Action movies are able to get away with a lot if they get a few key aspects right, such as delivering intense, explosion-filled set-pieces, and some cracking one-liners never hurt anyone. Nuance appears occasionally in the best films of the genre, but generally we don’t expect it as far as story or characterisation goes, and most of the time, the sheer bombast makes up for that. What we need to drive all the action home is a strong protagonist, and the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger has proven time and time again that you don’t even need to be a particularly good actor; you just need to have the right look and actually convince us that you’d be able to handle yourself in real life, which is something that the 10 below actors positively failed to do.
Many of these cases are the failure of the casting department, but we can’t help but suspect there’s a few egos floating around of actors who think they’re up to something that they clearly are not. Here are the 10 most ludicrously unconvincing action stars in film history.
10. Zoe Saldana – Colombiana
We have to give Zoe Saldana some props, because she’s a good actress and on the surface of it, she’s got the chops to pull off a film that mixes the emotional heartbreak of a tragic past with some pressing concerns that require very different acting skills altogether. Zoe Saldana can emote, she’s sexy as Hell, and she’s clearly in peak physical fitness, but that doesn’t mean she’s a convincing action hero, and given the big lugs she has to fight against in this film, it is rarely convincing for more than a few minutes at a time that she could be this kick-ass, Leon-inspired assassin. When she’s facing off against her larger enemies, it’s thoroughly unconvincing that she would ever be able to defeat them pound for pound, given her waifish frame, despite an undeniably committed turn from the actress (hence her not appearing further down the list).
This is an inherent problem with many female-driven action films; we need to cast someone like Angelina Jolie or better yet, Gina Carano, who are both far more convincing in terms of physical prowess and the all-important intimidation factor. Oh, and in Saldana’s case, the sucky script didn’t help her at all.
This article was first posted on December 14, 2012