Pop Rocks

Pop Rocks: In Anticipation of Alex Cross, Here Are Some More Terrible Action Stars

You can be forgiven if you weren't aware of the upcoming reboot of James Patterson's Alex Cross" series, conveniently titled Alex Cross. It's a reboot in the sense that the previous two adaptations -- Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider -- starred Morgan Freeman in the role. Freeman, 75, has decided to go the anti-Harrison Ford route and bow out of action movies gracefully, paving the way for...Tyler Perry?

Perry, of course, is the extremely wealthy creative force behind the "Madea" franchise. As an actor, he only has two credited roles aside from those in the Madea movies, one of those as Admiral Barnett in J.J. Abrams's Star Trek. Incidentally, the antagonist (pictured above) is played by former Lost castaway and apparent current Jenny Craig spokesman Matthew Fox.

I'm not saying a guy who usually puts on a fat suit to play an old woman *can't* do action. I'm just saying I've seen the trailer. And it doesn't fill me with confidence: lots of quick cuts and slo-mo, obvious stunt guys doing the fighting, the usual. Perry may very well be able to pull it off; you'd just never guess from what we've seen to this point.

And if not, he's in fine company. Plenty of so-called "action stars" came up a bit lacking in the cinema badass department.

David Carradine AKA: Kwai Chang Caine, Frankenstein, Bill Alleged Specialty: Kung fu

It won't surprise anyone who remembers the original Kung Fu TV series that Carradine didn't know the martial art for which his show was named. This could be forgiven when every fight was shot in slow motion and, well, it was the 1970s and everyone was so high they didn't care. Later movies that attempted to showcase his fighting prowess were another matter.

Even if he hadn't kidnapped Chuck Norris's daughter and killed his best friend, he deserves to get his ass kicked for the sweater alone.

Roger Moore AKA: The Saint, 007, Rufus Excalibur ffolkes Alleged Specialty: Whatever super secret spy techniques they teach you On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

James Bond came about in an era when action stars weren't supposed to do much besides drink, look cool and occasionally fight Hervé Villechaize. The 1980s transition to leading men who were expected to actually kick ass wasn't kind to Moore, as demonstrated here. Oh, and SPOILER for the ending of A View to a Kill, if you care.

Shaquille O'Neal AKA: Shaq, Diesel, The Man of Steel Alleged Specialty: Shaq fu

O'Neal wasn't the first athlete with dreams of action movie stardom, but he may have been the worst.

Kristy Swanson AKA: The Buffy Nobody Liked Alleged Specialty: The mystical path of the Slayer

I'd say Swanson got a raw deal when it comes to the Buffy-verse, but she hasn't gone out of her way to make friends in the ensuing 20 years. Worse, her combat scenes compare unfavorably to Sarah Michelle Gellar's, and that's saying something.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar