last time we scoured the earth for martial arts b-film actors in mainstream film and television productions, we found nearly a dozen offbeat appearances. Billy Blanks celebrated a touchdown in a Bruce Willis movie by offing himself, Don Wilson nearly kicked Tom Green in the face, and Jerry Trimble acted alongside Al Pacino in an overstuffed Michael Mann crime film. By no means was that list comprehensive though; our team of researchers* has uncovered a group of eight more.
Jeff Wincott - Prom Night (1980)
Before he was beating up on Dave Matthews in Lake City or playing undercover cops pretending to be homeless on The Wire, Jeff Wincott was fighting the likes of Matthias Hues and starring in a barrage of PM Entertainment releases. Before *that* however, he was rocking a blonde moptop and tuxedo shirt as a rapey meathead in Paul Lynch’s 1980 Canadian slasher Prom Night.
Chuck Jeffreys - Ghost Dog (1990)
Including Chuck Jeffreys again might be a little obvious considering his prolific career as both Hollywood stunt coordinator and performer. But I chose to list this one because even though Jeffreys’s appearance as a mugger is fleeting and he gets his ass kicked by an old man carrying groceries, I do love Henry Silva making elk noises, and I dig the work of Jim Jarmusch. A personal favorite.
Billy Blanks - Kiss the Girls (1997)
Plays a kickboxing instructor, surprises no one.
Rion Hunter? - The Doors (1991)
I can't confirm this appearance at all. It’s a total shot in the dark and I'm only going by the listed IMDb credit. Given that the NRNS3 super-villain is credited as "Indian in the desert," I watched The Doors with particular attention paid to the desert scenes, with especially close attention paid to the desert scenes involving Native Americans. Hunter was not the dying old Native American man near the beginning of the film. He was not the Native American man with the hat played by Wes Studi. He was also not the Native American man in the cave. I can only conclude then, that Rion Hunter played the naked blurry Indian on horseback on a distant sand dune during the peyote trip scene.
Don Wilson - Batman Forever (1995)
Under a mask of glow-in-the-dark face-paint, Don Wilson is virtually unrecognizable as a gang leader in Batman Forever. This role was historically significant for three main reasons: 1) this is the only film I can recall where Wilson actually plays a villain; 2) this is the film where the first Batman franchise officially went off the rails; and 3) you can observe the exact moment where Chris O’Donnell’s film career peaked upon beating Wilson in a hand-to-hand fight.
Matthias Hues - Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
Hues plays a hulking Klingon general alongside British heavyweight actors Christopher Plummer and David Warner. While a cool role, this wasn’t exactly new territory for Hues; he played an alien drug dealer two years earlier in the Dolph Lundgren actioner I Come in Peace.
Loren Avedon - Baywatch (1993)
Failing to ask Loren Avedon in two consecutive interviews about his guest appearance on Baywatch as the evil underground fighter Michael Branson will go down as one of my great regrets in life. How many performers in Hollywood can claim that they got paid to pretend to kick and punch The Hoff in the face? Of those performers, how many can also say that they got to engage in fisticuffs with the innovator of a cash-printing fitness craze? Only one: Loren Avedon.
Mark Dacascos - Iron Chef America (2004-2013)
Whether or not he ever tops the high watermark achieved in 1997’s Drive, Mark Dacascos will also forever be known to mainstream audiences as the wild-eyed dude shouting “SECRET INGREDIENT: ______!” in every episode of Iron Chef America. There’s a possibility that Dacascos is prohibited from munching down on the chefs’ creations and forced to eat mayonnaise sandwiches from catering, but he still has the cushiest and most regular mainstream acting gig of anything we’ve listed here.
Any others come to mind? Leave them in a comment below!