EW compares as veteran stars and new faces, including Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, take on more action-packed parts

By EW Staff
Updated June 10, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

The pecs will droop, the ponytails will gray, and Steven Seagal, Sylvester Stallone, and Jean-Claude Van Damme will one day face mandatory retirement. Fortunately, a new wave of would-be action stars are waiting to take up their lethal weapons and die just as hard. Watch for these sometimes unlikely heroes, soon to be causing mayhem at a theater near you.

Terminal Velocity
Role: A sky diver who takes on a bunch of Russians.
Action Experience: Rescuing (Hots Shots! one and two, The Three Musketeers) and kidnapping (The Chase).
Special Skills: Survival (Platoon, Hot Shots! one and two), fencing, and swashbuckling (The Three Musketeers).
Bulked Up?: Looks good, but he has, in fact, shed the rock-hard ripples he acquired for Hot Shots! Part Deux.
Good Career Move?: Two words: Keanu Reeves.

Tank Girl
Role: A futuristic heroine navigating the post-apocalypse, a.d. 2033.
Action Experience: Outdriving the mob (Cookie).
Special Skills: Can talk tough (Cookie).
Bulked Up?: To be announced.
Good Career Move?: Career?

The Next James Bond?
Role: Secret Agent 007.
Action Experience: Getting dressed in 10 seconds flat (Four Weddings and a Funeral).
Special Skills: Looks good in bed (Four Weddings and a Funeral). Looks good in a tux (Four Weddings and a Funeral).
Bulked Up?: Not yet, but if Keanu can do it…
Good Career Move?: Sean Connery is still considered sexy.

Drop Zone
Role:A federal marshal who infiltrates a group of sky divers.
Special Skills: Shooting (Demolition Man, Passenger 57), shooting (White Men Can’t Jump). Driving (Snipes led the cops on a chase in Jupiter, Fla., in April); packing (Snipes was busted in L.A. last year for allegedly having a concealed weapon).
Bulked Up?: He was born bulked up.
Good Career Move?: Good idea to beef up his rep, since he’ll play a drag queen in the upcoming To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar.

The River Wild
Role: A mother held hostage by a psycho whom she has to guide through the rapids to safety. Action Experience: Scaling the steps at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
Special Skills: Running (Still of the Night), falling (Death Becomes Her), dingo hunting (A Cry in the Dark).
Bulked Up?: No, but she did learn to row.
Good Career Move?: It’s time to see the brawn behind the brain.

Blown Away
Role: Head of the Boston bomb squad and prey of explosives-happy Tommy Lee Jones.
Action Experience: Rescuing stranger (Fearless), killing stranger (The Vanishing).
Special Skills: Scaling walls (The Fisher King).
Bulked Up?: He already is (see Against All Odds).
Good Career Move?: Ask Harrison Ford.