Call them pawns, minions, henchmen… they’re the guys who exist for the main characters to mop the floor with. I like it when henchmen show a little more ambition than just lining up to get punched. Sometimes minions can show us that our heroes are human; they can remind us that we are all extras in someone else’s life.

I saw a movie as a young kid — I don’t remember the name of the film or even who was in it. I think it was about a group of suburban dads who become mercenaries to rescue one of their kidnapped kids. Yeah. But there was one scene that burned into my young memory and made me think about how much henchmen can add to a story.

The scene: the mercenary/dads have surrounded a henchman and disarmed him. They can’t shoot him because that would alert the other henchmen so they decide to knock him out. Typical action movie tactic. One of the merc/dads hits the henchman on the head with the butt of a gun — but it doesn’t knock him out. The henchman doubles over, screaming in pain. The merc/dads stare at the screaming, hurt man, realizing (and young me does, too) that people don’t always fall down quiet.

I have no idea what happened next, but I’m pretty sure I remember the best part of that movie.