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Why A-Train From The Boys Looks So Familiar

There's a lot to say about The Boys, a superhero story like no other. Marvel and DC may dominate the big and small screens thanks to the popularity of their flagship characters and the sheer ambition of their respective cinematic universes, but The Boys sets out to tell a different, some would say more "realistic" tale of capes and cowls, one stained by greed, arrogance, and unfiltered violence. Bottom line, you'll never see a kid running around with a cape tied on shouting, "Mom, look! I'm Homelander!"

That the heroes and those who oppose them are so unnervingly portrayed is due in no small part to the actors and actresses behind them. There are a few instantly recognizable faces, like Karl Urban and Elisabeth Shue, and a few others that might take you a second, like Jessie Usher.

Usher plays A-Train, a speedster who hopes to remain faster than the competition, and does whatever it takes to keep it that way. An accidental act of violence he perpetrates kickstarts the entire series, but not everything he does is so accidental. Here's why the flawed superhero looks so familiar.

Jessie Usher starred alongside Samuel L. Jackson twice

Usher landed the lead role in 2019's Shaft, the fifth film in the long-running action-crime franchise of the same name. As John "JJ" Shaft Jr., a greenhorn FBI analyst, he comes to clash with his father, private investigator John Shaft II, played by none other than the legendary Samuel L. Jackson. Though the movie was not well received, that had nothing to do with either actors' performance.

Better received was 2020's The Banker, in which both Usher and Jackson also starred (even if the former's role was less prominent). Quite different in tone than the buddy comedy of Shaft, The Banker offers a 1950s atmosphere rife with racial inequality and white collar crime. No matter the movie, however, we're sure Usher relished the chance to share the screen with a legend like Jackson; that's any actor's dream come true.

Jessie Usher battled aliens in Independence Day: Resurgence

Jackson wasn't the first Hollywood legend with whom Usher appeared on screen, believe it or not. In 2016's extraterrestrial action-adventure Independence Day: Resurgence, he plays Dylan Hiller, captain of the Earth Space Defense and stepson of Will Smith's character from the original film. Smith unfortunately doesn't appear in the sequel, but franchise (and acting) veteran Jeff Goldblum does.

Maintaining the fun, sometimes cheesy spirit of the original meant a confrontation with the film's aliens was inevitable, and Usher's Hiller has a key role to play in taking them down. There's a failed counterattack, a trap in the city-sized mothership, a daring escape, a battle with the alien queen — it's truly sensational stuff, and Usher's there for it all.

Whether we'll get a third Independence Day is up in the air, as is whether Usher would be willing to return to the role. He seemed to enjoy himself by all accounts, so who knows?

Jessie Usher had problems on and off the court in Survivor's Remorse

Despite being produced by Lebron James himself, Survivor's Remorse was never the most popular show on television, but that had more to do with the channel it was on (Starz) than production quality or qualms of that ilk. During the show's second season, The Village Voice proclaimed it one of the ten best series of 2015, lamenting its status as "an unfairly buried gem" after heaping praise on it. Helming Survivor's Remorse for all its four seasons was none other than Usher, portraying new basketball pro Cam Calloway.

Survivor's Remorse was prematurely canceled, but 36 episodes gave Usher ample opportunity to flex his acting muscles. As Calloway, he tackled questions beyond shooting hoops — questions of racial identity and what it really means to make bank — which is a big reason the show's worth watching. In that way, Survivor's Remorse is similar to The Boys, which pushes the superhero genre beyond flying around and punching giant robots.