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The Unfettered / Film

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Animated

  • Megamind: Unlike Metro Man, Titan/Tighten has absolutely zero qualms against trying to kill Megamind outright. It's only the first sign of the monster Megamind has created.
  • Frozen: Prince Hans of the Southern Isles turns out to be an evil, manipulative and remorseless fiend who shows no moral qualms regarding his goal to become king of Arendelle, even if he has to resort to murder.
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  • Coco: Ernesto de la Cruz will resort to murder if it means being able to seize his moment.

Live-Action

  • In Fight Club, Tyler Durden (and eventually the narrator) count.
  • The Operative from Serenity.
    • Interestingly played in that Mal defeats the Operative by fettering him: showing the man the recording from Miranda broke his conviction and put him up against a moral objection he couldn't overcome.
  • Colonel Walter E. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now. He gives a monologue to Captain Williard as to why he admires the Vietnamese enemy. He speaks of how when he was with the US Special Forces he went on numerous humanitarian aid missions to foster good will towards the common people of Vietnam. When things changed for him was when during one of these aid missions the enemy came into the village after they left and massacred everyone, especially disturbing was that they mutilated the arms of the children and threw them into a pile as a trophy mocking the Americans. At first Kurtz was traumatized but given time to think about it he marveled at the genius of tactics like that, the enemy was going to win the war not because they had a superior military but because they were willing to do whatever it took to win. If America had that much dedication he said as few as 10 divisions could win the war.
  • Qui-Gon Jinn is the Old Master kind of unfettered: 'I do what I must.' Without remorse, without regret.
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    • Not coincidentally, many Star Wars fans consider Qui-Gon to be a good movie example of a Gray Jedi—that is to say, a Force-user that doesn't necessarily believe in the Light/Dark duality of the Force. The fact that he serves the Jedi as opposed to the Sith is inconsequential.
    • Palpatine.
    • The Sith are always The Unfettered, to contrast the Jedi being The Fettered.
      Peace is a Lie, there is only Passion.
      Through Passion, I gain Strength.
      Through Strength, I gain Power.
      Through Power, I gain Victory.
      Through Victory, My Chains are Broken.
      The Force shall free me.
      The Code of the Sith
  • Clyde Shelton in Law Abiding Citizen. After his family is murdered and the D.A. cuts an insanely inadequate deal with the culprit, he becomes singularly focused on the goal of not only getting justice, but bringing down the broken, flawed, and corrupt justice system that he believes failed his family.
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  • A heroic example is Neo from The Matrix series. In becoming The One, Neo was, effectively, Choice Incarnate, able to do what he wanted in the Matrix. Being the One and being Neo were different things, however. While the Architect was able to limit the choices of his predecessors, it was Neo's specific love for Trinity that allowed him to Take a Third Option throughout the series and not constrain himself fully to what the Matrix, its machine denizens, or even the humans of Zion wanted or expected him to do—even at the risk of genocide of the human race if he were to fail.
  • Denzel Washington in Man on Fire. To save one young girl and get revenge for her kidnapping, he kills dozens of people. He gives no regard to his own life or that of anyone around him. He tortures and kills anyone who has a connection to the kidnapping and kills anyone who gets in the way, at one point blowing up a whole building— possibly with many innocents inside— without any remorse. Finally, he sacrifices himself in a trade for the girl. Admittedly, he was already suicidal, but he used his suicidal feelings to strip himself of all remaining inhibitions.
  • In No Country for Old Men we have Anton Chigurh, a ruthless and nearly emotionless Psycho for Hire, with a set of rules that only he understands.
    Anton Chigurh: (About to kill a fellow hit man) Let me ask you something. If the rule you followed, brought you to this, of what use was the rule?
  • In Taken we have the father (who happens to be a Combat Pragmatist) to boot) who will go to any length, including torture and shooting his friend's wife, in a frighteningly unhesitating fashion, to get his daughter back.
  • Collateral gives us Vincent, the hired killer who's as charming as he is terrifying.
  • "H," an interrogator who specializes in Cold-Blooded Torture, in Unthinkable. After he is set to work on a terrorist who claims to have planted nuclear bombs in several American cities, he at several points tells his handlers that it is important that his subject believe that he "has no limits." As it turns out, he really doesn't.
  • Standard in revenge films: Death Wish, Mad Max, Rolling Thunder, High Plains Drifter, Orca: The Killer Whale (that's right, to us it's a Jaws ripoff, but the Orca thinks he's in Irréversible, and his rampage is justified), I Spit on Your Grave, etc. etc., all feature a protagonist who is singlemindedly bent on revenge to the exclusion of all else. And that "revenge" can be assumed to mean "death", which may be disproportionate to the original offense, Massacre At Central High being a notable example. Presumably, they bother to eat because they need to so they can gain revenge, but a character on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge will not often be seen doing any basic daily maintenance activities, much less enjoying themselves at anything. Unless it's a Jess Franco film, in which case Rule of Sexy applies, and may even play into the revenge.
