Hollywood's Unlikely Action Stars

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Top Five Unlikely Action Stars
The other day I was sitting around the house and I noticed a commercial for the new Liam Neeson movie The Grey and it got me thinking...Mr. Neeson just doesn't strike me as being the kind of guy that would be a super bad-ass action star.  Now we all know guys like Bruce Willis, Jason Statham and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson were born to be action stars and you could call em from miles away, but it also had me wondering who in the history of action were the best and worst of the unlikely action stars. Let's take a look.

Liam Neeson

Obviously, this is not a face you would typically associate with action movies, but as was displayed in the 2008 hit action movie, Taken, Liam has firmly placed himself in the Halls of Badassery. If you haven't seen Taken, the following trailer says it all. Just jump to 1:24 to see the delivery of a fantastic action move line. Really, all it takes is one movie to become a viable bad ass candidate, but Mr. Neeson followed up Taken with movies like Unknown and the previously mentioned The Grey. I'm sure we'll see Liam Neeson in plenty of action movies going forward.

Mark "Marky Mark" Wahlberg
Marky Mark, minus his Funky Bunch, has become a bit of a go to action star nowadays when there's a film that needs a big enough name but wants to save a dime or two. Mark Wahlberg's action resume is actually quite a bit longer the Liam Neeson's, but he didn't really reach the hallowed Halls of Badassery until the spectacular back to back showing in The Departed and Shooter. Sure, he's starred in the more high profile remake of The Italian Job and the lesser known, but definitely better Four Brothers alongside Andre 3000, occasional badass Tyrese and the mostly unknown Garrett Hedlund, but Shooter has definitely been Marky Mark's action high point. The most fun role of Mark's that has been also in the area of action was the 2010 comedy The Other Guys starring across from funny man Will Ferrell. Wahlberg is an action peacock. We just gotta let him fly.

Chloë Moretz
In what most of you would consider an unexpected but no doubt undeniable choice, the first girl on our list played the 11 year old "Hit Girl" in the movie Kick Ass when she was 12. Regardless of what she does from here on out, her fantastically unexpected part in Kick Ass will forever place her among the upper echelon of unlikely action stars and gives her the title of youngest star to grace the Halls of Badassery. Don't believe me or haven't seen Kick Ass? Embrace your inner lazy and check out the clip embedded below.

Milla Jovovich
The woman that can now easily be called the Queen of Action, Milla Jovovich really didn't start off that way. Of course, the first really recognizable performance that sticks in my head is her role on the cover of the stoner classic Dazed and Confused. Of course, she only had an insanely small part in the final cut of the movie but she was prettier than Joey Lauren Adams so they put her on the cover. Milla absolutely broke out in her memorable role as the object of protection and affection of Bruce Willis in Fifth Element where she really didn't end up kicking all that much ass. Her time would come, however, when Sony Pictures transformed her into a bad-ass zombie killing machine known as Alice in the movie Resident Evil. This launched Milla into the Halls of Badassery where she continued to excel starring in what will be five other Resident Evil movies, the Vampiress in Ultraviolet and a sword swinging beauty in The Three Musketeers. What's next for the lady that slaughters zombies by the literal boatload? More zombie slaying of course.

Josh Hartnett
Last but certainly not least on the list of Unlikely Action Stars has spent much of his movie career as the object of many a women's affections. Josh Hartnett came on the scene as a teen heart-throb made more or less famous for his role in Pearl Harbor. He followed up that sorry excuse for a movie with what I consider to be his first true foray into the full on action world with the excellent Black Hawk Down. What really solidified Mr. Hartnett's place in the hallowed Halls of Badassery was a combination of his role in the adaptation of the graphic novel 30 Days of Night and super fun Lucky Number Slevin. It doesn't appear that we'll see Josh in any action flicks in the next year or two but you can be sure that when he does make his welcome return to the land of flying bullets and splashing blood that I'll be there to cheer him along.

Bottom Five Unlikely Action Stars

The other side of the coin is home to many an actor and actress that Hollywood simply tries to ram down our collective speech holes. This section was originally in response to the most recent force feeding of a teenage werewolf in the most recent attempt to capture the essence of Matt Damon and use it to turn another pretty face into the next king of ass kicking. Let's find out who these five science experiments gone wrong are.

