When it came to Action heroes, one name lay imbedded in my memory as a teen – ARNOLD SWARCHZENEGGER. In the Eighties when ignorance was bliss, I believed that he and all the subsequent action heroes were not ‘acting’ so to speak. With biceps the size of lunchboxes it wasn’t hard to believe then that he could floor five guys with his brute strength alone. His groundbreaking debut, COMMANDO, was simplistic in its plot and concise with dialogue – As a matter of fact, I remember a good half hour of non-stop pulsating gunfire mayhem amidst the rescue of his non-Russian-sounding daughter. After endless rewinding, re-playing, pausing and fast forwarding I was hungry for more…I needed a lot more.
SYLVESTER STALLONE was the immediate antidote I discovered after immersing myself in FIRST BLOOD. The trademark 1 minute-long dress-up sequence in which John Rambo geared up was just an adrenaline booster. I never thought it possible for one man to pack just the right amount of ammo to annihilate an entire platoon. A few bullet wounds and 2 sequels later the thirst returned and I needed it to be quenched pronto.
BRUCE WILLIS didnt have the muscles of Arnie or Stallone but he sure knew how to handle a group of terrorists in DIE HARD. Everything about the plot seemed believe and not too far-fetched. Yes its possible for a cop to go on vacation to see his wife (or ex-wife), Yes its possible for him to arrive at his wife’s fully serviced skyscraper on the exact day the terrorists plan to strike, Yes it is possible for him to hear gunshots just when he’s in the middle of changing clothes, and yes it is possible for a trigger-happy cop to run around barefoot finding a way to get FBI back up. Bruce Willis seemed like the average cool-headed guy who showed real fear amidst danger unlike the mucho predecessors with faceless expressions. Bruce had the wit to back him up too! 3 catastrophic explosions and 1 sequel later I was ready for a stronger dose.
JACKIE CHAN taught me that one didnt need semi-automatics or AK-47s to ‘blow you away’. Just a lil’ martial art mixed with death-defying stunts and a few funny blunders gave me all the excitement I needed. Hand-to-hand combat never looked so good until I watched POLICE STORY and RUMBLE IN THE BRONX. Everything about he’s fight sequence was real – no stuntman required. If he was trapped btw 2 walls 8ft high then he was going get out with a ‘Prince-of-Persia style’ wall-to-wall leap, just in time to narrowly miss the high-speed van crashing beneath him. Once I found this new taste for martial arts, I slowly weaned myself off the guns and C-4s. It was a new era for dropkicks, roundhouse kicks and clothes-lines.
STEVEN SEAGAL eventually brought an end to all that when he took the fun out of martial arts and made it a split-second ordeal of ultra fast ‘ten-ten’ before breaking his adversary’s arm…backwards. When he decided to get a lil creative he moved on to breaking legs, necks, hands, and then he went into detail when he plucked a few eyes, broke fingers, and ankles. I was more queezy than entertained and I began to ask myself if I was slowly becoming side-tracked. Yes, Seagal was giving me an overdose of whoop-ass but my hands weren’t clapping…they were covering my eyes. Time was against me and I was getting older and older. In a time when WWF was discovered to be a farce I needed a lift, a hit of something strong, but not overkill…cue the dragon!
Or should I say ENTER THE DRAGON. When I first saw BRUCE LEE in action I was mesmerized to say the least. I think it wasnt so much the Kung-fu but the ‘wooh-haw!’ and ‘wataah!’ cries he bellowed through his lightning punches & kicks – He had me glued to the seat and to the screen (and that was responsible for bloodshut eyes & dented sofas). His untimely death is an infinite blow to the action movie industry and till this day he remains an icon.
In my opinion, these are some of the founders who’ve paved the way for the new generation of action movies…and ultimately transformed me into an Action Junkie.
My Top 10 Action Movies
1. Die Hard
2. The Matrix
3. Game of Death
4. True Lies
6. House of Flying Daggers
7. Casino Royale
8. Kill Bill
9. Rush hour
My Top 5 Action Heroes
1. Arnold Schwarzenegger
2. Jackie Chan
3. Bruce Lee
4. Sylvester Stallone
5. Bruce Willis
My Dream Face-Offs
1. Arnie vs Stallone – Punch up
2. Bruce Lee vs Jackie Chan – Martial Arts
3. Keanu Reeves (Matrix) vs Christian Bale (Equilibrium) – Gunfight…in ‘slo-mo’
4. Uma Thurman vs Michelle Yeoh – Ninja Swordfight
5. Angelina Jolie vs Sigourney Weaver – Chickfight
6. Bruce Willis vs Chris Tucker – Witfight
7. ALIEN vs Predator (IV) – SCI-FIght (lol)
*Quick to the rescue – 007
*Relentless to the finish – Rambo
*No-funny business – Arnie
*A woman scorned – Uma Thurman (Kill Bill)