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The 10 All Time Greatest Action Movie Stars According To Ranker

Few things get the blood of an avid action cinema aficionado pumping like a solid popcorn flick offering starring their favorite actor or actress. Whether they’re an old school western antihero like Clint Eastwood or a new generation crime thriller staple like Jason Statham, the best action stars are often identified by box office draw, familiar serialized characters, pop culture impact, and good old fashioned raw charisma.

It’s hard to narrow down the action field with so many stellar contenders from both classic and modern eras, but pollsters over at Ranker have given it a go.

Chuck Norris
A picture of Chuck Norris in his early career is shown.

Chuck Norris is a vaunted American icon, having served in the U.S. Air Force and mastered no less than three martial arts, eventually forming his school of fighting, Chun Kuk Do. He first appeared on the martial arts movie scene starring alongside Bruce Lee in Way of the Dragon. Norris then followed it up in several famous martial arts B movies including The Octagon, Lone Wolf McQuade, Delta Force, and the Missing in Action trilogy. However, he’s perhaps most famously known for his television role of Walker, Texas Ranger.

Related: 10 Best Intelligent Action Movies According To Ranker

Norris became wildly popular due to his understated and straightforward acting techniques coupled with his superior fighting skills, and his works have achieved cult status in the United States, having their unique niche among blue-collar action entertainment offerings.

Harrison Ford
A picture of Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones is shown.

For fans who grew up in the seventies and eighties, very few actors get the action star accolades that Harrison Ford does. In just over a decade, Ford gave the world two of its most iconic movie heroes in the roles of Han Solo in the Star Wars trilogy and Indiana Jones in the Indiana Jones trilogy. Ford’s portrayals of hapless antiheroes became the stuff of legend.

Related: 5 Ways Attack Of The Clones Isn’t As Bad As People Say (And 5 Ways It Is)

His grizzled charisma and charming, swashbuckling demeanor entrenched his position in the cinematic empires of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Few cinema fans remember the 1980s without fondly recalling Harrison Ford’s against-all-odds escapades.

Jason Statham
jason statham redemption hummingbird

Jason Statham launched his action movie career via Guy Ritchie’s crime capers Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, and went on to help resurrect the dormant action genre in the early 2000s and 2010s with an array of hard-hitting modern action movies like The Transporter series, The Mechanic series, The Italian Job, the Death Race reboot, and Crank.

He hit franchise gold with Stallone’s Expendables series and is perhaps best known for his recurring role as Deckard Shaw in The Fast and the Furious series. Statham is now a staple of 21st-century action films and his rugged good looks and considerable martial art abilities propel him to action star heights, his tough-guy roles are often Machiavellian ne’er do wells with hearts of gold.

Clint Eastwood
Harry Callhan pointing a gun in Dirty Harry.

Clint Eastwood is more or less the godfather of action films. Still going strong at 90 years of age with his most recent offering Cry Macho, Eastwood established himself as the watermark of the entire genre with his spaghetti western Man With No Name roles in the Sergio Leone trilogy and as his less than sympathetic cop Harry Callahan in the Dirty Harry series, and went on to star in tent pole action films like The Outlaw Josey Wales, Escape from Alcatraz, Heartbreak Ridge, High Plains Drifter, and In the Line of Fire. He took home three Oscars for Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Actor for Unforgiven.

Related: 10 Coolest Movie Roles Of Clint Eastwood’s Career

Eastwood grounded himself as an iconic actor showcasing American machismo at its heart-pounding apex. While some of his works haven’t quite held up in perpetuity because of their era-dependent trappings of toxic masculinity, there’s no question Eastwood showcases hero-savior trope bravado in its most audience-appealing form.

Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves in John Wick 3

Keanu Reeves became a brightly burning star early in his career with standout performances in genre-specific pieces like My Own Private Idaho, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and Dangerous Liaisons. Yet it was his rise in the action genre which catapulted him to international acclaim, first starring in action classics like Point Break and Speed, like Neo in The Matrix series, and then Reeves accepted one of his best roles as John Wick, which launched a  popular action franchise trilogy with two more sequels currently on the way.

Ranker voters likely see Reeves much as the rest of movie fandom, a charismatic yet humble actor assuming savior and assassin mantles as easily as his rom-com roles. His easy-going likability and well-known propensity for treating fans and crew members with dignity only solidify his high rank among the greatest action stars.

Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis as John McClane in Live Free or Die Hard

No action movie ranked list would be complete without Bruno in the top ten. Willis started his acting career as the wisecracking David Addison in the television series Moonlighting, but it was 1988’s Die Hard that propelled him to action star legend.

Related: 10 Most Iconic Bruce Willis Movie Quotes

As perpetually battered police detective John McClane, he managed to buck Stallone-Schwarzenegger’s bodybuilder trends and fortify himself as an all-time great in five different Die Hard films as well as several classic action movies like The Last Boy Scout, Pulp Fiction, The Fifth Element, Sin City, 12 Monkeys, and Looper. Willis’ working-class swagger and down-on-his-luck grit became a signature charisma for the affable actor. All that plus pinpoint accurate comic timing makes Willis an all-time great.

Bruce Lee
A picture of Bruce Lee in his iconic yellow jumpsuit is shown.

Bruce Lee may well be the most famous martial arts movie star of all time. The Hong-Kong American actor was first utilized in the role of Kato in the television series The Green Hornet. Lee went on to star in five of the most acclaimed martial arts movies of the seventies, including The Big Boss, Fists of Fury, Way of the Dragon, Enter the Dragon, and Game of Death.

Enter the Dragon is commonly regarded as the best martial arts movie ever made. Lee’s portrayal of a reluctant antihero showcased the softer nuances of his underrated acting chops behind all the thrilling action movie sequences. He is often credited as the man who opened the door on modern mixed martial arts for the entire cinematic landscape, and hardcore martial art fans lament his early demise to this day.

Jackie Chan

Chan has appeared in over 150 films and is often thought of as the most recognized action star on the planet, with his immense popularity in both the Western and Eastern hemispheres. His most well-known films include the Rush Hour series with Chris Tucker, Supercop, Police Story, Rumble in the Bronx, and Shanghai Noon, and he also voices Monkey in the popular Kung Fu Panda series.

Chan’s claim to fame lay less in his considerable martial arts skills showcasing a more acrobatic fighting style and more in his congenial stage presence. Known for his natural comedic timing as well as his signature moves of using improved weaponry and unique stunt work, Chan made an indelible mark in the history of the action genre.

Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone Cobra TV series

Stallone’s cinematic catalog may be the most cited and quoted among the genre’s more ardent fans. Sly has been thrilling audiences since 1974’s The Lords of Flatbush and went on to star in infamous action flicks like Nighthawks, Cliffhanger, Cobra, and Get Carter. He is of course most noted for his portrayals of Rocky Balboa and John Rambo in the Rocky and Rambo series, and later in his career as Barney Ross in the Expendables series.

Stallone’s Hardcase screen persona often emulated and parodied, frequently offset his quiet vulnerabilities as a regular guy kind of man struggling to stay afloat in intensely adverse situations. His performances in Rocky and First Blood have become American rites of passage.

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger as Conan the Barbarian holding a sword

Ranker fans put Arnie at number one and there’s little question as to why. Schwarzenegger has delivered some of the most celebrated action pieces of all time, starting with his legendary appearance in Conan the Barbarian and moving into cinematic legend by taking the villain role in James Cameron’s The Terminator, launching a franchise that would win the world over with its haunting Judgment Day sci-fi time travel tropes.

Schwarzenegger invoked the absolute Alpha Male hero in classic modern B movies like Commando, Predator, Total Recall, The Running Man, Kindergarten Cop, and True Lies. Though it was slow going at first with his clipped language and underdeveloped acting skills, Schwarzenegger eventually came into his own and exuded an alluring yet commanding screen presence. Nobody does act like the Governator.

NEXT: 10 Underrated Action Movies Of The 2010s Ranked By IMDb

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Fast & Furious 11 Release Delay & Filming Start Date Confirmed By Director


Fast and Furious 11
is facing a release date delay to Summer 2026 due to strikes, with director Louis Leterrier confirming the sequel will not be hitting its April 4, 2025 date.
Leterrier also confirms that filming starts in Fall 2025 after finishing a horror movie in September.
The final installment in the
Fast Saga
reunites Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto for one last ride, while also leaving the door open for other spinoffs.

