Three of the biggest actions stars in cinema all have big releases within a month of each other, with Arnie back in the saddle for The Last Stand (after a ten year hiatus), Brucie back for the fifth time as John McClane in A Good Day To Die Hard, and Stallone headlining comic-book adaptation Bullet To The Head. Seeing as they're pretty much going head to head (to head) at the box office, we figured we'd have a look back over their respective back catalogues and decide once and for all who is the Almighty King Of The Action Blockbusters!
Round One: Box Office!
Worldwide Box Office to date: $4,321,000,000
Number of Movies: 32
Average Box Office per movie: $135,000,000
Biggest Box Office Hit: Terminator 2 - $516,000,000
Worldwide Box Office to date: $7,357,000,000
Number of Movies: 73
Average Box Office per movie: $101,000,000
Biggest Box Office Hit: The Sixth Sense - $673,000,000
Worldwide Box Office to date: $4,398,000,000
Number of Movies: 47
Average Box Office per movie: $93,500,000
Biggest Box Office Hit: The Expendables 2 - $312,500,000
Results: Well, first things first, kudos you guys! Between the three of you, your movies have earned clear over $15 BILLION around the world, and that is not something to be sniffed at! Now, while it's clear that Stallone has come in dead last, it could be argued that Arnie should win this one for having an higher average. But I'm going to give it to Bruce for having the single biggest hit.
Score so far: Arnie – 1 Bruce -2 Sly – 0
Next Up: Awards!
While he has been roundly ignored by the Oscars (GASP!), The Austrian Oak has in fact won a Golden Globe (Best Newcomer for Stay Hungry) and nominated for another (Best Comedy/Musical Actor for Junior). But amid his MTV Movie Award wins and nominations we find that he's been nominated SIX times for a Razzie, which is basically the anti-Oscar, and has actually won one an honorary Razzie when they celebrated their 25th year.
It can't be argued that Brucie is the best actor of the bunch, but he seems to be the one with the emptiest awards cabinet. He's won a Golden Globe, but it was for his TV show Moonlight, which we shouldn't really include here – no matter how much we want to! He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his part in the movie In Country (nope, us neither), but that's about it for the big'uns. He's been nominated for four Razzies, one of which he won; Worst Screenplay for Hudson Hawk.
The Italian Stallion started off pretty well, getting nominations left right and centre, and all of them for Rocky; Golden Globe, BAFTA and Oscar nods for Best Actor and Best Screenplay, but winning none of them (losing to Network on both counts), even though Rocky went on to win Best Picture and Best Director Oscars above the likes of Taxi Driver and All The President's Men. But then there's the Razzies… Sly has been nominated 25 times, and has won EIGHT TIMES, including one in the year 2000 for Worst Actor Of The Century. Yeesh.
Results: This is a tough one to call, not just because action stars tend not to go hand in hand with acting merits, but because this is such a mixed bag. Arnie is the only one to have actually won a good award for his acting, while Sly is the only one to get nominated for an Oscar, and Brucie has got the least amount of criticism thrown at him. If this were solely on acting ability, the points would be given out differently, but considering it's just for Awards, it's gotta go to Arnie, then Sly, then Bruce.
Score so far: Arnie – 3, Bruce – 2, Sly – 1
Round Three: Critical Acclaim!
These scores are taken from Rotten Tomatoes, and will only include the films were the actors were in a major role.
Three Highest: The Terminator – 100% Terminator 2 – 98% Total Recall – 84%
Three Lowest: End Of Days – 11% Batman & Robin – 12% Jingle All The Way 17%
Three Highest: Die Hard – 94% Looper – 93% Twelve Monkeys – 88%
Three Lowest: The Whole Ten Yards – 4% The Cold Light Of Day – 5% Perfect Stanger – 11%
Three Highest: Rocky – 91% Rambo First Blood – 87% Cliffhanger – 82%
Three Lowest: The Specialist – 4% Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot – 4% Get Carter – 12%
Results: Arnie is the only one to both get a 100% perfect store, and stay out of the single digits with his bad films, so he wins this round. Next up is Bruce, primarily because the amount of bad films that Sly has been in is staggering.
