15 Movie Mini-Bosses Who Put Up A Better Fight Than The Big Bad

List Rules
Vote up the fights with secondary villains that were even more epic than the final showdown.

When it comes to action movies, many of them follow the same rough template: before the final battle with the big bad, the hero first has to square off against a series of lesser enemies and cronies. But quite often, the big bad winds up being less of a challenge than their underlings. Quite often, that's because the supervillain or criminal boss is really more of a manager, the person who comes up with the evil plan and keeps the big picture in mind. When you reach a certain level of supervillainy, one of the perks is that you can hire other people to do your dirty work. 

As a result, the fights between the hero and the henchpeople are often more intense and thrilling than the final showdown. Sometimes that can make the ending a bit anticlimactic, but as far as the hero is concerned, it's probably a relief to have an easier fight. Here are some of the most underrated villains who put up a better fight than the final boss. 


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    17 VOTES

    The Giant, Bald Nazi In ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’

    This one makes the list because Indiana Jones technically doesn't even have to fight the main two villains in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the treacherous French archaeologist Belloq and the bespectacled Third Reich extremist Toht. When they foolishly open the Ark of the Covenant, God's avenging angels do the job for him. 

    That would make pretty much any of the henchmen Indy fights along the way a better match. But the huge, muscular, bald Nazi mechanic Indy fights at the airfield is a more than a worthy challenge. He's bigger, stronger, and tougher than Indy. Indy tries every dirty trick in the book – throwing sand in his opponent's face, kicking him in the groin, biting him, and playing dead – and really only defeats him thanks to some good luck, when the mechanic fails to notice the spinning airplane propellers behind him. 

  • To be fair, it's not like Bill, the target of Beatrix Kiddo's quest for revenge, puts up much of a fight at the end of Kill Bill: Volume 2. When that showdown finally happens, it's more of a philosophical debate about the meaning of Superman rather than an actual fight, and Kiddo defeats him by using Pai Mei's Five Point Exploding Heart Technique. 

    Most of Bill's underlings whom Beatrix fights along the way offer more of a challenge, but none more so than Elle Driver. She's Kiddo's mirror image in many ways: adept at both martial arts and sword fighting - and blond to boot. Kiddo only defeats her with the help of a well-timed eye gouge. 

  • Here's another example of an underling who's both more formidable than their boss as well as a mirror image of the hero. Just like Wolverine, Lady Deathstrike has adamantium claws and super-fast regenerating health. Their showdown in Stryker's lab is about as even as a fight can get. Wolverine only defeats her with a little opportunism when he slashes the chains on a platform dangling above a tank of liquid adamantium, sending Deathstrike falling into it, then injecting her with more adamantium. 

    After that, the Stryker fight is a cakewalk. All Wolverine has to do is chase him down, chain him to the dam at Alkali Lake, and let the floodwaters finish the job. 

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    11 VOTES

    Karl In ‘Die Hard’  

    The big bad in Die Hard, Hans Gruber, is the quintessential "CEO" supervillain. He's the criminal mastermind who comes up with the plan to break into the vault at Nakatomi Plaza. But his real sign of intelligence is realizing his own limits. Rather than do it all himself, he outsources particular jobs to his crew of goons. 

    Most of Gruber's underlings give John McClane a tougher fight than Gruber does, but especially Karl, the hulking, blond-maned Austrian with the big machine gun. He's bigger and stronger than McClane, and worse, he's motivated by the fact that McClane took out his brother earlier in the movie. Karl easily overpowers McClane, and McClane only barely manages to beat Karl by hanging him with a conveniently placed chain. When he finally faces off against Gruber, McClane doesn't even have to physically fight him - he just shoots him and sends him flying through a window to his doom. 

  • Let's be honest. In a lot of action movies, the big bad is really more of an "ideas person" who hires other people to do the dirty work. That's the case with Auric Goldfinger, the titular supervillain in Goldfinger. Doing most of Goldfinger's grunt work is Oddjob, the henchman with the metal-brimmed hat he can fling at enemies with enough force to break their necks.

    When James Bond finally faces off against Oddjob, he more than meets his match and is only able to defeat him with some quick thinking, electrocuting Oddjob while he's retrieving his hat from between some metal bars. By the time Bond finally faces Goldfinger, Bond doesn't even have to fight him. All he has to do is shoot out the window on an airplane, sucking Goldfinger out and sending him plummeting to his demise. 

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    11 VOTES

    The Witch-King Of Angmar In ‘Lord of the Rings: Return of the King’ 

    In terms of physical fighting abilities, it's not really fair to compare Sauron with anyone who works for him. By the time the events of the Lord of the Rings trilogy take place, Sauron's days of being a mortal human fighter are long behind him. His primary tools are manipulation and deception, aided by his use of the Rings of Power. For the members of the Fellowship of the Ring, the real challenge is the journey to Mordor itself and Sauron's seductiveness. All it takes to defeat him and throw the One Ring into the lava at Mt. Doom is a strong enough will - which, fortunately, Sam and Frodo possess. 

    All of Sauron's stand-ins provide a bigger physical challenge than he does, but especially the Witch-King of Angmar, the leader of the Ringwraiths. He personally leads Sauron's armies at the Battle of Pelennor Fields. When he nearly slays Lady Eowyn in their one-on-one fight, he's done in for the same reason Sauron is: because he underestimated a Hobbit. While the Witch-King is gloating over Eowyn, Merry sneaks up and stabs him in the leg, giving Eowyn the opening to finish him off.