Every great action hero needs a great hero name. For instance, would Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry” be nearly as intimidating and iconic if his name was Detective Larry Fagenbaum rather than Harry Callahan? We think not, which is why the Tough Guy Digest staff was asked to give some of our favorite fictional names for our favorite real-life stars:
Here are three of my favorites, in no particular order:
1) Marion Cobretti (Sylvester Stallone) – “Cobra”
For one thing I don’t think it’s an accident that Stallone’s tough-as-nails cop has such a feminine first name, as it points to the ironic dichotomy of a man who relaxes after a long day of “curing diseases” (aka shooting supermarket bandits) by cleaning his gun and watching grisly news reports, while at the same time cutting off sections of a pizza with scissors to monitor his calorie intake (perhaps a subplot about Cobra’s obvious eating disorder was one of the things that got cut out ahead of the film’s release):
Or it could just be a nod to John Wayne’s real-life name, Marion Morrison. Either way I also like that Stallone obviously came up with his character’s last name by working backwards from the title “Cobra,” because why else would a guy be nicknamed Cobra if his legal birth name wasn’t something like “Cobretti” or “Cobranson” or “Cobramowitz”? I will note that I’ve never encountered anyone with the last name Cobretti in my entire life, but I’m sure if I asked Marion he could trace its origins all the way back to his ancestors in Sicily. Or more likely he’d just shoot me and cut off another section of pizza.
2) John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzenegger) – “Commando”
I also enjoy Schwarzenegger’s name in “Commando” because once again I doubt you will ever come across anyone with the last name Matrix in real life, although if you did nowadays it would probably be some hipster named Dakota or Finn Matrix rather than a dude named John who carries ENTIRE TREES on his shoulder.
Also kudos for giving your character a last name that could have easily been the title of your film, as would be demonstrated later when the Wachowskis ripped off the Matrix name for their own trilogy of films, and were obviously so worried about Arnold’s reaction that they went into hiding by making movies no one saw and changing genders to keep him off their trail.
3) Mason Storm (Steven Seagal) – “Hard to Kill”
Once again, the name Mason Storm offers so many possibilities for a film title: “Storm Warning.” “Storm Front.” “Stormy Weather.” “FireStorm.” “Mason Jarred.” Yet the filmmakers resisted the obvious temptation and went with the simple and superior title “Hard to Kill,” knowing that Mason Storm was such an absurdly awesome name for a Seagal character that it could just stand on its own. Also, the name Mason Storm sounds even more fantastic coming out of the mouth of legendary movie trailer voiceover guy Don LaFontaine:
Some of my favorites include:
Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) – “Escape from New York”
Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) – “Point Break”
Jericho Jackson (Carl Weathers) – “Action Jackson”
Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen) – “Bullitt”
Vince Majestyk (Charles Bronson) – “Mr. Majestyk”
Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller) – “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension”
Actually we could really do a whole list just on Steven Seagal movie names. Look at some of these gems:
I’ve always liked Lincoln Hawk (Sylvester Stallone) – “Over the Top”
I think it’s mainly because all I think when I hear it is “Lincoln Hawk Chevy/Ford dealer off Highway 9. Veterans are welcome!”
I may be a little biased because of obvious reasons, but I can think of one name right away:
John “Muthafuckin’” Shaft (Richard Roundtree) – “Shaft”
I realize I added a little extra in the middle there, but it just seems right. Some may think it’s more of an adult film moniker, but I think it’s an appropriate name for the force of nature that was John Shaft … he’s one bad mother–shut your mouth! I’m just talking about Shaft baby.
Jericho Jackson – The actual name is meh, but when you throw in “Action” it’s iconic. Plus he vaulted a car flat-footed, so there’s that.
Marion Cobretti – When he reveals his delicate first name in a moment of humanity it’s almost touching. Then he proceeds to kill 50 people from the back of a pickup truck.
I guess we should also list the worst hero name in movie history. Actually I’m not even going to open it for discussion, I already have the winner and it’s not even close: Lance Stargrove (John Stamos) in “Never Too Young to Die”: