With no sports happening around the world for the last month, and with no return in sight for the most part, Carl and I have been looking for ways to fill the gap. So we introduce to you, the Sportcodex Bad Ass Bracket, a completely original idea that nobody has ever thought of until we did it. We will be putting polls up each day on Twitter from the Sportcodex account (click here to follow us) and it will be up to everyone to determine the winner of each bracket.

For the inaugural edition, we decided to go with something near and dear to our hearts; the best action stars of all-time. We are doing two brackets, one each for the guys and the gals. We determined the seeding on the latest episode of The Sportcodex Show so if you say “why is Denzel Washington only the 20th seed?” then I will know you didn’t listen and my feelings will be hurt. Check out the seedings in the below images.

Action Star Bracket

Female action stars

We will be posting just a few polls each day to ensure that each matchup gets the attention it deserves. Let’s take a look at the matchups on the first day.


1. Arnold Schwarzenegger vs 32. Danny Trejo

You may think that Arnie would have an easy path to the finals but let’s not be too quick to hand him the crown. Trejo boasts a pretty impressive resume himself. Trejo was in HeatFrom Dusk Till DawnCon Air, Desperado, Anaconda, xXx and of course, Spy Kids. He then followed that up by finally getting the lead in two of the best pulpy B-Level action flicks in Machete and Machete Kills. 

But Arnie, well…he’s Arnie. Spanning from 1982 until 1994, he has starred in Conan the Barbarian, Conan the Destroyer, The Terminator, Red Sonja, Commando, Raw Deal, Predator, The Running Man, Red Heat, Total Recall, Terminator 2, Last Action Hero and True Lies. So…yeah.


16. Nicolas Cage vs 17. Robert De Niro

While Nicolas Cage is now the king of ‘Straight-to-DVD’, he had a pretty impressive string of films until he spent all of his money on castles, a deserted island and a shrunken head collection (those are all true by the way). In the 90’s he had The Rock, Con Air, Face/Off, Snake Eyes, 8MM and Bringing Out The Dead. He followed that up with Gone in Sixty Seconds and two National Treasure movies…an impressive run to be sure. He also rocks the fuck out of a mullet and I will hear no arguments on the matter.

De Niro is a legend in the game, however when you think of him, you don’t really think action star. A star, sure. With absolute classics like The Godfather 2, GoodFellas, Casino and nearly every other gangster movie there is, you cannot say he isn’t a star. But when it comes to action, De Niro can’t compete using the size of his resume. What he can do though is use Heat, one of the greatest action movies in history which boasts THE greatest gun fight in movie history.


9. Jackie Chan vs 24. Kurt Russell

Some people may disagree but I believe Jackie Chan is the reason martial arts movies ended up becoming a mainstream thing for a while in the early 00’s. Yes, other actors may have had bigger influences overall, but Jackie made that shit mainstream. Hell, he managed to cash in by releasing a bunch of family friendly martial arts movies. Of course there is the Rush Hour trilogy but he also had a bunch of others, culminating in the very confusing remake of The Karate Kid in which he doesn’t use karate. But don’t blame Jackie Chan for Will Smith forcing his talentless son on us all…

Much like Bob De Niro, Kurt Russell isn’t the first name that comes to mind when you hear the term ‘action star’. However, Russell is the owner of one of, if not THE coolest action heroes in movie history with Snake Plissken, the protagonist from Escape From New York and Escape From L.A.. He had a very underrated action movie career with some lowkey bangers like Big Trouble in Little China, Tango & Cash and Tombstone.


8. Bruce Lee vs 25. Chuck Norris


I’ll start off by saying I promise, this was not rigged in any way, shape or form. This is fate, divine intervention, or just the power of Chuck Norris and the Total Gym. Whatever it is, here we are, the best first round matchup. Enter the Dragon vs Lone Wolf McQuadeGame of Death vs Code of Silence, hell…motherfucking Way of the Dragon!! This is a battle for the ages and it’s the first round!

One of these men influenced EVERY martial arts actor, so with no Bruce Lee, there is no Jackie Chan or Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh or Zhang Ziyi and probably even no Steven Seagal or Jean-Claude Van Damme. Lee might be the most influential man in the history of the action movie business. On the other hand, you have the powerhouse behind infomercials. Seriously, those Total Gym infomercials have been running since I can remember. He is also the man, myth and legend…the subject of those memes…you know the ones. The Chuck Norris meme lasted way longer than it probably should have and that is due to the legend behind the bearded tough guy. Whichever way you vote for this matchup, there is no wrong answer. But just know, when the Boogeyman goes to sleep, he checks under his bed for Chuck Norris.


So there you have it for the first set of polls. Make sure to follow Carlmyself, and of course the Sportcodex account. And be sure to vote on the upcoming polls and retweet the fuck out of them.