Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is an English actor who rose to fame in the 1990s for his role as Simon on the hit HBO prison series Oz. This kick-started his career as an actor as he was quickly snatched from Oz to work on The Mummy Returns. It wasn’t long before Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s talent spoke for itself, landing him a variety of roles in both film and television with great names like Will Smith.
Akinnuoye-Agbaje has a long list of performances under his belt ranging from a horrifying henchman in The Mummy Returns to his appearance as Killer Croc in Suicide Squadto his role as Dave Duerson in the NFL biopic drama Concussion. Akinnuoye-Agbaje has managed to snag many roles that display his versatility as an actor. These are the best Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s performances ranked.
9 Game of Thrones
While this character is not present in the books, he makes a nice appearance in the HBO adaptation of Game of Thrones. Akinnuoye-Agbaje plays the character Malko, a slave trader who captures Jorah Mormont and Tyrion Lannister. While Malko has plans for Jorah and Tyrion, they manage to convince him out of his plans and to take them to Mereen after they tell him that Jorah has slayed Qotho, a Dothraki bloodrider. Malko is not a strong character, as he is an amalgamation of many characters seen throughout the book, but Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s performance stands out regardless as he fearlessly handles the men and intimidates them without difficulty.
8 The Mummy Returns
Cast as the fearful, tough henchman Lock-Nah, Akinnuoye-Agbaje shines in this role in The Mummy Returns, the sequel to the original film The Mummy starring Brendan Fraser. His horrifying demeanor and his seeming invincibility make him feared by both the character and the audience. While this may have been Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s first major film role, it’s not his best. That said, his performance deserves a spot on this list as without Akinnuoye-Agjabe’s merciless performance, Lock-Nah would have been a stagnant character that escapes memory. Instead, Lock-Nah comes to life and strikes fear into all who cross him.
7 The Bourne Identity
Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s performance as Nykwanna Wombosi, the main antagonist in The Bourne Identity, is noteworthy. The deposed Nigerian dictator was meant to be assassinated by Bourne, but when he saw Wombosi with his children, Bourne had a strike of conscience and was unable to carry out his mission. This led to Bourne being shot and losing his memory, kick-starting the Bourne franchise. Wombosi also threatened to expose the CIA unless they restore his power. Truly devious, Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s portrayal as Wombosi is wonderfully villainous as the dictator still manipulates the system to get what he wants by any means necessary.
6 Thor: The Dark World
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was given the marvelous opportunity to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe and boy did he seize it. He was given the role of Kurse in Thor: The Dark World. Once a leader of the Dark Elves, Kurse, also known as Algrim the Strong, sacrificed his own life, so he could be transformed into the last of the Kursed to get revenge on Asgard. While much of his performance was enhanced by CGI, it is still controlled by Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s body motions and any dialogue spoken uses his voice. The beast seemingly fatally wounds Loki, but Loki fights back by blowing the beast up. The fight scene with Kurse is arguably one of the best in the movie, and we have Akinnuoye-Agbaje to thank for that.
5 Suicide Squad
While Suicide Squad had its downfalls, Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Killer Croc was not one of them. Killer Croc is a meta human born with a genetic mutation that gave him reptilian skin which is part of where he earned his name. He was gathered to be a part of Task Force X or the Suicide Squad. This rather mysterious character is introduced to the audience doing pushups in an underground cell which he revealed he asked to be placed in. The Killer Croc may look horrifying on the outside, but he has emotions just like every other human does and though he may not look human, he actually is. That said, he did not make an appearance in the 2021 reboot.
Portraying Dave Duerson in the NFL biopic Concussion alongside Will Smith, Agbaje takes on the role of the NFL executive who fights against Dr. Omalu’s efforts to expose the effects of concussions caused by trauma from gameplay. The film is based on the true story of the NFL’s attempts to keep Omalu’s findings surrounding chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) brain degeneration that many professional football players experience from repeated head trauma. While the film was praised for shedding light on the seriousness of head trauma, the family of Duerson disagreed with the way his character was portrayed in the film.
Starring as the main character Simon in this long-running series, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje shines his brightest in this prison series set in the Oswald State Correctional Facility, a fictional level 4, maximum security prison colloquially referred to as “Oz”. This Nigerian inmate has a dark sense of humour with no remorse for anything he’s ever done. From rape to murder to controlling the drug trade, it seems Simon enjoys his life of crime, both in and out of prison. Akinnuoye-Agbaje found his calling on Oz which landed him the role of Lock-Nah in The Mummy Returns which eventually led to Simon being killed off the show so that Akinnuoye-Agbaje could pursue other possibilities for his career.
2 Get Rich or Die Tryin’
Making another return to the screen as the antagonistic drug dealer turned kingpin “Majestic”, Akinnuoye-Agbaje shines in Get Rich or Die Tryin' alongside 50 Cent. From the cruel torture and murder of Odell for so-called “betrayal” that he set up to managing to imprison kingpin Levar to take his place as drug lord, Majestic is probably one of Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s best and most underrated performances. He’s an intelligent, conniving man who only wants one thing: power. Akinnuoye-Agbaje does a phenomenal job getting Majestic’s horrific acts across with a great deal of authenticity, a silent threat throughout the entirety of the film who only shows his face to his victims when the time is right, he is the worst kind of villain.
Probably one of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s most known roles is as Mr. Eko on Lost. Introduced in the second season as one of the survivors of the plane crash, Mr. Eko is revealed to have been the leader of a gang of guerillas when he still lived in Nigeria to save his brother. After this, he was ostracized and left Nigeria to become a priest in Australia, the flight to Australia being the one that crashed. As the creators of the show were huge fans of Akinnuoye-Agbaje's work on Oz, the actor had a great deal of influence over his character, being allowed to make adjustments to the story and background as he saw fit. Akinnuoye-Agbaje eventually moved on from this show a lot sooner than the creators would have liked, so they decided to give him an emotional death as a kind farewell, which was not the original plan.