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C'mon Hollywood: What happened to the "old school" action movie?

Jun. 5, 2012by: Paul Shirey

Seeped in machismo, one-liners, endless ammo, fireball explosions, shredded muscles, and usually ending with a knock-down, drag out finale, the old school action movie was a thing of beauty. We know these movies well, depending on our age and exposure. For many of us, it was an integral part of our upbringing. Our idols were Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis, Snipes, Seagal, Van Damme, and Gibson. Yet, as time marched on, so too did the stars of the genre. Schwarzenegger went into politics, Stallone went straight to video, Willis went to the independents, Van Damme went to rehab, Snipes went to jail, Seagal went to twinkies, etc.

So, the question is: What happened?

No one stepped up and took the mantle that these action stars left behind. Sure, many tried, but were all derailed, hit with the family-friendly zone or the curse of the PG-13. Vin Diesel teased us with PITCH BLACK and THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, before venturing into obscurity. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson pulled a similar move, even filming a proverbial “pass the torch” scene with Schwarzenegger in Peter Berg’s THE RUNDOWN, where Arnold advised Johnson to “have fun.” Instead, Johnson took that as an invitation to jump into a series of forgettable fare with the occasional R-rated action tease that ultimately went nowhere. Jason Statham is probably the best argument for someone who chased the trophy, but he’s slowly turned into the guy who does everything, and none of it good.

There are many stories like this, which have left the first decade of the 21st Century nearly devoid of the old school action movie. Instead, the “cerebral” action flick and, most recently, the comic book movie have taken the reigns. If you look back at the past decade you will find many a great film with a bevy of action; THE LOTR TRILOGY, GLADIATOR, SIN CITY, THE MATRIX, CASINO ROYALE, etc., etc. The action genre isn’t dead, but the genre that defined the 80’s and 90’s is certainly flailing.

When Matt Damon took on the BOURNE trilogy, it looked as if the actor may have the chops to take on an action star mantle. Alas, it was short lived, as Damon treated it as a temporary venture, moving on to his more “serious” and “diverse” roles. George Clooney even gave it a go with his first headlining feature, THE PEACEMAKER, a deeply flawed, but underappreciated start. He hasn’t done an action film since, instead opting for more “Oscar-caliber” work (and done quite well, I might add).

Four of my favorite films from 2011 all have a very striking similarity; each of them harkens back to the days of old school action flicks, injecting a balance of cheeky fun, rousing action, and some macho grandstanding. One of them, FAST FIVE, featured two of the actors who’ve had the most potential to replace the aging action stars of old; Diesel and The Rock. The other two, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL and WARRIOR, both feature nary an elf, cape, spaceship, robot, or alien invasion. These were all real-world people with real guns, real cars, and real gloves that stick to glass and help you climb the tallest building in the world.

And, let’s not forget DRIVE, which is the best Michael Mann movie he never made. Out of 384 films released in 2011, those four were the only ones to blip on my radar as contenders for the old school genre. In comparison, let’s look at 1991, where movies like (click title for trailers) TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY, POINT BREAK, THE LAST BOY SCOUT, DOUBLE IMPACT, OUT FOR JUSTICE, RICHOCHET, STONE COLD, LIONHEART, and ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES arrived. You could argue that some of these cross genres, but that doesn’t change their “old school” action standing.

So, is the “old school” action genre as dead as the once reigning western genre? Or is it a matter of nobody stepping up to take the mantle, either because of wanting to “diversify” or pressure to deliver PG-13 fare? The candidates are many; the aforementioned Vin Diesel, The Rock, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Henry Caville, etc. But, do any of them have the CHARISMA that made those movies so great?

Another issue that affects these flicks is the filmmakers who lead them. Guys like John McTiernan (DIE HARD, PREDATOR), Tony Scott (CRIMSON TIDE, TOP GUN), Walter Hill, (48 HOURS, LAST MAN STANDING), Paul Verhoeven (ROBOCOP, TOTAL RECALL) and James Cameron (duh.) have all moved on to either bigger things or complete obscurity. As much carnage as guys like Michael Bay, Jonathan Liebesman, Len Wiseman, and Antoine Fuqua, etc. give, they still haven’t been able to capture the “juice” of the old-school masters, with a few exceptions.