Shia LaBeouf
I'm pretty sure that by now, everyone has seen either one of the three Transformers movies, the worst ever Indiana Jones movie or Eagle Eye. What do all of these movies have in common? This guy. Shia LaBeouf has been cast in roles that I'd like to call the "anti-badass". What this means is that in every movie where Shia is supposed to be the badass, he's more tragically involved when shit goes wrong and just ends up playing the whiny, bitchy role. He could never be badass on his own, but with the help of giant metal robots, an aging explorer or an insane computer, he's forced to do a lot of running, screaming and attempted world saving. With a name like Shia LaBeouf not even the world's best 5 o'clock shadow can beast him up enough where Shia can be inducted to the Halls of Badassery. Not now. Not Ever.

Jennifer Garner
If you gathered all the known episodes of Alias, all the red leather and every Sai in the world, I'm pretty sure it would still be absolutely impossible to put our next "star" in the Halls of Badassery. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure even uttering the real name of Skeletor in the HoB would cause Japan to sink into the ocean and California to float over in its place. Honestly, I don't know what anyone sees in Jennifer Garner as an actress in general. Even if she is the queen of lazy acting and thus extremely likely to be honored favorably on a future list here at Opportunity Assassins, she'll just never be taken seriously in any action flick. Ever.

Paul Walker
For the most part, the Fast and the Furious movies are a lot of fun to watch. They're high in action, not too ridiculously over the top, and have enough of a "story line" to keep the images coherent. Unfortunately for the viewing audience, though, Paul Walker was the main character. He literally combines everything I hate in an action star: boyish good looks, a smart-ass annoying voice, absolutely no acting abilities and having a name like Paul Walker (what part of that name screams badass?). What's worse than that is this is the most "badass" picture I could find of him. He got so bad that they doubled the amount of pure badassery in Fast Five by adding The Rock as a personal enemy of Vin Diesel (see? both great badass names) just to even it out. Hollywood has most likely tried to shoehorn him into some other remotely action based movie, but between my memory and a quick glance at IMDb brings up nothing else memorable. Please, movie industry, if you only do one thing right for the rest of history, don't cast Paul Walker in another action movie. I'm not sure the world could take it. I know I can't.

Halle Berry
I can't name the first movie I saw Halle Berry in.  I especially don't know how she got the role of Storm in X-Men, you know, other than she was most likely the only recognizable black woman anyone could name when they were casting the move. This was what I believe is the beginning of Halle Berry's downfall as an actress. Obviously, she peaked personally with her Oscar for Best Actress in Monster's Ball starring across from Billy Bob Thorton. If I remember correctly, Ms. Berry's action career started with her underwhelming role in X-Men followed up by her topless scene in the sort of action flick Swordfish, then I'm pretty sure she was a Bond girl, then came back and played Storm a couple more times. Her most horrifying action moment came when some jackass cast her as Catwoman in the similarly titled moving picture failure. I believe Hollywood figured out that she just wasn't made of the right stuff to be in action flicks any more so now she's back doing chick flicks like she was meant to be doing. Personally, I wouldn't be heart broken if she disappeared from the movie scene and instead focused on raising her kids. We're probably all better off that way taking comfort in the fact that she won't be tainting any more action flicks and believe me, that's the best possible outcome.

Taylor Lautner
Last and certainly least is a newcomer to this list. Well, at least a newcomer to me since I refuse to acknowledge the existence of a movie series based on a book series where vampires don't burst into flames in the sun. What really pushed me over the tipping point was his movie Abduction where I'm assuming he had all the same problems as Shia LaBeouf and Paul Walker combined. Hollywood loves to take a "star" and use them so much that people start having Ebola-like symptoms. What ends up being the biggest problem is that the 13 year old girls that worship Twilight jack up the box office numbers for movies staring their latest heart-throb so the studio execs in return look at each other and go "Hey, this made the money of a good movie, so let's make another 10". Contrary to popular belief, this is not the way to make movies especially if you want to make a good movie. So what does that leave us? Well, quite simply it leaves us with the youngest and single worst (and least surprising) unlikely action star on this list.

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