*Those of us who grew up burning out our eyeballs on endless repeats of cheesy 1980s action movies are diggin’ on the new Expendables sequel with the eager eyes and wagging tongues of children at Christmas time.
Sadly, though, there are some of you out there who weren’t raised on a steady diet of bullets, spandex, explosions and cheesy one-liners, and have missed out on all of these cinematic treasures. Not to worry – we’ve compiled our picks for the Expendables stars’ very best action films.
BRUCE WILLIS – There’s only one answer. Die Hard was, and is the perfect action film; if you haven’t experienced it, drop what you’re doing immediately and purchase it. Its second sequel, Die Hard With a Vengeance, is also worth a watch.
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER – Terminator 2 is not only one of the greatest action films ever made, it’s also groundbreaking – a new peak in SFX technology pioneered by James Cameron. It’s Auhnold’s finest hour.
JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME – 2008′s intriguing JCVD was one of the more fascinating films released that year, starring the normally-wooden Belgian as a hard-luck version of himself caught in a real-life robbery. Check out the praise Time heaped upon it.
CHUCK NORRIS – Forget the cookie-cutter Walker: Texas Ranger stuff; the Missing in Action movies are grade-A pieces of hearty, shoot-’em-up action cheese. The first two are passable and watchable Rambo knockoffs.
JET LI – Li hasn’t really made a great American action film yet, so we’ll go overseas to recommend the rather awesome Hong Kong karate actioner Fist of Legend. Ignore the rather bland Hollywood sequels he’s done over here (Lethal Weapon IV and the third Mummy movie).
JASON STATHAM – The closest thing to a new-generation action star we have, Statham also has good bit of acting talent to go with that ridiculous physicality. You could stick with the always-entertaining Transporter series or the Mini Cooper-loving The Italian Job, but the excellent English production The Bank Job (based on a true story) remains his best film.
SYLVESTER STALLONE – The later few movies in the Rambo series devolved into silly, bullet-flying, explosion-blasting action set pieces, but the first film actually has some pretty interesting Vietnam-war aftermath themes going on in it. It’s still Stallone’s best, and most complete, action film.
TERRY CREWS – Between this and his Sorkin-tackling turn on The Newsroom, this really is the summer of Crews. His career’s really just starting to take off … so we’ll use this space to recommend the original Expendables, as fun as a modern action movie could be.