Friday seems to have come back around quickly...thank God. I have some remaining action hero segments for you: the Honourable mentions, the Big 5, the Ones to Watch and the 'Whatever happened to...' segment. Enjoy!
Clint Eastwood. Younger generations know him as the tough cowboy in Unforgiven or the thief with a conscience in Absolute Power, but to older folks he will always be Dirty Harry. Go on, mess with him and make his day!
Charles Bronson. Old Charlie sure knew how to hold a grudge. He made five Death Wish movies in which he exacted vengeance on some poor idiots who were foolish enough to mess with him or his family. And boy did he know how to take his pound of flesh, literally.
The Big 5
These five guys deserved their own category; I just couldn't lump them in with the other action heroes. The Big 5 not only brought intense action to movie screens, but introduced the world to fighting art forms that are still popular today. In random order, the Big 5 are:
1) Jet Li. Hollywood loves to make non-Americans the villains in movies. They did it with Arnold in the first Terminator movie and they did it with China's Jet Li in his first stab at a Hollywood movie - Lethal Weapon 4. But Jet Li was too good to be bad so he became the hero, in a big way. Romeo Must Die, Cradle 2 the Grave, Unleashed, The One, Kiss of the Dragon, the list goes on. Alas, I think he may be going bad again in next year's The Mummy 3...
2) Chow Yun-Fat. A skilled figher and excellent actor, this Hong Kong native has starred in such big box office draws as Bulletproof Monk, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon , Pirates of the Caribbean 3, and The Corruptor, but my fave role by Chow Yun-Fat was as troubled hitman John Lee in Replacement Killers. Good stuff.
3) Tony Jaa. Before Tony Jaa I had never heard of the Thai form of martial arts, Muay Thai. To say it's an exciting and intense art form is an understatement. Watch Ong-Bak. That’s all I can say.
4) Jackie Chan. No one can infuse martial arts with comedy like the Drunken Master. Perhaps the most successful of the Hong Kong martial arts imports, Jackie has made it big with the Rush Hour movies, The Tuxedo, Shanghai Noon, The Medallion, Shanghai Knights and other movies. Another Rush Hour movie is coming later this year, and in 2008, both he and Jet Li will star in The Forbidden Kingdom. Wuhloss, I hope my heart can handle that one!
5) Bruce Lee. Undisputably the greatest icon of martial arts cinema, Bruce Lee's legacy belies the fact that he died at the age of 33, 35 years ago. His movies such as Enter the Dragon and and tv shows such as Green Hornet are cult classics that have immortalised him in the minds and hearts of action fans around the world.
The Ones to Watch
Sean William Scott. Made famous by the role of the idiotic 'Stifler' in the American Pie movies, Scott is a tiny bit like Will Smith: he’ll joke around but will not hesitate to kick your butt. His action credits include Bulletproof Monk with Chow Yun-Fat and The Rundown alongside The Rock. Learn well, grasshopper!
Chris Evans. It's easy to dismiss Evans as another Hollywood pretty boy, but he has a certain 'edge' that keeps you rivetted to the screen. He did a fairly decent job in Cellular and the Fantastic Four movies. His future looks bright.
Josh Duhamel. Already a hit with female audiences because of his role on tv's Las Vegas, Duhamel will hit the big screen soon in the big budget action showpiece Transformers. His girlfriend Fergie from the band Black Eyed Peas is gonna have to beat some girls down…
Paul Walker. Poor fella. He's so pretty he hasn't really caught on as an action hero. But his credits aren't too bad: The Fast and the Furious, 2Fast 2Furious, Running Scared, Into the Blue, Timeline, Flags of Our Fathers. Now, if only he'd stop making his female leads look bad...
James Todd Smith aka LL Cool J. This rapper turned actor is so versatile I hesitantly refer to him as an action hero. Not that I think he'd mind. With Deep Blue Sea, In Too Deep, Charlie's Angels, SWAT and Mindhunters, among other films under his belt, Mr. 'hot lips' will give anyone stiff competition if he decides to go after Arnold Schwarzenegger's title. And ladies, I met him a few years ago and he is even hotter in person...
And finally, whatever happened to...
Colin Farrell. After showing promise as an action hero in such hits as SWAT, Minority Report (he stole the movie from Tom Cruise for a bit), Phone Booth and Alexander, Colin Farrell has up and disappeared on us. He’s working on some new movies, so we’ll see if he can make a comeback. He’s Irish, so you know he won’t be down for long!