I didn't have a problem with Picard being an action hero.
First off, one has to remember TNG was modeled after what was supposed to be Star trek Phase II, with an older, more experienced Captain Kirk. Picard essentially filled that role, and it has been stated in several episodes that Picard in his younger days, was much more Kirk-like. In fact, I have a feeling if there had been a Star Trek Phase II, the way Kirk could have been portrayed, probably wouldn't be too different than how Picard was in TNG: a captain who is more seasoned and mellower, and who learned to use his brain more than his brawn. But, when required, Picard could hold his own.
As for Picard needing help against Soran, well, I say this: no matter how badass you might be, there's always someone who can kick your ass, under hte right circumstances. I guess Soran was just that guy for Picard. Even Jack Bauer get's his ass kicked once in a while.