What does a good hitman requires ? Is that sophistication, or just a pathological passion for killing results in pure thirst for blood ? In order to figure this out, today we pick two of the cinema's most iconic incarnations of mafia hitmen :
Leon Montana, the best of the professional, a killing machine and anti-hero who challenged both the police department and the drug industry in New York City.
Anton Chigurh, a man-hunter who spares no mercy upon any living things and sociopath who determines matters of death within the toss of a tiny coin.
When these two killers clash, who will survive and who will be doomed ?
Leon Montana was a mafia hitman who for local mobs in Little Italy in New York . Before the incident of the movie, Leon had already been killing for decades and he was praised by his boss for his elite skills in assassinating and money escorting.
During the movie, Leon witnessed his neighbor, who was an amateur drug dealer, be executed by a corrupted DEA agent. The neighbor's daughter Mathilda, who happened to be not present at the scene during her family execution, turned to Leon for protection and help. At first Leon wasn't up for the idea. However, after spending days with Mathilda, Leon found himself taking responsibility in the fate of the girl, who must be protected and needed proper love and guidance . In this way, Leon began to take the girl as his own daughter and taught her a lot of skills as well as providing her with love and care. Strong friendship was developed between him and the girl.
Later in the film, the girl was captured by the corrupted DEA agent. This led to a total conflict between Leon and the police under the DEA agent's command. During the battle, Leon managed to fight off squads of SWAT teams and regular police forces as well as a few gangs of drug dealers. In the end, Leon set off a grenade which blasted off both himself and the DEA agent after making sure the girl had gone to somewhere safe, leaving piles of dead bodies .
Now let's see what he brings :
- Pistol : Beretta 92 F. Leon's personal favorite hand gun, with the muzzle velocity of 1250 ft/s and 10-round box magazine. Semi-automatic. Effective range 50m.
- Sub machine gun : Spectre M4. 850 r/min. Effective range 150m. With 30-round-box magazine standard.
- Long range weapon : Modified SGW Multimatch AR-15 Sniper Rifle. With 20-round-box. Effective range 225-250 m.
Anton Chigurh is a hitman notorious because of his lack of mercy and acknowledgement of human emotion. He enjoys unconventional weapons like a Captive bolt pistol, a tool used stun animals prior to slaughter, and a sound-suppressed shotgun. During the early 1980s, Chigurh was hired to extract a satchel of drugs, but discovered the drugs were already taken by a hunter named Llewelyn Moss. Desiring money, the hitman tracks down the hunter, but Moss does not go down without a fight. Moss, who is also being chased by Mexican gangsters, leads Chigurh into a trap filled with angry, drug-desiring Mexicans. However, his mastery in killing allows him to tear apart the Mexican gangsters and eventually a bounty hunter.
The most fearsome feature of Anton Chigurh is probably his attitude towards his hitman jobs and killing people. Unlike psychopaths in other films who were shown to take pleasure in killing, Anton showed no human emotion towards those stuff. For him, killing is his task and part of his life. For him, what he's done or will do are all tasks that require being accomplished with efficiency and accuracy, which cannot be disturbed by intervention of other forces except his own death.
In the movie, he mainly focused on playing a game of cat and mouse with Moss who took the money from his employer, while still managed to kill off a few policemen, a few hotel rooms of Mexican drug dealers and thugs, a few unrelated people and burst into his own employer's headquarter and shot his employer on his way to the money. In the end, he turned out to be the winner of the whole game, leaving loads of dead bodies and mysteries for the police to figure out.
Now let's see what he has got :
- Pistol : Glock 19. Muzzle Velocity 1230 ft/s. 19 rounds magazine. Semi-Automatic.Effective range 50m.
- Sub machine gun : Tec-9. 1000 r/min. Effective range 50-100m. 50-round-box magazine.
- Long range weapon : Remington 11-87 Semi Automatic Shotgun. ( Notice : It's suppressed ! ) 7+1-round internal tube magazine with additional device used in possible sniper battles. Moderate effective range ( variants for different users).
