Rarely are action films thought of as fashion hubs. Audiences tend to focus on the mission or the car chases or explosions over a character’s lapel or tailored suit. That said, the fashion in an action film often tells more about the character than how cool they look when walking away from an explosion. Action films centering around a rogue agent or spy have a variety of suits or button-up shirts to match the occasion. For instance, James Bond is often wearing a three-piece tailored suit to blend into high society functions, whereas a god like Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is going to wear traditional attire, like gems and jewels.
Since action flicks have historically been centered around men, other characters often appeal to a man’s fantasy. Women are often in bikinis or plunging necklines, somehow able to run quickly in stiletto heels. Sidekicks tend to wear a similar outfit to the hero, while villains wear a monochrome outfit, signaling their difference to the hero. Yet some action flicks like Charlie’s Angels or Gunpowder Milkshake mock the fashion women wear in an empowering way. Arguably, fashion in action flicks is just as important as the explosions.
15 Chris Hemsworth’s White Suit — Spiderhead
In Spiderhead, Chris Hemworth portrays Abnesti, a program director at Spiderhead, a facility for criminals who volunteer to be test subjects to lessen their prison time. He wears a series of blazers, but his casual white suit with a light gray shirt is exquisite. Of course, his TAG Heuer Carrera watch, as Watch ID points out, is the piece that brings the outfit together.
14 John David Washington’s Linen-Striped Shirt — Tenet
Starring John David Washington as Protagonist and Robert Pattinson as Neil, the sci-fi action thriller Tenet puts the actors in suits that would give James Bond a run for his money. Though it’s not just the suits Washington wears that catch the eye: the knitted polos and linen-striped button down he wears in between the suits are equally showstopping.
13 Gerard Butler’s Navy Blue Suit — London Has Fallen
As Secret Service to the president, Mike Banning (played by Gerard Butler) wears plenty of suits while on duty. Although, it’s his navy blue suit that is the pièce de résistance in London Has Fallen. Even though he’s running through the London subway tunnels in the suit, he makes protecting world leaders and democracy stylish.
12 Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Hat and Vest — Ambulance
When his wife needs over $200K for his wife’s experimental surgery, Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) brother Danny for help in Ambulance. Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal) convinces Will to join a bank heist that is supposed to wield $32M. To be inconspicuous, Will wears a camo-vest and baseball cap. This heist outfit is something even superheroes turn to when on the run.
11 Sean Connery’s Tan Suit — Never Say Never Again
Almost every action film has the lead actor in a suit, but the present-day action heroes rarely live up to the standard James Bond set. As the original James Bond, actor Sean Connery had plenty of suits that stole hearts and foiled villains’ plans, though it was his tan suit in Never Say Never Again that is his best.
10 Chris Evan’s Stealth Suit — Captain America: The Winter Soldier
While the stealth suit is the former Captain’s favorite suit, it holds a certain significance to the trajectory of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In comparison, Steve Rogers’ (Chris Evans) stealth suit mirrors the Winter Soldier’s (Sebastian Stan) uniform. Both suits are fairly monochromatic and meant for combat, as Comic Book Resources explains.
9 Ryan Gosling’s Bomber Jacket and Driving Gloves — Drive
As a man of many talents, Driver (Ryan Gosling) is hired for his skills by mobsters. While driving through Los Angeles, he wears a satin bomber jacket with a golden scorpion embroidered on the back and maroon leather driving gloves. According to Vogue, Gosling, director Nicholas Refn, and costume designer Erin Benach collaborated on the design of the jacket in Drive.
8 Michael B. Jordan’s Maroon Button Up — Creed III
The third installment of the Creed franchise, Creed III stars Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed, one of the top boxers in the world. Living up to his name Adonis is a glory to behold in the ring. Even outside the ring he dresses to steal the show, especially in his maroon button up.
7 Oscar Isaac’s Infinity Scarf — Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker
The Star Wars franchise is hardly the inspiration for Fashion Week. However, Poe Dameron’s (Oscar Isaac) infinity scarf in The Rise of Skywalker is quite epic. Even though infinity scarves have a bad reputation in the fashion world, Syfy reminds audiences that Poe’s scarf is Instagram worthy in a galaxy far, far away.
6 Sebastian Stan’s Denim Jacket — The 355
With a woman-led espionage film, The 355 has plenty of conscionable fashion moments for the leading actresses, but Nick Fowler’s (Sebastian Stan) denim jacket makes audiences stop dead in their tracks. Despite its plainness, the jacket is a perfect disguise for someone deceiving the love of their life.
5 John Boyega’s Maelstrom Coat — Pacific Rim: Uprising
Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) is a Jaeger pilot turned cadet trainer in Pacific Rim: Uprising. While the pilot suits received an upgrade, Jake’s cozy maelstrom coat stole the show. According to Slim Fit Jackets, Jake’s jacket is a comfort person’s dream come true with fleece and hoodie jersey fabric.
4 John Cho’s Yellow Shirt — Star Trek Into Darkness
When the latest venture where no one has gone before premiered, a fashion update was needed. As Empire explains, the original cast of Star Trek wore gold-threaded shirts while the cast of Star Trek Into Darkness received an upgraded uniform. John Cho, who portrays Sulu, had a gray undershirt that made his yellow shirt stand out even more in the best way.
3 Tenoch Huerta’s Gems and Jewels — Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Shuri (Letitia Wright) may understand vibranium better than anyone on the planet. She developed each suit for her brother, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), as well as a suit for herself when she took on the Black Panther mantle. But it’s Namor’s (Tenoch Huerta) use of vibranium that stands out in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. His gems and jewels are made of vibranium in the film, but the headdress he wears before declaring war on Wakanda is reportedly eight pounds.
2 Angela Basset’s Diner Uniform — Gunpowder Milkshake
In the woman-led assassination flick Gunpowder Milkshake, retro looks should be considered a leading role in the film. Anna May (Angela Bassett) in particular rocks these retro looks in her undercover roles. The best disguise she wears is a teal and white diner piece as she takes down someone trying to kill her.
1 Lucy Liu’s Archery Outfit — Charlie’s Angels
This fashion moment serves two purposes. First: Alex’s (Lucy Liu) versatility as a spy for Charlie when in a high-speed chase, shooting an arrow. Second: Alex is wearing an all-black ensemble with her hair in a half-ponytail and most importantly, shooting an arrow during a high-speed chase. Undoubtedly, the reimagining of Charlie’s Angels (2000) reminded audiences that women can take down bad guys and look epic while doing so.