Liam Neeson is still tearing up the screen in airplane actioner Non-Stop, despite being in his 60s. Unlike his younger action flick contemporaries, a few turkeys aside, Neeson was primarily a respected dramatic actor until he starred in Taken at the age of 56. It’s nice to know that guys can suddenly become beloved movie hard-men well into middle age, but it did get us wondering – who’s going to suddenly become an action icon next? Let’s take a look at some of the possible candidates.
Actor: Tim Robbins
Action Movie Credentials: Robbins doesn’t have a hell of a lot of action movies on his resume, unless you count playing a Senator in Green Lantern, which we don’t, mostly because we don’t even count Green Lantern as a real film. His best showings were a bout of fisticuffs with Tom Cruise in War Of The Worlds (which he lost), a couple fights with prison rapists in The Shawshank Redemption (which he lost), and an anguished battle with his own sanity and/or demons in Jacob’s Ladder (which he lost). On the other hand, he does have experience crawling around in small enclosed spaces while escaping from bad guys, and that can sometimes be pretty popular with action fans.
Likelihood Of Being The Next Big Action Star: 3/10. Maybe 7/10 if we’re talking about his puppet form.
Actor: Gary Oldman
Action Movie Credentials: Oldman, unlike the others on this list, actually has some pretty solid action chops. He went toe-to-toe with a hitman in Leon: The Professional (well…toe to heel, since he shot the guy in the back), he drove the Batmobile in Batman Begins, and beat the crap out of the President of the United States – played by none other than Indiana Jones himself – in Air Force One. He’s never taken the heroic lead role in an action movie, but since he’s also appearing in RoboCop and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes this year, maybe it’s only a matter of time.
Actor: Hugh Grant
Action Movie Credentials: Unless you count briefly playing the Doctor in a Doctor Who parody, or chopping up old ladies in '80s Brit horror crapfest The Lair Of The White Worm, Hugh Grant has slightly fewer action movie credentials than Rick Moranis.
Likelihood Of Being The Next Big Action Star: 2/10. Unless action movie audiences decide that what they really want to pep up their gun fights and explosions is some charmingly awkward stuttering, Hugh Grant is going to have to stick with flopping his hair about and apologizing a lot.
Actor: Kevin Spacey
Action Movie Credentials: He’s played some of the best villains of the last two decades, but sadly, most of Kevin Spacey’s badassery has taken place off-camera. He spent The Usual Suspects pretending to be crippled (spoiler alert for 1995, we guess?), he was only present for the final act of Se7en (during which he surrendered), and his turn as ultimate bad guy Lex Luthor in Superman Returns mostly focused on him screwing an old lady for her money.
Likelihood Of Being The Next Big Action Star: 5/10. He’s always going to choose a classy drama over a balls-out action flick, but still, no one gives that “I will fuck you up in ways you can’t imagine” stare like Spacey.
Actor: Jason Alexander
Action Credentials: The closest we’ve come to seeing Jason Alexander get into a fist fight on the big screen was when he slapped Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, but that ended with him getting his ass kicked by Richard Gere. Still, considering that Gere’s character finished the movie by getting together with a prostitute – and the audience imagining every awkward, “So how did you guys meet?” question from family, friends, and colleagues forever after – we think Alexander may have gotten the better deal.
Likelihood Of Being The Next Big Action Star: 1/10. We would pay so, so much money to see an action movie with George Costanza as the lead, but since Hollywood seems to exist purely to dash our dreams, we’re betting on this never, ever happening.