If Gina Carano , the star of Steven Soderbergh’s new bone-crunching, adrenalized action flick, Haywire, doesn’t ring a bell, consider a different kind of ring — the fist-throwing kind. Carano, an American Gladiators veteran and a mixed martial arts expert, is venturing full-throttle into the world of film, but she’s certainly not the first body slammer to make the transition. Here’s a roundup of other mat masters who have delivered clotheslines, avalanches and stingers to the multiplex.
As Arnold Schwarzenegger was to pumping iron, Johnson is to pro wrestling, combining all of his chest-pumping panache with a natural charm, self-deprecating humor and an almost unerring eye for on-screen material (The Game Plan, Fast Five).
A B-movie god, Piper took his combat chops to the big screen in one of cinema’s longest bouts of fisticuffs in John Carpenter’s They Live.
“The ultimate male versus the ultimate meatball,” is the fight Hogan’s Thunderlips flamboyantly promises fans in Rocky III. The Hulk also locked audiences into Mr. Nanny and Santa with Muscles.
Go figure: The tough guy with an attitude problem in the wrestling ring has excelled at playing a tough guy with an attitude problem in films like The Longest Yard and The Expendables.
This mountain of a man — known as “the Eighth Wonder of the World” — lent skyscrapers of sweetness to The Princess Bride and played Bigfoot in TV’s The Six Million Dollar Man.
Ventura cobbled together a formidable, uh, body of on-screen work in the 1980s and ’90s — The Running Man, Predator, Batman & Robin — before ditching it all for politics in Minnesota.