21 Movies Where the Villain Messed with the Wrong Person

John Wick (2014)

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In many movies, the bad guys start battles they can’t win. They go into the scenario with confidence and bravado but are humbled because they don’t realize who they are dealing with. Of course, sometimes the good-versus-evil turns into a long, drawn-out battle, or maybe it’s even between friends-turned-enemies who each know exactly how strong the other is. But what’ often more exciting is when the villain thinks they’ve won and then the protagonist comes back against all the odds.

Well, we’ve scoured the internet for the best movies with overconfident villains and surprisingly strong and vengeful protagonists. Get ready for some stories of sweet revenge!

1. Home Alone (1990)

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Home Alone epitomizes the bad guys not knowing who they’re dealing with and getting their comeuppance. Of course, nobody expects a kid to have the courage or genius to defend his whole home against invaders, over Christmas of all times. But that’s exactly what makes Home Alone so fantastic.

The classic Christmas comedy, of course, stars Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, a boy forced to defend his suburban Chicago mansion from burglars after accidentally getting left behind when his family goes on their Christmas vacation to Paris.

2. I Spit on Your Grave (1978 & 2010)

Photo Credit: CineTel Films.

Some people have answered with the controversial revenge movie I Spit on Your Grave, initially released in 1978 before being remade in 2010. To be fair, this one is a pretty brutal movie to watch, but it fits the requirements exactly.

In the cases of both movies, a young female author rents an isolated property to write a book in peace. While there, she encounters a group of hostile locals who assault her and leave her for dead. However, she survives and hunts them down one at a time. It undoubtedly fits the criteria for this discussion.

3. You’re Next (2011)

Photo Credit: Lionsgate.

You’re Next is a slasher movie about an estranged family who comes under attack by a group of masked assailants during a family reunion.

In the film, one family member, a young girl called Erin, completely turns the tables on the attackers. She becomes brutal in her revenge and picks them off individually, ending them in some seriously bloody and nasty ways.

4. First Blood (1982)

Photo Credit: Orion Pictures.

First Blood is the first movie in the Rambo action franchise. It follows Sylvester Stallone as  Vietnam War veteran John Rambo, as he drifts from town to town. When he tries to enter one town, he gets tormented and jailed by a small-town sheriff and his corrupt police force, who don’t realize how tough Rambo is. Upon escaping, the cops go after Rambo, who puts his combat skills into action.

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5. Under Siege (1992)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Under Siege is an action thriller about mercenaries who commandeer the U.S. Navy battleship Missouri. They target the ship’s captain and naval crew but forget about certain loose ends, including Casey Rybeck, a chief petty officer assigned as a culinary specialist.

On the surface, he looks like a chef, but trying to take the former Navy SEAL on turns out to be a colossal error. We’ll be honest: Navy Seal-turned-cook taking on enemy forces after they completely overlook him sounds like a pretty great story.

6. Man on Fire (2004)

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Man on Fire is very similar to the movie Taken, but with just a few spins on it. Still; it fits the criteria perfectly.

It stars Denzel Washington as a former CIA operative and U.S. Marine Force Recon Captain turned bodyguard. When the girl he is protecting – a Mexico City automaker’s nine-year-old daughter – is kidnapped, he takes revenge by going on a brutal rampage. Of course, had they known who her bodyguard was, it’s safe to say they probably wouldn’t have taken her.

7. The Punisher (2004)

Photo Credit: Lionsgate.

The Punisher is based on the Marvel Comics character Frank Castle. In this movie, he’s played by Thomas Jane. Castle is an FBI agent who becomes a vigilante after a corrupt businessman slaughters his entire family due to his part in an undercover operation that was meant to be his final mission before retirement. The man who ordered Castle’s family to be killed could never have known how ruthless Castle could be when provoked.

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8. I Saw the Devil (2010)

Photo Credit: Magnolia Pictures.

I Saw the Devil is a prime example of a movie in which the villain doesn’t know who they’re messing with. The South Korean action thriller matches that description perfectly. Despite being a little bit lesser known, we’re confident it deserves its place on this thread.

The movie is about a woman getting brutally killed. She turns out to be the fiancée of a no-nonsense Nation Intelligence Service agent. When he finds out who the murderer is, he hunts him down and, ultimately, has him brutally murdered in front of his family in revenge.

9. Straw Dogs (2011)

Photo Credit: Screen Gems.

Someone has answered saying Straw Dogs.

The story is based on Gordon M. Williams’s 1969 novel, The Siege of Trencher’s Farm. It follows a young American and his English wife as they move to rural England and face increasingly vicious local harassment. The harassment unlocks territorial instinct in the couple, who fight back brutally.

10. Law Abiding Citizen (2009)

Photo Credit: Overture Films.

Law Abiding Citizen is one of our top answers. In the movie, a frustrated man decides to take justice into his own hands after a plea bargain frees one of his family’s killers. He brutally dismembers the murderer before finishing him off via decapitation.

It certainly fulfills the criteria asked for in this discussion, but the way the movie ends leaves a little bit of ambiguity; who is actually the villain in this situation?

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11. Furie (2019)

Photo Credit: Premiere Picture.