After facing multiple delays due to the 2023 SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America strikes, Fast and Furious 11 is seeing its release date delayed. The next installment in the Vin Diesel-fronted franchise is expected to be the last mainline sequel, while development continues on the Dwayne Johnson-led spinoff Hobbs & Reyes, a mysterious standalone movie penned by Fast X’s Zach Dean and a potential female-led spinoff. While a filming start date was never confirmed, Universal had previously set the movie for an April 2025 release date.

During a recent interview with Collider at a CCXP MX panel, Louis Leterrier was asked for an update on Fast and Furious 11. The director went on to confirm that the final mainline installment in the action franchise will no longer be making its April 4, 2025 release date, instead now aiming for a Summer 2026 release window with the filming start date being set for this fall. Check out what Leterrier said below:

It’s happening. It’s happening very, very soon. I’m able to shoot a little horror movie this summer. I’m finishing my horror movie on September 15th, and I start Fast on September 16th.

Will Fast 11’s Multiple Delays Help Or Hurt The Sequel?

Much like the tenth film before it, Fast and Furious 11 has faced a few behind-the-scenes hardships in its road to getting off the ground, namely the delays stemming from the 2023 strikes. While the latest movie seems to have retained its core creative team in comparison to the shift in directors from franchise vet Justin Lin to Leterrier on Fast X after reported creative differences between the former and Diesel, this change didn’t seem to help much with the continued downward trend recent sequels have seen from critics. Check out how the franchise’s Rotten Tomatoes scores compare below:

Title RT Critical Score RT Audience Score The Fast and the Furious 54% 74% 2 Fast 2 Furious 37% 50% The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift 37% 69% Fast & Furious 28% 67% Fast Five 78% 83% Fast & Furious 6 71% 84% Furious 7 81% 82% The Fate of the Furious 67% 72% Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw 67% 88% F9: The Fast Saga 59% 82% Fast X 56% 84%

Even looking outside the Fast and Furious franchise, many movie sequels have found themselves hurt by various delays, be they from creative changes, general release shifts or other factors. The action genre in particular is one in which lengthier development periods can lead to diminishing returns, be it A Good Day to Die Hard, Rambo: Last Blood or Diesel’s own xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. While Fast and Furious 11 may only be getting pushed back by a year, the delay is nonetheless a concern that the final installment could find itself in trouble.

Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) looking angry with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) looking unimpressed in Fast & Furious

Related 10 Most Exciting Things To Expect From Fast 11 Fast & Furious 11 will pull all the strings to become bigger than the previous installments, and here is why the film is worth being excited about.

On the other hand, the longer wait for Fast and Furious 11 to close out the mainline series of movies could actually prove beneficial for the sequel. Though Leterrier may be busy with another project in the lead-up to filming the next installment, writers Oren Uziel and Christina Hodson should now have more than enough time to really look back at the script and ensure it learns from the critical missteps of recent installments to deliver a satisfying conclusion to the Dominic Toretto saga.

Source: Collider

Fast and Furious 11 temp poster Fast and Furious 11 Fast and Furious 11 is the final movie in the Fast Saga. It reunites Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto with the rest of the cast for one last ride. However, the franchise is open for spinoff films like Hobbs & Shaw afterward.Director Louis Leterrier Release Date April 4, 2025 Distributor(s) Universal Pictures Writers Christina Hodson , Oren Uziel

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Vin Diesel Already Has His Perfect Fast & Furious Replacement Franchise With 51-Year-Old Remake


Vin Diesel’s dominance in Fast & Furious is ending, but Kojak could kick off a new action franchise for him.
Kojak’s reboot faces an uncertain future, but its similarity to Fast & Furious makes it a worthy project for Diesel.
Diesel’s potential shift from criminal racer to cop signifies a fresh start in a possible Fast & Furious-like series.

Vin Diesel’s days of playing Dominic Toretto are numbered, but the actor has already found his perfect Fast & Furious replacement. Diesel found a major breakout role in the early 2000s thanks to participating in The Fast and the Furious. The original 2001 street racing crime movie became the springboard for a sprawling franchise that has lasted for over two decades. The success of the Fast & Furious movies transformed Vin Diesel’s career, turning him into an even bigger star, especially in the action movie genre. But, Fast & Furious 11 is planned as the final chapter for him and the franchise.

