So Death Stranding came out last week. It’s many things to many people, and opinions, much like the journey Sam takes, are all over the map. What cannot be argued, however (besides the fact that the umbrella is stupid) is that our humble protagonist is quite good at his job, no matter how daunting or thankless it may be.
But the mind stirs.
Who else in Norman Reedus’ sizeable backlog of performances would make for an effective deliveryman? It’s a question that needed to be asked, even if it probably didn’t need to be answered. We have painstakingly ranked them for your enjoyment, bewilderment, or abject disgust.
WARNING: This article will probably contain spoilers for twenty-year-old Norman Reedus movies. If you’re not ready for that, please avert your eyes and enjoy your upcoming millennium party.
15. Silent Hills Guy (Silent Hills)
Just evoking the name of Silent Hills is bound to open some wounds, because the horrifying P.T. resonated with gamers unlike any demo that came before it, and possibly any demo that will ever come again.
Looking back at the unnamed, unknown hero, however, it’s easy to see that he deserves to rank dead last on this list. He was famous for walking in an eternal loop, getting murdered by a vicious ghost, and leering at bloody foetuses in bathroom sinks. Ask yourself, if someone presented this to you on a resume, would you hire them?
The answer is no. He’s going nowhere fast, and your Google reviews are going to be overwhelmingly negative, with titles like “frightening and incomplete” or “lost my package, died sometimes”.
14. Nate Parks (Charmed)
Through eight seasons, Charmed assembled quite the list of star-studded cameos. Billy Zane featured as a former demon, John Cho appeared as a wistful specter, and Booker T and Scott Steiner dazzled as evil professional wrestlers condemned to the depths of hell.
What kind of fantastical mythical beast would our boy Norman Reedus become, then?
Umm, he’s… just a jerk. A philanderer who owns a piano bar. That’s it, really. The only magic he has is that unmistakable Norman Reedus charm (and no that wasn’t intended to be a pun, unless you were especially fond of it).
He doesn’t show any particularly noteworthy skills that would lead us to believe him a competent deliveryman, unless it was an unexplored character arc that I wasn’t aware of.
13. Young Man (Dark Harbor)
Oh no you don’t, sexy Norman Reedus! Your lithe frame and come hither stare might be enough to seduce Alan Rickman, but you won’t pull the wool over our eyes.
If you’ve never seen Dark Harbor, that statement may seem a little strange — and honestly, if you have seen Dark Harbor, that statement is still strange — but rest assured, we have more than spoiled the plot for you.
Basically, this guy is all about deception, lust, and psychedelic mushrooms, and only one of those things would make him suitable for a job as a deliveryman.
12. Van (Floating)
In Floating, a babyfaced Norman Reedus has suffered a traumatic upbringing in which an accident crippled his father, who has become an abusive alcoholic. In turn, he lashes out at the world, bitter with his lot in life and angry that he has had to bear this burden mostly by himself. He also gets up to a bit of burglary and other such mischief.
Clearly, Van has a lot going on, and the idea of asking him to then go out and deliver packages seems like a fool’s errand. He’s more likely to fling it back in our faces, accusing us of being ‘just like everyone else’ before jumping into a lake and swimming off his rage.
That last part is a bit of creative license, but I’m under the impression that there’s lots of swimming in this movie.
11. Wild Pete (Turbo FAST)
In a world populated by racing snails with lightning speed, Norman Reedus portrays a villainous cricket outlaw.
There’s not much else to be said about Wild Pete, and to be quite honest there’s no reason to believe that any delivery would be safe within his care. If anything, he’s exactly the kind of roguish fiend we would explicitly try to keep our cargo away from.
But that first sentence is the greatest thing I have ever written, and for that reason, he demands inclusion in this list. Yee-haw!
10. Patient (Violently Happy)
Well, the poor fellow in this bizarre Bjork music video is at something of a disadvantage. He’s confined to a mental asylum, and might have a bit of trouble making his delivery rounds effectively. Fortunately, this institute appears to have very loose security in place, as all of the patients are inexplicably wielding scissors.
There’s not really much else to go on when analysing this Norman Reedus’ job prospects, though it must be said that he appears to have done a good job with applying his eyeliner, and that’s no small feat. Bonus points for that!
On an unrelated note, the guy who spins around while shaving his head is unfathomably attractive. He can deliver his package any day.
9. Murphy MacManus (The Boondock Saints)
When Murphy and his brother Connor kill a pair of mobsters in self-defense, they make the bold decision that they must rid Boston of crime. An admirable goal, no doubt, but when one considers that the population of Boston in 1999 was more than 555,000, it seems apparent that they were not thinking longterm.
To be an efficient deliveryman in post-apocalyptic America, you must have focus and, preferably, a magical baby strapped to your person. Could Murphy really dedicate himself to his job, or will he just abandon his post for the next epiphany that crosses his mind?
Unreliable is not a word present in the deliveryman’s dictionary, nor are temperamental, impulsive or rash. Incidentally, the deliveryman’s dictionary is probably not a very useful tool for improving your English skills, what with all of the missing adjectives.
8. Harry (Six Ways to Sunday)
This is a tricky one to rank. Though Harry begins his tale as a teenage shut-in with an overbearing mother, by film’s end, he’s an effective hitman. Sure, that kind of speedy progression shows that he’s a quick learner, and could probably handle any BT that comes his way.
