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Where Have All The Action Hero’s Gone?

June 20, 2008

I am specifically eluding to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvestor Stallone.  They ruled the big screen through the 80’s and early 90’s with films like Rambo, Predator, Rocky, Terminator, Cop Land, Assassins, Total Recall, Conan, Judge Dredd, T2, True Lies, Demolition Man, Cliff Hanger, Kindergarton Cop, Last Action Hero, and Tango and Cash.  Sure, guys like Kurt Russell, Antonio Banderas and Mel Gibson contributed their fair share over the years, but the big blow ’em up shoot ’em up movies that were pure popcorn fun were left to Sly and Arnie.  Now Arnie is the Governator and Sly is replaying the roles that made him famous with the new Rocky and Rambo, which actually were both really good movies, but still he’s now in his fifties and we rely on him for great action movies and stuff to blow up?  I resolved in the complete utter distress that both of their reigns was a one time deal that may never repeat in Hollywood again.  Like their movies or not, those guys have earned serious respect in Tinsletown and are some of the biggest movie stars ever. 

Let’s take a look at our prospects now:

Christian Bale: Nice choice, but frankly he has too much depth to him and has taken a liking to playing really complex character’s in films that rely heavily on that depth.  He is simply too diverse and more a Mel Gibson type than Arnie or Sly.

Matthew McConauhey: Yes, a pretty face, and a nice bod to tag along with, but he’s resolved himself to movies like Fools Good and Chick flicks as of late.  His years are starting to peak, and while I believe the potential, along with the charisma is there, I think he’s missed the boat.

Matt Damon:  He rules as Jason Bourne and being Bourne has made him one of the best icons for action star in the past ten years easily, but Damon isn’t really an action hero, he’s just a good enough actor to play one really well.  He’s just as content doing artsy flicks.

Vin Diesal:  I give him credit.  He tried.  All the elements were there.  Big muscles, brooding personality, and his repeat role as Riddick surely inspired a career in that genre, but his movies that have followed have not been up to par with Pitch Black or Riddick.  He even went for a Kindergarten Cop attempt in Pacifier, but failed miserably.  I like Vin Diesal and am still lamentful that he turned out movies like XxX rather than something more substantial, because he was the guy that could have been that hero.  And now for whatever reason he just doesn’t seem marketable.  Hell! Watch Boiler Room, he’s good outside of explosions too people!

Will Smith: Tried and True.  He is a great action hero that delivers each time, not to mention he is a complex enough actor to play an Arnie/Sly type role and the next year make an Oscar nominated performance.  Will Smith is a rare gem all on his own.

It’s not just the group of actors we have to choose from, there doesn’t seem to be any roles that offer the same kind of badass fun that Rambo and the Terminator did.  The closest comparison in recent times is Hellboy.  His character is totally one dimensional but so entertaining no one cares.  His charisma coupled with awesome one liners and a bravado that is palpable makes his character the best Arnie or Sly type role in years.  Mickey Rourke as Marv in Sin City is another good example.  I want more of it Hollywood!

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