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Top 10 New Action Heroes

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Jaime Leslie Make way for another generation of Expendables. Join WatchMojo.comsuggest down our picks for the Top 10 New Action Heroes. For this list, we'll be taking a look at actors associated with the action genre that broke big as action stars after 2005, although they don’t have to solely be known for action roles. Special thanks to our user erick palacios for submitting the idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest!
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Script written by Jaime Leslie

Top 10 New Action Heroes


Make way for another generation of Expendables. Join WatchMojo.comsuggest down our picks for the Top 10 New Action Heroes.
For this list, we’ll be taking a look at actors associated with the action genre that broke big as action stars after 2005, although they don’t have to solely be known for action roles.

#10: Chris Pratt

This actor gives hope to anyone aspiring to be a huge action star. During his stint on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” no one would’ve suspected this comedic talent to be Hollywood’s new “it-man” for popular action movie franchises. It’s fair to say Pratt had audiences’ attention from his impressive transformation for Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” yet he only solidified his spot on the A-list with his spectacular performance in “Jurassic World.” After taking down intergalactic aliens and velociraptors, we can only imagine what’s next for the multi-talented actor.

#9: Zoe Saldana

You didn’t think Pratt took down those intergalactic aliens alone now, did you? One would be sorely mistaken to count out this female action star. While Saldana has been no stranger to sci-fi franchises, the actress has demonstrated her ability to hold her own in action thriller roles that require an immense amount of physicality. It also helps that Saldana appears to be in the best shape of her life, giving her unlimited versatility in her various roles.

#8: Channing Tatum

Almost any actor can be trained to do his own stunts, but not just any actor can look this good doing them. Tatum has successfully convinced fans he can do a bit more than dance and look pretty, as he can also look pretty while holding a gun and kicking some ass. It also helps that the actor embodies what we all really want to see in an action hero. Tatum’s action roles have ranged from comedy to serious thrillers, and in neither has he managed to disappoint.

#7: Tom Hardy

Few actors can beat the crap out of Batman and live to tell the tale. Hardy has shot his way up the list to become Hollywood’s go-to badass for major action films, while also proving there is almost no one he can’t take down. In addition, the British actor has demonstrated he’s more than just brawn, as he’s often thrown into complex roles with heavy cerebral backgrounds. There’s no limit to what form Hardy can take, as we’ve seen him slim down to play a charming thief and bulk up to insane proportions for his more heavy-set characters.

#6: Scarlett Johansson

Selling a female-centric action thriller can be tough, but apparently not when you’re this star-studded starlet. Johansson stands as Hollywood’s living and breathing proof women can be just as capable, if not more so, in action hero roles than men. She has effectively broken stereotypes, along with some hearts, in her various femme-fatale roles. The actress is also heralded for not using her natural beauty as a crutch on screen, as her kick-ass persona often overshadows this quality. Now can we please get that Black Widow movie?

#5: Jeremy Renner

Some of our generation’s biggest action heroes prefer to reside outside the spotlight. Renner’s silent climb up Hollywood’s ladder has been successful thanks to his supporting roles in huge action franchises. Whether he’s holding a bow and arrow or a gun, he’s likely to be just as convincing. Renner was a bit older when he broke as an action star than some, but that has continuously given him opportunities to play more seasoned and mature action roles. And this apparently seems to be a new endearing trend in the industry.

#4: Liam Neeson

Oh, and that new trend by the way, can all be credited to this guy. Neeson singlehandedly made dads cool again in modern cinema with “Taken.” Not many actors become a commodity in the action genre after age 40. However, Neeson did so as he approached 60, making him a hot commodity in the industry. While the experienced actor hasn’t always dominated the thriller genre, his credits have been littered with them since 2008, proving that America may never truly get tired of the man with a very particular set of skills.

#3: Daniel Craig

We can’t trust just any actor to uphold the legacy of James Bond. However, Daniel Craig had us sold from his debut. There may be no other actionfranchise that’s as coveted as the 007 series, which makes it all the more impressive to see Craig become this generation’s definitive Bond. The iconic role has also granted the British actor all the credentials required for any action hero role her may take on, considering his training in martial arts, parkour, and proper gentlemanly etiquette.

#2: Jennifer Lawrence

Becoming an action hero requires a bit more than a built body and good looks, as you also have to possess likability. Audiences enjoy Lawrence in her action roles for the same reason they enjoy her as an actress: she’s completely relatable. Whether she’s clearing an entire room of enemy soldiers, or caught between a rock and a hard place, Lawrence’s acting ability allows viewers to sympathize. It has also allowed her to carry the successful “Hunger Games” franchise and rule the box office.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Chris Pine
- Michael Jai White
- Jason Momoa
- Iko Uwais
- Anthony Mackie

#1: Dwayne Johnson

We’d call him Hollywood’s leading man, but based on the stunts we’ve seen him pull off, “man” might just be a potential understatement. From professional wrestler to movie star almost overnight, Johnson may’ve had small roles in one or two action flicks prior to 2005, but since then he’s successfully dominated the action scene with no signs of slowing down. In addition to Johnson’s herculean physique, he possesses a rigid presence and dazzling smile that demands attention on screen. There’s no doubt that fans will be smelling exactly what The Rock is cooking for many years to come.

Do you agree with our list? What actor do you think is our next action hero? For more awesome Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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