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Film / Johnny Handsome

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Johnny Handsome is a 1989 crime thriller directed by Walter Hill and starring Mickey Rourke, Morgan Freeman, Ellen Barkin, Elizabeth McGovern, Forest Whitaker and Lance Henriksen.

Rourke portrays John Sedley AKA Johnny Handsome, a deformed man and a robber/planner who ends up in jail after being betrayed by two thieves who took part in the robbery that also saw his friend getting killed. Shortly after, he gets a facial reconstruction surgery that turns him into a normal-looking man with a new identity and a start in a new life. But John has one thing on his mind: revenge on the thieves who wronged him.


This film has examples of:

  • Accent Relapse: After John is found out by Rafe and Sunny, the two criminals whom he's getting revenge upon, John relapses back to talking with a lisp that he had when he still sported a cleft on his upper lip.
  • Anti-Hero: John Sedley was a criminal mastermind who help planned a robbery to help out his friend and vowed vengeance once Rafe and Sunny killed his friend and left him for dead. He even treats Donna well and makes an effort to live an honest life while trying to get his revenge.
  • Best Served Cold: As John adjusts to his new identity, he plans his vengeance.
  • Break Her Heart to Save Her: John does this with his love interest Donna McCarty so she doesn't get roped into his revenge scheme. She does anyway, but John manages to save her.
  • Deep South: The film takes place in New Orleans.
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  • Downer Ending: John gets his revenge on Rafe and Sunny, but gets himself killed in the process. As bad as that ending was, it could've been worse, as even if he had survived, he would have still been sent back to jail by Drones, so either way, he would fail to live his new life.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While Sunny is willing to ditch Rafe should she find a better opportunity like she tried to do with John post-surgery, Rafe does at least seem willing to stick with her as he feels there's still a connection, though that doesn't stop him from pulling a gun on her when he thinks she's betrayed him.
  • Faking the Dead: John Sedley's "death" was reported in the paper as he starts to live under his new identity.
  • The Grotesque: John, before his surgery.
  • Hate Sink: Rafe Garrett and Sunny Boyd are a pair of robbers (whom had a former relationship) who aid John Sedley and his friends in a robbery. But then they end up killing his friends and leaving John for dead while taking the goods for themselves. And before then, they making insulting comments about John's deformities. And they're also insulting towards each other. Later on, after John resurfaces under a new identity after reconstructive surgery, planning revenge and earns their trust by staging a robbery. They go through with it, with Sunny trying to ditch Rafe for Johnny, but he told them he would meet them later on at the cemetery. And before the meeting, Rafe and Sunny go to John's place and discover the truth about him and kidnap his Love Interest and when they finally do meet, Rafe taunts him about who he really was and takes sadistic glee cutting and punching John's face.
  • Inspector Javert: Lt. A.Z. Drones is this for John.
  • Jerkass Both Rafe Garrett and Sunnny Boyd. Their murderous and traitorous tendencies aside, they are not very pleasant people to be around, even flinging insults at each other.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Lt. Drones is on John's case, confident he would fall back to his old life style despite others having faith in him. While he does, it's not because of him resorting back to old evil ways but just to get his revenge.
  • Kick the Dog: Rafe slicing John's face up with his knife to show how he really was.
  • Kids Are Cruel: In one of their therapy sessions, John recounts to Dr. Fisher a story about his childhood: on Halloween, little John wore a costume of a jack o'lantern before another boy removed the pumpkin head and teased him in front of the other kids about not needing a costume. The others ended up laughing and John proceeded to beating him up.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: Rafe and Sunny, to the point where trust between the two of them remain suspect.
  • Film Noir: With an 80's touch. There's a neon-lit criminal underworld, double crossings, a determined cop with a fadora, and a doomed romance between the main character and his innocent sweetheart.
  • Two First Names: For John Sedley's new identity, John Mitchell.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Subverted with Rafe and Sunny. While the two of them are often together, they are not a couple. They used to be, but things didn't work out.


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