- Experience: Leon. Though Anton must have been doing his dirty jobs for a couple of years, he's still far younger than Leon, who has already gained a reputation among mafias in New York City and shared long-term partnership with local crime boss Tony.
- Intelligence: Anton. Though Leon is certainly not stupid and has been shown to kill off a large groups of armed bodyguards by following carefully-constructed plans and routes, Anton is simply far cunning, there was a particular scene in No Country For Old Men, where Anton realized a group of armed Mexican thugs had entered Moss's motel room in search for the money, instead of going straight into the room and start shooting, Anton booked another room nearby whose layouts were revealed to be exactly the same as that of Moss's. In this way, Anton managed to observe the layouts of Moss's room without even getting into it, allowing him to spot every possible hiding place and sniping place inside the room , and take down those thugs with ease.
- Physicality: Leon. Though Anton is certainly not an easy foe to hamper and once strangled a police officer to death with simple handcuff, Leon is simply the more active guy. In the movie, Leon was shown to maintain certain skills of an action movie star : He jumped up and down rooves, hanging himself up and down ceilings, taking down SWAT officers with bare hands....etc.
- Creativity: Anton. This one is a no-brainer. Leon mainly relies on firearms and fists, while Anton is not only a master of improvise, but also a trickster. In the film, he blew off a car with improvised gas bomb in order to distract people in a pharmacy, so that he could sneak in and steal some stuff.
- Stealth : Leon. Though Anton is a master of sudden attack and can appoarch his opponents without making large noises, Leon is simply better here due to the fact that he has taken well-trained police force and SWAT teams by surprise while Anton only fooled a few thugs and a reckless hunter.
- Marksmanship: Anton. Leon is also a good marksman with sniper rifle and pistols, but Anton can do the same with only a shotgun.
Part I : The Bubonic Plague
Unspecifed Motel, El Paso, Texas
' Ring, ring, ring....' Went the noise as Carson Wells entered the large motel and tapped his finger over the bell, awaking the lady behind the counter.
" You want a room ?" Said the lady in a lazy tone. Apparently she had not yet recovered from her day dream.
" No, thank you. I'm here for a person. A middle-aged man carrying a large suitcase......" Hardly did Carson finish the question when the lady interrupted him .
" Loads of middle-aged men pass by here everyday, and most of them have large suitcases up to their asses. You don't just come in here and ask for a man with such vague description like that. " Went the lady, with impatience.
" Let me finish this. Not only did this man carry a large suitcase, but also he kept a dumb thing that looks like a fire extinguisher at hands. He also has an unique hair style that looks like a mushroom. " Continued Carson.
The lady frowned. She immediately realized whom Carson had been describing. Anyway, how could she forget such a figure ? Two nights ago, the exact man packed with a suitcase and a fire extinguisher arrived at the motel and rent a room. Since then he only came down few times to pay for the rent and purchase for a few sandwiches served during lunch. For the rest of the time, she hadn't caught any sight of him.
She assumed he'd locked himself up inside all day . For days had she been wondering why the man acted in such a strange manner, maybe he'd been hiding from someone ? Or maybe he's just a random passer-by who preferred solitude and tranquility rather than socialization ? These thoughts had been running wild, but she dared not to ask the man in person because she feared the man. The menacing way the man walked, the way the man stared at her like an eagle staring at the prey, the way the man talked...... All things related to the man seemed to be filled with dreadfulness.
" You've been pausing for a while. So I can tell that you must have encountered him. And I believe the man might have been staying at this place for a while. " Carson dragged the lady back to reality and threw out a question that she feared to answer for reasons she could not yet figure out.
"Yes......but......" Went the lady, only to be cut off by a bleak voice from the stair.
" Hello. Carson. Seen your car pulled over at the gate. " A sudden voice intervened.
The man mentioned above stepped downstairs and managed to beamed out a grin which was also as bleak as his voice.