In 2013, we’ll have Willis, Stallone, and Schwarzenegger all returning to action hero roles that have defined them and it’s great to see (well, except for the fifth DIE HARD, anyway). But, they aren’t going to last forever, much as they’d love it. What we need is a duo of filmmakers/actors to put the shock pads on the genre and keep it alive, injecting new talent and new life into it. Otherwise, we’re going to be stuck with capes, superpowers, fairy tales, and children’s books for a really long time.

And as fun as those films can be, they sure as hell don’t replace the wham-bam, smash-‘em-up, F-bomb droppin’, big booby poppin’, lead sprinklin’, ass-kickin’, shit-talkin’, muscle-rippin’, bad ass, Yippie-Ki-Yay-I’ll-be-back, motherf*cker genre by a mile.

Extra Tidbit: Let's recast some remakes of classics, shall we? I'll start: Cobra starring Chris Hemsworth, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn Commando starring The Rock, directed by Nevaldine/Taylor Total Recall starring Colin Farrell, directed by Len Wiseman...oh...wait.
Source: JoBlo.com

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7:30PM on 06/27/2012
Your using fucking Gladiator as an example of a "good" aciton film, really? That movie is one of the most overrated pieces of shit i've ever seen, how that damn thing won an Oscar I will never know. Anyways I love Statham and hope he keeps on doing what he's doing, and Expendables 2 and Bullet To The Head should prove that the action films of yesteryear aren't quite finished yet.
Your using fucking Gladiator as an example of a "good" aciton film, really? That movie is one of the most overrated pieces of shit i've ever seen, how that damn thing won an Oscar I will never know. Anyways I love Statham and hope he keeps on doing what he's doing, and Expendables 2 and Bullet To The Head should prove that the action films of yesteryear aren't quite finished yet.
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1:06AM on 06/06/2012

It seems to be coming back around

I grew up in this era too. I was a devout follower of Arnold and VanDamme, and obviously Sly. I think we still have that with guys like the Stath, Rock, and Diesel, but Hollywood just oversaturates us with more movies than ever. There are so many other avenues to watch them as well, aside from just a good 'ol Saturday matinee (man, I'm I starting to show my age). Plus the aforementioned reasons as stated below by fellow Joblo'ers. I'm actually pumped I finally get a chance to see Safe this week
I grew up in this era too. I was a devout follower of Arnold and VanDamme, and obviously Sly. I think we still have that with guys like the Stath, Rock, and Diesel, but Hollywood just oversaturates us with more movies than ever. There are so many other avenues to watch them as well, aside from just a good 'ol Saturday matinee (man, I'm I starting to show my age). Plus the aforementioned reasons as stated below by fellow Joblo'ers. I'm actually pumped I finally get a chance to see Safe this week (with Prometheus of course too) and it frustrates me being a big fan of Mr. Statham, who seems to be doing a "better quality, more critically acclaimed films of late", but bombing at the box office. Just once it would be nice where he gets his do to show the masses that old school ass can still kick it...I'm ranting but I'll take a good ol' action film to some of the other shit that's shoved down our throats on a weekly basis...
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+2
11:16PM on 06/05/2012
action movies these days revolve around cities being destroyed, the old school ones where focused on how bad ass the lead was...........need more old school action!
action movies these days revolve around cities being destroyed, the old school ones where focused on how bad ass the lead was...........need more old school action!
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+4
11:13PM on 06/05/2012

what happened?

Not all these reasons are bad, but this is why it changed
1. Michael Bay
2.Robots
3.Shaky cam
4. More Robots
5. Super Heroes
6. PG-13
7. Reboots
8. Young adult supernatural book adaptions
Not all these reasons are bad, but this is why it changed
1. Michael Bay
2.Robots
3.Shaky cam
4. More Robots
5. Super Heroes
6. PG-13
7. Reboots
8. Young adult supernatural book adaptions
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2:42PM on 06/05/2012

Mel

Three words for the action-deprived:

GET THE fucking GRINGO!
Three words for the action-deprived:

GET THE fucking GRINGO!
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5:50PM on 06/05/2012
Can't get it on VOD in my area and it's KILLING me. Time for a BRD already. I want to see the Mel of old wreak some havoc and not via TMZ or Joe Esztherhas' cell phone.
Can't get it on VOD in my area and it's KILLING me. Time for a BRD already. I want to see the Mel of old wreak some havoc and not via TMZ or Joe Esztherhas' cell phone.
2:32PM on 06/05/2012
I think Schwarzenegger put the nail in coffin with his last pay for play films. The clone film, End of Days and least not forget the worst of the bunch, Collateral Damage. The scripts were atrocious, the action too comedic. Hollywood in its inifinte wisdom began catering what was once adult fare to teenagers. These 80s action flicks had a coolness factor that barely even registered a shudder by the Millennium. Unfortunately today the problem lies with reliance on CGI sucking all the excitement
I think Schwarzenegger put the nail in coffin with his last pay for play films. The clone film, End of Days and least not forget the worst of the bunch, Collateral Damage. The scripts were atrocious, the action too comedic. Hollywood in its inifinte wisdom began catering what was once adult fare to teenagers. These 80s action flicks had a coolness factor that barely even registered a shudder by the Millennium. Unfortunately today the problem lies with reliance on CGI sucking all the excitement out of any movie because it's too prevelant; there's no sense of suspended danger.
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2:25PM on 06/05/2012
Very nice article--well written and gets me pumped to watch some old action films.
Very nice article--well written and gets me pumped to watch some old action films.
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1:12PM on 06/05/2012
Good Article
I also think a good reason the movies arent as good is because we have a fasination with hand to hand combat. back then the movies were tough cops that shot a lot of bullets and fist punched people. now days we have a lot of bullets, and special agent fighting. this does not make them tough. There is something about a drunk/ depressed cop punching and killing bad guys, verses a amnesia shaky camera agent that was trained to fight... Still one of my favorite movies is the last boy
Good Article
I also think a good reason the movies arent as good is because we have a fasination with hand to hand combat. back then the movies were tough cops that shot a lot of bullets and fist punched people. now days we have a lot of bullets, and special agent fighting. this does not make them tough. There is something about a drunk/ depressed cop punching and killing bad guys, verses a amnesia shaky camera agent that was trained to fight... Still one of my favorite movies is the last boy scout. I remember going to that with my dad when it came out. Bring back old school action
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+4
12:05PM on 06/05/2012

A-MEN BROTHER!

The problem is that movies have gotten to be way to expensive to produce and distribute. Old school flicks like Commando and Terminator were not very expensive by today's standards and so it was not hard for them to be profitable. Now, unless a film grosses 100 million it is considered a failure. When old school action flicks are releases, too many whipped fools stay home or download pirated copies of these movies online. Unfortunately, the best action movies today are being produced
The problem is that movies have gotten to be way to expensive to produce and distribute. Old school flicks like Commando and Terminator were not very expensive by today's standards and so it was not hard for them to be profitable. Now, unless a film grosses 100 million it is considered a failure. When old school action flicks are releases, too many whipped fools stay home or download pirated copies of these movies online. Unfortunately, the best action movies today are being produced overseas in Asia and France.
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11:55AM on 06/05/2012
The bar was raised, I think that was the major problem. You can only do so much with the genre that it becomes stale. The reason why Statham's movies are so blah is because the 80's already did it and better. If you took Commando and released it today, I think it would get a very luke warm reception, but if you took, say, The Transporter and released it in 1985, action fans would go nuts for it.
The bar was raised, I think that was the major problem. You can only do so much with the genre that it becomes stale. The reason why Statham's movies are so blah is because the 80's already did it and better. If you took Commando and released it today, I think it would get a very luke warm reception, but if you took, say, The Transporter and released it in 1985, action fans would go nuts for it.
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12:37PM on 06/05/2012
That's an interesting point. I'm sure The Transporter would be an "old school" classic if released in 1985. But, then again, so would Avatar. It would literally blow people's minds. People would die in the theater aisles.

It would be like showing George McFly an iPhone.

However, the genre isn't defined by pure cheese (say, Commando). Movies like Die Hard and Lethal Weapon aren't cheesy, but rousing, kick ass action flicks with heroic characters that get the shit kicked out of them.
That's an interesting point. I'm sure The Transporter would be an "old school" classic if released in 1985. But, then again, so would Avatar. It would literally blow people's minds. People would die in the theater aisles.

It would be like showing George McFly an iPhone.

However, the genre isn't defined by pure cheese (say, Commando). Movies like Die Hard and Lethal Weapon aren't cheesy, but rousing, kick ass action flicks with heroic characters that get the shit kicked out of them.

