Hollywood is no stranger to adrenaline-pumping action flicks, with many of these beloved fan favorites starring veteran acting legends. With successful careers spanning decades, some of the most exciting and compelling movie stars have proven that the action genre doesn’t have to be just a young man’s game. Iconic actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jackie Chan and Danny Trejo have proven that age is just a number and you’re never too old to deliver a good old beating.
Audiences around the world have connected with these famous faces, watching the phenomenal physical performers mature over the years and remain outstanding action heroes, or become them later in life. Liam Neeson completely reinvented his career when he took on the kicking role of retired CIA agent Bryan Mills in the thrilling Taken series, going from dramatic actor to true action superstar. Sylvester Stallone brought together some of the biggest talents in cinema for the blockbuster extravaganza The Expendables, enlisting aging members of action royalty like Dolph Lundgren and Jean-Claude Van Damme for the franchise. Even Bob Odenkirk, the comedian and You better call Saul star, became an action hero at the age of 58 in the big movie Nobody. These are some of the biggest stars of older action movies.
Dolph Lundgren is 64 years old
First gaining wide recognition for his breakthrough performance as Soviet boxer Ivan Drago alongside Sylvester Stallone in the 1985s Rocky IV, swedish star Dolph Lundgren quickly became an action sensation and has since appeared in over 80 films in the genre, including a surprisingly prolific selection of direct-to-video films.
The physically imposing six-foot-five actor is skilled in the martial arts, having trained vigorously in Kyokushin karate, showcasing his impeccable skills in films like Masters of the Universe, the universal soldier series, Showdown in Little Tokyo and Aquaman. Lundgren hasn’t slowed down one bit, with the 64-year-old set to kick more ass in upcoming action flicks Wanted man and the stars Consumables 4.
Liam Neeson turns 70
After crafting an impressive resume as a brilliant dramatic actor in critically acclaimed films like Schindler’s List, Michael Collins and love in fact, irish actor Liam Neeson completely redefined his Hollywood persona when he headlined the 2008 action thriller Taken, portraying determined father and retired CIA agent Bryan Mills.
The thrilling yet terrifying franchise led Neeson to become a certified action star and spawned roles in gripping action movies like The A-Team, The Grey, Wrath of the Titans and A walk among the tombstones. The 70-year-old recently opened up to Yahoo! News of his badass status, saying: “I was an amateur boxer from the age of nine until I was 17. I love the physique…I turned 70 this year , so I always get by.”
Jet Li is 59 years old
Renowned Chinese actor, martial artist and former Wushu champion Jet Li is an international movie star who has demonstrated his superb kung fu skills in movies like Lethal Weapon 4, Romeo Must Die, Dragon’s Kiss and the Forbidden Kingdom alongside fellow great Jackie Chan. Despite suffering from hyperthyroidism for more than a decade, Li, 59, remains a dominant screen presence, starring in all three The Expendables films with Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren. Jet Li’s films are always popular and he recently played big roles in League of Gods, Gong Shou Dao, and as Emperor of China in Disney’s 2020 live-action adaptation Mulana.
Jean-Claude Van Damme is 61 years old
Known affectionately as “the muscles of Brussels”, the Belgian superstar Jean Claude Van Damme moved to the United States in 1982 for a career on the big screen, landing his big break in the 1988 martial arts cult classic Blood sport. Enrolling in a Shōtōkan karate school at age 10, Van Damme went on to learn the craft as well as bodybuilding, kickboxing, taekwondo, and muay Thai, earning his black belt in karate at age 18.
The actor used his diverse martial arts background to become a highly sought-after action star, appearing in 90s hits like Death warrant, universal soldier and Maximum risk. After a brief career lull, Van Damme, 61, appeared in The Expendables 2, the kung fu panda franchise, and the Kickboxer to restart.
Chuck Norris is 82 years old
Iconic Action Hero Chuck Norris is a revered martial artist and actor, having earned his black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Tang Soo Do and Judo and having begun teaching the craft to celebrities when he arrived in Hollywood in the late 1960s. Norris attracted attention when he joined his close friend and legendary martial artist Bruce Lee in the 1972s. Way of the Dragon, with the physical role spawning roles in popular action pictures like Good guys wear black, missing, and Code of silence.
His performance as the titular character difficult in the long run Walker, Texas Ranger further cemented Norris’ status as an action hero, with the 82-year-old continuing to fight his way through villains in the film The Expendables 2 and tv show Hawaii Five-0.
Danny Trejo is 78 years old
The charming mustachioed macho Danny Trejo had a slew of memorable roles in action movies like Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, and Once upon a time in Mexico gains notoriety as eponymous murderous ex-federal in Robert Rodriguez film Machete. Trejo’s film career began by accident in 1985, when he operated a sober house and worked as an addiction counselor, appearing on the set of train out of control to help a young person he was sponsoring.
The beloved Hollywood rebel showcased his exceptional boxing skills in the unexpected role, kicking off a new life and career trajectory for the entertainer. Now 78, Trejo still dominates the big and small screen, starring in the Badass franchise, All about money, and Bullets of justice.
The endearing actor and martial artist from Hong Kong Jackie Chan dazzled audiences with his phenomenal physique for more than five decades, having made his stunt debut opposite Bruce Lee in 1972 fist of fury and 1973 Enter the dragon. Chan is one of the world’s most popular and recognizable action heroes, beloved for his slapstick acrobatic fighting technique and heralded for his roles in hits like Drunken Master, Police Story, Rumble in the Bronx and both Peak hour and Shanghai noon franchisees. Chan, 68, has appeared in more than 150 films and continues to make headlines in action movies, most recently Skiptrace, the stranger, and 2020s Avant-garde.
Sylvester Stallone is 76 years old
After finding critical and commercial success as the headstrong outsider Rocky Balboa in the 1976 cultural phenomenon Rocky, Sylvester Stallone became a true action superstar, dominating the genre with adrenaline-fuelled performances such as John Rambo in the thrilling Rambo franchise and mercenary Barney Ross in The Expendables series.
Stallone has been a constant presence in Hollywood and is an admired movie star, becoming the only actor in American movie history to headline a number one box office movie in six consecutive decades. . Revered for his muscular build, fearless attitude and compelling performances, 76-year-old Stallone remains a hot commodity on the big screen. he should star in the next superhero action movie Samaritan as good as Consumables 4 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is 74 years old
The one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger is a decorated actor, businessman and former politician and bodybuilder, who first rose to prominence when he won the prestigious Mr. Universe title at the age of 20 in 1967. After appearing in the 1977 bodybuilding documentary pump iron, Schwarzenegger shifted his focus to the big screen and became a certified action star with iconic roles in Conan the Barbarian, Terminator movie franchise, Predator, and Real lies. Over 40 years later, the legendary superstar continues to deliver rousing and moving performances at 74, joining the star-studded series Expendables, Escape Plan, Terminator: Dark Fate, and the soon-to-be-released martial arts comedy Kung fury 2.