The Expendables 3 hits theaters this weekend, presenting to the fans just about all the remaining action stars still around. The series has attempted to be a greatest-hits collection for the action movie legends in our midst, but they never feel complete as far as a collection of the all-time greatest tough guys and gals. The new one is even more egregious than the last ones: if you loved Jean-Claude Van Damme in The Expendables 2, you'll love Glen (who?) Powell!
So what if there was someone out there recognizing the legacy of great action stars, who respected the history and spotlighted the very best of the genre? And what if that person was us?
Presenting The Action Movie Hall Of Fame. Below, there are the 10 inaugural inductees -- performers who have shaped and crafted the action genre and emerged as stars, legends and icons. Some are in this weekend's The Expendables 3. And some are in your Netflix queue, at your local library, or even on YouTube, waiting to be discovered or appreciated. We tried to spotlight performers who had a single concentrated peak of their talents, while also addressing those who put a premium on action films over any other genres, even when the films would get disreputable. To be in the Action Hall Of Fame, you need b-movies on your resume as much as you need A-movies. It's also important that we spotlight practical action stars, guys and gals who played characters that fought other human beings in real settings. If you've spent your career punching special effects, you won't get in.
Here are the ten inaugural inductees.
Arnold SchwarzeneggerYears Active: 1969-Present
Most Popular Period: 1982 (Conan The Barbarian) to 1996 (Eraser)
Best Movie: The Terminator
Reason Why He's In The Hall Of Fame: Despite only standing 6"2', when Arnold Schwarzenegger stood onscreen, it felt as if you'd never seen a bigger movie star. Schwarzenegger took action films into the mainstream, as they went from disreputable time-wasters to our number one film genre. The former Mr. Universe didn't need to speak to grab your attention, as he began Conan The Barbarian nearly silent. But when he talked, that deep-bottomed timbre echoed as he said things like his first words in Conan, when asked what is best in life: "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women." That comes from Robert E. Howard, one of the most influential pulp writers of all time, but when you hear Schwarzenegger say it, you can't imagine it coming from anyone else's mouth. Schwarzenegger's genius may have been in marketing: audiences feared him when he was the indestructible T-100 in The Terminator, and he was still an intimidating figure of awe by the time he dominated Commando or starred as the crafty prisoner in The Running Man. But when he reprised his role in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, it revealed an icon learning to be a man, a hero who wanted to be human like us. But he couldn't be: he was just too awesome.