Films: Sanctuary, DNA, Sabotage, Redline, Cradle 2 the Grave.
A baby-faced, Hawaiian martial artist, with acting pretensions.
Mostly lame martial arts thrillers, in which he plays the mild-mannered but unstoppable hero. Very occasionally, he will take a villain role, such as in post-soviet, would-be cyber-thriller Red Line, presumably to pay the rent, but he rarely comes off as sufficiently intimidating.
Mark Dacascos has done more than almost any other martial arts actor to prove that the martial arts is just not as important as the acting. He's worse than Jackie Chan, and Chan's main problem is that when he acts in English, he's acting in his second language. Dacascos is a native English-speaker, and he still can't act in it. He also doesn't look remotely intimidating, either as hero or villain.
Well, he never ever learned to act or emote so well, but he can beat up a goon just like he's ringing a bell. The boy does good action when given the direction to do so.
He does pretty well in French period werewolf kung-fu movie, The Brotherhood of the Wolf, perhaps because he doesn't speak very much. Given a role that is almost 100% form and motion, he is actually very good indeed.
Films: Omega Doom, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Split Second, Hemoglobin, Blast, Turbulence 3, Redline, Flying Virus.
A grizzled, veteran lack-of-character actor with a paunch. Back in the day, a rather more toned budding star. His trademark is the incredible, white-blonde hair that won him the role of 'pint of Guinness' man in the 1980s Guinness adverts.
Mostly snarls. He usually plays growling veterans - and did so even in his younger, slightly cuter days - and does a good line in crotchety misanthropes. He does play villains, but is more at home with the role of anti-hero.
Rutger Hauer does not emote well. In fact, he doesn't really act well at all. He also has a tendency to mumble, which is a major issue in the guy typically chosen to play the expositing veteran. Like many of the Bad Movie Superstars, he will work for food, which means that he is in a lot of very poor films, in which he - for all his limits - is the high point of the evening.
Rutger Hauer appear to be a man with few illusions as to his ability, and he is at least always willing to turn in a game performance.
Aside from the very acceptable Split Second, Hauer was of course superb as the angry android soldier, Roy Batty, in Ridley Scott's Bladerunner.
It has also been asked that I note that Mr Hauer also starred or appeared in the following:
Thanks to the reader who pointed this out. It seems possible then that Rutger Hauer is a much better actor in his native tongue than he is in English.
For further information, see Hauer's IMDb page, or visit Our Boy Rutger Hauer.
Films: Beowulf, Highlander II: The Quickening, Highlander III: The Sorcerer, Highlander: Endgame, Mean Guns, The Hunted.
A shameless ham who used to be called Christophe Lambert before he became an American.
Lambert typically plays grizzled warriors of one sort or another, usually tired of their life of violence and eager to settle down with the first pneumatic beauty to waft their way. He does a good trade in tortured - or possibly constipated - and very occasionally picks up a mentor credit, a la Mortal Kombat.
As with most of the offenders herewith profiled, Lambert's main failures as an actor are in the realm of acting. He's really not very good. He also seems to write into all his contracts that he gets to do his trademark laugh, although it is at least less annoying than - say - Eddie Murphy's.
Lambert plays himself very well, which is good, because it's all he's usually asked to do.
Well, the original Highlander was okay, and he's a hammy treat in the gloriously unpretentious Mortal Kombat (he wisely avoided the second one). He is also said to be good in Subway, a film he made back when he was still French.
Films: Highlander: Endgame, Dungeons & Dragons, Passenger 57, Warlock III, Ripper, Full Eclipse, Sweepers, The Howling VI.
A tall, blonde, English guy with a strong nose and a dodgy hairline.
Mostly scum. Sometimes villains, but mostly just scum. He scowls, he snarls, and that's about it. He also - as proved by the D&D lipstick - has no dignity. He is often cast as hissing British or American preppy types with a grudge, and is especially comfortable when playing those for whom it is necessary to go above and beyond the call of regular villainy, and dive into a campy parody of evil.
He's a truly terrible actor, who thinks whispering and sneering is the same thing as emoting.
