The Damn Rankings: Explained
One question that has plagued the internet since its inception is who is the greatest action star of all time. A fair question in its own right, but with a such a grand spectrum of actions movies, how can we judge these icons of film? Well I have devised a four elements that I am judging action stars based upon. Would you like to know what the criteria is? Well let’s take a look:
1. Screen Presence: This one is simple. How does the star appear on screen? A good example of this would be based upon the 1985 classic Commando. We have Arnold Schwartzenegger one on side, ripped, looking like a boss. And then opposite him, the steam-filled Vernon Wells as the infamous Bennett. And with this I don’t mean to say every action star needs to look like 1985 Arnold, or NOT look like 1985 Vernon Wells (I think this blog post is the most times Vernon’s name has been used in a long time) as much as it means that action stars need to stand out in the world he’s in.
2. Machismo: The original working title I had for this category was ‘One Line Execution’ but to me that doesn’t handle it right. There’s a lot of notoriously terrible one liners (should Vernon Wells be brought back into this?) that are delivered so stupidly, with such lack of any true acting ability, that they are utterly ballsy. Now in that same vein we have legitimate screen actors who appear in several action movies (Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise, Matt Damon, etc.) who aren’t necessarily handed goofy one liners, but still deliver that…machismo. So to summarize, this is the badass-ery of the action star. If screen presence is how they fit into the movie, machismo is how the movie fits them (see Dwayne Johnson’s entire filmography).
3. Fight Prowess: Simple. How does said action star stand in fights. And I don’t mean ‘does he win?’ I mean moreso, does he belong there in the first place (oh hey Vernon Wells).
4. Overall DAMN Factor: This is a bit of an average of all of those with a twist. The DAMN factor is based on the visceral reactions these stars give in movies. How many times do they do something that makes me as a viewer go ‘DAMN!’ and possibly rewind it several times? You can be the worst action star of all time but one badass moment that makes me go ‘WOW’ gets you credit in my book.
So that explains what goes into the rankings…a few more bullet point notes before I start actually reviewing movies…
-I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what types of movies fall into the action category. Do the Rush Hour and Beverly Hills Cop series count because they are action/comedies? Does the Indiana Jones quadrilogy count because it’s action/adventure? Do war movies count? Do straight up spoof movies like Black Dynamite count? Do kung fu and sci-fi fall under the action umbrella? And my answer is this: I’ll watch these movies and make the call. If I stayed solely in the ‘action’ genre I’d get bored. I will certainly take movies that are action heavy with real plots and legitimate directors into account, but I might avoid some sub-genres altogether so this blog doesn’t get too broad (Spider-Man is action heavy, but how does he fit in the rankings next to the Hulk?).
-Recommend me flicks! I have a handful of movies that I want to review, but when presented with cool movies I may have never heard of, I may jump to those instead of all of Vernon Wells’ filmography.
-Sorry Vernon, for saying your name so many times in this post!
Want to hear a spoiler for what my first reviewed movie is? It rhymes with Plexplendible.