Top 7 Worst Action Hero Role Models

Young Bilbo BagginsAction movies are fun and their heroes are generally men and women we love to idolize.

Their strength, integrity, nobility, courage, wisdom and general bad-assery are traits we wish we could harness. But not all action heroes and heroines are worthy role models for our children. In fact, some of them are downright awful.

Before your kid takes his or her cue from the wrong character’s wrong attributes, take a look at this rundown of the top 7 awesome action heroes who also make the worst role models.

What Action Heroes Are the Worst Role Models?

7. Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

Old Bilbo ThiefFirst of All: Bilbo Baggins is one of the most famous adventurers in the entirety of the fantasy genre.

He’s charged with a quest in The Hobbit to basically save an entire region of Middle Earth, if not the whole world. He grows from a fat, slovenly, pipe-loving hobbit into a courageous, victorious, pipe-loving hobbit. He’s a true hero.

RELATED: Learn How to Decorate a Lord of the Rings Themed Kids Room

HOWEVER: He’s also a thief. He steals, literally steals, the One Ring from Gollum under the Misty Mountains (granted, that WAS his job in the party). Then he lies about it to his most trusted allies. Then, once he’s given it to his nephew Frodo for safe-keeping and in order to save the world (again!), he tries to steal it back!

Bilbo is a wonderful character, but despite his epic growth, he’s still not exactly someone you want your kids to emulate.

Here’s a funny video of Bilbo showing his very scary-looking greed (Again. And again. And again.):

6. John McClane from the Die Hard Flicks

John McClane SmokingFirst of all: Yippee-ki-yay, mother-trucker!

John McClane is the protagonist for (arguably, I guess…) the best action movie of all time: Die Hard. He’s a one-man army who’s constantly being put in a position wherein he must save the world by killing EVERY SINGLE bad guy that comes to the party.

He has a never-ending supply of fisticuff strategies and a will-not-ever-ever-ever-stop attitude that ought to make the baddest of bad guys sweat through their jockey shorts.

He is the quintessential action hero, fully capable, fully armed, and fully prepared to handle a terrorist attack of any kind, no matter where it happens to pop up.

HOWEVER: As an officer of the law, you might think that John McClane’s conscience would take a bruising when he causes so much bodily harm and property damage throughout five action-packed entries in the Die Hard franchise.

Never one to consider the consequences of his actions, John McClane has been the cause of untold millions (if not billions) of mostly irreparable harm to buildings, airports, streets, subways, construction sites, aircraft, and cars without number.

Also, he smokes, drinks, curses up a storm and has a poor enough body image that he wears a hair piece through the first three movies instead of just loving himself for who he is.

If your kid keeps this (admittedly bad-ass) action hero on a pedestal, you might want to make sure you take out the most premium of insurance policies on your home and on your body. (And also put money away for a future top-of-the-line toupee, should your child be gifted with a retreating hairline…)

(I know not all of these clips come from the Die Hard series, but a surprising number of them do. And you might as well consider the other clips to be from the disastrous adventures John McClane has in between franchise installments…)

5. Wolverine of X-Men Fame

Veiny WolverineFirst of all: Wolverine, aka Logan, is a mutant with extraordinary strength, awesome regenerative powers, a seemingly unending supply of perfect one-line zingers and two-fistfuls of adamantium claws that can tear through just about anything.

He’s courageous, fearless, noble and even sometimes kind. In other words, he’s about as cool as an action hero can get.

RELATED: Get a Wolverine iPhone Case!

HOWEVER: When is Wolverine ever NOT in a fight? This guy is always getting into scraps with EVERYONE. Just because you can quickly heal from any wound, that doesn’t mean you should constantly be putting yourself into situations where that superpower becomes immediately necessary.

What does Wolverine teach your kid? Yeah, talking things out might work, but it’s much more fun to go berserker on an adversary and tear things up!

Not a healthy lesson.

Just look at how much Wolverine gets his backside handed to him in the first X-Men movie alone:

(And remember, this crazy cat’s been in SEVEN movies. With the beatings getting exponentially worse… Ay-yi-yi…)

4. Kara “Starbuck” Thrace from Battlestar Galactica

Starbuck Smoking-GamblingFirst of All: Starbuck is, far and away, the coolest character on the reimagined Battlestar Galactica series.

She’s got more muscle than I could ever hope to have, fighter plane skills galore and a right hook that would intimidate King Kong in a boxing match. There’s nothing dainty or damsel-in-distress about Kara Thrace. Nothing. Period.

HOWEVER: She smokes a lot. She also gambles a lot. She also sleeps with men a lot, not just for love (though sometimes it is!), but for manipulative reasons.

She’s also the harbinger of death.

So, yeah, there’s all that.

3. The Bride from Kill Bill, Volumes 1 & 2

The BrideFirst of All: With a serious drought of female action heroes in cinema, it’s so wonderful to see Kill Bill‘s Uma Thurman kick so much tuches.

She’s on a mission and she never wavers. Using her fists, feet, swords, butcher knives and even her head, The Bride work her way through a laundry list of bad guys and gals who done her some serious wrong.

