ACP slugs in the target.
http://www.arsenalfirearms.com/produc...


message 22: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
What can make a bad henchman? Some bland, no name thug without something to distinguish them?


message 23: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Samuel wrote: "The new James Bond henchman seems to be a mix of Oddjob's bulk and endurance along with Red Grant's skills. Since they couldn't give him a bizarre weapon, they instead made do with one of the few r..."

The new James Bond henchman in action. Craig era films never had a good one but it looks like there will be a change.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8GQZ...


message 24: by Samuel , Director (last edited Aug 13, 2016 01:34AM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Ghost Target (Ryan Drake #6) by Will Jordan

Recently I got this ebook for my smartphone. And while reading it, I found my first proper henchman of 2016.

His name is Jason Hawkins. Some say he's British, while others say he's American. Either way, he's mad, bad and absolutely dangerous to know unless you happen to be paying for his service, like the Deputy Director of the CIA is.

As the literal hatchet man for the antagonist of the book, Hawkins acts as the trouble shooter. While mostly hiding his insanity and penchant for torture under a well built, jolly mask, he's bordering on omnipotence in combat and knows how to coordinate a well executed paramilitary operation against trained targets.

Unlike most henchmen, Hawkins, knows when to be polite and professional, but don't be fooled. The man has a plan to kill everyone he meets and a ready smile for when the hour comes.

What made him stand out in my opinion, is his favorite torture method. Mr Hawkins is in possession of a gelding knife. And he's more than happy to lop off, say, a Pakistani ISI officer's gentleman's area if he doesn't get the information he wants.....


message 25: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Achilles' Heel by Sean Flannery

In this book, we have a henchmen named Yernin.
He works for the Ukrainian secret service in two books set in the late 1980's. Yernin is a top notch assassin who is quite omnipotent in combat despite having a disastrous flaw that all fictional assassins (the good ones anyway) should strive to avoid. Making things personal between targets who getaway.

Although in this case, the target blew his jaw to fragments with a 9mm round. So while in a Clancy knock-off setting, Yernin harks back to the henchmen of the literary Fleming school. Terrifying on the outside and capable of horrifying violence.


message 26: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Samuel wrote: "Ghost Target (Ryan Drake #6) by Will Jordan

Recently I got this ebook for my smartphone. And while reading it, I found my first proper henchman of 2016.

His name is Jason Hawkins. Some say he's British, ..."


One other thing I like about Jason Hawkins, the henchman which Will Jordan created.
He's the perfect deconstruction of the "fictional character behaving like a 1980's action hero".
Hawkins is a chap who lets himself go in combat, gets carried away and shows no restraint whatsoever.

The man seems to relish property damage and where say, a Heckler and Koch MP5SD will suffice, Hawkins would break out a grenade launcher.

For instance, there's an operation in Black List where Hawkins is trying to kill the main character. He sends a large number of paramilitary officers armed with MP5A3 sub machine guns into a target area, specifically a remote cabin in Scandinavia. He himself is a passenger in a helicopter flying over the area. With Hawkins is a Barett M82.

In the next couple of pages, his "Sylvester Stallone", approach to operations is picked apart. Is it destructive? Absolutely. Is it spectacular? Very much so.

But it also leads to tremendous collateral and property damage, like him deliberately forcing his pilot to crash the helicopter simply because he's so jacked up on blood lust and wants to get closer to his target.

Not to mention due to faffing about with his firing angle, the people he's trying to kill slip the net due to his inefficiency. In short, It's a splendid evisceration of those ideas that behaving like "John Matrix" in "Commando" is effective. It's not.


message 27: by Samuel , Director (last edited Oct 28, 2016 10:37PM) (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Active Measures Part I (Active Measures Trilogy #1) by Matt Fulton

When you're Russia's very own Anton Chigurh, and given a massive black ops fund to change the world (and make the most morbid bucket list in history), even a clever an intelligent chap such as yourself needs a couple of helping hands to delegate gathering operations, establishing smuggling routes and carry out one or two murders which you just are too busy for.

