The Expendables 2 will once again reunite some of the best action stars from the ‘80s, with a few more recent faces. But when it comes to choosing the biggest and baddest of them all, we want you to settle the ultimate debate: Who is the greatest action hero of all time?
Here at Canoe, we’re taking 16 of the roughest and toughest and pitting them against one another in a no holds barred battle.
Scroll down to vote in our opening round battles and let us know what you think of the matchups in the comments. Voting for the first round ends Monday at 11:59 p.m.
Dolph Lundgren vs. Vin Diesel
After an appearance in the Roger Moore’s final bond film A View to a Kill, Lundgren KOed Rocky Balboa’s best pal Apollo Creed in Rocky IV. The Swedish he-man went on star in a big screen adaptation of Masters of the Universe and The Punisher before slipping into straight-to-DVD hell. Pal Sly Stallone helped resurrect his career with a role in The Expendables.
Vin Diesel attained action-hero superstardom playing Riddick in the Pitch Black series, Dom in the Fast & the Furious and Xander Cage in xXx. He hasn't done much other than that, but if he pummels the Rock in next year's Fast Six, we like his chances at furthering his action chops.
Mel Gibson vs. Harrison Ford
Mel Gibson gave us Mad Max and Martin Riggs – two of the biggest ‘80s action icons. In the ‘90s, he brought us Braveheart, Ransom and Payback. And in the 2000s, he, er, lost his marbles. If he makes another Lethal Weapon, maybe we’ll forgive him.
Indy Jones, Han Solo, Jack Ryan, those are just some of Harrison Ford’s best action roles. Since the early 2000s, the grizzled star has been in a bit of a slump: Firewall, K-19: The Widowmaker, Hollywood Homicide and last year’s Cowboys & Aliens really didn’t kick ass. Still, we’ll take Indy 5 any day.
Nicholas Cage vs. Kate Beckinsale
Face/Off, The Rock and Con Air rank among our all time favourites. Then there’s, er, Ghost Rider, Gone in 60 Seconds and those National Treasure movies. Cage has had an uneven track record, but when he’s good, he’s really good.
There is no other star who looks so good beating guys up. Underworld and Total Recall are proof positive of that. She loves being called an ‘action star’ and we sincerely hope she never forgets how to do a roundhouse.
Sylvester Stallone vs. Wesley Snipes
The man needs no introduction: Rocky, Rambo, Tango, Cobra and Judge Dredd. We could go on, but chances are you’ve seen Sly Stallone in more films than you can remember. Plus he’s been kicking ass before a lot of you were even born. Let’s see how tough you look when you’re 66.
Seriously, can you even name the last good Snipes movie? Probably not, but he racked up an impressive string of hits in the ‘90s that included a role opposite Stallone in 1993’s Demolition Man. Would we like to see him back as Blade? Maybe...if he pays his taxes.
Chuck Norris vs. Steven Seagal
This 72-year-old will beat your ass. Need proof? Check out the Missing In Action series, Invasion U.S.A. and Way of the Dragon. His TV role on Walker, Texas Ranger cemented Norris as an action icon.
The martial arts expert was hot out of the gates with 1988’s Above the Law. For most of the ‘90s, Steven Seagal was one of Hollywood’s most bankable action stars. But as he got bigger, the movies tried to mix action and politics, and audiences weren’t buying. Since 2002, he’s been pretty much relegated to straight-to-DVD hell.
Jean-Claude Van Damme vs. Jason Statham
Jean-Claude Van Damme
The ‘Muscle from Brussels’ was a premiere action star in the ‘80s and ‘90s thanks to films like Bloodsport, Hard Target, Timecop and Street Fighter. After a series of box office bombs in the late ‘90s, JCVD hit the skids. Even a well-received self-titled mocumentary in 2008 couldn’t revive his floundering career. Inexplicably, he turned down a role in the first Expendables before agreeing to do the sequel. Welcome back JCVD.
He toplines two franchises – Crank and Transporter – and is one of the marquee stars of the Expendables. But even though he has done films with De Niro and J.Lo, we have a feeling that Jason Statham could end up in the straight-to-DVD club. He has after all starred in clunkers like Death Race and this year’s Safe.
Bruce Willis vs. Milla Jovovich
The Die Hard star has made a name for himself in all genres, but audiences like him best when he’s killing baddies. With 60-plus films under his belt, Bruce Willis might have the best track record of the bunch.
Lovely Milla hasn’t made much of a dent in the world of drama and comedy. Lucky for us, every couple of years, we get to see her kick aliens’ asses in her highly-popular Resident Evil series. Let’s hope for her sake and ours, her character Alice never dies.
Arnold Schwarzenegger vs. The Rock
Until he became governor of California in 2003, Arnie was an action juggernaut throughout the ‘80s, ‘90s and early 2000s. There have been some misses – Eraser, The 6th Day, Collateral Damage – but ‘The Oak’ might just have the highest body count of all of the people on this list. We’re happy he’s back.
Dwayne Johnson, the WWE wrestler known as The Rock, launched his film career in the 2000s and has been wowing audiences ever since in movies like Fast Five, The Rundown and Walking Tall. This year, he took home Action Star of the Year honours at CinemaCon. Could he be the heir to Arnie and Sly? Only you, the fans, can say.