There's no two ways about it -- a set of finely sculpted abs or a proclivity for crashing expensive cars can go a long way in making people forget that every once in a while, an action star is actually a legitimate actor in his or her own right. Sure, right now you can only see them firing off guns and one-liners with alarming alacrity, but that's just something they fell into. Maybe they went to acting school. They do Shakespeare in between blockbusters. They insist that someday they'd really like to direct, citing their affinity for Billy Wilder or King Vidor. Today's action films require so little from their stars in terms of acting. Oftentimes an intensive workout regimen, a willingness to do stunt work, and a certain steely-eyed glare will do the trick. So it's easy to forget that these high octane action stars throwing themselves off a building are frequently capable of so much more, and can turn in subtle, nuanced performances when the occasion arises. The actors on this list fall into two categories: the action star whose dramatic work has been overshadowed by their forays into the blockbuster genre, and young up-and-coming stars who have the potential to transition into more dramatic films.
Audrey Fox is an ex-film student, which means that she prefers to spend her days in the dark, watching movies and pondering the director's use of diegetic sound. She currently works as an entertainment writer, joyfully rambling about all things film and television related. Add her on Twitter at @audonamission and check out her film blog at 1001moviesandbeyond.com.