Forgotten Attempts to Turn ‘SNL’ Stars into Action-Movie Heroes

From sketch comedy players to James Bond
Forgotten Attempts to Turn ‘SNL’ Stars into Action-Movie Heroes

We don’t typically think of Saturday Night Live cast members as violent badasses. Sure, there’s the occasional story of a behind-the-scenes brawl with Chevy Chase (these people are only human, after all), but SNL stars are arguably best suited for roles that don’t require them to gun down bad guys while leaping from an exploding building.

The obvious exception here is Eddie Murphy, who starred in three (soon to be fourBeverly Hills Cop movies. Perhaps because of Murphy’s success, Hollywood has sometimes experimented with throwing SNL actors into action movie roles, although it hasn’t always stuck, as evidenced by movies such as…

Adam Sandler in ‘Bulletproof’

Just a year after being fired from SNL, Sandler starred in the Midnight Run-esque buddy action comedy Bulletproof along with Damon Wayans. Sandler is still playing the Adam Sandler character, but instead of romancing a beautiful actress in a destination vacation-friendly location, he performs a number of legit action scenes. There’s certainly no other movie in which Happy Gilmore shoots Sonny Corleone in the head.

Billy Crystal in ‘Running Scared’

Before he began routinely churning out rom-coms and goofy Westerns, Crystal played a Chicago cop, along with actor/dancer Gregory Hines, in Running Scared. It’s a testament to how good this movie is that we can still buy Crystal as a scruffy urban tough guy even after personally witnessing him sing countless songs about Oscar nominees. 

Chris Rock in ‘Bad Company’

Rock had a small role in Lethal Weapon 4, but in 2002, he played the lead in Joel Schumacher’s Bad Company, about a small-time hustler who is recruited by the CIA to stand-in for his dead twin brother during an arms deal, which is just a thing the CIA does sometimes, apparently. The movie also stars Anthony Hopkins, possibly because it was cast during a game of Mad Libs.  

Jimmy Fallon in ‘Taxi’

Not to be confused with the sitcom of the same name, 2004’s Taxi starred Fallon as an undercover cop (who presumably blew every case he ever worked on by giggling through his cover story) and Queen Latifah as a cab driver with a knack for stunt driving. If there’s one silver lining to the current iteration of The Tonight Show, it’s that it has saved us all from enduring more Jimmy Fallon movies. 

Will Ferrell in ‘The Other Guys’

Okay, so The Other Guys is primarily a comedy, but Ferrell still got to show-off his action-movie chops for the first and only time. How is it that there’s no Other Guys 2, but Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg made multiple Daddy’s Home movies.

Dan Aykroyd in ‘Loose Cannons’

Probably best known for the time it was discovered in a landfill and mistaken for a snuff film, 1990’s Loose Cannons found Aykroyd inexplicably paired up with legendary actor Gene Hackman and the results were absolutely awfulDid we mention that this movie is about the hunt for Adolf Hitler’s sex tape?

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