I don’t know about you, but I for one am a big fan of 90s action movies. The good ones, mind you. And I’m not talking about your spy type, your Pierce Brosnan’s and your Tom Cruise’s or actors that were vaguely action stars ( Sigourney Weaver ). I mean more so the specific feel those certain flicks like Under Siege, The Delta Force or Total Recall give off. It’s not Grindhouse, it’s sort of a unspecified subgenre if you will.
Point is, some have managed to remain relevant and sucessful, others have had a pretty major fall from grace. So let’s go over a handful of the biggest action stars of the time, and see just how nice the times have been to their careers.
Disclaimer: I recognize not all of these actors’ heights were exclusive to the 90s, the only requirment is that they were a big name in the 90s. It’s a bit of a generalisation.
Let’s start off with the one, the only, the big bad Austrian Governor – Arnold Schwarzenegger. Easily one of the most recognizable figures in Hollywood history, Arnold has given us dozen of iconic films in both the action and comedy genre.
Unfortunately, despite his great performance as the Terminator, his recent attempts have apparently not been so great to him. There’s a reason why I stopped watching the franchise after part 3. Sure, he garnered a decent box office run with The Expendables trilogy and Escape Plan, but has failed to reachieve the success of his prior films. Modern credibility: 5/10 ( Escape Plan, Maggie, The Last Stand )
Bruce had a great – box office roaring run in the 90s. The Die Hard sequels, Fifth Element, Armageddon, Pulp Fiction..the lkst goes on.
While yes, Willis does end up in a big name flick every once in a while nowadays, highlights being Looper, Moonrise Kingdom and Rock the Kasbah, etc. many of his films end up like Cosmic Sin, Trauma Center and Hard Kill. This is likely attributed to the fact that he’s starred in a whopping NINE movies this year? So it’s possible that he’s unfortunately gone down the path of money over quality films. 4/10. ( Looper, Moonrise Kingdom, Cosmic Sin )
When Chuck Norris walks into the forest, Slenderman gives him 8 pages.
Not many people have anywhere near the memeability of level of recognition that Chuck Norris does. Realisitically, Norris is pretty much the last person you watch because of acting skills. No. We watch Norris movies to be entertained and see bad guys get knocked out.
Problemo with this guy is he hasn’t really been making movies for 15 years. 6/10 just for being a legend.
Oh Ivan Drago. Admittadly, Lundgren really never did hit the same level as most others on this list did. Sure, people knew him. But he had neither the fanbase, or the kind of hits people like Chuck or Stallone did.
Between the mid-90s and about 2010, Lundgren’s career had become two inches short of a parody. Cheap action movie after cheap action movie. Though he has had somewhat of a “revival” in recent years. He appeared in The Expendables trilogy, Creed 2, Hail Caesar! and even had a small role in Aquaman. His career still isn’t that great, but it looked a lot worse 12 years ago. Modern credibility: 4/ 10 ( Dead Trigger, Don’t Kill It )
Mel is definately my favorite on this list. From from Lethal Weapon to Boss Level, I’ve never seen any Mel Gibson movie I’ve never enjoyed. He has that rough, dry humor and edginess that few others, except maybe Kurt Russell are able to harness as well as him. He’s more than an action star, he’s a legitimately phenomenal actor.
Few actors have managed to survive a scandal as well as Gibson, but he’s better than ever and killing it on the big screen. Modern credibility 8/10 ( Get the Gringo, Boss Level, Edge of Darkness, Blood Father )
Nicolas Cage has had one of the most bizarre careers in the history of Hollywood. Many worship the grounds he walks across, others think he’s the most otherrated thing since Titanic. What seperates Cage from any others on this list ( other than some of the insane happenings around him ( security cobras )) Cage has actually won an Academy award! He’s given out genuinally great performances!
Then he lost all his money and started doing some REALLY bad movies. Season of the Witch, Army of One, the list doesn’t really end. This trend basically copy paced itself for the next years till now. Only difference is he’s somehow managed to keep making both garbage movies, while now also making absolute gems of cinema. Modern Credibility: 7ish/10 ( Army of One, Color Out of Space, Dog Eat Dog, The Trust, Willy’s Wonderland ) ( it really depends )
Like Norris, Seagal really just ain’t the best actor.
Since his “glory days” if you can call them those, he’s gained a looooootttt of weight. His acting abilities haven’t changed much, but it’s gotten about eight times hareder to take him even remotely seriously. Modern credibility: 2/10 ( Beyond the Law, Sniper: Special Ops )
Stallone used to be right next to Schwarzenegger, aka the classic rivarly between two titans in the game. He’s an icon. Rocky & Rambo. Hard to beat. Even though he hasn’t had a modern classic like those in a long time, he’s still a solid actor to watch, even in small performances like in GOTG 2. Modern credibility: 7/10. ( Bullet to the Head, Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2., The Suicide Squad )
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