Fast and Furious 7 just hit theaters and presented four of cinema’s most beloved action stars – Vin Diesel, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jason Statham and the legendary Kurt Russell – in a movie that made more money than anyone ever dreamed.
With so much testosterone in a movie that isn’t called The Expendables, it makes us think that big time action movies aren’t as in demand as they used to be. However, that doesn’t mean that we don’t still love them. With that in mind, the staff of Renegade Cinema decided it was time to talk about our favorite action movie stars of all time.
See who made our cut, and then head to the comments and let us know who you would have voted for.
Caliber Winfield: Man…it’s like, having to chose between your children, only more serious.
In the end, much like Highlander, there can truly be only one…
Arnold Schwarzenegger – He is THEE action hero. Like how Xerox became the term for copying, Arnold became synonymous with action hero. With burly. From his size, to his accent, and making one-liners a must for any hero, Arnold owned the 80s & 90s by making genre defining classics such as Terminator, Predator, Total Recall, Commando, T2, True Lies, Eraser, and many others. He spawned legions of clones, and created the archetype for all action heroes to follow. No longer could your hero have 12 inch biceps, or simply handle things with a pea-shooter. The pre-rec was now a body that is mistaken for an explosion, machine & shotguns, and something witty to say. Always. One of the most influential people of all time, and someone I’m proud to call a hero & inspiration.
Sandi Davis: I can think of several men and woman who have done amazing action hero things, but one is alone in the top spot: Arnold Schwarzenegger. I will watch Conan: The Barbarian just about anytime it’s on. This role caught the attention of big Hollywood and his reign as “The” Action Actor ran from then until 2005, and you could count on buying a ticked to a big budget action-thriller and get your money’s worth.
The time out was to act as Governor of California.
As most action heroes do, they start hurting all the time and begin taking smaller, less intense stunts or cultivate a comedy career. Yup, he did this and slowly started to kick it back up because he now has alimony and child support to pay. I’m happy he’s going to be doing something like the talked about new Conan movie, and one called Triplets. No matter what you’ve done Arh-nold, I like you.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Derek Johns: A bit of ironic pick on my part since I’ve never been a huge fan of wrestling but here we are. He possesses all the natural charisma and witty one-liners of Schwarzenegger and Stallone but with none of the unintelligible line-readings. His very presence makes otherwise irredeemable duds like G.I. Joe 2 or Pain and Gain bearable and makes okay flicks like Walking Tall or Hercules much better than they any right to be. He makes for an awesome presence in whatever film he’s in. So much so that in the last two years I decided to watch movies directed by Brett Ratner and Michael Bay despite my utter contempt for the both of them. Not many actor have that ability.
Ruby Le Rouge: From Sin City to the over the top hilarity of Shoot ‘Em Up, I love this man. A lot of action stars don’t have a ton of range, but Owen can act, which makes his action flick repertoire a lot more diverse than other actors in this genre.
Bethany Lewis: Most people probably don’t think of McGoohan as an action star, but back in 1962 he was first choice to play James Bond and he had the nerve to turn it down. You probably remember him best from The Prisoner, and rightly so, but before that he played a cool gentleman spy named John Drake in a series called Danger Man (Secret Agent in the US). McGoohan had style, humor, panache, and a striking physicality that was at once effortless and tightly wound. It is perhaps instructive to know that he once worked with Orson Welles on stage, and Welles said he found McGoohan intimidating. That is saying something about the force of his presence. What I also love about him is that he had one of the great creative minds, as evidenced by his one man mastery over the cult classic The Prisoner. There has been nothing quite like it, before or since.
Shawn S. Lealos: Yeah, sometimes I just want to put Brian “The Boz” Bosworth in lists like this just because. But, I will stick with a more mainstream actor and go with Jason Statham. I almost went with Bruce Willis because he used to be awesome, but the key term there is used to be. I almost went with Kurt Russell because he will always be awesome. But, I am going with Statham because he is keeping the action movie alive today. From Snatch to Transporter to the AWESOME Crank to being one of the best things about the Expendables movies to his own stupid, yet fun, minor movies, Statham always entertains me.