No. 10: Kurt Russell — Top Action Movie Stars
Two words: Snake Plissken. Oh, you need further justification for placing Kurt Russell in the top 10 action heroes? Oh, his childhood gigs for the Walt Disney machine don’t count? Okay. Well, let’s talk about a hero called Jack Burton in ‘Big Trouble In Little China,’ then.
Russell’s Burton is perhaps the greatest post-modern deconstruction of the action hero that we’ve ever seen. Jack has a good heart, though when it comes down to it, he has all the great lines but none of the heroic moments. Russell bumbles his way through the action scenes in ‘Big Trouble In Little China’ and creates one of my favorite film heroes of all time.
Okay, what about his work outside of his partnership with director John Carpenter? ‘Tango & Cash,’ ‘Tombstone’ and ‘Stargate’ are all projects that are elevated significantly by Russell’s presence. And although it probably can’t be considered an action film, Tarantino created one of Russell’s most iconic characters with Stuntman Mike in ‘Deathproof,’ and Russell’s character was the greatest part of that film without question.
But back to ‘Escape From New York.’ With Snake Plissken, Russell takes cues from Eastwood’s ‘Dirty Harry’ and transplants that hero into an even more rebellious and anti-social futuristic sci-fi hero, and knocks that film clear out of the park.
“You tell ‘em I’m coming! And Hell’s coming with me you hear! Hell’s coming with me!” -– Wyatt Earp, ‘Tombstone’
“It’s all in the reflexes.” –- Jack Burton, ‘Big Trouble In Little China’