  • Colonel Jessep from A Few Good Men. Don't believe it? Just listen to his speech and see for yourself.
  • Mattie Ross in both versions of True Grit, but played harder in the new adaption. Offputting because she's just a teenage girl, but she is utterly obsessed with killing Tom Chaney.
  • The antagonist Kurt Hendricks from Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol is willing to go to any lengths to ignite a global nuclear war for the sake of "peace." This includes destroying the Kremlin in Russia to make off with the nuclear launch codes and putting the blame on the IMF, kidnapping the family of a nuclear code expert so he would cooperate with their schemes before dying when he was no longer useful, and even jumping out of the top floor of a vehicle assembly factory and mortally wounding himself to keep the launch control device from Hunt's hands.
  • Talia al Ghul from The Dark Knight Rises. Kill innocent people, die herself, construct a years-long deception and alternate identity to infiltrate Gotham's elite, seduce the man who killed her father, allow her closest friend and protector to die... nothing is beyond her if it means Gotham is ashes in the end.
    • To say nothing of The Joker.
      Joker: You have all these rules, and you think they'll save you. [...] The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules.
  • Sentinel Prime in Transformers: Dark of the Moon is revealed to be one of these. Over the course of the film and the events preceding it, he betrays the Autobots who trusted and followed him, makes a pact with Megatron, brutally murders Ironhide, attempts to enslave the human race, murders countless innocent people, and nearly kills Optimus, to whom he had been a mentor and father figure. All of which proves that there was no depth that Sentinel was unwilling to sink to for the sake of restoring Cybertron and returning to a time where he was revered as a god.
  • Robert Angier in The Prestige will do anything to destroy Alfred Borden and expose the secret for his "Transported Man" trick, from shooting Borden's fingers off, to throwing his fortune at lightning experiments, to framing Borden for murder. At first, it seems to be retribution for Borden accidentally killing Angier's wife, but it eventually goes way beyond that:
    Olivia (his mistress): It won't bring your wife back.
    Angier: I don't care about my wife. I care about his secret.
  • In The Hustler, Eddie wants to beat Minnesota Fats at pool and be recognized as the best player ever. But the only way he can do that is to become The Unfettered, no matter what he has to sacrifice along the way.
  • In The Wolverine, none of Shingen’s evil acts really faze him. Not once does he take a step back and think that maybe, just maybe, trying to murder your daughter is a bit evil.
  • The Jungle Book (2016): Shere Khan. The reason everyone fears him is not just his vast power, but his perfect willingness to violate the jungle law when it suits him.
  • Pick any villain in the James Bond franchise. Many of them are first-rate sociopathic Diabolical Masterminds and/or Corrupt Corporate Executives, and they're determined to achieve their Evil Plan by any means necessary, be it murder, kidnapping, or in more extreme Omnicidal Maniac cases like Ernst Blofeld, Karl Stromberg, or Hugo Drax, hold the entire world at gunpoint. To them, the ends justify the means in succeeding at their goals, and they'll do anything and everything to get the job done, even if it's underhanded.
  • The One: The former interdimensional law enforcer Gabriel Yulaw has devoted himself to becoming the One by killing all alternate versions of himself and gaining power through their energies. He isn't bothered by the fact that there's more than one hundred of them, what kind of collateral damage he causes (like fighting and killing his former friend Roedecker), or that it's not even sure if he actually becomes the most powerful being in existence or causes the entire multiverse's destruction if he kills Gabe, the last version of himself. He's that single-minded in his goal. Once he's imprisoned in a Prison Dimension, he merely decides to become the one most powerful fighter around. His fighting style (Xing Yi Quan) even reflects this trope; he prefers attacking with straightforward punches even when there's plenty of room around. This proves to be his undoing against the Baguazhang style his Good Counterpart Gabe utilizes.
    Yulaw: The shortest distance between two points will always be a straight line.
  • Interstellar: NASA deliberately seeks out people like this for the mission; people with no connection to Earth or a willingness to make any sacrifice if it means getting the job done. This backfires horribly with Dr. Mann, as it turns out that the reason he's unfettered is because he has no priority higher than keeping himself alive. He proceeds to jeopardize the whole mission by falsifying data and betraying the Endurance crew in a desperate attempt to save his own skin after the planet he was supposed to explore turned out to be inhospitable.
  • Thanos turns out to be this in Avengers: Infinity War. Following the loss of all life on his homeworld due to overpopulation, he becomes capable of doing anything, no matter how monstrous, to prevent other worlds from suffering a similar fate. His pursuit of the Infinity Stones is entirely because being able to do so everywhere at once with the snap of a finger is far more efficient than having to go from world to world. He eventually murders his daughter Gamora to acquire the Soul Stone.
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