" Chigurh. Nice to see you here. " Carson smiled back.
" What brought you here, my frien-do ?" Spoke the man in a weird accent. Though the man was still smiling, the lady could tell a sense of contempt from the smirk lurking around his face.
"Just another job for you. And we'd better settle things upstairs in your room. " Suggested Carson with his voice quivering a little bit.
The two man went up. Back in the room, Carson stood with his back against the slammed-shut door while Chigurh took out the Remington from his sack and held him towards Carson's chest.
" Easy, friend. I'm bringing some good news for you. There's a job for you in New York City. The man a Norman Seinfield or Stansfield guy is groping around the nation for a man like you to kill a local Italian mobster, and he's willing to pay extremely high prices for a man that can get the job done perfectly. Now he's asking you to answer for the job. If you agree, I'll be able to find ways to get us out of Texas and to the Big Apple. " Whispered Carson in a low tone.
" Good, I will accept the offer. We'll discuss the details of this job after we are out of the town. " Said Chigurh. At this moment, all he cared was to get out of the this city where he'd been wanted by the local police. He smirked again, with a bleaker facial expression.
A few minutes later, the two went out of the motel together after paying the bill. Watching their departure, the lady took a deep breath. Her face was as pale as that of a woman who had just recovered from a plague.
She recallled some pictures from history books in her senior high eras that described bizarre scenes during bubonic plague. Those plague doctors dressed in raven costumes. The bleak nature of that man named Chigurh reminded her of those doctors, and she's horrified to find out that the man was in fact more compelling and darker than those so-called doctors.
"Wow, he's really a living incarnation of girm reaper. I hope I'll never meet him again in the rest of my life." The lady sighed , and went back into her routined day-dreaming......
Part II : The Best of the Professional
Tony's pub, Little Italy, New York City
"Frankly speaking, I really wish I had never seen you again since that. " Sighed Tony as he fulfilled another glass of beer,"You know, if Stansfield were to realize that you're still alive, you would be in deeper troubles."
"Stansfield......That son of a bitch." Thought Leon as he remembered how he escaped the SWAT raid and faked his death by blowing up Stansfield in a corridor where others thought he'd been inside. However, a few months later, it was revealed that the bomb didn't kill Stansfield who was presently suffering from paralyze and the loss of his right arm.
"Stansfield is on me now, Leon. At first he tried to buy me into his business, but I respectfully refused him. From then on, thugs have been turning up at my spots and making mess. I know it must have been Stansfield who sent those thugs. So if one of them turned up here and somehow recognize you, then you'll be doomed as hell, my friend. " Went Tony.
"I'm sure that all the people that know me as a mob hitman are all dead now with you and Stansfield as exceptions. As for Stansfield, the possibility for him to show up here and pick me out is zero, because you know that he's in that kind of state....." Explained Leon with a grave expression on his face.
Tony made a reluctant smile, and stared into Leon's sunglasses as if to spot the position of a coin down an old well as dry as Leon's eyes hidden behind. "A man in that kind of state still runs his drug empire. Hell, I don't know how he manages to do that, but the man he sent here to buy me revealed that his mind was still clear. He might even be watching us from the window over there." Tony pointed out of the window.
Leon turned around, still carrying his grave expression. "If Mathilda knows I'm here, then she'll be as mad as you." Muttered Leon in a low voice as he held out a slight smile. "Tony, you've been my friend for years. So it will be necessary for me to keep guard for you when you're in danger."
"What do you mean ? I'm in danger ?It's ridiculous. Though I'm old, I can still cope with those thugs." In shock scolded Tony.
"Tony. I have reasons to believe that Stansfield now wants your life. He's seeking for assassins from other parts of the country, for he knows that you have gained a good reputation around New York and Buffalo that keeps local assassins here free from killing you due to respect. A week ago, I got this piece of information cut from one of his men while he was drunk in Pub Naples a few blocks away from here. "
"I know that man. His name is Mason and he drinks at Pub Naples every Friday and Sunday. Leon, I never trust words from such a man."
