TOP 20 second tier 80s & 90s Action Stars PART 4

Read PART 1 here
Read PART 2 here
Read PART 3 here
Again, in no particular order...
16. Mark Dacascos 
Mark "Drive" Dacascos the part Filipino, part Spanish, part Chinese, part Irish and part Japanese Hawaiian and former karate kid (for real) started acting in the early 90s, first on TV and then in B-Movie American Ninja rip-off American Samurai.  His first starring role was in Sheldon Lettich's 'Only The Strong' which is a combination of Lettich's own Bloodsport and the popular 'criminal school kids' genre from films like The Principle and Dangerous Minds etc
In his best films, his on screen fighting style is as impressive, if not more so, as any of his 80s and/or 90s contemporaries. He continued through the decade with weird teen, kung-fu adventure stuff like Double Dragon, the Brandon Lee looking Crying Freeman and the highly superior Drive.
His similarity to Lee would get him the role of The Crow in the TV Show and he would continue churning out straight-to-video actioners for the next 20 years. Yes he would yo-yo up and down the cast list and yes, you might have never heard of him but he is on this list because his filmography demands to be revisited. His fighting style, if nothing else, can be incredible in the right film.

Must see: Drive, Crying Freeman
Also Suggest: Double Dragon  
Avoid: No Code Of Conduct, Sabotage 

Check out our commentary for Drive

17. Olivier Gruner
Olivier Gruner was born in Paris in 1960, he hit the action scene with a bang in 1990 with Angel Town. Very much like Van Damme, he was brought in with an accent and an uncanny ability to kick villains butts. He also worked with Albert Pyun just like JCVD on the Cyborg-a-like Nemesis, in our opinion, though, it's a much greater movie.
Although Nemesis spawned 3 sequels, Gruner did not return and instead made a string of similar, straight to video/limited release fare for the rest of the 90s for the same production company, Imperial Entertainment.
Gruner is still kicking ass in front of the camera, as well directing, watch out for the forthcoming Gruner starring and directed SECTOR 4, written by friend of the show Richard Pierce.

Must see: Nemesis
Also suggest: Angel Town, Savate, Automatic, Alien Interceptors
Avoid: The White Pony

18. Vanity
Originally on the list, in this place, was going to be Brigitte Nielsen but after a recent viewing of Never Too Young To Die, I felt compelled to change it to Vanity. The sexy Prince prodigy, who was formerly with the band Vanity 6 (Previously 'Hookers' and Prince wanted to call it Vagina), acted in only a few movies before giving it all up in 1997. Three of those films though The Last Dragon, Never Too Young To Die and Action Jackson were all serious ass kickers and although cast, initially, as the girlfriend, sex object or female foil, by the end of the films, Vanity is rough housing it along with the best of them.

Must See: The Last Dragon, Never Too Young To Die and Action Jackson
Also Suggest: 52 Pick-Up, Neon City

Check out our commentary for Action Jackson
Check The Kick Ass Kid out discussing Never Too Young To Die on Drunk On VHS

19. Jeff Wincott
Jeff Wincott knows Karate, Kung Fu and is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, he has also been a stand up comedian, a mime, actually trained as an actor, all serious like, with Stella Adler in New York and is, originally, a Canadian. In his films, in which he normally plays an incredibly angry and intense ass whooper, he does a ton of his own stunts and all his own fighting.
He starred in the detective/cop drama Night Heat for 4 years in the 80s and his first, feature length, action role was in Martial Law 2 next to, none-other-than, Cynthia Rothrock. What followed was the predictable and prolific stream of straight-to-video action films that gloriously littered the 90s.
His stand out classic, during this period, is Mission of Justice, which features some fantastically kinetic, stunt and fight heavy action set pieces. Again, like Mark Dacascos, his fighting style and stunts are arguably faster and more enjoyable than a lot of his A-List contemporaries.
We can't urge you enough to check out his filmography.

Must See: Mission of Justice, Martial Outlaw, Last Man Standing
Also Suggest: Martial Law 2, Open Fire

20. Billy Blanks
Yes, at number 20 with several bullets and a series of balletic high kicks it's Mr.Tae Bo himself, Billy Blanks. Starting out in bit-parts and supporting roles in films like Low Blow, Last Boy Scout, Bloodfist, China O'Brien 2 and Jet Li's The Master, among others, Blanks would get his first starring role in the film Talons of the Eagle opposite Beirut's answer to Steven Seagal, Jalal Merhi and the towering, hairy, villainous presence of Matthias Hues. This would lead to more, martial arts heavy, light hearted, B-action films including two side by side with Roddy Piper. He's mainly retired from films now to teach, train in and make videos all about his famous combination of boxing and Tae Kwon Do - Tae Bo
Some of his 90s output is still very much worth checking out though.

Must See: Talons of the Eagle, Back In Action and Tough and Deadly
Also Suggest: TC2000 and Showdown

Honorary Mentions:
Matthias Hues - The giant, big haired, wide shoulder padded, thick accented one is a staple villain throughout 80s and 90s action and has probably worked, at some time or other, with everybody on this list.
Lorenzo Lamas - A jokey cult action icon all of his very own. From the TV show Renegade to straight to video stuff like The Snake Eater series, the muscular, long haired one's filmography is indeed worth dipping in to from time to time.
Brigitte Nielsen - She has been romantically linked to Stallone, Lundgren and Schwarzenegger, which, let's face it, is probably enough action for a life time but she was also Red Sonja, in Rocky 4, Cobra and played memorable villains in Beverley Hills Cop 2 and Mission of Justice.

So there you have it! All 20! How did we do? any changes? anyone we missed? Let us know in the comments below!
- Dr.Action and the Kick Ass Kid


EXCLUSIVE William Lustig MANIAC COP 2 NYC Q&A Hosted by The Diner

EXCLUSIVE William Lustig MANIAC COP 2 NYC Q&A Hosted by The Diner