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15 Action Movie Heroes With Ridiculously High Kill Counts

October 25, 202311 Mins Read


  • Some action movie heroes have shockingly high kill counts, often exceeding hundreds of deaths by the final installment of a franchise.
  • Franchises that have been going on for several years tend to have the highest kill counts, as the need to outdo previous movies drives the violence forward.
  • While guns are often the weapon of choice for high kill counts, some characters rely on swords and martial arts skills to achieve their impressive numbers. Highly skilled teams of elite killers can also contribute to the highest kill counts.

Some action movies want to achieve hyper-realism with their characters, but there are some in which ultra-violence and sensational storylines generate action movie heroes with ridiculously high kill counts and the most kills in a movie. Even some movies that begin with just one death like Rambo eventually end up with burgeoning massacres that feature deaths in the hundreds by their final installment. The ’80s might have been the heyday for action movie heroes with larger-than-life figures dealing with higher-than-average stakes, but even today, there are movies that pay homage to their memory while integrating the latest in visual effects and camera techniques, like the John Wick franchise.

Most of the biggest action movie heroes with these sorts of kill counts have to be part of franchises that have been going for several years, where the need to outdo the excitement of their last movie drives the violence forward, much like horror slasher villains with high kill counts. While some kill counts are easily accomplished with a lot of firepower, some of the highest kill counts come from characters without the use of guns at all, relying instead on swords and martial arts prowess. And where one action movie hero is good, a team of them is better, with the highest kill counts attributed to highly skilled teams of elite killers pooling their resources.


10 Best Action Movies Of All Time, Ranked

With massive hits like Inception, Terminator 2, and The Matrix, the most influential action movies of all time are absolutely mindblowing.

15 John McClane (Die Hard Franchise) – 73

Bruce Willis starred as John McClane in five Die Hard movies, and what started out as a man trapped in a building with terrorists went big by the end and the kill count jumped. However, despite the more open world of killing, for McClaine, the most kills in a movie came in the second movie, with 24 confirmed kills. That was because of that last action scene in the movie where he blew up the 747 the mercenaries were using to escape, killing nine mercenaries in that explosion. Breaking it down, he killed 10 bad guys in the first movie, 13 in the third, 13 in the fourth, and then finished off with 13 kills in the fifth, remaining pretty consistent along the way.

14 The Sisterhood Of Assassins (Gunpowder Milkshake) – 85

Gunpowder Milkshake was a gun Netflix action movie with Karen Gillan starring as Sam, the daughter of a former assassin who has been working as an assassin for the company Firm since her mother’s disappearance. However, when Sam kills the son of a rival gangster, The Firm puts out a hit on her, and she ends up going to her mother’s former associates for help. These five women, known as the Sisterhood of Assassins, blaze through some intrinsically set action scenes and, in one movie, they kill 85 people – all mostly armed men looking for a big payday. The last kill scene before the Gunpowder Milkshake ending made for a perfect finale

13 John Matrix (Commando) – 87

In this ’80s classic, Arnold Schwarzenegger is a retired Special Forces soldier who learns that men from his unit are getting picked off one by one, but instead of going after Matrix, they take his daughter Jenny, forcing him to bring the fight to the dictator who’s holding her hostage unless Matrix agrees to reinstate his regime. Matrix doesn’t negotiate with terrorists, so he decides to lock and load against the rogue leader and all of his goons, successfully killing 87 of them. Made at a time when Arnie and Sylvester Stallone were trying to trump each other’s kill counts, this is one of the Austrian Oak’s most kills in a movie.

12 El Mariachi (El Mariachi Trilogy) – 93

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In 1992, Robert Rodriguez made his name with the independent movie El Mariachi, an action flick about a mariachi singer who accidentally ended up with a guitar case full of guns, and he ended up fighting for his life when the owners wanted them back. That first movie had Carlos Gallardo as the mariachi, with only seven kills. However, everything got bigger in the sequels. Megastar Antonio Banderas took over the role and the most kills in a movie were 49 in Desperado and 37 in Once Upon a Time in Mexico. As an added bonus, Gallardo returned to a different role in Desperado and got three more kills, but not as the mariachi.

11 John Preston (Equilibrium) – 118

While The Matrix and its sequels were busy defining action movies in the early 2000s, Equilibrium was overlooked, even though it features the same level of jaw-dropping action and world-building. Christian Bale stars as John Preston, a Clerick (a high-ranking government agent) trained to eliminate anyone who enjoys something that would elicit emotions; books, art, and music. While this method has kept the world of the future free of war and turmoil, it’s also made everything pretty lifeless, and when Preston stops taking his emotion-hindering supplement, he decides to overthrow the regime he swore to uphold by mowing through 118 agents just like him.

10 Mr. Smith (Shoot ‘Em Up) – 141

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In this blazing blockbuster, Clive Owen stars as the enigmatic Mr. Smith, a gunman who inadvertently saves a newborn from an assassination attempt and then teams up with a sex worker named DQ to protect the baby from future harm. Pursued by an errant hitman and running out of options, Smith must blow his way to safety, uncovering a sinister baby bone marrow-harvesting plot along the way. Mr. Smith racks up an impressive 141 kills, easily among the most kills in a movie, while delivering some particularly scathing one-liners, but credit must be given for using one of his ubiquitous carrots as a projectile at one point.