The Fast & Furious franchise’s end will put Vin Diesel in an unfamiliar position of not having a major franchise to lean back on. This presents the actor with various options, such as changing the course of his career to pursue non-franchise roles. However, the more likely outcome is that Diesel will attempt to find a new IP that can replace Fast & Furious. He has had trouble in that regard recently, with franchises like xXx or Riddick running cold and Bloodshot and The Last Witch Hunter failing to launch franchises. There is another option for Diesel, though.

2:03 Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto from The Fast & Furious Franchise

Related Vin Diesel May Have Spoiled Fast & Furious 11’s Ending With $2.7 Billion Movie Comparison Dom’s death happening in Fast & Furious 11 may have been spoiled already, with Vin Diesel comparing the upcoming movie to another big franchise.

Kojak Can Be Vin Diesel’s New Action Crime Franchise After Fast & Furious
Diesel Has Been Developing The Reboot Since 2015

The impending conclusion of the Fast & Furious franchise means it is finally time for Vin Diesel’s Kojak reboot to get off the ground. The project was announced back in 2015 with Diesel re-teaming with Universal Pictures, the studio behind Fast & Furious, to develop a movie based on Kojak. The original TV series starred Telly Savalas as Theo Kokaj and ran for three seasons after debuting in 1973. The series revolves around Kojak, a New York detective known for being willing to go beyond the law and a love for cars and lollipops, and follows him as he investigates different cases.

Kojak was rebooted in 2005 as a TV show starring Ving Rhames, but it only ran for six episodes

Development on Vin Diesel’s Kojak movie has not been very active in the nine years since it was announced. However, it still maintains the base similarities to Fast & Furious, which makes the project a worthwhile endeavor for Diesel in terms of finding a new action franchise. He would now have another big action series about cars and crime, essentially making Kojak into a newer version of Fast & Furious. The irony here is that Diesel takes on the role of a cop after playing criminal racer Dominic Toretto.

Vin Diesel’s Involvement Can Morph Kojak Into A Major Action Franchise
Kojak Could Be A Fast & Furious Clone
Telly Savalas talking on the phone in Kojak

Looking at the original TV show, Kojak might not necessarily project to be a major blockbuster action franchise akin to Fast & Furious. The TV series was relatively grounded and small due to the nature of its production. However, the fact that Diesel and Universal pinpointed this property as something they wanted to revive together is telling. The announcement of Kojak’s reboot came months after Furious 7 debuted in theaters and took the franchise to new heights at the box office and in terms of how ridiculously big the action and story could get.

It’s sometimes difficult to remember that Fast & Furious started off with a story about DVD thieves who were also street racers before Diesel helped turn it into something much bigger. With that experience and success already behind him, it would be understandable if a similar path was envisioned for Kojak. The series could then morph into a Fast & Furious clone, one that gives Vin Diesel a new franchise to headline and Universal a “fresh” action franchise to grow.

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The Rock’s WWE Run Means Fast & Furious 11 Must Make 1 Major Hobbs Change


Hobbs from Fast & Furious 11 needs a gritty edge like The Rock’s WWE character to keep the franchise fresh and exciting.
The Rock’s time away from the Fast & Furious universe provides the perfect reason for Hobbs to return with a personal vendetta and a more savage attitude.
While Hobbs shouldn’t become a full-fledged villain in Fast & Furious 11, adding some edginess and dirty tricks could make his character more intriguing and dynamic.

Fast & Furious 11 must make one major Hobbs change after The Rock’s incredible WWE run. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s WWE return surpassed his recent movies, with the actor creating some of the best work of his career. Having returned to a thunderous reception, The Rock was able to flip the crowd’s reception by becoming a heel and playing a major part in WrestleMania’s main events. The Rock hasn’t played a villain on screen for years, as even his depiction of Black Adam lent more into the character’s anti-hero side, which made his wrestling run all the more refreshing.

While his wrestling character may not perfectly translate into the Fast & Furious universe, there is one aspect of The Rock’s WWE run that the franchise should attempt to implement. After debuting in Fast Five, The Rock’s best Fast & Furious scenes helped contribute to the movie series becoming so popular, with Luke Hobbs becoming an instrumental part of the story. He was even given his own spinoff alongside Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) and is set to get a solo movie in the future. Despite this, Hobbs would still benefit from adding one key aspect of The Rock’s WWE run.

