No.8 Cynthia Rothrock
Claim To Fame: A vagina. Kidding! Kidding! This female action hero costarred in what is arguably the single worst movie of all time (Undefeatable) and is the inspiration behind Mortal Kombat’s Sonya Blade. So it’s a mixed bag. On the bright side, she’s the only entry on this list capable of making an appearance on the cover of Femme Fatale.
In what is unquestionably a male-dominated genre, Rothrock was a bit of an oddity in the ’80s and ’90s: a tough chick capable of starring in successful movies both at home and abroad. Rothrock started her career in Hong Kong, making movies for Golden Harvest, famous for introducing both Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan to the world. American audiences know her best for her roles in the China O’Brien franchise and for sharing the screen with the previously mentioned Loren Avedon in No Retreat, No Surrender 3. (Apparently, they both retreated and surrendered twice before sticking with it in part 3.)
Rothrock is currently retired and teaching martial arts in California, but I’m sure Stallone could convince her to add some estrogen to the testosterone overflow that is The Expendables.
Potential Expendables 3 Role: The team needs somebody to go undercover at a steamy swimsuit cover shoot. Somebody has to step up…
No.7 Daniel Bernhardt
Claim To Fame: Went from playing emotionless, granite-faced characters in B-movie martial arts epics to playing a granite-faced, emotionless Agent in The Matrix Reloaded.
I give Bernhardt a hard time, but I actually have fond memories of his late-’90s direct-to-Jean-Claude Van Damme wasn’t in this, but it was the sequel to Bloodsport! The greatest movie of all time! How could it do anything other than be awesome?! In other news: I was a really dumb kid. Yes, Bloodsport 2 was my first encounter with the disappointment that are direct-to-video sequels of theatrically released movies and yes, it’s a pale imitation of the original, but the fights are excellent. Maybe, I thought, this Bernhardt guy could be worth watching…output. When my local rent-a-flick put up the posted for Bloodsport 2, I was as enthusiastic as a Kardashian spotting a wealthy athlete. I had no idea why
Well, Bernhardt would go on to run the Bloodsport franchise into the ground with Bloodsport 3 and Bloodsport: The Dark Kumite. The only time he came close to starring in anything memorable was the short-lived Mortal Kombat: Conquest TV series. (The less said about The Matrix sequels the better.) Still, he’s left behind about 20 martial arts movies of varying degrees of quality in his career, enough to earn him a spot on this list.
Potential Expendables 3 Role: Henchman to the main villain. Think Gary Daniels from the first movie. Doesn’t say much, kicks some ass, and then gets dispatched in entertaining manner following witty one-liner by main cast member.
No.6 Michael Dudikoff
Claim To Fame: American Fucking Ninja!
Growing up in the ’80s, all the cool kids could list off their favorite action heroes at the drop of a hat. Stallone, Norris, Arnold, Seagal… it was an endless schoolyard battle between the various factions, often degenerating into one of those “who would win in a fight” competitions. In a darkened corner of the yard, away from prying eyes, there you would find the really cool kids, those that grew up waiting for the latest American Ninja title to appear, as if by magic, on the shelf of the neighborhood video store. You think counting the number of casualties in Commando ushered you into manhood in the 1980s? AH! Your balls didn’t drop until you managed to count the number of hidden ninjas in American Ninja! (The answer? YOU CAN’T! THEY’RE FREAKING NINJAS!)
Dudikoff hasn’t acted since 2002’s Stranded… or as he? Perhaps he’s standing behind you as I type this…
Potential Expendables 3 Role: The Expendables gang are enjoying a nice, relaxing stroll on a warm California beach when, suddenly… NINJAS ATTACK!
Don’t worry, TheMatt continues being just as wordy on these action heroes as he has been thus far…