Arts & Entertainment

What Happened to Your Favorite '90s Pinoy Action Stars?

These are the men who lorded over local cinema, once upon a time
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They used to lord over local cinema, appearing in films that mostly displayed their knack for hand-to-hand and armed combat. Their skill for romancing nubile beauties left and right was just an added bonus.

Ah, to be an action star in the '90s.

Admit it. At one point or another in your life, you idolized these men who seemed to have it so easy. And we all thought they would reign forever, too. But those days are long gone. And all we have are the memories of them beating baddies up and saving the day.

If you've ever wondered how your favorite '90s action stars are faring now, fret not, because we've gone and done the dirty work for you. 

(By the way, we omitted the likes of Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, Phillip Salvador, Rudy Fernandez, Edu Manzano, and Cesar Montano from the list as these stars had already established themselves as leading men even before the '90s action boom. Ditto Robin Padilla who, of course, deserves his own article altogether.)

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Jeric Raval
Ranked only next to Robin, Jeric had several box-office hits in the '90s.

He was actually unlike any other action star of the era in that he looked too youthful for comfort. He made up for it by wearing a permanent scowl on his face, accentuated by long locks tied in a ponytail. As action movies waned, Jeric was among those who found themselves jobless. He was able to manage a comeback at 42, and now appears in several shows on ABS-CBN.

Ace Espinosa
A product of German Moreno's That's Entertainment, Ace started his career as a matinee idol, taking on teenybopper roles that served to highlight his toothsome smile. As he got older, he realized he could prolong his fifteen minutes as an action star, bulking up, and subsequently appearing in films like Simaron and Balasubas, among others.

He was late in joining the bandwagon, however, and his ascent to the top was cut rather abruptly. Not soon after, Ace found himself taking on mostly supporting roles. His last credit was a bit role in Ang Panday in 2009.

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Jestoni Alarcon
Like Ace, Jestoni was a That's Entertainment alum. Unlike most stars from the show, however, Jestoni's first few projects were more risque than usual. Apart from softcore porn movies, he also dabbled in comedy and drama before making it big as a '90s action star.

To say he was among the more popular stars of the genre is an understatement considering he made hundreds of these films well into the 2000s (well, maybe not hundreds). He subsequently carved out a career as a politician, once becoming the vice governor of Rizal province. Jestoni still acts nowadays, albeit rather sporadically. He was last seen on FPJ's Ang Probinsiyano.

Raymart Santiago
Already a Viva contract star as a teen, Raymart actually started his career as a comedian of sorts, appearing in a slew of youth films, including Estudyante Blues in 1989 before transitioning to become an action star in the '90s.

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He returned to comedy when action films lost their flavor, earning lead roles in such TV shows as Kool Ka Lang and Lagot Ka Isusumbong Kita. He then returned to doing action in a controversial manner in 2012, when he and a pal ganged up on veteran journalist Mon Tulfo at the NAIA. Today, Raymart appears in bit roles on GMA-7.

Ian Veneracion
Considered among the most good-looking actors of his generation, Ian originally gained fame as a teen heartthrob. Like most of his ilk, his career quieted down considerably with the death of action films. He was able to bounce back in 2015, playing romantic lead to Jodi Sta. Maria and to Bea Alonzo.

Zoren Legaspi
Though he is now mainly known as the husband of Carmina Villaroel, Zoren used to be one of the most sought-after action stars in the '90s, appearing in films with titles like Shotgun BanjoPretty Boy Hoodlum, and Ipaglaban Mo Ako Boy Topak. He now mostly appears in small roles on TV and family-friendly commercials.

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Victor Neri
A natural in front of the camera, many thought Victor Neri would have a long and illustrious career as an actor.

It didn't happen. Victor actually left show business in 2007, several years after he had already established himself as a thespian capable of shifting from action to drama with ease. He has since returned and now considers acting as a sideline.

Apparently, he'd rather mince veggies and fry pork than shoot bad guys. Yes, Neri is now an accomplished chef, among a few who actually earned his wings from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu.

This story originally appeared on Fhm.com.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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