She’s tough, she’s resourceful and she’s incredibly driven, just as we need in modern heroines.

HOWEVER: An excellent trait to bestow upon your youngins is that of forgiveness. When we are wronged, the better of us will take the high road and treat the matter with dignity, patience and wisdom.

Uma Thurman’s Bride simply spills everyone’s blood. Her road is not paved with good intentions, but the innards of her enemies.

She’s certainly an awesome action hero, but maybe not the best role model for children who can’t realistically go through life with a katana blade strapped to their backs.

Here she is, not even pretending that she’s up to anything but serious no-good:

2. Ash from the Evil Dead Trilogy

Gimme Some SugarFirst of All: You gotta give him some sugar, baby, because Ash is a hero who helps save the world from an army of the undead.An Army of Darkness, if you will.

He’s as cool as they come and as manly as they get. I know many a dude who would give up a non-essential appendage or two to be reborn as Ashley “Ash” Williams.

HOWEVER: He’s also a total jerk. The way he talks to women–and men–is at once both condescending and crude. He doesn’t adapt well to other cultures, or respect them even one iota.

He has been known to be courageous at times, but usually only because he’s been forced into a situation that he cannot extricate himself from (not for lack of serious and strenuous trying).

Some of the verbal gems he bestows upon the masses with great ego-centricity include:

He also doesn’t listen very well. And in this instance, his not listening actually causes all the mayhem he has to fight when he finds himself lost in time.

A cool fella, to be sure, but not one you want your kiddos behaving like.

1. Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider  Series

Lara CroftFirst of All: Lara Croft, big-busted adventurer of the uber-popular Tomb Raider franchise, kicks major butt.

She travels the world in search of sacred and forgotten artifacts, most of which are also being sought after by evil men who wish to use them for nefarious purposes.

In other words, she’s a heroine who can single-handedly save the world, preserve history and put a super villain on his keister, no problem.

HOWEVER: Notice how the first adjective I used was “big-busted”? Yeah… Unfortunately, that’s the first adjective everyone uses for this otherwise rock-n-roll action hero. I don’t wholly blame the character herself, but she and her creators and her celebrity counterpart certainly use Lara’s curvaceous physique to their advantage.

If your kid idolizes Ms. Croft, he or she may further cultivate a love of adventure, but they may also mistake large breasts and a scanty wardrobe for important features. They aren’t. Unless, of course, you’re trying to sell millions of games to a target audience of adolescent dudes… But I still don’t think that’s a good excuse.

RELATED: Learn How to Raise a Real Life Indiana Jones

Plus, even though she holds ancient artifacts in such high esteem, she also shows an absurd lack of respect for certain cultural treasures. Like racing motorcycles on the Great Wall of China:

(Seriously. Obvious use of green screens notwithstanding, that just seems plain rude.)

Choose Your Heroes….Wisely

Most action heroes (not played by Shaquille O’Neal, Brian Bosworth, or Nicolas Cage, of course…) are fun to watch.

They often have muscles aplenty, one-liners galore and an abundance of bravery that is beyond remarkable.

Unfortunately, many are often jackasses.

Do your kid, yourself, your home and your most prized possessions a favor by choosing wisely which fictional good guys and gals get put up on that pedestal.

Who do you think are the worst action hero role models in your favorite movies? Let’s talk it out and save ourselves some grief!

Don’t Forget About Us!!

About Perry Rosenbloom

Perry Rosenbloom is a Geeky Dad trying to raise a Geeky Son. He is the founder of GeeksRaisingGeeks and enjoys everything from killing orcs & trolls to building ergonomic workstations. When not at his Sit/Stand desk, he can be found adventuring throughout Colorado with his family.

Like this article?


  1. I would actually steer clear of an action hero that, ironically, is seen as a model gentleman. James Bond, despite his license to kill, apparently thinks he has a license to sleep with every woman he meets, works with, fights against, or rescues. This marks him as not only a world-class man whore with little respect for himself (as also evidenced by the liters of vodka martinis he goes through) and even less respect for women. To Bond, women are practically as disposable as evil henchman #592747 he just shot.

  2. Celeste says:

    Actually, Starbuck/Kara Thrace only smoked cigars in the first series. I read an interview where girls were coming up to Katie Sackhoff saying they wanted to grow up and smoke cigars like Starbuck. Sackhoff subsequently quit smoking on the show. She’s still an incredibly flawed character, but most great heroes are.

    This is the heart of the great heroes, that they have human flaws they overcome in order to serve the greater good. Just as our superheroes are larger than life, so must be their flaws. Go back to great heroes of Greek mythology and you will always find character flaws and horrendous deeds every big as grand as their greatest accomplishments. Hercules only completed the 12 Labors because he was repenting for murdering his wife and children (after Hera drove him mad of course). These flaws are also why many people prefer the heroes you listed above over someone like Superman, who doesn’t even jaywalk, spit, or swear. We can relate to the flawed and still admire them.

Speak Your Mind