The Top 10 Don Cheadle Action Films!

By: Cam Sully

It’s time to tackle the best entries by a beyond underrated performer who can steal the show in anything, wether as the lead or support role. Here are the ten times where Don was pretty damn awesome!

10. Avengers: Endgame

War Machine AKA Rhodes, Don wasn’t that well-utilized in the first few appearances then he started gelling but still was underused. But alas, unlike Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, he gets to do quite alot and this entry is his shining moment. Cheadle also gets tons of fun lines and scientific exposition making a neat impact on the film inbetween battle scenes and plot twists.

9. Swordfish

As the wise-ass main FBI agent, Cheadle gets more of the film’s fun moments and gets more to do like solves some of the mystery as opposed to be just another generic authority figure barking orders at masked SWAT guys. The whole cast is having fun here and he’s no exception.

8. Ocean’s 11

Yeah, I know he went uncredited because he couldn’t stand his British accent but I associate all the witty supporting talent with this film series as I do the leading men and ladies. Cheadle’s character also gets some of the more outrageous lines and heist schematics to decipher so that alone merits being listed as one of his best.

7. Out of Sight

An earlier Soderbergh collaboration, Cheadle once again gets a bad guy role as the biggest unethical participant in the heist crew. The whole film is sharply scripted and displayed but while you might remember Clooney, J-Lo and Rhames, you’re still bound to associate Don with this given his personal agenda on the heist in the film’s second act.

6. Fail-Safe

The first live TV presentation of a CBS network film production since 1960, this Stephen Frears reworking of Sidney Lumet’s previous version is set once again filmed in B&W and set in an alternate ‘60s World War 3 doomsday scenario and is well-shot by Chinatown’s John A. Alonzo. Utilizing the same themes, having the live presentation add to the thrilling yet dramatic real-time urgency and a bigger all-star cast, I very much recommend this updated version. Don plays one of the three bomber pilots who misinterpret a Russian signal jamming as an act of war and unintentionally cause the aforementioned war by heading to Moscow to bomb it. He and George Clooney both have a beyond believable presence with how they portray men coming to terms with every American’s biggest fear while remaining headstrong on the personally assigned yet actually mislead mission at hand.

5. Hamburger Hill

An earlier role and a goodie at that. While short on dialogue, Cheadle fits right in with all the other rising stars, looking like he belongs in the platoon of doomed soldiers. He gets to express the hopelessness of the trite ‘Nam mission from the very first scene he’s in (which is also the start of the movie!).

4. Colors

As Rocket, the rival gangbanger and instigating badass, Cheadle once again gets to be in the film’s first scene, murdering an opposing gangmember while insulting him via drive-by. Cheadle sums up the tone and the brutality of East L.A. crime while making the role as memorable as any other prior or future criminal role. Now, start up this film so you can embrace the viciousness and awesome soundtrack all over again!

3. The Guard

In yet another FBI agent role, Cheadle gets to play straightfaced against Brendan Gleeson’s bigoted, rule-breaking Irish cop. An overall solid buddy picture that makes up for familiarity by having some stellar dialogue much like 48 Hrs. An altogether, enjoyable romp that doesn’t overstay its welcome unlike most buddy pictures these days.

2. Brooklyn’s Finest

In yet another undercover role, Cheadle hardly makes this become a typecast as the detective who is too close to the crew he’s pretending to be part of. Hardly a Colors revisit, it is a solid brutal script that Don complements nicely due to fine-tuning both the real-life and undercover personas. It becomes all the better as well in the second half when it becomes a tragic avenging film and that’s especially where he shines!

1. Traitor

I’ve seen this thrill ride many a time due to being as much fun as the Die Hard and Bourne Identity flicks. Cheadle IS Special Forces-turned-CIA undercover agent-turned-terrorist poser Samir Horn. As he has to set off enough explosions to retain his cover, he also has to stop from mentally breaking down and avoid being hunted down by FBI agents in their own manhunt. It’s a beyond stellar rollercoaster and he should’ve gotten awards for it but due to Action movie prejudice by critics and the academy, that’ll never happen but who cares? Cheadle and this movie are awesome and they can take a hike.

If you enjoyed this list or want another celeb of the Action genre tackled, please leave some feedback.


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