The Rock’s WWE Run Proves Fast & Furious 11 Needs To Give Hobbs More Of An Edge
Fast & Furious Would Benefit From Hobbs Adopting Some Of The Rock’s WWE Tendancies
Dwayne The Rock Johnson in Black Adam, WWE, and Hobbs and Shaw

Given how electrifying The Rock’s recent WWE run was, there is no doubt Fast & Furious 11 needs to give Hobbs more of an edge. Although the character has had his more serious moments, like most of the Fast & Furious cast, Hobbs tends to mix action with comedy. Hobbs and Shaw are supposed to be two of the more stoic heroes, yet they are constantly at each other’s throats and cracking jokes to help maintain the franchise’s lighthearted core. However, giving Hobbs a grittier side would help the character thrive upon his return.

The Rock’s Fast & Furious return may redeem Fast X’s box office, but the character needs to come back stronger than ever. By allowing him to be more ruthless, he can still maintain some elements of comedy but also become more interesting in the process. Johnson proved that despite being a detestable heel, he was still as hilarious as ever during his recent WWE tenure. This proves that he can maintain Fast & Furious’ tone and humorous style while being more layered; therefore, Hobbs adopting some of The Rock’s WWE characteristics could make him even more entertaining.

Fast & Furious Already Has A Reason For Hobbs To Be More Savage
Hobbs Has Been Away From The Franchise For Several Years

Making a major change to Hobbs’ character could be tough to explain, but Fast & Furious 11 already has a great reason to make him more savage. His four-year absence from the franchise gives him a perfect excuse to come back with a vengeance and potentially have a personal attachment to Fast & Furious 11’s villains. Hobbs’ time away from the main story could be explained through a connection to Fast X’s secondary villain, Aimes. Aimes’ villain twist in Fast X was well executed and suggests he’ll be around for the sequel, which is the perfect reason to bring back Hobbs.

Having a more personal story with one of the villains could allow Hobbs to continue his great quips and one-liners, but it would also give him more of an edge.

Fast X never explained why he’s back, but having a personal vendetta against Aimes could be an intriguing reason. Given Dom and Dante are the focal point of the franchise’s conclusion, Hobbs returning to take down Aimes would avoid overshadowing the main story while still giving him an interesting role. Having a personal story with one of the villains could allow Hobbs to continue his great quips and one-liners, while also giving him more of an edge. This provides The Rock with the perfect reason to implement some of his heel traits while still portraying a morally good hero.

2:34 Image 147 Related Predicting The Ending Of All 13 Fast & Furious Characters In Fast 11 The Fast Saga is set to conclude with Fast & Furious 11 – or Fast X 2 – but how will Dom Toretto and his family’s stories come to a definitive end?

Why Fast & Furious Can’t Bring The Rock Back As A Villain
Hobbs Already Appeared As An Antagonist In Fast Five
A custom image featuring Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs in the Fast and Furious movies Custom image by Debanjana Chowdhury

Although The Rock’s villainous tendencies worked well in the WWE, Fast & Furious can’t bring him back as an antagonist. Johnson already played the main villain of Fast Five, as Hobbs was originally an enemy of Dom and his crew before becoming an ally. Hobbs’ role in Fast Five was one of his best, but despite being the main antagonist, he always had a level of integrity. Dropping all of this to make him a villain in the final movie would be completely unnecessary, especially as the franchise needs him to remain a hero for his spinoff.

Fast & Furious 11 may end the main story, but The Rock will be part of the franchise beyond this, and altering his character so drastically wouldn’t make any sense. Instead, adding some extra edge to his character would have the same effect and would avoid stealing the thunder from Dante and Aimes. Although Fast & Furious 11 shouldn’t make him a villain, the film can still allow Hobbs to play dirty and pull some cheap tricks in order to show a grittier side, while letting him taunt his enemies when he inevitably helps save the day.

Fast & Furious 11
is scheduled to be released in theaters on April 4, 2025.

Fast and Furious 11 temp poster Fast and Furious 11 Fast and Furious 11 is the final movie in the Fast Saga. It reunites Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto with the rest of the cast for one last ride. However, the franchise is open for spinoff films like Hobbs & Shaw afterward.Director Louis Leterrier Release Date April 4, 2025 Distributor(s) Universal Pictures Writers Christina Hodson , Oren Uziel

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