Furie is a Vietnamese film about a woman named Hai Phuong who took up with a mob and then, after her daughter was born, moved to a more rural area to lay low. But one day, her daughter Mai is kidnapped, and Hai Phuong’s experience with the mob becomes not only useful, but necessary. The kidnappers lead her on a long chase, with plenty of blood and bodily damage to both her and the henchmen who’ve taken her daughter.

12. Jaws (1975)

Jaws (1975)
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

The villain in Jaws is a shark, but it’s still a story of biting off more than you can chew, so to speak. But the old shark-hunter Quint is determined not to let the shark survive. He and two others from town set out after the shark, hoping to protect the locals and tourists from any further shark attacks. They make one failed attempt after another to destroy the shark, and anyone with less skill or determination would have given up. But somehow, these three get their revenge.

13. Wrath of Man (2021)

Photo Credit: MGM.

This film follows a man named Patrick Hill who had agreed to take a minor role in a robbery; watching the route of the truck that was to be robbed. He left his son, Dougie, in the car, but Dougie was spotted and brutally ended. Hill makes it his mission to find the men responsible for his son’s death and take them out. After his first attempt at this mission fails, he decides to join the security truck company that he’d initially helped to rob, in the hope that eventually he’d encounter that same group again.

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14. John Wick (2014)

Photo Credit: Summit Entertainment.

In the first John Wick movie, the son of a mob boss, Iosef, sees Wick’s car at a gas station and asks him to sell it. Wick refuses, and Iosef breaks into Wick’s home, steals his car and kills his dog, which was a gift from Wick’s late wife. Little does he know that John Wick is a retired hitman, and one of the best there is. Wick refuses any form of reconciliation and determines to take the life of Iosef in compensation.

15. Kiss of the Dragon (2001)

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Liu Juan, a Chinese intelligence agent, is sent to France to help run down a Chinese mob boss who’s been importing drugs. But his first contact is with a deceptive French policeman, Jean-Pierre Richard. After the mob boss is apprehended, Richard frames Juan for murder, and Juan is left both to prove his innocence and to prove the Richard is not who he seems. But Richard has henchmen, and Liu has only himself.

16. The Raid (2011)

Photo Credit: Pt. Merantau Films.

The Raid is unique in that it all takes place in a single place: an apartment building run by a crime lord. A young man named Rama has signed up for a police raid on the building at the urging of his father, with the goal of finding his estranged brother Andi. But their swat team encounters treachery and resistance on a level they had not expected. The henchmen fight back until the original S.W.A.T. team is reduced to just five, then four, then three officers. Rama is a rookie officer, but soon he’s one of the only men left standing, and the fate of the raid is up to him.

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17. The Parent Trap (1961)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

In the original movie The Parent Trap, twins Sharon and Susan are twins who were separated in their parents divorce, and are reunited at a summer camp. They hatch a plan to bring their parents back together, despite the parents wishes. One plan after another fails, but the girls are determined. They’ll try everything, from dressing alike and refusing to say which of them is which to pulling prank after prank on Vicky, who wants to marry their father. It’s fair to say their parents hardly stood a chance.

18. What Happened to Monday (2017)

Photo Credit: Vendome Pictures.

In a dystopian future, nobody is allowed to have more than one child. But one woman dies in childbirth with septuplets. Her father would rather stunt their lives than lose them altogether, so he names each of the seven girls after the days of the week, and each of them can only leave the house on her allotted day. But eventually, Monday disappears. The other sisters fight to find out what happened to her, and eventually they’re betrayed to the authorities. Although the authorities are numerous and brutal, there are seven sisters, and they’re determined not to let each other go without a fight.

19. The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)

Photo Credit: Touchstone Pictures.

In The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmond Dantes is sailing on a ship when his captain falls ill. Despite orders, Dantes lands on a nearby island and agrees to take a letter from Napoleon Bonaparte to a certain man in France in exchange for care for the captain. But that letter is the beginning of Dantes’ troubles. First the letter is taken, and then he is. After six years of wrongful imprisonment and a short stint on a pirate ship, Dantes lands and uncoverss the wealth on the Island Monte Cristo. And then he set out to avenge himself on everyone who betrayed him before.

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20. The Substitute (1996)

Photo Credit: Dinamo Entertainment.

Jonathan Shale is a war veteran whose girlfriend is attacked while she’s running, and ends up with a broken leg. Shale is suspicious of this “coincidence” and applies to the school as a substitute teacher, filling in for his girlfriend while she recovers. He uses his time there to spy on the gang Kings of Destruction, and impresses the students with his fighting skills. But the gang is suspicious of him as well, and each seems to be hunting the other down throughout the movie.

21. The Weekend Away (2022)

Photo Credit: Netflix.

Two friends, Beth and Kate, fly from the UK to Croatia for a weekend away. But soon, Kate goes missing. Beth talks to the police and to her husband, but nobody seems concerned that Kate has disappeared. Eventually, Beth finds an ally in the taxi driver who drove the two of them to the club the night Kate disappeared. Eventually Kate’s body is discovered, but there is still no clue who could be responsible. One dead end leads to another, and the whole time, Beth remains one of the primary suspects. Its up to her to track down the responsible person and hold them to account.

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