January 23, 2014

Action Heroes Who Have Disappeared

In the 80’s and 90’s there was a new action star popping up every 5 minutes; sometimes in theatrically released movies but a lot of them would be heroes of the straight to video or even foreign flicks.

A lot of these action heroes have essentially disappeared from modern movies.

With the resurgence of the old-school action genre thanks to The Expendables movies, it’s high time these heroes returned to our screens to entertain us once again.





Mark Gregory: Not a name that is widely recognized but he was a star briefly in the 80s who mostly starred in cheap, Italian exploitation movies. His most iconic roles would be in the Thunder Warrior Trilogy, which was really a rip-off of Rambo except with a Native American as the protagonist… despite the fact he was Italian. He also starred in the Bronx Warriors movies which were knock offs of The Warriors and Escape from New York. His last movie was in 1989 and called ‘Afghanistan – The last war bus (L’ultimo bus di guerra)’. Ever since then I haven’t seen him in anything. I can’t even find any info as to what he did after the 80’s but I say bring him back for an all new Thunder Warrior movie, like they did with Deadliest Prey last year.

michael dudikoff american ninja

Michael Dudikoff: The American Ninja himself was a pretty big star in the 80’s and 90’s and garnered a huge fanbase after his work with Canon films. There has been talk of him returning to the series but thus far nothing has happened. I for one would love to see him return as The American Ninja, at least one more time. Have him team up with Casey (Scott Adkins) from the “Ninja” series and you’ve got yourself a movie. Dudikoff was apparently in Olympus Has Fallen as Mr. Smith (uncredited). This is unacceptable and he needs to get back on the horse and become an action star again. Before Olympus he hadn’t done any movies since 2002, so come on Michael, do it for The Acton Elite!

Wahl wire

Ken Wahl: Although he wasn’t in that many movies, Ken Wahl made a name for himself in the entertaining TV series Wiseguy and the actionfest The Taking of Beverly Hills. That movie was a heck of a lot of fun and I would have loved some kind of sequel. The Soldier was another excellent action picture but it sadly didn’t really register on anyone’s radar. Wahl hasn’t starred in anything since 1996 which was a Wiseguy made for TV movie.
According to Wikipedia in 1995, Wahl was charged with disturbing the peace and arrested on an outstanding warrant for a drunken-driving charge, eventually pleading no contest to both charges and receiving probation. A year later, he was arrested for allegedly threatening a bartender with a hunting knife for refusing to serve him alcohol. So that may explain why the work dried up, movie wise; he has been doing a lot of work with animals since then, but he really needs to return to blowing things up.


Brian Bosworth: Football stars tend not to be all that successful at being action stars but Bosworth starred in some genuinely awesome action movies like Stone Cold and One Tough Bastard. Admittedly he is still around and in 2010 stared in Revelation Road: The Beginning of the End then in 2013 its sequel Revelation Road 2: The Sea of Glass and Fire. Personally, I would love to see him in an Expendables movie or something similar as he was one of my favourite action stars while growing up. I also had the honour of him being the first ever interview for this very site.


Jeff Speakman: The Perfect Target, Street Knight and many more had Speakman destroying bad guys, mostly using the martial art Kenpo. Striking Range in 2006 was the last movie he starred in and sadly, last year he was diagnosed with cancer of the throat. He had been working on his reintroduction into the film industry while concurrently running his World Training Center in Las Vegas when he received the news from his doctors at City of Hope. He had been undergoing chemotherapy and thankfully was reported as cancer free, last we heard. Here’s to a speedy recovery to full health.


James Ryan:
The star of Kill and Kill Again, Rage to Kill and Karate Killer was a genuinely impressive martial artist and had a busy career up until 2005 when he starred in a TV movie called Sterne über Madeira. He never became a huge star but fans like us have enjoyed plenty of his movies.


David Bradley:
The American Ninja Sequels and the frankly awesome Hard Justice are just a few of David Bradley’s credits who had a steady DTV career in the 90’s then his last film was called Crisis in 1997. According to his IMDB, there is nothing on the horizon which is a shame as he had some decent moves and wasn’t a bad actor either. Time for a comeback? Long overdue, I say.


Reb Brown:
The star of Strike Commando and other “classics”, Reb Brown would normally star in cheap knock offs of better movies but who can forget “JAKOTTAAA!” which is the greatest line of all time. Things had been quiet for Brown since 1998 when he had a role in the TV series Players. Then in 2013 Reb returned as Sheriff Joe Kelly in a movie called Night Claws.


Phillip Rhee: best known for his roles in the Best of the Best series, Lee was last seen in Best of the Best: Without Warning but has a new project coming up this year called Underdogs where he plays a character called Jimmy ‘The Lightning Bolt’ Lee. Other details are scarce but it will be great to see him again.

So there you have it, a few action stars who should get back on the horse and break some necks, just like the good old days.


About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel
I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it's a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone.

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