Villains in action/adventure films aren’t usually known for their brains. Sure, lots of them are “evil geniuses” but they lack common sense. I mean, how many times have villains from Dr. No to Lex Luthor trapped the hero in something “they’ll never get out of” and then, as Dr. Evil pointed out years later, left the room assuming everything will go to plan? It never does go to plan and the hero gets out in time to foil the nefarious plot, using the detailed information they have thanks to the monologue the villain delivered.
There is one villain, though, that is stupid beyond any of these: Rene Belloq.
For those of you not familiar with the name, Rene Belloq is Indiana Jones’ rival in Raiders of the Lost Ark. You know, the one always bragging “we see again that there is nothing you can possess that I cannot take away.”
What is it that makes him number one with a bullet? Let’s see: he believes the Ark is a radio for speaking with God, teams up with the Nazis to get it, commits every sort of evil along the way, and then has the temerity to be surprised when God blows his head up. Usually, when God shows up to take care of the bad guys, He catches them unaware. This guy went up and knocked on His door.
Indy may have a “devil-may-care” attitude about finding the Ark, but he’s an atheist and doesn’t think anything supernatural is going to happen. Belloq 100% believes in the power of the Ark. He thinks it’s brimming with the power of the Old Testament God. That’s right, the Old Testament God: Yahweh, Jehovah, El, the Alpha and the Omega, and so forth. This is the God that laid waste to cities, rained sulphur from the sky, and ordered genocide. Why did He do those things? To protect His people, the Jews. You know, Belloq, the people who your partners are trying to wipe off the face of the Earth? Don’t you think He’d be a little mad at you?
But no, there he is performing a Jewish ceremony to summon the power of God. Even the wormy, rapid mouth-breathing SS guy is uncomfortable with this and he wasn’t taking it all that seriously. Right up until he started screaming and his face melted off anyway.
Did Belloq think God would be impressed with his coolness or that he spoke Hovitos? We’ll never know because before he could make a comment like, “I guess I should’ve seen this coming,” his brains exploded, were swept up in a fire storm and taken off to who knows where. I’m guessing Hell. Nice work, Einstein.