The other day I was watching Predators, the last movie in the Predator franchise (thus far) featuring Adrien Brody and a cast of weirdos who are abducted by the alien Predators and forced to survive. Along the way, they are briefly rescued by Laurence Fishburne. His appearance (physical) in Predators led to the creation of this list of 6 actors in action movies who let themselves go.
1. Laurence Fishburne
In Predators Laurence Fishburne plays a previous abductee who is hiding out in a derelict spaceship. And dude is husky. He’s supposed to have been evading hunters for years on end, surviving on whatever scraps of food he can scrounge up but he’s quite portly considering that he’s living life on the run from highly advanced alien creatures who are experts at hunting and tracking.
It’s quite a contrast from just a few years earlier when Fishburne was making Matrix movies. Maybe the workouts on those films burned him out. He’s a bit husky now in his roles on CSI and Hannibal but that’s fine. That’s believable for the character. For Predators, it was the first time we saw he’d put on weight and it didn’t make much sense for the role.
2. Roger Moore
Roger Moore was already older than Sean Connery when he took over as James Bond, but he looked young in Live and Let Die and that was all that mattered. Cut to his seventh film as James Bond and the dude was 57 years old. Hard to blame him for putting on some weight at that age, but he looked every bit of that 57 as he jogged around San Francisco chasing Christopher Walken, who wanted to flood Silicon Valley and corner the microchip market (it was topical in 1985).
3. Val Kilmer
I don’t think any of the people on this list have let themselves go as far as Val Kilmer. Not that it matters that much. He’s still a fine actor. But to compare the thin, ripped version of Kilmer that appeared in 80s films like Top Gun and Willow, you almost can’t recognize him in recent roles in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang or MacGruber. He’s definitely going the Marlon Brando route and every year he gets a bit wider.
4. Sammo Hung
One dude on this list has pretty much always been chubby and that’s Sammo Hung. Aside from a small role against Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon and for his lead role in Eastern Condors, Sammo has always had a bit of a belly. But you know what? It doesn’t slow him down very much. He’s long been a premier kung fu star in Hong Kong making a string of hit movies throughout the 80s and into the early 90s, many with Jackie Chan, who he studied alongside as a child. In the 90s he started to have trouble finding lead roles in Hong Kong and made 2 seasons of a mediocre kung fu show here in America called Martial Law. These days he is back to doing stunt and fight choreography and playing the elder statesman in Hong Kong movies once more.
5. Charles Bronson
Charles Bronson always played tough guy roles. And that’s fine. So does Clint Eastwood for the most part. But where he was a scrappy tough guy in WW2 and Westerns in his younger days, by the end he was starring in Death Wish V. That’s right, they made FIVE movies where he lost his temper and went out for revenge on gangs, Punisher-style. And by the last one, he was quite a bit rounder, wrinklier and greyer than when he started. It pushes the plausibility of a franchise that didn’t have much in the tank to begin with.
6. Steven Seagal
If there’s ever been a lazier action star than Steven Seagal, I sure can’t think of him. Segal was on the thinner side for his first two or three low-budget action films, which ended up being hits. Then he began expanding. And the larger he got, the straighter-to-video his career became.
He tends to cover himself in Buddhist robes or layers of winter gear whenever possible. Also, he does as much sitting as possible. Seriously, a bunch of his recent movies tend to have him walk into a bar, sit down and punch bad guys that charge him. He also insists on wearing the fakest looking hairpiece this side of Shatner. I have no idea who supports this guy’s films. He’s an awful actor but his action skills are decreasing every time he eats another cheeseburger, which seems to be on the hour. Laziness and getting fat seem like two odd choices for someone who makes their bones as an action star.