Old-school action heroesWith John Wick: Chapter 2 set to hit the big screens, we’ve taken a look at some of the other old-school action heroes that have recently hit the big time at the Box Office
Despite the rise of the superhero, the ever-increasing ability to create fight scenes using special effects and all manner of other new film-making tricks, the good-old action flick with an old-school, no-nonsense hero still manages to draw in audiences. What they lack in CGI monsters, they make up for in high-octane thrills which are a lot closer to home. As the success of franchises like John Wick and Jack Reacher show, there’s still life in the old dog yet.
Here are five of cinema’s most recent old-school bad-ass heroes
Tom Cruise – Jack Reacher
He may not be as tall or powerful as author Lee Child’s book version, but as Jack Reacher, Tom proved once again that he is one of the greatest action stars of his generation. Where Mission:Impossible does the impossible, Jack Reacher is a much more grounded hero. This isn’t about fancy gadgets or facemasks, this is a pure, old-school action thriller chock full of car chases, realistic fighting and a sprinkling of suspense and mystery as well.
The film in a sentence: Mission:Impossible without the impossible
Fun fact: Director Christopher McQuarrie has been behind a lot of Cruise machines in recent years, with writing credits for Edge Of Tomorrow, Mission:Impossible Rogue Nation (which he also directed) The Mummy and Mission:Impossible 6.
Old-school bad-ass-ometer: 7/10
Liam Neeson - Taken
The film that spawned a whole host of cheap knock-offs, memes and parodies, and also the film that really cemented Liam Neeson’s place as an action hero. Taken is a classic old-school action flick and Neeson is more than believable as the grizzled retired CIA agent with a new-found purpose – to rescue his daughter at all costs. The film was even successful enough to merit two sequels and a TV show.
Film in a sentence: He will find you, and he will kill you.
Fun fact: The film had an estimated budget of just $25m and made a whopping $226,830,568 worldwide.
Old-school bad-ass-ometer: 9/10
Keanu Reeves – John Wick
John Wick was one of the surprise successes of 2014, winning fans over with its gritty fight scenes and non-stop action as Keanu Reeves goes on a quest for revenge, setting out to kill the people that, erm, killed his dog.
The film in a sentence: Keanu Reeves returns to his action throne, by killing everyone.
Fun fact: Reeves apparently did 90 percent of his own stunts in this film
Old-school bad-ass-ometer: 8/10
Denzel Washington – The Equalizer
Denzel truly is a master at playing lonely, underestimated heroes brimming with bad-ass coolness. Honourable mention has to go to his role in Man On Fire, but the biggest of the bunch is without doubt his portrayal of Robert McCall in Anton Fuqua’s The Equalizer. This gritty, dark and violent action flick sees McCall in self-imposed retirement, living a normal life until he is forced to call on his violent side once again to take on the Russian mafia in his quest for justice.
The film in a sentence: How many different ways can Denzel end people?
Fun fact **spoiler**: McCall never actually uses a firearm in this film, as he kills all of his enemies in very inventive ways.
Old-School bad-ass-ometer: 8/10
Ben Affleck – The Accountant
Bet you didn’t expect to see Ben Affleck on here did you? The most recent release on the list, Affleck shines as autistic accountant and super-deadly assassin Christian Wolff in this mathematics/action/thriller hybrid. A third of the film is Affleck doing sums, the rest is Affleck being a major bad-ass as he does his best to channel his inner Matt Damon/Jason Bourne.
The film in a sentence: You’ll never pick on the guys in accounting ever again.
Fun fact: The martial arts used in the film are a variety of Silat, which was also used in The Raid.
Old-school bad-ass-ometer: 7/10