"Words didn't come out of his mouth, but of his backpack. " Leon tossed a piece of paper over the counter.
"What's the hell is this ？"
A list of names and notes read the paper, with the name " Tony Falcone" circled with a red cross over it. A line pointed out of the name and to the other edge, with the names of assassins from other parts of the country written.
"I know some of these , they're all assassins from other states. For example, this George Madsen is a hitman that has just been released by the state prison of Iowa. I read it on the newspaper a few days ago. Also, this Sill.E.Wilf, he's also an assassin from Maine. I got to know his reputation while I was hiding in Maine the two weeks after that clash with NYPD. And there're names like Maxy Wade, Anton Chigurh and Jonanthan Sears. I know none of them, but I'm sure that they're all assassins ."
"Hell......" Murmured Tony. "And you're here to stop them from killing me ? What on earth makes you think that you can fit in here and take down all those assassins ?" In surprise and doubtness, Tony threw out strings of questions.
"Because you're my old friend and I'm the best of the professional." Said Leon, followed by a vague smile. Tony laughed out loud, but in a friendly way.
Part III : Entering the Big Apple
Somewhere in New Jersey
John was on his way home when a stranger stood beside the country path caught his attention.
The path was clear as usual, with only his car roaring down. On both sides of it lined up oak trees sheltering the road and broken fences, where normally nobody can be found. However, on this particular Monday night, a man dressed in dark black jacket with a package behind fixed himself next to a tree.
"Weird." Thought John. As he drove closer, he noticed that the man was holding a peculiar device in hand. "Why is he holding a gas bottle ? Oh wait, there're tubes plugging into that stuff. Maybe it's a breathing device of sort? Then he must be one of those asthma patients." John's wandering thoughts were interrupted when the stranger waved to him as if he wanted John to stop.
"What's the hell ?" Said John, " Oh I see, he might want a lift."
John pulled over beside the man. "Are you okay ?" Asked John, with the belief that the man had just been through an asthma attack.
"Oh, I'm fine. But could you do me a favor ?" The man forced himself into smile, " I need you to step out of your car, just for a little while, sir, I'm sure it won't take long."
"Alright." John edged out of his car and walked up. "How can I help you ?"
"Stay still. " The man suddenly took out the head of the tube connected to the gas bottle and making a quick approach to John's forehead, pressed the tiny strip right into John's brain.
Hardly had John realized what was going on when his mind went blank and sank into unconsciousness.
A thin line of blood popped out of the hole on John's head. Chigurh gently placed his body under the shadow of the tree with his gloves on. Before he took John's car, he looked down to his shoes to check if any blood drops had been splattered over it.
A few minutes later, Chigurh found himself out of the Lincoln Tunnel. The New York City was bright and shinny as usual, with the skyline made up with building tops , neon lights and lightning conductors. However, not too much of a surprise, Chigurh's expression was still cold and bleak, which was fairly opposed to the background. He fixed his eyes on the map guiding to Tony's pub as he tapped his fingers over the Remington hidden inside the pack.
"Hope this will be a quick job." He thought.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the city , a disfigured ex-DEA agent was also bathed in bleak emotion. "Boss, the man you hired has arrived and he's on his way to that pub." Said a thug.
"Fine. Now please turn on the radio for me and play Beethoven." Ordered Stansfield.
"Ode to joy as usual ?"
"No. The Scherzo instead, let's leave that one for the celebration after the old man is dead." Went Stansfield.
Little Italy was not yet ready to embrace a blood rain.
Part IV : A duel to death
Back at the Pub......
Leon retreated himself to a corner table where he prepared to polish his pistol when the door knob of the bar was blown airbourne and sent into the shelf, crashing a bottle of champagne into fractures.
A shotgun poked its nose into the pub and pumped a confused Tony right in the neck. Tony's body was hurled over the shelf, which broke apart immediately.
