The Worst Action Hero Names
Marion ‘Cobra’ Cobretti. John Matrix. Frank Shatter. Action cinema history is littered with terrible hero names, and here’s our list of the most memorably awful...
Weird accents and bizarre amounts of muscle have become staples of the action movie genre, and the latter certainly makes sense, because no one's going to believe that some nine-stone weakling could save the world from terrorists or a bus full of innocent people from Dennis Hopper.
Why, though, do the protagonists in these films so often have utterly ridiculous names? In Die Hard, the totally ordinary sounding John McClane did just fine without having a moniker with any kind of alliteration, rhyming or jokes in it. No one sat there watching it thinking, "This film would be so much better if Bruce Willis was called 'Buck Shot'."
Still, though, Hollywood persists with the daft action hero names, and we've put a selection of the worst offenders together for you. Of course, depending on where you stand on this issue, you might actually consider the following names to be the most awesome rather than the worst. Either way, they're definitely memorable.
Played by: Sylvester Stallone in Cobra (1986)
"Crime is the disease. Meet the cure." A strong message there, about an LAPD cop with the kind of tolerance threshold for criminal activity that would make scrumping a capital offence. With his black t-shirt, sunglasses, big guns and, yes, a toothpick, he's clearly not a man to messed with. Even if he does have a girl's name.
Played by: Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando (1985)
John, that's a good, strong name. Nothing fancy about that. He definitely sounds like a guy who could get his daughter out of a spot of trouble. John Matrix? Oh dear.
Played by: Chuck Norris in Hellbound (1994)
In spite of a movie poster mix-up on IMDb suggesting otherwise, this has nothing to do with Hellraiser II. So, no, you won't be seeing Chuck bitch-slapping Pinhead, but with a name like Frank Shatter, it seems pretty likely he could if he wanted to.
Played by: Steven Seagal in On Deadly Ground (1994)
This one's just weird. Although it's actually quite a plausible name, it just sounds made-up. Not only that, it doesn't even have a macho ring to it, but sounds like some kind of small wood-dwelling mammal, albeit one that could break your nuts with one punch.
Played by: Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Running Man (1987)
Okay, bear with us on this one. Sure, Ben Richards doesn't sound all that exotic. He sounds like the kind of guy you could have gone to school with. You might even be called Ben Richards yourself. However, we're willing to bet you aren't Austrian.
Played by: Jason Statham in Crank (2006)
Although a relative newcomer to the action movie scene, Mr Statham can nevertheless make a pretty good claim for the most ridiculous/awesome action hero name of all time. It's got everything: alliteration, assonance, a stupid Christian name and a surname that appears to be totally inappropriate to the actor's ethnicity. It's so brilliant, we wish we could lick it.
Played by: Sylvester Stallone in Paradise Alley (1978)
Another one from Sly, and this time one that uses a great bit of alliteration. We had absolutely no interest in watching this movie before, but now we know there's a character called Cosmo Carboni in it... Well, we still don't want to watch it, but fucking hell, that's an awesome name.
Played by: Vin Diesel in xXx (2002)
You can almost see the producers sitting around a table and thinking this one up. We assume Xander was chosen because it sounds a bit trendy and, most importantly, it begins with an ‘X'. As for ‘Cage', well, clearly it's in honour of Nicolas Cage, or, at least, it should be.
Played by: Tommy Morrison in Rocky V (1990)
He may not have been the hero, but he can at least take comfort in the fact that he had the most stupid name of any character in the Rocky series.
To finish off, we'll leave you with The Expendables, which is so shameless in its doling out of ridiculous names that it deserves its own section:
Jason Statham - Lee Christmas
Jet Li - Yin Yang (both stupid and ever so slightly racist)
Dolph Lundgren - Gunnar Jensen
Randy Couture - Toll Road (eh?)
Steve Austin - Paine
Terry Crews - Hale Caesar
Mickey Rourke - Tool (just sounds like an insult)