Top Ten Tuesday: Greatest Action Duo’s – We Are Movie Geeks

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Top Ten Tuesday: Greatest Action Duo’s

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We did a greatest Comedy Duo’s, and it was only a matter of time before we handed out the Greatest Action Duo’s. The term duo here applies to both buddies and sworn enemies. Let us know which ones you agree with and who we missed here.

10. Harrison Ford/Sean Connery – ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’


Indiana Jones had never really swung into action with a full-fledged partner before ‘Last Crusade.’  Sure, he had Willy and Short Round to kick around, and Satipo didn’t exactly make it much into ‘Raiders.’  But heading into ‘Last Crusade,’ you just knew if anyone could give Harrison Ford a run for his money in the hero department, it would be none other than James Bond himself, Sean Connery.  The two don’t disappoint one bit, and they ended up being one of the more memorable duos in recent memory.  Whether it’s escaping from a burning castle, escaping from a German airship, or escaping from a massive tank housing Nazis, the pair always worked great together.

09. Bruce Willis/Samuel L. Jackson – ‘Die Hard: With a Vengeance’


Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson reteamed after their performances in ‘Pulp Ficition’ for the 3rd and final installment of the ‘Die Hard’. Zues(Samuel L Jackson) meets John McClane(do I need to explain who this is?) on a street corner in a very rough neighborhood wearing a sign with some pretty racy remarks on them. Fearing for McClanes life he urges him to get off the order or at least remove the sign, but McClane being dragged into the case even during his suspension must oblige to avoid more bombs going off. I absolutely loved Samuel L Jackson in this movie and definitely made the move that much more enjoyable.

08. Jean Reno/Natalie Portman – ‘The Professional’


Jean Reno and Natalie Portman in ‘The Professional’ are a great, action duo.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  But think of how great the pair could have been had Leon made it into a sequel.  Regardless of the fact we never got our fantasy actioner with Leon and Mathilda taking out Mob bosses side-by-side, Luc Besson’s 1994 film is a masterpiece of action.  It is a truly awe-inspiring film that has just as much heart as bullets.  The relationship between Leon and Mathilda is key, and the actors behind these characters give it their all.  If only we could have seen Mathilda grow up to be an assassin as good as Leon.  If only Leon could have been by her side the whole time through.  If only.

07. Charles Bronson/Toshiro Mifune – Red Sun


Even though ‘Red Sun’ is a western, the western genre is obviously not excluded from also being an action film. With that said, Charles Bronson is an iconic staple of both genres. Casting him in a film together with Toshiro Mifune was a brilliant idea, as Mifune is like the Charles Bronson of Japan. Both are great actors will serious on screen tough-as-nails charisma. Bringing the western gunslinger together with the eastern samurai was a brilliant idea and was accomplished with fascinating results. Why this film never took off on a larger scale than it did still baffles me.

06. Chow Yun-Fat/Tony Leung (Hard Boiled)


Hong Kong has a long history of great martial arts action flicks, but it’s only been in the last 30-40 years that it has slowly emerged as a producer of high-quality non-martial arts action films, more similar in the vein of American action films. With that said, there is much to differentiate between the two, as ‘Hard Boiled’ is amongst the most stylish and beautiful action films you’ll ever see. Yun-Fat truly becomes a household name in action with this role, which would lead him to bigger Hollywood action films. Casting Leung along side Yun-Fat adds a level of dramatic experience that sweetens the deal, resulting in one of the best-acted action duos in history. Truly epic!

05. Mel Gibson/Danny Glover – Lethal Weapon


Roger Murtaugh: Have you ever met anybody you didn’t kill?

Martin Riggs: Well, I haven’t killed you yet.

‘Lethal Weapon’ wasn’t the first, buddy cop, action movie, and, in regards to the aesthetic, it certainly wasn’t the best.  However, there was not a more quintessential action pairing before Richard Donner directed Mel Gibson and Danny Glover together.  The crazy guy teaming with the more sophisticated guy to track down drug dealers and riddle them with bullets.  It was a formula so maddeningly simple, I can’t believe Neil Simon didn’t put Barrettes into Felix and Oscar’s hands 20 years prior.  Nonetheless, Gibson and Glover spawned countless imitations, and the buddy cop movie is still going strong today.

04. Jean Claude Van Damme/Bolo Yeung – Bloodsport

When I was about 7 this movie came out and like any young kid who was into martial arts we are all obsessed with Jean-Claude Van Damme. This was one of my absolute favorites next to ‘Kickboxer’ and strangely both of them featured bad guys that scared the hell out of me. Bolo is a beast of a man and seems to never age, would you believe that he was 50 when ‘Bloodsport’ came out?! He was the ultimate fighter in this movie and Jean-Claude Van Damme was of course the underdog who eventually defeats him. Classic story, and even more classic martial arts movie.

03. Jean Claude Van Damme/Dolph Lundgren – Univseral Soldier


Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren in a movie about bringing dead soliders back to life as “UniSols”, which are super soldiers. The soliders are trained to obey orders and kill terrorists, almost like machines. When the reanimation process doesnt full take on one of the soliders he starts to have flashbacks of his past and decides to break away from the other soliders and helps out a TV reporter who had been doing a story on the soliders. Dolph Lundgren plays the epitome of an asshole solider both before his reanimation and after. There are some pretty badass brawls between JCVD and Lundgren and even though Ludgren eventually loses to him(Who doesnt?), I still think he was the superior badass here.

02. Bruce Lee/Chuck Norris – Game of Death


I should simply state here that, if an explanation is required as to why Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris appearing in the same film is on this list, I might as well throw down my movie geek gloves and give up. Fortunately, I have faith that this is not the case. While Bruce Lee’s movie career was tragically short-lived, it would be difficult to argue he hasn’t had the biggest influence on the genre. Likewise, Chuck Norris has had a long career that has had a similar influence over American action cinema. If there’s one person that Chuck Norris would answer to, it would have been Bruce Lee. Their cooperative effort on ‘Game of Death’ was partially lost with the fact the film technically was not originally finished before Lee’s death, but the time they had on screen together will forever remain vivid in the minds of movie geeks worldwide.

01. Sly Stalone/Kurt Russell – Tango and Cash


Two years after Danny Glover and Mel Gibson sparked the flame that ignited the buddy cop action phenomena, Warner Brothers decided to try their hardest to recreate the formula.  Not only did they recreate it, they trumped it.  In terms of action and the buddy cop movie, there isn’t a better example than when Sylvester Stallone teamed with Kurt Russell.  On paper, the film worked, at best, as a glowing parody of ‘Lethal Weapon,’ but, with Stallone and Russell driving the characters, and the comedy strewn throughout, ‘Tango & Cash’ succeeds where so many imitators have tried and failed.