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5 Ways The Hateful Eight Is Kurt Russell's Best Western (& 5 Why It's Bone Tomahawk)

Coincidentally, 2015 gave audiences two westerns starring Kurt Russell as lawmen caught in the middle of extreme violence. Quentin Tarantino told a mystery centered on a bunch of sadistic villains trapped in a haberdashery. The low-budget Bone Tomahawk, from director S. Craig Zahler, made a tense film about four honorable men's journey to save two townsfolk from a clan of cannibal troglodytes.

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These two pictures may draw inspiration from violent b-movies and grindhouse films, they don't have much in common despite the lead actor. Critics and audiences responded well to both of these stylish modern westerns.

10 Bone Tomahawk - The Delivery Of His Dialogue

Zahler's directorial debut had a sharp script filled with idiosyncratic dialogue and characters, and as the lead, Kurt Russell's character, Sherrif Hunt, had some of the most memorable lines and scenes. Whether talking about daily life with his backup deputy or trying to comfort someone being tortured to death, Russell delivers the lines with absolute sincerity and with an idiosyncratic flare.

Perhaps the best line from Sherrif Hunt is when the local barkeep urgently visits him in the morning, to which Hunt says, "Why are you in my breakfast?"

9 The Hateful Eight - He Has Better Written Dialogue

By the nature of The Hateful Eight's story, the film hinges around Tarantino's signature dialogue. Despite the similar setting, the dialogue is so stylistically different in each film that both deserve to be recognized. Tarantino's dialogue here is filled with anger and sadism, unlike the genuine kindness of much of the dialogue in Bone Tomahawk.

As the bounty hunter John 'The Hangman' Ruth attempts to transport his prisoner to a hanging, he is fond of warning others not to get in his way or face deadly consequences. Ruth's cruelty can be felt throughout with lines like, "When I elbow you real hard in the face, that means shut up."

8 Bone Tomahawk - Noble Hero

While The Hateful Eight doesn't have any good guys, Bone Tomahawk took inspiration from classic westerns and gives the audience a Sheriff who is the embodiment of good. When Hunt learns of the dangers posed by the captors to the town doctor and deputy, he immediately states that only he and her husband have to go, establishing his instincts to protect as many people as possible.

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Even after he and the backup deputy are captured and unable to break free from a cage, he begins telling everyone what they want to hear to make them as comfortable as possible. He is good-hearted to his final, wheezing, breath.

7 The Hateful Eight - Despicable Villain

As good as Kurt Russell's character in Bone Tomahawk is, John Ruth is all the more evil and vicious. Throughout the film, he brutalizes his prisoner physically and verbally and can be considered a lackluster part of The Hateful Eight.

Ruth is also extremely distrustful of everyone, even Major Warren who he knows from his past, and forcefully disarms a room full of strangers who are seemingly innocent and trapped by a blizzard. Russell's deep voice and large fur coat give him an intimidating presence and the feeling of an apex predator.

6 Bone Tomahawk - Death & Violence

Tarantino is a filmmaker known for his unique brand of cinematic violence, and its use in The Hateful Eight is more effective than Django Unchained, but Zahler's film's unique depiction of violence is something audiences hadn't seen before.

Bone Tomahawk took an ultra-realistic approach to the violent aspects of the film, the sound effects resembled the inside of a butcher shop and blood doesn't gush by the gallons. Kurt Russell meets a grim end in both films, but the meticulous way the troglodytes torture Hunt is gut-wrenching and makes a bigger impact on the viewers.

5 The Hateful Eight - His Costume

Sheriff Hunt is a classic western sheriff and that is exactly what his costume looks like. While it's a good costume it lacks the personality of John Ruth's. The fur cap, as opposed to a cowboy hat, and large buffalo fur coat gives him the look of a mountain man living in the wild. The coat also never leaves his back, giving him a much more commanding screen presence.

The outfit is also practical to the environment, but so are other character's costumes like Major Warren's but with their own distinct look and personality, and Ruth tends to stand out and it helps make for one of Kurt Russell's highest-rated movies.

4 Bone Tomahawk - Friendship With His Partner

John Ruth is initially suspicious of Major Warren but soon they begin working together for their respective benefits. However, their relationship isn't strong and there is little history there, so there's not much reason for them to be friends after the Lincoln letter is proven fake.

From the beginning, in Bone Tomahawk Sheriff Hunt and Chicory, the backup deputy, have a strong friendship that only grows as the story progresses. Chicory is old and tends to lose his train of thought, in their introductory scene Hunt patiently attempts to keep Chicory's important story on track while they eat some corn chowder.

3 The Hateful Eight - Exchanges With Other Antagonists

Bone Tomahawk pits gunfighters against cave-dwellers who've been practicing incest for generations, so they are very intimidating but receive little screentime and have minimum interaction with Hunt. On the other hand, The Hateful Eight spends much of the movie having John Ruth interrogate each of the possible antagonists.

The time given to Ruth's suspicion of each character, and their responses, fleshes out each character and gives the audience suspicions of their own, but Ruth stands out among the most hateful of The Hateful Eight.

2 Bone Tomahawk - Character Background

The Hateful Eight gives the viewers a good impression of who John Ruth is, but he's not given much background to show why he is who he is. Bone Tomahawk allowed Kurt Russell to play a much more fleshed-out and detailed character.

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Audiences get to see Sheriff Hunt and his wife preparing breakfast, the downtime spent in his office when there's nothing to do, dealing with a potentially dangerous man, and rounding up a posse. This gives viewers a fairly complete picture of his daily life before they set out to save the captives.

1 The Hateful Eight - His Iconic Beard

A similarity that can't be ignored is Kurt Russell's large and distinct beard in each, which are somewhat similar in appearance. In Bone Tomahawk, Russell's beard looks normal at times but does sport a large mustache with long hair on the cheeks.

In The Hateful Eight, he wears a well-kept beard that has a much longer mustache and cheek hair but is trimmed low on the chin and it's much better on film. It is big and distinct, just like his character, and has a screen presence all on its own.

NEXT: 10 Best Spaghetti Westerns For Quentin Tarantino Fans (That Aren't Sergio Leone Movies)

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