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Top 10 Actors Who Tried and Failed in Action Movies

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by George Pacheco Some actors were born to be action heroes, but some tried and completely failed in their attempts to be the next big action star! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Actors Who Failed At Being Action Stars! But who will take the top spot on our list? Will it be Shaquille O’Neal in Steel, Seth Rogen from the Green Hornet, or Jay Leno from Collision Course? Watch to find out! Big thanks to Victor Gustavson and ninou78 for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Actors+who+tried+and+failed+in+Action-Movies

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They came, they saw, they fell flat on their face. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Actors Who Tried and Failed in Action Movies.

For this list, we’re ranking the actors - or celebrities with acting aspirations - whose attempts at action movie gold fell short of bronze. For the record, we’re not saying all of these movies are bad, but rather taking a lighthearted look at actors whose translation into the action movie world was generally seen by the public as... “debatable”.

#10: Alicia Silverstone
“Batman & Robin” (1997)

This legendary superohero bust stalled many careers when it was released back in 1997, with “Batman and Robin” effectively halting any hopes co-star Alicia Silverstone might have had about a career in action movies. The film’s ultra-campy tone and overtly jokey execution effectively killed the “Batman” franchise for years as well, with Silverstone’s performance as “Batgirl” adding little, if anything to the proceedings. It’d be unfair to lay the blame for “Batman and Robin”’s failure solely on Silverstone – there’s plenty of blame to go around, after all – but this doesn’t change the fact that the actress just didn’t seem cut out for the action movie game.

#9: Pamela Anderson
“Barb Wire” (1996)

“Barb Wire” knew exactly what it was when it was released back in 1996: male teenage fantasy fodder featuring Pamela Anderson, lots of guns and some very big explosions. The film was based upon a Dark Horse comic book series, with Anderson playing the role of the ...titular... heroine. The film didn’t please audiences or critics, however, with many pointing to Anderson’s one-note performance and dry delivery as sticking points in this box office bomb. Still, “Barb Wire” is fun enough when you’re in the right mood, but Anderson would fail to achieve any sort of action movie success in the wake of its release.

#8: Brian Bosworth
“Stone Cold” (1991)

Those searching for some action movie lunacy need look no further than 1991’s “Stone Cold,” an enjoyably ridiculous collection of tough guy clichés starring the one and only Brian Bosworth. Bosworth had previously made his name in the NFL, but “Stone Cold” was supposed to be his breakout role in the action movie mainstream. Fans and critics didn’t flock to “The Boz,” however, and “Stone Cold” flopped at the box office. B movie fans did later latch onto the film on home video, but Bosworth’s star never truly ignited, although the former Seattle Seahawk still acts on the indie scene to this day.

#7: Taylor Lautner
“Abduction” (2011) & “Tracers” (2015)

Oh, Taylor Lautner, we know you’re trying hard to escape from your “Twilight” past. But the actor’s performances in the 2011 film “Abduction” and 2015’s “Tracers” are just that: attempts. “Abduction” was Lautner’s first proper crack at action movie stardom as an adult, and received scathing reviews concerning the actor’s wooden performance and lack of charisma. “Tracers” unfortunately didn’t fare much better, with Lautner implausibly starring as a bike messenger who ends up running with a parkour gang in New York City. The time may come when, “Taylor,” finally becomes an actual action movie heavyweight, but it’ll definitely take better movies than these to get the job done.

#6: Ice Cube
“xXx: State of the Union” (2005)

Not even Ice Cube could save the “xXx” franchise in 2005, when the rapper-turned-actor decided fill the shoes vacated by Vin Diesel. To be fair, “xXx: State of the Union” did bring back a small return against its sixty million dollar budget, but critics were split on Cube’s performance as an action hero, while fans mourned the loss of Diesel from the franchise. They would get their wish over a decade later, however, with “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” reigniting the film series, bringing both Cube and Diesel back for another round.

#5: Tyler Perry
“Alex Cross” (2012)

You can respect writer, actor and director Tyler Perry for attempting to try something new by taking part in the 2012 film “Alex Cross.” It couldn’t have been easy for Perry to step into a role that was not only based on a beloved book series by James Patterson, but had also been previously portrayed on screen by Morgan Freeman. Fans of Perry’s “Medea” franchise, however, stayed away from “Alex Cross,” and the film ended up as both a critical and commercial failure, despite Perry’s best intentions.

#4: Chris Klein
“Rollerball” (2002)

Remaking a cult classic usually isn’t the best idea, especially when the film was as niche as the 1975 sci-fi oddity “Rollerball.” That movie starred Hollywood heavyweight James Caan, however, while viewers of the 2002 version were forced to settle for “American Pie” actor Chris Klein. The “Rollerball” remake was panned by fans and critics alike, mainly because it lacked the kitsch ‘70s cool and socio-political themes of the original. Klein’s performance in the film was considered “bland,” and not up to snuff when compared to the charisma Caan brought to the role over 25 years earlier.

#3: Seth Rogen
“The Green Hornet” (2011)

This masked crime fighter possesses a proud pedigree dating all the way back to his debut in radio in the 1930s. The Green Hornet was set for a big budget reboot back in 2011, with the very unlikely Seth Rogen in the lead. Critics immediately picked up on Rogen’s performance in the film, calling the actor out for being miscast. The film did big money with fans at first, but sharply dropped off after a boffo opening weekend, as negative word of mouth soon spread about “The Green Hornet” and its less-than-convincing hero. In 2013, Rogen himself referred to working on the film as a “nightmare.”

#2: Shaquille O’Neal
“Steel” (1997)

The late nineties were a rough time for the superhero movie genre, and a long way away from the early 21st century’s big budget action spectaculars. Enter basketball star Shaquille O’Neal and his disastrous turn as the DC comic book hero known as “Steel.” There’s a thick layer of cheese here, a fact that isn’t helped much by O’Neal’s less-than-commanding performance in the lead role of John Henry Irons. This is a shame, because it would’ve been great to see DC’s Steel up there on the big screen, especially if the filmmakers had explored his place in the Superman universe. One thing’s for sure: any sort of “Steel” reboot should stay very far, far away from the Shaq man.

#1: Jay Leno
“Collision Course” (1989)

The question that’s you’re probably asking yourself is: “Wait, what? Jay Leno was in an action movie?” Well, incredibly, the answer to that is “yes,” and his co-star was “The Karate Kid’s” own Pat Morita! The film in question was “Collision Course,” and it featured an “East meets West” duo of cops trying to track down a stolen Japanese turbocharger in Detroit. Director Lewis Teague and crew had attempted to finish the film in 1989, but budgetary issues caused “Collision Course” to sit on the shelf until 1992, when it was quietly released on VHS.

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