Today is Wesley Snipes' 50th birthday. Wesley Snipes, for years, has been a tenacious black lead in countless action movies. Remember Blade? Demolition Man? Money Train, anyone? To Wong Foo? Ok, maybe not To Wong Foo, but still the list is impressive.
In honor of this milestone, we've decided to settle the question that's been burning us up for way too long. Who is the greatest black action star of all time?
We don't have many, but the ones we do have are extremely accomplished, from Shakesperean actors turned sci-fi revolutionaries to heavily side-burned Blaxploitation stars. We even have a Jedi! A JEDI!
Check out our round up of our action greats and let us know in the comments, who do you think is the greatest black action star of all time?
Update: Thanks to this tweet, we've added Danny Glover and a montage of his famous line "I'm too old for this sh*t." You can thank us later.
Tax troubles or no, Wesley Snipes has it all. The martial arts expertise, the long list of acton movies, the ability to wear an leather outfit like he does in Blade and not be laughed off the set by his fellow black crew members. Snipes is a heavy hitter.
Known more for his serious acting skills in generation defining films like <em>Boyz in the Hood</em> and <em>Higher Learning</em> (we'll even toss in <em>Apocalypse Now</em> because you have to admit that's very impressive), Laurence will be most remembered by many of us for years to come as Morpheus in <em>The Matrix Trilogy</em>. We'll ignore <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrOkYkXOZoY" target="_hplink">that awkward speech</a> in the 2nd movie for now. "Stomp your feet!" Ugh.
You know things have to be pretty good for this star's odds to be crowned as "The Greatest Black Action Star of All Time" when there's already a ready made mashup of him running. The only other star we know of that has one is <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zv2bAqk9PLw" target="_hplink">Tom Cruise</a>. Thankfully, Will Smith's run isn't nearly as embarrassing.
Action Jackson. Need we say more?
SHAFT's his name, SHAFT's his game
Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson has been in every movie imaginable. No, seriously, just look at <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_L._Jackson_filmography" target="_hplink">this list.</a> He was even in <em>Star Wars</em>. <em>STAR WARS</em>!! Your kids are probably playing with a Mace Windu action figure right now. Heck, you probably are too. Wait... you're not really, are you? Moving on. We can't imagine better credentials than that. But even if you're still on the fence, take a moment to enjoy this "For TV" edited version of his famous "Snakes on a Plane" line. You're welcome.
He may be more comfortable voicing <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMaFjEH1B0g" target="_hplink">singing donkeys</a> and dressing up as <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5VALw6rouI" target="_hplink">obese and uncontrollably flatulent family members</a> now, but back in the day, Eddie Murphy was a lean, mean, action movie machine.
As we're warned in the trailer for his 1972 hit "Hammer,""He's a black explosion!"
Added thanks to this tweet.
Kareem Abdhul-Jabbar. He fought Bruce Lee. 'Nuff said.