Most action heroes start out in big action movies with no kids or maybe one in a small supporting role. Instead, the big, burly guys go out and shoot things against other big, burly guys. For example, Arnold Swartzenegger plays an action hero in Conan the Barbarian (1982), The Terminator (1984) and Commando (1985). Next, we see Vin Diesel in movies like The Fast and the Furious (2001) and the Chronicles of Riddick (2004). Finally, there is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who was originally known as a WWE wrestler and for movies like The Mummy Returns (2001) and The Scorpion King (2002). All of these guys then played comedies in which their big, burly personality juts up against the personalities of a kid or kids, in a kind of “fish out of water” experience.
Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in Kindergarten Cop (1990), which was about a cop and her female partner going to an elementary school to find the wife and kindergarten-aged son of a drug dealer. Schwarzenegger plays John Kimble and Pamela Reed plays Phoebe O’Hara. The fun begins when Phoebe, who was a former teacher herself and originally stated to take over, becomes sick and Kimble has to take over himself. While there is still a lot of violence (so much it earned a PG-13 rating), nevertheless, much of the comedy comes from Schwarzenegger struggling and finally using his own tough method to deal with the kindergartners. He does eventually find the wife and son, but not before drug dealer is set free due to lack of evidence. The drug dealer then sets his sights on finding his missing son…
In The Pacifier (2005), Vin Diesel is Lieutenant Shane Wolf, a Navy SEAL who was originally assigned to protect Howard Plummer against some Serbian rebels. However, they are caught and Howard is killed and Shane is injured. To finish the job, Shane is assigned to protect Howards’ wife and family, and look for a secret project that Howard was working on called GHOST, while his commanding officer, Bill Fawcett helps Howard’s wife figure out the password to something in safety deposit box. Julie Plummer (Faith Ford) has five kids: teenagers Zoe and Seth, 9 year old Lulu, toddler Peter, and baby Tyler. At first, Shane struggles to deal with the five kids, especially the older teenagers. He also gets into a few humorous situations with Lulu’s Girl Scout troop, who has a rivalry with the local Boy Scout troop. And of course he has to deal with the toddler and the baby. As it turns out, GHOST is located underneath the house, and two ninjas, who are actually two Korean spies, try to get to the secret plans. It’s up to Shane Wolf to save the day. There is violence in this movie, but it is more silly and in keeping with other family movies.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars in this Disney movie, called The Game Plan (2007). In The Game Plan, Johnson plays Joe Kingman, who is a football star for the Boston Rebels. He scores a game-winning touchdown but ignores an open receiver. The next day, an 8 year old girl named Payton arrives on his doorstep, claiming to be her daughter. After a few comedic complications, the pair starts to bond when Payton comes to his defense at a press conference and he in turn takes her to ballet practice. With the help of the Ballet teacher, Joe starts to realize that ballet has as much athletic ability as football. Joe and Payton have fun together on road games, but then complications arise because Joe finds out that her mother didn't know she left, and that Payton consumed nuts, to which she is allergic. While Payton is ok, Joe finds out that Payton’s mother is actually dead, and she was staying with her mother’s sister. Payton is taken home and Joe must face the championship game alone…until Payton shows up and tells him to never give up. While it does contain no violence (except football tackling), it has some mild innuendos.
All three movies show the main character changed positively by his experience with kids. In the first two movies, he changes his job to work with kids, and in the third, his priorities change from all about himself to all about his daughter. Check out these movies of action heroes with kids.