This is where a group of people who I shall call "Team Beowulf" come in. Like the infamous Viking, they're fanatically determined to overcome impossible odds that face them on a day to day basis. Whether its liquidating middle aged foreign spies with no - tear garbage bags or blowing up a historical landmark in Paris, no job is too big or small for these men who at the command of their boss, seek to set the world ablaze.


message 28: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Samuel wrote: "Active Measures Part I (Active Measures Trilogy #1) by Matt Fulton

When you're Russia's very own Anton Chigurh, and given a massive black ops fund to change the world (and make the most morbid bucket list in history),..."


By far the most chilling demonstration of their power is what they do in an Austrian forest.......but that pales in comparison for what is about to come in the next book.


message 29: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Samuel wrote: "Samuel wrote: "Active Measures Part I (Active Measures Trilogy #1) by Matt Fulton

When you're Russia's very own Anton Chigurh, and given a massive black ops fund to change the world (and make the most morbid bucket li..."


Active Measures Part I (Active Measures Trilogy #1) by Matt Fulton

Just learned from the author about the character direction for the henchmen in this book.


message 30: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Samuel wrote: "Samuel wrote: "Samuel wrote: "Active Measures Part I (Active Measures Trilogy #1) by Matt Fulton

When you're Russia's very own Anton Chigurh, and given a massive black ops fund to change the world (and make the most m..."


Matt Fulton

What sort of men would work for someone who seeks to end the world?

Matt Fulton seeks to answer the question.


message 31: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Tokyo Black (Thomas Caine #1) by Andrew Warren
Andrew Warren

Recently read and reviewed this book. Its author, group member Andrew Warren featured a very well characterized henchman in it. Bobu Szimaku. The man is a Japanese ultra nationalist and could be considered the "field commander" of the titular Tokyo Black political organization/militia.

A former Yakuza, Bobu like many future terrorists was radicalized in prison after a life of crime. Seeing the light, he mutilated himself and burned off the back tattoos most Yakuza possess with acid. He then returned to his old syndicate, eliminated the leadership and swayed its surviving members to embrace a grandiose political cause.

In terms of henchmen, think of Bobu as Mr Hinx from SPECTRE. He's a very big guy, but scarily fast when he's murdering someone and mostly unflappable when going to work. The only time where his composure breaks is when he gets a spyderco tactical folder rammed through his foot, but even then he still has the presence of mind to quickly limp to the start of a pre planned escape route.


message 32: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Samuel wrote: "Tokyo Black (Thomas Caine #1) by Andrew Warren
Andrew Warren

Recently read and reviewed this book. Its author, group member Andrew Warren featured a very well characterized henchman in i..."


Bobu and Hinx can be classified as the "Implacable man". Chaps that will hunt you relentlessly, can shrug off punishment and can easily track you down regardless of precautions and surprise you at the wrong moment.


message 33: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Samuel wrote: "Samuel wrote: "Tokyo Black (Thomas Caine #1) by Andrew Warren
Andrew Warren

Recently read and reviewed this book. Its author, group member Andrew Warren featured a very well characterize..."


Plus, the man looks hideous like any self respecting Fleming type henchman should. His self mutilation is revolting and would sufficiently unnerve you before he tries to rip your head off.


message 34: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Samuel wrote: "Samuel wrote: "Samuel wrote: "Samuel wrote: "Active Measures Part I (Active Measures Trilogy #1) by Matt Fulton

When you're Russia's very own Anton Chigurh, and given a massive black ops fund to change the world (and ..."


The answer to Matt Fulton's question is the kind of men who are in need of a thousand battlefields to wage war on.


message 35: by Samuel , Director (new)

Samuel  | 4691 comments Mod
Samuel wrote: "Samuel wrote: "Samuel wrote: "Samuel wrote: "Samuel wrote: "Active Measures Part I (Active Measures Trilogy #1) by Matt Fulton

When you're Russia's very own Anton Chigurh, and given a massive black ops fund to change ..."


And Team Beowulf are those sorts of people. A guy trying to end the world would need to fight many battles.


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