Like Rutger Hauer, Bruce Payne never seems to feel that he is too good for the movies he is in, and always gives a performance his all.
Films: Anaconda, Pearl Harbour, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Well, whatever it is, it isn't acting.
Some might let him off the hook for fathering Angelina Jolie. Some might.
Voight starred in the Oscar-winning Midnight Cowboy, but that's about the sum of his achievements.
Films: Hawk the Slayer, Tango & Cash.
Growling, hissing angry guy.
Chews on the scenery like it was the most delicious all-butter toffee. Scowls, snarls, hisses; generally looks ill-tempered. Jack Nicholson took the piss out of him in Batman for being OTT.
Films: Omega Doom, Blast, Mean Guns, Spitfire , Nemesis, Hong Kong 97, The Sword and the Sorcerer, Dollman
Possibly the worst director of motion pictures to yet draw breath.
Makes films that seem to work really hard at being the worst they can be. His trademark is the gleefully excessive use of coloured filters.
He's really bad. He works on shoestring budgets, but unlike - say - Roger Corman, he doesn't even know it. His work is reminiscent of stuff college students produce with a camcorder, a cap gun and a great deal of enthusiasm, the difference being that Pyun just has no concept of how much his work stinks.
Every now and then he shows signs of knowing how to compose a shot, but then invariably does something to ruin it completely.
Well, he does keep the likes of Tim Thomerson employed, God love him.
Profiled by Simon Drake
Films: Trancers 3, Hong Kong 97, Trancers, Zone Troopers, Trancers 2, Dollman
Grizzled Vietnam vet and master of the 'pissed off look'
Mostly grizzled pissed off cyber cops with the occasional wisecrack. Or hapless sidekicks in Albert Pyun films.
Gravely voice (especially employed for explanation scenes) not terribly good at acting, unless it's a pissed off Cyber cop with a silly name (Brick Bardo, Jack Deth). Often reduced to hapless comic idiot roles (Spitfire, Hong Kong 97, Who's Harry Crumb) but still comes across as scary and pissed off.
Superb comic timing (apart from in ironically 'comedy' roles). Doesn't take himself seriously, and is actually quite hard and scary.
Trancers, the 79-minute B-movie classic (and its 4
sequels) where Tim plays cyber cop Jack Deth who cracks wise and acts pissed
off. Has the advantage that it's the first film to feature (to my knowledge) a
psychotic Zombie Santa Claus going on a kill crazy rampage in a shopping centre
Christmas pageant ("There's trouble at the North Pole").
Also good as the 13-inch tall pissed off cyber cop Brick Bardo in the fairly woeful Dollman.
Profiled by Simon Drake
Films: Tango & Cash, Hong Kong 97, Chase Moran
Tall ugly guy with rat-like features (often wears a ponytail)
Evil slimeballs with dodgy accents a speciality. Has once or twice played a bland sidekick.
Really bad with accents, witness his "Cockney"
in Tango and Cash or his "British aristocrat" in Hong Kong 97.
Has trouble with long sentences, although swearing comes quite naturally.
He had - sadly, Brion is no longer with us - no shame, would do ANYTHING that was offered to him and could be pretty threatening when given the chance.
Was in Blade Runner and (briefly) The Fifth Element and The Player.
See also the official Brion James website.
Films: Nemesis, Velocity Trap
Albert Pyun favourite and sub-Dacascosian martial arts 'superstar'. He's basically the poor man's John Claude Van Damme. I mean, if you tried to recreate Van Damme from the genome up on a shoestring budget and only a basic design spec to go on, you might, if you were unlucky, end up with Olivier Gruner.
Just stands there mostly, and occasionally jumps a little and kicks people.
Remember how at the top of this page I said that Mark Dacascos did more to prove that martial arts actors need to be able to act than anyone? I had reckoned without Olivier Gruner in rendering that judgement. The cardboard cut-out's cardboard cut-out; this man is quite simply the least charismatic actor ever to grace a TV screen.
Takes off a pair of sunglasses like no-one else in the buisiness.
A big no.