Score so far: Arnie – 5 Bruce – 3 Sly – 1
Round Four: Cult Classics!
There is a HUGE amount of cult-love for Arnie's "early work" including his Pumping Iron documentary, as well as his turns as Conan The Barbarian/The Destroyer. Add to that a collection of 80's and 90's (mostly) legitimate action classics - Commando, Raw Deal, Predator, Red Heat, The Running Man, True Lies – not to mention his attempts at humour – Twins, Kindergarten Cop, and who could forget Batman & Robin – and what we have here is a one man cult machine.
Mister Willis is probably the most successful of the action men when it comes to making with the funny (Look Who's Talking, Death Becomes Her, Moonrise Kingdom) thanks to his sardonic smile even in the most serious of situations, plus he's got the most actual cult classics out of the three – Pulp Fiction, The Fifth Element, Unbreakable, The Lasy Boy Scout, Looper, Twelve Monkeys, Sin City – and even his average actioners are still hugely watchable; Armageddon, RED, The Siege, Bandits, Hostage, 16 Blocks and any Die Hard that isn't the first one.
All of the Rocky's but the first one, and ALL of the Rambo's equals Instant Cult Status! Plus there's Cobra, Lock Out, Cliffhanger, Daylight, Tango & Cash, Demolition Man and the so-bad-its-great-but-still-pretty-awful Judge Dredd. And then there's the legitimately good films that have been forgotten and/or overlooked like Cop Land and Antz. There's a lot more to this fellow than meets the eye.
Results: Just because his films have been played TO DEATH, Arnie gets no points this round since his movies are too popular now to be considered Cult Classics. Full points go to Sly for having the most "Oh yeah, this film!" back catalogue, and probably the least well known. Bruce gets one point for having a legitimately varied and interesting filmography. Good for you, Brucie!
Scores so far: Arnie - 5, Bruce - 4, Sly - 3
Final Round: Quotability!
"I'll be back!" "See you at the party, Richter!" "Let off some steam, Bennett!" "Stick around!" "Remember when I said I'd kill you last? I lied." "Consider that a divorce!" "It's not a tumour!" And every single line of dialogue from Batman & Robin.
"Yippee Ki Yay, Motherf***er!" "Nine million terrorists in the world and I gotta kill one with feet smaller than my sister." "Zed's dead baby, Zed's dead." "The United States government just asked us to save the world. Anybody wanna say no?" "This is the '90s. You don't just go around punching people. You have to say something cool first" and his response in Die Hard 4.0 when he's told he just killed a helicopter with a car: "I was out of bullets."
"ADRIAN!" "You're a disease, and I'm the cure." "When you're pushed, killing's as easy as breathing." "Send a maniac to catch a maniac." "I. Am. The Law." "Take's a fortune to heat this place." "You like watching them die? You like taking them down? Now I'm taking you down. You're finished in the agency. You're going no higher. You're as dead as those people in the river. We both are." "Keep your arms and legs in the vehicle at all times!"
Results: Arnie. Arnie Arnie ARNIE! He is probably the most quoted actor in all of cinema history, how could it be anyone but him? Second place goes to Bruce for having more to say than just dumb, pull-string GI Joe one-liners, even though Sly's dumb, pull-string one-liners are properly amazing.
Final Scores: Arnie - 7, Bruce - 5, Sly - 3
WINNER: They're all champions here, but in a more scientific way, Arnie wins hands down, with Bruce coming in second and Sly bringing up the rear. Congrats Ah-Nold!
Watch Arnie in The Last Stand is in cinemas now.
Watch Sly in Bullet To The Head is in cinemas Friday, 1st Feb.
What Bruce in A Good Day To Die Hard is in cinemas Friday, 14th Feb.