Tony struggled his dying body on the floor , kicking over a chair as he gushed out streams of bloods from both the mouth and the wound on his neck. The floor was soon covered with a mixure of bloods, beers and sweats.
Leon, though furious and shocked, chose to remain silent behind the table he'd been hiding so that he could gain access to get a better look at this assassin.
Anton stepped into the pub, still armed with his shotgun and pack. Staring down at Tony's dead body, Anton drew out a photo from his pocket to double check if he'd killed the right target.
With the job done, Anton was about to head for the door when he noticed something out of ordinary : The table.
A normal pub never has its table turned over for no obvious reasons, and the man he killed couldn't have kicked over that table, because it was obviously out of his reach....And another thing out of the ordinary : Does a man usually place two glasses of beer on the counter when there's only himself around ?
Someone must have been hidding behind that table.
Anton held up his shotgun in a second, but Leon was faster. The Beretta 92 rolled out three rounds, all of which missed slightly and hit the counter because Leon had got no time to take aim.
Immediately sheltering himself behind the counter, Anton picked out his Glock from the pack and fired back from the edge. The bullet noise fulfilled the pub where tranquility existed a few minutes ago. Both men tensioned up their mind in every way possible. Leon's face was covered with rage and the sheer pain of losing another old friend in a blink, while Anton's expression was cold as usual, but with the addition of a little bit of a frown.
The shootout was a massacre for plates and pots laid around the tables and chairs. As bullets rushed by, broken pieces of china and segments of utensils were stirred up into the air.
As soon as the ammos ran out, Leon discarded the pistol by throwing it towards Anton's position. The pistol flew over the counter and landed right on the shoulder of Anton, causing him to cease fire and moaned in pain. This presented Leon with a chance to escape upstair and grab backups.
Recovered from the pain, Anton grabbed up his shotgun and followed. He staggered his way across the room , trying to avoid stepping on any broken glass or blood drops. Finally he reachedthe stair ， above which laid a dark corridor filled with sinister and unknown. Anton decided to shoot first for insurance, so he took aim at the darkness and pressed a shot.
All in a sudden, the lights were on, revealing Leon armed with his Spectre M4.
"Shit." Thought Anton as he dodged clumsily. However, the shot he fired earlier hit Leon right on the edge of the thigh, causing the professional to roar in the same fashion of his weapon. However, the wound, which only hurt some flesh, was not yet a deadly one.
Bullets mist enhanced by the scream riddled the walls with holes as well as hurt Anton near the ankle. However the wound was slight and not fatal enough to stop Anton from watching the scene while hiding beside.
"That man must be a bear." Murmured the psychopath.
The rain vanished in a while. Chigurh, now highly concentrated on the floor up, made another shot with his shotgun, in an attempt to test if the man had ran out of bullets. To his surprise, there was no response.
What Chigurh didn't realize was the fact that both of them were in doubt and suspicion at this very moment.
The professional, now with a broken leg, was busy dragging himself into a room where his other weapons were kept. As he struggled into the room, his mind was blown with thoughts like this :" What is the man down there doing ? He should come up here and kill me now, why isn't he making any moves ? What is he up to ?"
As for the psychopath, though still cold and bleak on the face, his mind had been mixed into a whirlpool by the sub machine gun. " What else has he got up there ? Another sub machine gun? Or even a shotgun like mine. Why the hell isn't he responding ? Maybe he's trying to fool me into going up , only to find myself in the range of an Uzi or else."
Both men sighed......Residents of the Little Italy had been woken from slumber by the noises coming out of the pub. Some of them leaned out of the window, swearing in English with heavy accents while some others rushed to their telephones to dial the police...
Part V : What's the most you ever lost on a coin toss ?
Leon, who had crawled near the closet, reached out his hands for a case. In haste, the professional opened it and groped for a rifle.
"The rifle isn't suitable for this, but it's the only hope I have now." Leon aimed the weapon to the door, waiting for a suspicious Anton to show up.
