The List: Top 10 action heroes

From the August 16, 2012 edition

“The Expendables 2” shoots its way into theaters this weekend featuring, well, all of the action stars of the ’80s and ’90s, so we’re counting down our favorites.

10.  Chuck Norris

When Chuck Norris finds out how low he ranks on our list, he’ll make 10 the top number in a Top 10 list.

9. Uma Thurman

Yes, her action resumé is pretty much just the two “Kill Bill” movies, but she had more kick-ass fight scenes and quotable lines than many of her dude counterparts have had over their whole careers.

8. Wesley Snipes

Snipes had a nice run of action flicks in the early ’90s — he was particularly awesome squaring off against Sylvester Stallone in “Demolition Man”— and the first two “Blade” movies are underrated superhero movies.

7. Patrick Swayze

Ladies may love him as Johnny Castle in “Dirty Dancing,” but guys will always think of Swayze as Dalton, the man who rips out throats. Swayze was also involved in the second-greatest action movie chase scene ever, in “Point Break.”

6. Jean-Claude Van Damme

Van Damme may not be a very good actor, but “Bloodsport” and “Kickboxer” are two of the best action movies of all time. So good in fact, they almost make up for “Double Team” — yes, that’s the Dennis Rodman one — and “Street Fighter.”

5. Steven Seagal

His Wikipedia entry begins “Steven Frederic Seagal is an American action film star, producer, writer, martial artist, guitarist and reserve deputy sheriff.” They forgot to mention that he also has his own energy drink called “Steven Seagal’s Lightning Bolt”!

4. Bruce Willis

He got a jump start on this list by being in the single greatest action movie of all time — it’s “Die Hard,” don’t argue with us. He’s better at wise-cracking than ass-kicking, and that’s fine with us.

3. Charles Bronson

Charles Bronson is best known for the awesome — at least the first two — “Death Wish” franchise, but he also starred in a number of excellent hard-boiled action movies in the ’70s. Bonus points for being Quentin Tarantino’s favorite action star.

2. Sylvester Stallone

Stallone became an action star with the “Rambo” movies, and parlayed it into a string of popular action flicks in the ’80s and early ’90s like “Cobra,” “Tango & Cash,” “Demolition Man” and the underrated “Cop Land.”

1. Arnold Schwarzenegger

The bodybuilder-turned-actor had that funny, thick Austrian accent that most thought would prevent him from become a star in the U.S. Dozens of movies and hundreds of sweet one-liners later, Arnold stands comfortably atop this crowd.