Home Film Sports Stars in Film: Part 1

Sports Stars in Film: Part 1

Throughout the years, Hollywood has seen many professional athletes try their hand at acting. Sometimes they’ll make the jump over because their careers are over in the sports side, maybe they fancy a change or possibly, and they may not admit it, the money is a lot more worthwhile than putting their bodies on the line. There are quite a few natural progressions, American footballers moving into the action-type films because their build works for it, sports stars starring in films about their former sport as it’s easy to start off with a role about what you know. Professional wrestling has produced quite a few actors, or would-be actors in some cases, with the sport (the term may be used loosely but I do think it counts as a sport) already having an acting side to it, it’s very easy for wrestlers to turn their hand at acting. In part 1 of this article, we’ll take a look at the worst who’ve moved into acting.

M8DSPJA EC0045. Michael Jordan – Possibly the greatest basketball player of all time, I say “possibly” because I don’t follow it at all and someone may have emerged recently who’s better. Michael Jordan was an absolute marketing juggernaut throughout the 90s. During the 1993 Super Bowl, he starred in a half-time commercial where he teamed up with various Looney Tunes characters to defeat some Martians, this inspired the 1996 film, Space Jam. I’m going to be a bit lenient because it’s a kids’ movie and it was a fairly silly movie, as you’d expect. That doesn’t fully excuse how bad he was though. This is definitely a case where sports stars should stick to their own sports.

lock-stock-and-two-smoking-barrels-400-804. Vinnie Jones – Vinnie Jones had quite a successful football (soccer) career. He won the FA Cup with Wimbledon and played over 200 games over two spells for them as well as a fair amount of games for Leeds and Chelsea. He was also capped for Wales and captained them during his 9 appearances. Having been known as a “hard man” during his football days, his move into acting probably wasn’t too tough. He starred in Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch where he played what I imagine he’s like in real life just without the criminal activity. I haven’t seen Gone in Sixty Seconds or Swordfish in ages but I imagine his roles are very similar in those too. Following those up with many similar roles, sometimes cameos in films such as Mean Machine (British remake of The Longest Yard using British football instead of the American type) and Eurotrip. At this stage, I wouldn’t be complaining and he wouldn’t have made this list. But then he tried his hand at other things, most notably X-Men: The Last Stand. He was utterly atrocious in that film, not even bothering to attempt an American accent. I know he makes a lot of straight to DVD type films but he currently has 14 films that are either completed or in post/pre-production, 13 of which are scheduled to come out in 2013. That’s utter insanity.

tyson23. Mike Tyson – Iron Mike was once called “The Baddest Man on the Planet”. Tyson held numerous boxing championships throughout the 80s and even some during the mid-90s after his prison sentence. Although a lot of it is for the wrong reasons, Tyson remains one of the biggest names in boxing history and in terms of mainstream fame, probably only Muhammad Ali is a more famous boxer than he. Although he has played “himself” in a lot of things, Mike Tyson is still a terrible actor. He was poor in The Hangover and sounded like he’d fit in at a pub karaoke contest in the second one. I can’t imagine what sort of performance he’ll give in Scary Movie 5 and the third Hangover film. What I will say is that he was quite funny in his cameos in Entourage and How I Met Your Mother but that’s tv so doesn’t count, I’m afraid Mike. (Please don’t bite my ear off though)

Wrong Side of Town 2012. Dave Bautista – Commonly known as “Batista” in the sporting world, he has spent most of the last decade under that name wrestling in the WWE company. His first foray into acting came with a couple of minor roles in 2006 with an uncredited role in “Relative Strangers” as a wrestler and a one-time role in Smallville. After another cameo, he and Rob Van Dam (who only missed out on this list because I had too many wrestlers) starred in Wrong Side of Town. This is probably the worst film I’ve seen all the way through. Bautista stars as the main character’s former Navy Seals teammate who got saved by the hero. It’s just full of awful writing and Bautista’s acting is terrible as well. He was terrible in The Man With The Iron Fists, although thankfully he was there purely as a muscle man and his role was quite short. The news that he’s going to be in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy was met with pure fury from this comic nerd.

surburb1. Terry Gene Bollea – This name might not ring any bells with most but his alter ego, Hulk Hogan should really register. As much as it pains this fan to admit, Hulk Hogan is probably the most famous wrestler of all time and is really responsible for putting this sport on the map and propelling it to a level it had never seen before. Throughout the 80s and 90s he was huge and took both the WWF and WCW wrestling companies to unseen heights while he was there. But despite all that, he was a terrible actor. Even in wrestling standards, his acting was atrocious. Wrestler often will cut “promos” where they will talk to the crowd or to their opponent for a period of time, most of the wrestlers will have their promo planned out like most tv shows will have a script. Hogan is renowned for being awful at these, constantly saying the word “brother” is probably the biggest tell of his. Hogan’s move into films is one purely born out of trying to capitalise on his wrestling fame. Hogan’s first film role was in Rocky 3 as Stallone’s opponent, Thunderlips. It was just awful. On a side note, I think his match with Rocky is the most he’s ever done, even inside a wrestling ring! He went on to star in such films as No Holds Barred, Suburban Commando and Thunder in Paradise. All of which were immensely terrible. I haven’t seen any of his other films, probably because I don’t shop in the bargain buckets of gas stations or charity shops but I have yet to see Hulk Hogan put in a good acting performance. There is no one more befitting of this spot than he.

Stuart Ross – @forehead7


  1. Just checked up on Hulk Hogan; I see there were THREE Thunder in Paradise films. I will now not sleep in fear, and now will have to go to my grave knowing that these existed within my lifetime.

    Now I lay me down to sleep.
    Pray the Lord my soul to keep.
    If I die before I wake.
    Pray the Lord my soul to take.

    • Yeah, two films then a season of the tv show then a third film which was also accompanied by a video game. I can’t wrap my head around how that became a franchise!

  2. I’d like to nominate Tiny Lister in here, he really is awful in such garbage as Hellborn & The Fifth Element! He’s even getting lead roles now for some reason… okay the films don’t seem to see the light of day, but there’s a reason for that!

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