Meanwhile, the psycho downstairs finally took courage to approach the stair. Not too much of a surprise, the floor up there was empty, with blood strains left on the mat, leading to a room.
Chigurh took of his shoes, carefully placing them aside without making any noises. Then he went up, so did his Remington.
On getting closer to the room, he paused and began to flash back.
This situation shared great similarity with another job he did nearly a decade ago, which featured a vet that had been trapped in a hotel room by him in similar fashion. At first he confirmed his victory before bursting into the room, only to be shot in the leg by a modified shotgun held by the vet, who'd been staring at the door with nerves on for hours.
Thought he also managed to hurt the vet, that shot nearly crippled him, and he fled the scene barely due to it was midnight and no one else took notice of their activities. Now he could still remember the name of that vet : Moss, Llewelyn Moss.
But there was a huge gap between that motel and here : He only brought a shotgun in that hunt, however, today he was packed with one more firearm that could deal with this situation, and that's certainly not referring to the captive bolt pistol.
A devastated Leon was greeted with a string of bullets coming out of a Tec-9. They bursted through the wall and scanned nearly every inch of the room with holes and fractures. Leon had a closet to block for him, so he took chance edginsg into the bathroom.
Seconds later, Chigurh bumped into the messy room . The floor was covered with pieces of broken furniture and glass, while the window slammed shut.
"There's only one option left for him now. " Thought the psycho as he pointed his Remington towards the bathroom.
The shotgun thrust into the bathroom, only to get hacked by a fire axe that used to be placed near the tub.
The hack was powerful enough to shake Chigurh so hard that he dropped his shotgun on the ground.
Leon roared out of the room like a bear, swinging the axe into the air menacingly and left the psycho defending himself by randomly picking up wooden fractures to block the attack.
It's now a game between a bear and a psycho. The bear chased the psycho around he room.
It seemed that Leon had got the upper hand before they reached the window, where Chigurh dodged another attack and Leon hacked right into the window, tearing it into pieces. Chigurh took this missed strike as an opportunity to reverse.
He immediately reached for Leon's wound on the leg. He poked a wooden poll into it, making Leon to drop the axe and let out a loud roar.
As soon as Leon became defenseless , Chigurh bashed his head with a broken drawer. Again and again, Leon's roar got weaker and weaker, while Anton's face turned more and more twisted.
Finally, Leon was on the verge of a coma when Chigurh suddenly stopped the beating and beamed out a bleak smile.
"You can see the coin ? " Chigurh took out a 50 cents coin from his pocket and tossed it?
Leon nodded in confuse , tiredness and anger.
"Then call it. Quick. "
"What kind of person are you ? You insane..."
"Just call it. It will make our deal easier."
"What deal ?"
"Just call it."
"No. Just kill me."
"Then I'll assume that you've called the head. And you are wrong."
Chigurh went back and grabbed up his shotgun, blasting Leon's face into a gory pond. The smiling face of Mathilda was the last thing flashed past Leon's mind.
Little Italy had already been blocked by N.Y.P.D. A swat team was sent to the pub, astonished at the mess down stairs , they marched up , expecting to witness loads of deadbodies, only to see a Psycho standing in the middle of a room as mess as downstairs, holding his shotgun towards the corpse of a bear.
"Jesus, such a mess was made by only two men ?" Said a random police officer.
Bathed in the sound of Symphony No.9 , Stansfield whistled cheerfully.
"That man did the job quite well, right ?" Asked a subordinate.
" Yes, and he also help me demolish another man on my vendetta list. Now it's time for the girl." A wicked smile emerged from his ugly distorted face......
Though Leon is a far more experienced killer with compelling size, Chigurh's superior calmness and cunning tricks made up for his lack in experience and physicality. Meanwhile, Anton's weapons that are more suitable for the atmosphere outclassed Leon in almost every category. In this way, a psychopath managed to defeat a bear.