January 21, 2013

Sad Day For Action Fans

Reading over the whole Last Stand drama has been really hard to take; lets not beat about the bush, debuting at 10th in the American box office is a devastating blow for Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is Sly Stallone in the late 90’s all over again. Arnold has lost the American market, he has now become more of a cult action movie star to fan boys like us rather than the guaranteed no.1 box office star that Hollywood wants. I have my own theories on this, but they might not go down too well.

First of all, I fear something more sinister is at play here to be honest, I think the damage from ‘Nanny Gate’ is not as bad as some would lead you to believe, but it has more to do with mainstream attitudes in current day U.S.A., especially towards these 80’s action stars; it is simply the fact they have aged.

Having spent time large amounts of time in North America, it seems the average Joe will not accept these guys being action heroes anymore. Isn’t funny how the mainstream audience when it comes to worldwide box office has held these guys in the same regard as they did in the 80’s, but the American mainstream is not interested anymore?

There seems to be a few misconceptions to the average movie goer Stateside, but I am not talking about movie buffs & genre fans like us, who probably only make up a small proportion of box office receipts for any film, but the general public who couldn’t point out a Tarantino to a Spielberg in a line up. These are the people that make films successful.

A lot of these people are under the impression that these 80’s actors are still doing movies and acting or playing roles like they were playing back when they were 35, which is not the case; to be fair to these guys, they have been playing roles where there characters are actually close to they age they are in real life, they are not trying to fool anyone, these stars are aware of this. All these films from Rocky Balboa to The Last Stand, it feels like the actors have had to include in running jokes about their age to appease the mainstream audience, I know they were not aimed at me because I could care less.

I bring you all back to the announcement of King Conan; Yahoo Movies posted an article about it, which came up on my Facebook news feed. The article was less than kind, but the comments were absolutely shocking. “You’re too old Arnold, its time to retire from acting”, “I would feel physically sick seeing a 65 year old with his shirt off still trying to act 28” and thousands of more comments like this all over the net & in that comment section.

The film buffs & genre fans all know that Arnold is actually playing his AGE in this film, hence KING Conan being the title. People make up there minds without even researching this stuff, but that’s what the 80’s stars are up against. I really fear for any old school type action movie at the American box office, even if The Last Stand was the quality of say one of these modern action movies like the Bourne films & had glowing reviews, I think it would have still failed at the Box Office.

Expect this trend to continue with Bullet To The Head & The Tomb, anything not Expendables related will fail at the American box office (The Expendables films just scrape by because they have a great variation of actors to appeal to enough people to make it profitable).

I think one thing that could help is something I use when reviewing films on the forum I frequent or when I talk to all my friends, would be a ‘Genre’ rating. Take for instance Commando, one of my all time favorite films. As a film, it is probably only a 4/10 stars as a film due to being predictable & over the top, but if you are a genre fan it would probably get a 10/10 as an over the top action movie that is incredibly fun.

Just to wrap things up, I keep referring to the term 80’s stars, because there seems to be a lot of double standards, I don’t see people clamoring for Clint Eastwood to retire when he was doing action movies, a lot of this hate is directed towards our generation’s heroes. I think there seems to be a lot of film snobbery going on just now, and for once, its not just from the critics.

About the Author

Born in 1985 & having a brother 20 years older than myself I was in the lucky position to be in the perfect demographic for this generation of action. Like many people, I had Rocky 4, Die Hard, Aliens, Terminator & Predator on perpetual replay. Going to my brothers, 'borrowing' his videos was one of the funnest parts of my early childhood, and not much has changed...



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