Unfortunately, he also kills his employer when all is said and done, and that’s a definite red flag for me. I would prefer if Harry got more job experience under his belt before applying for a role with Bridges, and showed that he is capable of not murdering bosses. Once he gets the ratio down to, ideally, one out of twenty bosses killed, we’ll talk.
7. Scud (Blade II)
Scud certainly isn’t Norman Reedus’ most glamorous performance to date, coming across as more of a bottom feeding lowlife than the kind of surly ass kickers he’s better known for playing. He could reasonably be renamed Scum or Scuzz, if you were so inclined and wanted to get your unnecessary wordplay in for the day.
However, Scud has a very particular talent that makes him indispensable: he’s a tech whiz that can whip up all kinds of nifty gadgets and gizmos. In case you hadn’t cottoned on, there’s a lot of value in technical prowess in the world of Death Stranding. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that one of Scud’s devastating weapons could make the difference between a successful delivery and grim death.
…Please disregard the fact that Scud has already died a grim death. All he has to do is locate his body and he’s good to go another few rounds. That’s Kojima logic for you!
6. Russell Welch (Triple 9)
When considering something as significant and official as a ranking of Norman Reedus deliverymen, having prior success as a deliveryman of sorts is a definite asset. And though Triple 9’s Russell Welch is not quite the second coming of Postman Pat (Norman Reedus as Postman Pat being something that I would very much like to see), he does indeed deliver something.
In this case, it’s a safe deposit box containing important information, which he acquires violently. Things turn a bit south for poor old Russell afterwards, but we shan’t deny him of his victories. He gets a gold star, and a lot of bandaids.
Also, it has quickly become apparent that Norman Reedus’ career has found him mostly playing criminals. Should Norman Reedus ever appear at your front door, you probably shouldn’t let him in. At least hide the nice silverware.
5. Rolo (Voltron: Legendary Defender)
If the tenuous game of delivery is won by combining quick thinking with even quicker reflexes, Rolo is a definite contender for the top spot on this list. He’s basically purple Norman Reedus, which can only otherwise be achieved when Norman Reedus holds his breath for an excessively long period of time.
This hardy bounty hunter has seen and done it all and has the battle scars to prove it, having lost his left leg when he was being held as a prisoner. Considering how much wear and tear Sam’s feet take as he travels across the mountainous expanses of Death Stranding, Rolo’s cybernetic transplant would be a definite boon here.
Admittedly, there’s equally as great a chance that he’ll just swipe the loot and sell it for a profit. But that’s the risk you take when working with a mercenary, I guess.
4. Max (The Limit)
In this VR experience, you star as a rogue agent with a shady past and an inconvenient bout of amnesia. You’re accompanied on your mission by a super soldier and Max, an advanced cyborg capable of literally snatching bullets from the air.
It’s 20 minutes of heart-pounding, pulse-stopping, buzzword-buzzword action, and quite frankly, Max’s bevy of skills should really have earned him top honors on this list.
The only reason he doesn’t receive such distinction is because robots are already taking over enough jobs in America, and it’s time for us to take a stand. A Death Standing? …No, scratch that, it totally didn’t land.
3. Daryl Dixon (The Walking Dead)
It was fairly academic that Daryl Dixon would appear near the top of this thrilling list. He’s by far Norman Reedus’ most iconic character, and because of his enduring lastability in an otherwise lethal environment, we’ve got a decade of material to base this opinion off.
When we first meet Daryl, he’s a hotheaded redneck with a penchant for going off the deep end. He mellows out as time goes on, showing himself to be a steadfast ally in the war against the titular dead of the walking variety. Armed with a crossbow, a badass chopper and a dog named Dog, there’s few others we’d rather entrust our cargo with.
He’ll make sure you receive exactly what you’re after… unless it’s a lost child. His batting average on that one ain’t great.
2. Every other role not listed
Look, I like Norman Reedus, but I’m not watching 75 different Norman Reedus performances for the sake of this list. I’m just not.
If you feel besmirched that your preferred Norman Reedus did not feature, you can take comfort in the knowledge that he at least ranks highly when you combine all of the other roles together. Sure, some may prove more effective than others, but if we’re talking sheer numbers here, this many Norman Reeduses (Reedi?) would undoubtedly make for quite the delivery team.
He’s an enterprising fellow, and it seems he has monopolized the post-apocalyptic job market in his multiplicity. Great job, Norman Reedus, Inc.!
1. Sextools Delivery Boy (Luster)
This unlikely hero has staved off some fierce competition to claim victory. Norman Reedus has portrayed hardened assassins, daring heroes and a villainous cricket outlaw — because you knew I’d circle back to that one eventually — but never was he cast in a role quite as suitable for a deliveryman than the time he literally played a deliveryman.
In what is probably the most indie of his considerable catalogue of indie films, Norman Reedus briefly appears as the Sextools Delivery Boy. He ends up delivering more than advertised in what is surely a violation of ethical standards, but dammit, he certainly delivers it with aplomb.
Could he stave off certain death and disaster in the unforgiving landscape of Death Stranding? Perhaps if he’s armed with the Sextools that he so effectively delivered here, he’s got a sporting chance. At the very least, he has the relevant job experience that all other Norman Reedus characters lack.