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Top 5 Bond Girls & Henchmen

Solitaire
My father may never forgive me for excluding Jane Seymour, so here's at least a picture of her
It's James Bond month here at emagill.com. If you haven't been following along, we've already covered the Top 10 James Bond Theme Songs and Top 5 Best & Worst James Bond Villains. Next week, with the release of Spectre on DVD and Blu-ray, we'll review every Bond movie, in order. This week, in the meantime, we're going to cover two subjects simultaneously: the women Bond has romanced, and the henchmen who have gotten in his way.

It's safe to say James Bond has always been a bit of a chauvanist, with varying degrees of outrageousness. Sean Connery's Bond isn't averse to slapping a girl around to get what he wants, whereas Roger Moore prefers to charm the pants off of them and Timothy Dalton actually takes the time to court them. One thing has remained constant, however: women swoon for Bond with very little effort, and Bond is constantly pumping them for information. While I could spend time talking about the worst Bond girls over the years--including the mentally vacant Stacey Sutton from A View to a Kill (who is young enough to be Roger Moore's granddaughter at the time), the ridiculous Christmas Jones from The World is Not Enough (who is supposed to be a wisened nuclear physicist despite being played by Denise Richards), and Séverine, the woman who was raised as a child sex slave and is essentially raped by Bond in Skyfall--I've decided to stay more positive this week and only spend time with the best Bond girls, the ones who form a genuine connection with Bond or who manage to be fully developed characters despite existing in a universe where they are eminently disposable.

I also want to spend some time with the henchmen Bond has faced over the years. While the over-the-top supervillains are all well and good, they are often overshadowed by their hired muscle. These are the viscious, brutal enemies Bond must confront throughout his adventures, the ones who put him to the test, physically, mentally, and/or emotionally. Unlike the Bond girls, there haven't been many bad henchmen--they're almost all awesome--but these are the five that stand out as the greatest in 007 history.


HENCHMEN
5. Xenia Onatopp
Goldeneye
Xenia Onatopp

The only female henchman on this list (though May Day and Fiona Volpe almost made the cut), Xenia is the Russian assassin hired by General Ourumov and Alec Trevelyan in Goldeneye. Her main method of killing involves squeezing men to death between her thighs, although she doesn't mind mowing people down with assault weapons either. In fact, she quite literally gets off on it. Played with glee by the incomparable Famke Janssen, Xenia enjoys suggestive puns, gambling, and violence, making her an excellent match for James Bond.


Wai Lin
BOND GIRLS
5. Wai Lin
Tomorrow Never Dies

Wai Lin is Bond's counterpart in China for Tomorrow Never Dies. She is strong--both mentally and physically--and manages to outsmart Bond on at least one occasion. Played by Chinese film star Michelle Yeoh, she has her own collection of Q-like toys, and her rapport with Bond never feels like a fawning girl overcome by a charming man. They genuinely feel like equals, and their interactions are a highlight of an otherwise schlocky movie.


HENCHMEN
4. Oddjob
Goldfinger
Oddjob

Possibly the most iconic henchman in the Bond pantheon, Oddjob is Auric Goldfinger's personal bodyguard and chauffer. He is stronger and more skillful in hand-to-hand combat than Bond, and uses his bowler hat as a deadly (albeit impractical) murder weapon. Oddjob is the mold from which nearly every other henchman is formed, and anyone who played as him in multiplayer Goldeneye 007 for the Nintendo 64 is a cheap rat bastard (myself included).


Octopussy
BOND GIRLS
4. Octavia Smythe
Octopussy

Next up is the titular Octopussy. She is a morally ambiguous character, a jewel smuggler whose father was exposed by James Bond many years earlier. Octopussy quickly switches from a secondary villain to an ally when the true depths of the villain's scheme is known to her. Played by Maud Adams in her second Bond girl role, she deserves her spot on this list because she makes sense, as a character. While not as old as Roger Moore, she still feels like a more seasoned and age-appropriate romance, and her past connection to him gives their relationship a human dimension all too often missing from Bond's other exploits. Also, she owns an island of hot female assassins, which is incredible. Her name, though, is utterly ridiculous.


HENCHMEN
3. Mr. Hinx
Spectre
Mr. Hinx

The newest henchman is also one of the best. Mr. Hinx, played by Dave Bautista in Spectre, is a brutal, intelligent, and seemingly immortal baddie who goes up against Bond several times. He has metal fingernails on his thumbs which he can use to kill, though he doesn't rely on them too much, instead preferring to beat his victims with sheer force, run them down in high-speed car chases, or shoot them with his signature double-barreled handgun. Mr. Hinx is essentially an amalgamation of many great henchmen that have preceded him--he is mostly silent, physically superior to Bond, etc.--but in the Bond universe, that's more a good thing than a bad.


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-e. magill 2/3/2016

MORE JAMES BOND MONTH COVERAGE:

Top 10 James Bond Theme Songs
Top 5 Best & Worst James Bond Villains
The James Bond Reviews











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