Celebrity Dish

Celebrity Dish

Celebrity Dish

Keanu Reeves attends the Japan premiere of 'John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum' at Roppongi Hills on September 10, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. Arnold Schwarzenegger attends the Australia Screening of 'Terminator Genisys' at the Event Cinemas on June 4, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Dwayne Johnson attends the "Black Adam" premiere at Cine Capitol on October 19, 2022 in Madrid, Spain.

They don’t make action stars like they used to. The action film genre today isn’t as solid as it was when legendary action stars like Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Sean Connery ruled the silver screen.

ROMEO MUST DIE MOVIE STILLS, The 5 Best Action Stars

Kharen Hill 2000 Warner Bros.

Action stars are a rare breed, and throughout the decades, there have been a list of leading men and women dominating the action movie world. In the ’80s, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Chuck Norris, and Harrison Ford made legendary action films.

By the ’90s, Tom Cruise, Keanu Reeves, Bruce Willis, and Jackie Chan took over as the fresh faces of the genre. The early 2000s saw Daniel Craig, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Vin Diesel, Will Smith, and Matt Damon usher in the new wave of action stars.

Sometimes, action stars butt heads in the competitive world of acting. Long before they appeared in The Expendables franchise together, Stallone and Schwarzenegger were bitter rivals in the ’90s. As we previously reported, Stallone said they “couldn’t stand to be in the same galaxy together for a while. We truly, truly loathed each other.” In fact, Stallone said that their feud was so intense that they would fight over film projects, which led Schwarzenegger to trick the Rocky star into starring in a horrible movie: 1992’s Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.

Not many female actors take up the action genre, but those who do are legendary. Sigourney Weaver, Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Michelle Yeoh, Charlize Theron, Milla Jovovich, Pam Grier, Michelle Rodriguez, Lucy Liu, and Uma Thurman are among those leading ladies who will be kicking a– and taking names. Some of our all-time favorite action movies have a female lead, like the Kill Bill saga, Mad Max: Fury Road, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

A sign of a great action hero is the longevity of their characters. Whether it’s in a standalone film or an entire series, some of the most iconic characters throughout the years are James Bond, the Terminator, John Wick, Jason Bourne, Rambo, Indiana Jones, and A Man With No Name.

Take a look below at our list of the 5 best action stars:

  • 5. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

    Whether you hate him or love him, Dwayne Johnson is one of the most popular action stars today. The WWE wrestler-turned action star has an estimated net worth of $800 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Per Forbes, he can earn more than $20 million per film. Johnson is so influential, he set the precedent of wrestlers venturing into the world of acting and becoming A-listers. Most famously, John Cena entered into acting in film and television series after “The Rock” and has found success and increased in popularity over the last few years. Though we find many of Johnson’s roles to be repetitive (or at least the outfits are all the same), our favorite action film by him is this underrated 2003 film starring opposite Dude Where’s My Car?‘s Seann William Scott and the legendary Christopher Walken.

  • 4. Tom Cruise

    We can’t do a best action stars list without mentioning Mr. Mission Impossible himself. Cruise has made himself a legend among other action stars. Not only does he do his own stunts, but Cruise takes those stunts to death-defying levels, upping the ante for each Mission: Impossible film. He’s alo stared in some other great action films, including Jack Reacher and Edge of Tomorrow. Now that Cruise is over 60 years old, he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down or backing down from continuing to do his own stunts.

  • 3. Arnold Schwarzenegger

    Arnold Schwarzenegger is synonymous with the term “action star.” His iconic role as the Terminator in the film series has already withstood the test of time. Regardless of his being a former governor, Arnold’s portrayal of the cyborg assassin is one that will follow him long after his time. Of all the Terminator films, the second is the one that really captured us and was better than the first. Around the same time he was filming the Terminator films, he made his acting debut with a film called Conan the Barbarian. Though the film wasn’t received as very well done, it is a role that is unique and started his career as an action film star! Throughout his career, with his unique voice and machismo, Arnold starred in several more iconic action films like Batman & Robin, Total Recall, True Lies, and Predator.

  • 2. Jackie Chan

    Growing up, we remember watching all of Jackie Chan’s movies. His impressive martial artistry, how light he is on his feet, and his cheerful demeanor is what makes this action star take the number 2 spot on our list. Jackie can clear a whole room full of enemies, all while making audiences laugh at the nonchalant way he goes about doing it. Of course, the Rush Hour series with Chris Tucker is so iconic, but what we really love is his role in Drunken Master. As a young actor at the time, we can see how Jackie had starpower back in the 70s!

  • 1. Keanu Reeves

    There are so many reasons why Keanu Reeves is The One. From his earliest role in the action genre as Neo in the Matrix films, Keanu showed us another side of the prolific action star. The behind-the-scenes martial arts training videos that we’ve seen Keanu do through the years let’s us know that he has long been serious about his craft as an action star. From the very first Matrix film, Reeves trained with the legendary Hong Kong fight choreographer Yuen Wo-Ping, who also helped shape the careers of Jackie Chan and Jet Li. When Reeves became the legendary retired assassin, John Wick, in 2014, he upped his action star ante. For the John Wick films, he does over 90% of his stunts in order to enhance the realism and immersive experience for viewers — all in a dashing suit. Keanu Reeves earns the top spot because he does his own stunts and is hot as hell to watch on screen.

Sign me up for the 107.9 Coyote Country email newsletter!

Join Coyote Country VIP Club for access to all the perks delivered right to your inbox! Get exclusive concert announcements, the latest updates with your favorite country icons, contest updates, and more.

*
*
By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.