Action stars who still got it!
Writer: Casey Lee
They will be making action movies forever.
Action stars inspire us by fighting the good fight, taking down the bad guys, doing death-defying stunts and having the overall charisma that makes us want to root for them throughout the movie.
As good as some of these action stars are, they endure many physical punishments to perform their screen spectacle, and things only gets tougher for them with age.
Even so, some of the action stars that we've watched growing up are still risking their neck and fame to deliver what the audience wants, and to show the world that they've still got it after all these years.
Here is our list of action stars that still got 'it' despite how much older they are.
Since "Die Hard", Bruce Willis' career took a turn from the comedy route to the everyday hero. Willis' name has fronted hard hitting action vehicles from "The Fifth Element" to the subsequent installments of the "Die Hard" franchise. His constant presence in the action scene has made him worthy to be inducted in the hall of fame of "The Expendables". After a little tiff between him and Sylvester Stallone about appearing in the all-star franchise for a little bit more money, Willis has taken his action muscles to smaller (and admittedly lazier) action fare, but it would be good to see him again duking it out with Jason Momoa in "Once Upon a Time in Venice".
Jean-Claude Van Damme
The swift kicks of Jean-Claude Van Damme have become his trademark as an action hero since 1988's "Bloodsport". Van Damme is a combination of the foreign action hero with an accent, and an agility that is seldom seen among western action stars. His presence in the action scene was only helped by being in the center of several of the more cherished action franchises in the 90s, including "Universal Soldier" and "Kickboxer". Unlike his contemporaries like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone however, Van Damme had never taken a rest from doing action movies, Churning out consistent outings despite his growing age, and still maintaining a fit physique that the aforementioned had lost in the interim. And Van Damme doesn't seem to be stopping from doing splits anytime soon too.
The Akido master of Hollywood got his breakthrough as an action star in 90s for starring in "Under Siege". For a decade or so, Steven Seagal was sought-after as an action hero that didn't rely on brute force, but for his karate chops and Akido throws, a martial arts hero not commonly seen from the West. While his star power waned entering into the 21st century, Seagal has also been quietly working in action pieces after action pieces, never resting his chops that it won the admiration of Russia and Serbia, granting him citizenship in both countries.
He is one of the only few stars today that can have his name on a movie, and it becomes a sure seller. Tom Cruise didn't start out to be an action star. His charming looks was enough for him to do less dangerous work, but the Scientologist won't be as crazy if not for daring to take crazy risks. Since leading in "Mission: Impossible", Cruise has only stepped up his action antics with each installment until there is only space left to dare, and he has been an unstoppable force in actioners like "Jack Reacher", "Edge of Tomorrow" and most recently "The Mummy". Don't be fooled by how he looks, but Cruise is already pushing 50 and there is still no sign of him stopping.
From a sloppy slacker to a chiselled killing machine, Keanu Reeves had always given his best when he is decked out to deliver the pain. After stumbling into the image of an action star in "Speed", Reeves' occasional outings in an action role has always been in anticipation, even if the satisfaction is not delivered by the end. However, since "The Matrix", Reeves has made it a point to stay in shape for his next action role, and we can clearly see him back for more since "John Wick" kicked down our doors with guns blazing. Like fine wine, Reeves' action persona has only gotten better with age.
Not all action stars have to come from the West, as Hong Kong was once the motherland of action movies. Although it would be easy to name Asian action stars from the 90s, but not many of them have stayed on to appear on screen doing what they do best (sorry, Chow Yun Fatt). The same can't be said, however, for Sammo Hung, who not only has been a presence since the 80s and 90s, but has still remained one of the most respected choreographers and action stars of today. Decades of experience has honed Sammo Hung's career, not just on-screen, but also off-screen as well, as he was behind some of the toughest action sequences seen today in many Asian films that can only be delivered by the most dedicated and trained actors of today.
To top it all off, arguably one of the most hardworking (and some would say luckiest) action star still living today can only be the legend himself, Jackie Chan. Chan's action career easily spans as one of the longest and often the most dangerous. In many ways, the action genre is many times defined and re-defined by what Chan has done before, whether in the no-wire stunts for "Police Story", or the comedic action in "Drunken Master". Unlike his contemporaries like Sammo, who takes time off to work behind the scenes, Chan has always kept up a constant presence on camera, risking life and limb at every turn. While admittedly age is starting to catch up to the audacity of his stunts, Chan still remains as one of the oldest and most recognised action stars of today.
Cinema Online, 12 June 2017