Top 10 Most Unexpected Movie Badasses
THE GUNMAN opens today and could very well be the relaunch of Sean Penn's acting career. Instead of searing dramatic roles or teen comedies, Penn could be the next unexpected badass in Hollywood. As you can see from the image above, Penn would be joining a long list of actors who defied categorization by starring in some truly action-packed blockbusters. With that in mind, here is our ranking of the ten most unexpected badasses in Hollywood movie history. If your favorite surprise action star didn't make the cut, feel free to include it in the talk backs below.
Before you question this one, remember there was a time when Bruce Willis was known for playing romantic and comedic leads. No one thought DIE HARD would be more than the PAUL BLART of it's day, but it ended up becoming one of the most iconic action films of all time and redirecting Willis to a very different career than he started out with.
Liam Neeson has appeared in every conceivable genre, but after becoming an Oscar mainstay with his roles in SCHINDLER'S LIST, ROB ROY, MICHAEL COLLINS, and others, it never seemed like Neeson would switch gears and become an action hero. TAKEN started out looking like your typical Luc Besson action movie but surprised everyone by becoming a box office hit. Now, almost a decade later, Liam Neeson is synonymous with these movies and a particular set of skills.
While it was her first major role, Chloe Moretz shocked everyone who saw KICK-ASS where she was the foul-mouthed Hit Girl. Comic fans knew what to expect, but it was still pretty spectacular seeing this little girl kill everyone and dropping f-bombs. Moretz has turned into a fine young actress but this will always be the role that cemented her as a badass.
The man who may be Indiana Jones blew everyone away with his starring role as Peter Quill in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY and looks awesome in this summer's JURASSIC WORLD, but he was the dumb Andy on NBC's Parks and Recreation for years before that. The guy was a chubby moron that I don't think anyone expected to turn into the hottest movie star out there. The guy can literally do anything and that is going to make him a ton of money.
The dramatic change in Linda Hamilton between THE TERMINATOR and TERMINATOR 2 is staggering. Going from victim to badass mom is one of the most impressive feats in any franchise. A mother determined to protect her son, Sarah Connor went from wallflower to total badass and ranks as one of the coolest of all time.
The guy from GOOD WILL HUNTING seemed unlikely to be more than a dramatic star but THE BOURNE IDENTITY proved that Damon can kick ass with the best of them. He is still a fantastic dramatic and comedic actor, but he still manages to make a viable action star in movies like ELYSIUM and more.
RDJ is another fan favorite who we are all happy to see as a success. After years of trouble with the law, Downey was a risky choice to play Tony Stark in IRON MAN. The guy was not known for being in action movies but single-handedly kickstarted the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Can we even imagine a movie world without Robert Downey Jr anymore?
Sigourney Weaver started her career with ALIEN but it was not until James Cameron's ALIENS that she got into full ass-kicking mode. In fact, between dramatic and romantic roles, Weaver made four ALIEN films, each one progressively upping her badass quotient. Weaver works steadily today but something tells me that she is going to kick major ass in Neill Blomkamp's ALIEN 5.
You loved her in A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN, BEETLEJUICE, THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST, and many other movies, but in the 1990s, Geena Davis went full badass in THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT and CUTTHROAT ISLAND. Both movies were met with different levels of success but they briefly gave us one of the most badass heroines ever put on the big screen.
Michael Keaton reaches the top of this list because he became an unexpected badass twice in his career. The first was when he was cast as Batman in Tim Burton's 1989 superhero movie. Prior to that, Keaton was known for comedy and drama but became synonymous with being a superhero. Then, after a lull in his career, Keaton came roaring back with the brilliant and self-referential BIRDMAN. I fully expect to see a lot more of Keaton in the years to come.