And we’re back again for some more bracket madness. Today we will look at the final first round matchups of the men’s bracket. As always, follow us on Twitter to keep up with the action. To quote a famous Italian plumber, let’s a-go!
3. Clint Eastwood vs 30. Daniel Craig
Uncle Clint without a doubt has the longest action career in this entire bracket, starting with A Fistful of Dollars in 1964 up until The Mule just two years ago in 2018. That kind of longevity is the stuff legends are made of and Clint certainly is one. Most action stars need a catchy name for their characters, but not Clint. Not only does he go only by the preacher in Pale Rider, he literally has a whole trilogy known as ‘The Man with no name’ trilogy. Now that’s bad ass. Fun fact: Clint was nearly cast in a Batman film know as The Dark Knight Returns where Bruce Wayne comes out of retirement. Guess who would’ve played the Joker in this film…none other than David Bowie!
When you think of James Bond, you usually think of a suave man downing martinis and bedding beautiful women with names full of innuendo, but you don’t always compare to ass-kickery, especially in Roger Moore’s case as the dude was way too old, but that’s a rant for another day. Now Daniel Craig took the character to a new level in 2006’s Casino Royale, bringing a more violent and ultimately bad ass take to the Bond character. But Daniel Craig is more than just James Bond; he was in the original Tomb Raider movie, has played a gangster in both Road to Perdition and Layer Cake, and has kicked it in fantasy worlds from The Golden Compass and Aliens and Cowboys. The dude is an out-and-out bad ass.
14. Jet Li vs 19. Jean-Claude Van Damme
Jet Li is Hong Kong royalty much like fellow bracket participants Jackie Chan and Chow Yun-Fat, and much like the former, Li had a modicum of success in the mainstream market with hits like Romeo Must Die, Cradle 2 The Grave, The One and The Expendables trilogy. He even had one of his Hong Kong films, Hero do well in the US as well. So while he didn’t have the longevity of Jackie Chan, Li is still an action movie superstar.
Speaking of superstars, there was few bigger in the late 80’s/early 90’s than the muscles from Brussels, Jean-Claude Van Damme. The thing about JCVD was he had a natural star power. His acting skills were poor, unless it involved him kicking ass, and if we’re being completely honest, none of his movies are really that good. “Fuck you! Bloodsport is great.” I hear you, but really, minus the fight scenes, that movie is stupid as all hell. However, Van Damme made a hell of a career despite the lack of a truly great action film and that says something about the man.
11. Jason Statham vs 22. Steven Seagal
Jason Statham, the former olympic diver (it’s true, look it up) turned bad ass action star started off as a Guy Ritchie staple, making his debut in Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and appearing as a bad guy in all of his films before The Transporter launched him to fame. Nobody is going to mix him up with an Academy Award winning actor, but not many people can pull off the old man haircut like Statham and really, what’s more impressive? Winning an Oscar or doing a flip in a car while there is a bomb underneath said car, catching the bomb on a random hook that is above you whilst doing the flip then landing the car perfectly and driving away to safety? I rest my case.
Now, speaking of made-up stories, we get to Steven Seagal, a man accused of making up plenty of stories about his own fighting prowess. Nonetheless, the man made a great career of not doing much but still making awesome action movies like Under Siege. If Van Damme made B-Level action movies, Seagal’s are at about a D or E-Level. However, I find them enjoyable as hell. Well, that is until the shit he has been making since his mate Putin made him a Russian citizen because he “allegedly” was facing legal troubles in the US. Any of those movies are complete and utter horseshit and shouldn’t be watched by anyone ever.
6. Keanu Reeves vs 27. Liam Neeson
There is something special about Keanu Reeves. The dude has made iconic action movies in three separate decades; Point Break and Speed in the 90’s, The Matrix trilogy in the 00’s and the John Wick trilogy in the 10’s. In fact, the latter has spawned (or at least popularised) a new subgenre known as “Gun-Fu” and rightly so as the three films feature some of the slickest choreographed gun fights I’ve ever seen. Seriously. There’s something to say when the nicest man in Hollywood could also believably kill a room full of gun-toting bad guys.
Liam Neeson hasn’t had a long-spanning action career. In fact, he didn’t make Taken, the film responsible for giving the man this new persona until he was 55 years old. But since then, the Irish man has reinvented himself, becoming a bad ass action star who you would never dream of wronging because he has a very particular special set of skills, skills he has acquired over a very long career. Skills that make him a nightmare for people like you. If you leave him be that’ll be the end of it. He will not look for you, he will not pursue you, but if you don’t, he will look for you, he will find you and he will kill you.
Another day in the books and another day closer to finding Sportcodex’s first ever Bad Ass Action Star bracket champion! As always follow along with us on Twitter. Peace!