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Well would you look at that... It's a Mexican standoff! Only we ain't got no Mexicans.
~ Nathan Van Cleef
How the hell did that happen?
~ Van Cleef's last words as he was shot.

Marshal Nathan Van Cleef is the secondary antagonist in the 2000 film Shanghai Noon.

He was portrayed by Xander Berkeley, who also played Stuart St. John in Taken, and Gregory from AMC's The Walking Dead.

Biography

Van Cleef is a corrupt marshal in league with the traitorous Lo Fong, the film's main antagonist. When Chon Wang and Roy O'Bannen arrive in Carson City to rescue Princess Pei-Pei (who had been kidnapped by Lo Fong), they discover that they are wanted by the cruel marshal of the town, Nathan Van Cleef. They both hide inside a tavern and Van Cleef yells out to them to come outside and surrender. Roy eventually faces Van Cleef and they engage in a Mexican standoff, but Wang hurls a throwing star into the marshal's hand before escaping with Roy.

Later on, Van Cleef and his posse find Wang and Roy and they take him to Lo Fong. Following the confrontation, Van Cleef has them both sentenced to hang in the town square, but they again manage to escape with the aid of Wang's horse.

Van Cleef appears again when Lo Fong is making an exchange with the Chinese imperial guards in a church. He aims two pistols at Wang and Roy and a gunfight ensues, with Roy unsuccessfully trying to shoot at Van Cleef from behind a pillar. As Wang is dealing with Lo Fong in the church's bell tower, Roy and Van Cleef agree to step out from behind the pillars on the count of three. Van Cleef fires several shots but is unable to hit Roy, and Roy, having only one bullet left, dives through the air and fires back. Van Cleef stares in shock as he realizes the bullet has penetrated his marshal's badge, muttering to himself "How the hell did that happen?" before collapsing to the floor.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Van Cleef's name is a homage to the late Western actor Lee Van Cleef, who played Angel Eyes in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

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