Baseball fans were blindsided by that whole steroids thing. Of course, maybe guys over 40 dominating the sport should have tipped everyone off that something was amiss. Old guys just shouldn’t be on top of the physical pecking order — it’s not natural! Strangely, in the action star world, hanging around at the top of your game until your 50s, 60s or even 70s isn’t uncommon. These guys aren’t even Barry Bonds old. They’re John McCain old. Hugh Hefner old. It may defy the laws of nature that a 45-year-old man can be the best baseball player in the world, but it’s perfectly normal for grandpas to be kicking ass in an action movie. On second thought, has anyone tested these eight killer grandpas for steroids?
When Bronson made his breakout performance in The Magnificent Seven way back in 1960, he was already 39. Fourteen years later, he became the ultimate action vigilante, Paul Kersey in Death Wish
(1974). Fast forward another two decades and Bronson was still at it,
pursuing Paul Kersey’s lifelong goal of vigilante justice in Death Wish V: The Face of Death
(1994) at the ripe old age of 73, setting an elderly action record! If we know anything, then Bronson is
giving menacing stairs and dishing out his unique brand of justice up
Current Status: Deceased (2003).
Senior Fact: Bronson was a real-life tough guy, even as a young man. He served in World War II and was awarded a Purple Heart.
Though he’s not currently kicking anyone’s ass (at least not on
screen), Connery did make an action flick as recently as 2003. He was
73 at the time! Sure, his League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
character was killed off in a cliched passing-of-the-torch moment, but
it’s remarkable that Connery was still holding that torch well
into his seventh decade (plus the movie ended with a clear set-up of a
sequel featuring a living Connery). As he ended his action career at the same age as Bronson, maybe 73 is the outer limits of action stardom? Most guys that age are figuring out
whether to watch Judge Judy or read a book. Not this killer grandpa.
Current Status: Retired, still manly.
Senior Fact: A year before Connery became an actual grandfather he starred in The Rock (1996), escaping Alcatraz and helping Nicholas Cage kill a few dozen mercenaries.
With his action star cred and dramatic acting rep,
Eastwood has spent the last decade beefing up his directing resume with
Million Dollar Baby (2005), Letters from Iwo Jima (2006) and Mystic River (2004). Yet it wasn’t all that long ago the 79- year-old actor was chasing down serial killers (True Crime (2002)) and conquering the final frontier (Space Cowboys (2000)). In 1993, already a tough sexagenarian, Eastwood played a Secret Service agent in In the Line of Fire. As boxing trainer Frankie in Million Dollar Baby Eastwood didn’t actually do any fighting himself, but still, would you have messed with that old man? We didn’t think so.
Current Status: Creating a second legacy as a director, but still menacing.
Senior Fact: With Gran Torino
(2008), Eastwood became the oldest leading man debut at number one at the box
office. Somehow, we have a feeling this isn’t the last time.
Ford may be the world’s most underrated action star. He doesn’t have
the grimaces of Bronson of Eastwood, but he’s Han Solo, Indiana Jones and Jack
Ryan, not to mention his starring roles in The Fugitive (1993) and Air Force One
(1997). He’s also a model in work ethic, despite his advanced age. When
he attained his official senior citizen status in 2007 did the former
carpenter start collecting Social Security checks and move down to
Florida? Nope. Indy may have conquered the Nazis but there were still the Soviets to deal with,
so this senior citizen opted for one
more ass-kickin’ go-round in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).
Current Status: Going strong as Indiana Jones and more.
Senior Fact: The same year he became a grandfather (1993), Ford was busy eluding Tommy Lee Jones and a crack squad of U.S. Marshals in The Fugitive.
been kicking ass since the ’70s and even made an ill-fated attempt at
dramatic acting. In 1997, he packed on the pounds to play a small-town
cop dealing with corruption
in Cop-Land. Maybe it was a mid-life crisis, but the movie
didn’t live up to Sly’s blockbuster standards and Sly went into a
nearly decade long slump where his biggest hit was the middling Spy Kids
(2001). Luckily, he dove into his golden years wiser
and just as strong (literally) and got back to his action roots. With Rocky Balboa (2006) and Rambo (2008), Stallone clearly realized that even as an older gentleman, he’s at his best jacked and beating down young bucks.
Current Status: Still going strong. Very, very strong.
Senior Fact: We all know Stallone ended the Cold War in Rocky IV (1985), but when Stallone was born, the Cold War had yet to begin.
He’s since gone respectable as California’s governor but as recently as
2003 the former Mr. Universe was reveling in his own muscle-bound glory in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. In fact, as Terminator Salvation
tears up theaters, we’re shocked the Governator could stay away from
kicking more ass. It must be reassuring to know that no matter how
old he gets, he can always go right back
to blowing up bad guys and showing off those billion-dollar biceps if the whole politics thing doesn’t pan out.
Current Status: Not kicking ass (unless you count his 2006 election victory).
Senior Fact: Arnold isn’t eligible to be President because he’s
foreign-born. The age requirement of 35 isn’t an issue: He met that in
1982, the same year when our current President was finally old enough to drink!
Samuel L. Jackson
You’re probably wondering what a young buck in his physical peak is
doing on this list. Shockingly enough,
Jackson celebrated his 60th birthday last December — though he doesn’t look a day over 45. Jackson apparently
has no plans to stop being a tough guy any time soon. He spent his fifties
as super-Jedi Mace Windu in the Star Wars prequels and fighting Snakes on a Plane
(2006), and he’s shown no indication of slowing down.
Despite all the miles on him, he didn’t have any trouble fighting off
all those killer snakes, now did he?
Current Status: Still causing problems for young whippersnappers, most recently in The Spirit (2008).
Jackson may have gotten a late start on super-stardom, but he was busy
in those early days with his involvement in the civil rights movement,
even attending Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral as 20-year-old
Norris, now 69 years old, may follow in Schwarzenegger’s path (he’s
said he’d run for President of an independent Texas if the state
seceded). In 2005, Norris was still employing his trademark brand of
justice in Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire, a TV movie.
Tommy Lee Jones: Though he lacks the superstar credibility of Ford or Eastwood, the 62-year-old Jones co-starred with both, in The Fugitive and Space Cowboys respectively. With his recent turn in No Country for Old Men (2007), it’s clear he has no plans of stopping any time soon.
James Coburn: Coburn, who died in 2002 at age 74, was a Western legend who never stopped fighting. At age 66, the star of The Magnificent Seven (1960) and The Great Escape (1963) was back at it again, as a scam-artist sheriff in Maverick.Read More