The Action Hero Championship Belt
From Steve McQueen to Liam Neeson, Bill Simmons determines who ruled the box office
BY BILL SIMMONS ON MARCH 27, 2014
Before Steve McQueen, Hollywood didn’t produce action movies in the modern sense. You never saw John Wayne trapped on a luxury yacht with scheming terrorists, or Paul Newman tearing through Paris to find his kidnapped daughter. If you needed a testosterone fix, you survived on a never-ending slew of Westerns and war movies, or any plot in which our heroes took an inordinately long time to plan an escape. Occasionally, Hollywood threw a curveball like Cool Hand Luke, but even those movies starred accomplished actors and had loftier goals than just “Meet our hero … he’s about to kick some ***.”
McQueen changed everything in 1968 with Frank Bullitt, a renegade San Francisco cop who … (wait for it) … PLAYED BY HIS OWN RULES!!!!! Check out the poster for Bullitt and tell me this movie couldn’t be remade right now with Mark Wahlberg.