Debonair, charming, smarmy and with dialogue that makes quoting this movie practically a Geek Aspirant Requirement, Ash finally comes into his own as the Big Damn Hero (TM) in Army. The movie is a splatstick delight, made better only by Campbell's sometimes manic, sometimes deadpan delivery of some of the best lines in cinematic history.
"All right you primitive screwheads, listen up. This...is my BOOMSTICK!"
"Good. Bad. I'm the guy with the gun."
"Hail to the king, baby."
If the DNA of Han Solo and Captain Kirk was ever combined to create a sentient lifeform, Ash Williams would probably be the end result. He's a ladies man, a badass and not too terribly bright but he more than makes up for it in charisma and derring do. With this in mind, it's easy to see why Ash is such a popular character.
Though Ash is Campbell's most recognizable role (to the point that he's started referring to himself as 'Bruce 'don't call me Ash' Campbell'), it's not the only thing that makes him cool.
In the early ninties, Fox television released a show by the name of The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., a short lived--but rather good--western with elements of science fiction woven throughout.
Centering on a bounty hunter out to capture the men responsible for his father's death, Brisco County Jr. was far ahead of its time as far as TV shows go. A new twist on an old formula.
Sadly, the western/sci-fi genre that County fit into--which resembles shows like Firefly and Cowboy BeBop thematically--wasn't yet considered to be bankable, so the show was cancelled after one season. Due to high demand on the internet, though, it was released on DVD recently to the cheers of BC fanboys everywhere. I recommend it, but then again, if you've made it this far into the article, you've probably figured out I'm just the teensiest bit biased.
After Brisco County, a couple little shows that Campbell had a recurring role on hit the airwaves. Maybe you've heard of them, yes?
Oh, yeah. Hercules and Xena. Remember the days when they were THE shows?
Campbell's character on Hercules and Xena was Autolycus, King of Theives and because of his portrayal of this character, I'm still convinced that Bruce Campbell in the mid nineties would have made the perfect
live action Arsene Lupin III.
Another Ash-esque character (charming, check, debonair, check, a bit of a jerk, check), but with a lot more heart, Autolycus stole the show in every episode he was in. The fangirls that weren't panting after Hercules were mostly panting after Auto.
I have indeed conducted a poll to verify this and for those of you keeping track, that's a bunch more cool points for our boy Bruce. Guys want to be him, girls want him. He really IS James Bond.
After Xena & Hercules, another short lived TV show (also helmed by Sam Raimi's production company) was in the cards: Jack of All Trades.
It...well, okay. It was my
first experience with Bruce Campbell, so it makes me
happy, but looking at it objectively, it did kinda...suck. Epically. However, if one takes the show as being ridicuously over the top silliness in the vein of the old Batman TV show from the sixties, it's still enjoyable.
Jack Stiles, an American spy with a dual identity in 1801, is assigned to the tiny island of Palau Palau to keep an eye on what Napoleon is up to in the area.
No, your eyes did not go crazy for a second there. I said Napoleon.
And I wondered why it got cancelled...sigh.
Skipping ahead to the next bit of awesomeness, there are three more points to award: one for each of Bruce's cameos in the Spider-Man trilogy.
As the ring announcer, he named Spider-Man.
As the snooty usher, he defeated
And as the 'French' head waiter, he teamed up with--...oh screw it. The reason this cameo deserves a cool point is because it made the rest of the movie bearable for having been there.
(I'm sorry, Mister Raimi, I do love you dearly for what you've done for the comic book movie genre, but if it weren't for Bruce, I would have tracked you down and demanded my money back.)
These days, Campbell has a regular role on a great little show called Burn Notice as Hawaiian shirt wearing, mojito drinking ex-Navy SEAL Sam Axe (which, I'm sure, is somebody's idea of a big 'inside' joke--Sam=Sam Raimi. Axe=Ash
.), which airs on the USA network and was a surprise summer hit in 2007.
A ratings smash right out of the gate, it's a pretty fair assumption that a lot of the pilot episode's audience was made up of Bruce Campbell fans who were only in it because their God was making an appearance and then stuck around because the show is really stellar. It's the first program that Campbell has been a part of in almost a decade that has been picked up for a second season and I know an entire demographic that noisily rejoiced because of it.
Honest to God. I know
these people. I should probably find new friends...
Though Bruce Campbell is hardly a household name, the cult classic status of the projects mentioned above make him very, very high on the B-List. He may never be Tom Cruise (thankfully), but to a large portion of geeks everywhere, he's a superstar.
Now that all this information has been crammed into your brain and you know why
he's awesome, let's get back to the original debate that spawned this article:
Could Bruce Campbell really kick Chuck Norris' ass?
Well, I won't try to answer that definitively. It would end badly for everyone involved if I did, really. The argument will most likely rage just as long as the Kirk vs. Solo debate has.
As for me personally
, you can keep Chuck Norris, his cowboy hat and
his silly facts. I'm voting Campbell all the way.
Then again, I always was a sucker for a man with powertools...BiteMeTechie is a professional freelance writer, published poet, minor fanfiction celebrity and Big Damn Fan of Bruce Campbell. When not writing articles for places like RetroJunk, she writes comic books, loiters in comic/toy shops and checks Bruce's official website on a semi-regular basis, waiting for updates about the long anticipated horror/comedy 'My Name is Bruce'. She suggests you do the same. Also, you needent remind her that she skipped mentioning Bubba Ho-Tep. Bruce Campbell as Elvis would have been too much awesome for this article to handle.