9 Col. James Braddock (Missing In Action Trilogy) – 146

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Chuck Norris is a bonafide action hero, and he has been since he first started working with Bruce Lee many years ago. While he is almost an Internet meme more than anything now, he is one of the true legitimate tough guys in movies, and he took on similar roles time and time again. The biggest franchise under Norris’s name was the Missing in Action trilogy, and in this, he was mostly a Rambo knockoff. However, he was the deadliest Rambo knockoff other than that action hero himself. Through his three movies, Col. James Braddock killed 146 people, with the most kills in a movie being 70 in the first release alone.


10 Action Movie Threequels Better Than The Original

The third movie is usually the worst, but some action movie threequels are even better than the first one, like Logan, Goldfinger, and Thor: Ragnarok.

8 Blade (The Blade Trilogy) – 172

Most current Marvel movies don’t have the heroes kill many people. These are superheroes and the purpose here is to save people, not to slaughter them mercilessly. The Marvel movies made by companies other than Disney had a different outlook on things. One of these was the Blade movie series, with Wesley Snipes starring as the superhuman vampire hunter. While his kill count was not quite as high as The Punisher, Blade still killed 172 total vampires over his three movies. What is interesting is that he only killed 30 vampires in the third movie, so the most kills in a movie came in the first two. When Marvel reboots Blade, don’t expect such a high kill count.

7 Frank Castle (The Punisher Series) – 173

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Dolph Lungren first personified the ruthless Frank Castle, a.k.a The Punisher, back in 1989, and Thomas Jane took up the skull in 2005, with a final outing by Ray Stevenson in 2010. Each new Punisher movie has brought more devastating destruction than the last, and the former soldier turned vigilante after the massacre of his entire family has become known as one of the most violent of Marvel’s heroes. At this point, without even counting John Bernthal’s The Punisher and Daredevil series on Netflix, Frank Castle has dispatched an impressive 173 criminals using his arsenal.

6 Alice (Resident Evil Series) – 271

Milla Jovovich stars as Alice in the Resident Evil series, based on the survival horror video game of the same name. Initially, Alice wakes up in a mansion on the outskirts of Raccoon City without any knowledge of who she is, but as she makes her way further into The Hive beneath it, she learns the truth about Umbrella Corp and its experiments with the T-Virus, with which she’s been injected. Whereas the T-Virus gave Alice powers, everyone else in contact with it turns into flesh-eating monsters. For six films, Alice mows through zombie hordes as the T-Virus infects the world, and racks up a kill count of 271.

5 John Wick (John Wick Series) – 399

No one in the criminal underworld could have expected that after killing John Wick’s puppy, a gift from his late wife, the retired assassin would embark on a full-scale war against every crime family under the High Table. The John Wick action movies have steadily increased their kill counts over the years as the bounty on Wick’s head increased, with the first movie having a modest number in the seventies, and each sequel taking that number higher. The most recent entry, John Wick: Chapter 4, has the most with 140, placing his total kill count across all four films at 399.

4 John Rambo (First Blood Series) – 493

Aside from the Rocky franchise, which is also incredibly violent, Sylvester Stallone is known for playing John Rambo in the Rambo series, which begins with a Vietnam veteran being shaken down by local Washington cops and ends with him becoming the focus of a manhunt. In order to avoid jail time, the second movie sends him back to Vietnam to rescue prisoners of war and expunge his criminal record. The third movie takes him to Afghanistan to rescue his former commander, and the fourth and fifth movies involve Rambo’s quiet life being disrupted by another call to arms, the most kills in a movie in the franchise, with the final tally being 493.

3 Ogami Ittō (Lone Wolf & Cub Series) – 500+

The classic ’70s series Lone Wolf & Cub starring Tomisaburo Wakayama is notable not just for its kill count, but for the fact that since it takes place in feudal Japan, the high number doesn’t come from firearms, but swords. Based on a manga of the same name, it follows Ogami Ittō, the shōgun’s executioner, on a path of revenge after finding his wife brutally murdered. Together with his one-year-old son, he travels the countryside as a mercenary-for-hire, seeking revenge on the Yagyū clan for Azami’s death and their family’s disgrace, killing over 500 people over several films.

2 James Bond (James Bond Series) – 597

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Since Sean Connery first ordered a shaken martini in Dr. No until Daniel Craig’s most recent outing in No Time To Die, superspy James Bond has had six decades of dangerous missions where he’s had to kill for Queen and country. While the first movies in the ’60s and ’70s were relatively tame with kill counts in the dozens, once Pierce Brosnan took over in the ’90s, the deaths became more gratuitous and he had the most kills in a movie. Craig’s James Bond era was the bleakest, and his movies had the grittiest situations with the highest kill counts in the hundreds, bringing the sophisticated 007’s overall kill count to 597 (and counting).

1 The Expendables (The Expendables Series) – Estimated 1,374-2,000

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It would make sense that the highly skilled operatives in The Expendables film series, played by every famous action movie star of the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s, would rack up the most kills in a movie. Stallone wrote the concept as an homage to a dying genre in cinema and to many of his action-hero friends, who he wouldn’t have shared the screen with back in their heydays. As the team of mercenaries works together to complete their missions they use every weapon, martial art move, and vehicle at their disposal to arrive at an estimated 1,374 kills over four films, though it could even be closer to 2,000.

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