There's definitely some "wiggle room" in terms of the quality scale of old school action flicks.
1:31PM on 06/05/2012
Ha ha, good one Paul! Showing George McFly an iPhone! I'm sure he'd think aliens are real and he'd seriously consider rewriting his Sci-Fi novels assuming he doesn't get a instant stroke first. xD
Ha ha, good one Paul! Showing George McFly an iPhone! I'm sure he'd think aliens are real and he'd seriously consider rewriting his Sci-Fi novels assuming he doesn't get a instant stroke first. xD
2:06PM on 06/05/2012
It was kinda tough to pick an action movie from then to be released today, because Die Hard would still work and still be a solid hit, I think. Mostly because Willis wasn't buffed out and seemingly invincible. Lethal Weapon is kind of a tough call though, would that still work today? Though props on Avatar killing people in the seats. Ha.
It was kinda tough to pick an action movie from then to be released today, because Die Hard would still work and still be a solid hit, I think. Mostly because Willis wasn't buffed out and seemingly invincible. Lethal Weapon is kind of a tough call though, would that still work today? Though props on Avatar killing people in the seats. Ha.
6:04PM on 06/05/2012
I think what made LW work so well was the chemistry between Mel and Danny, not to mention a kick ass script by Shane Black.

Martin Riggs was a great character because he was deeply flawed and exceptionally dangerous, both as a trained killer and a unpredictable cop.

There was a lot of depth and [link] that were easy to relate to. Murtaugh and his seemingly normal family life and all it's idiosyncrasies, Riggs with his suicidal tendencies, discovering hope by finding a new family
I think what made LW work so well was the chemistry between Mel and Danny, not to mention a kick ass script by Shane Black.

Martin Riggs was a great character because he was deeply flawed and exceptionally dangerous, both as a trained killer and a unpredictable cop.

There was a lot of depth and [link] that were easy to relate to. Murtaugh and his seemingly normal family life and all it's idiosyncrasies, Riggs with his suicidal tendencies, discovering hope by finding a new family within Murtaugh's...all of which happen under a bevy of bullets, explosions, and karate kicks to the head.

If you look at everything that's tried to ape movies like it since then, none of them are accomplishing it, because they aren't paying attention to what makes it work. It's not just one thing...it's a number of things, all working in harmony. That's what we need more of. Well, that's what I want more of, personally, and I think many others do as well.

I love the ups and downs of film and the changing trends (mostly), and I hate that one of the genres I've grown up with has all but lost its place in the industry. I'm hoping that, at some point, we see a resurgence, with the new sensibilities of the world (i.e. keeping it current).

The western genre has seen a nice resurgence, but not an overabundance of them. They come in small waves, and oftentimes are really great, with some exceptions. Tombstone, Open Range, 3:10 to Yuma, The Assassination of Jesse James, etc.

What I'd like to see is the old school action genre to find it's place much like the western genre has. Instead of trying to mount a full-scale assault, just take the time to release a few quality goods per year (but hopefully more than we've gotten in the last few).

It'll be interesting to watch the trends continue to evolve as time goes on. Unless they trend towards more Twilight movies, in which case I will pour cyanide on my popcorn and give my fellow movie patrons an experience they'll never forget.
10:25AM on 06/05/2012
I like this article, I do want a straight up old school action flick every now and then, the main reason because it's why we go to the movies. What was the reason behind the Artist, and hommage to silent and classical films. Why can't we get more old school action? Same difference.
I like this article, I do want a straight up old school action flick every now and then, the main reason because it's why we go to the movies. What was the reason behind the Artist, and hommage to silent and classical films. Why can't we get more old school action? Same difference.
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11:24AM on 06/05/2012
I never thought I'd see anyone use The Artist in an argument for old-school action. Way to go!
I never thought I'd see anyone use The Artist in an argument for old-school action. Way to go!
10:04AM on 06/05/2012

Commando, starring The Rock, directed by Neveldine/Taylor

I'd watch the shit out of that movie!
I'd watch the shit out of that movie!
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9:47AM on 06/05/2012
I think this particular action genre you are referring to, the star-powered, testosterone-fueled, pissing-contest type was more or less tied to the era they were made in. Action existed in the '70s, too, with the likes of Dirty Harry. But we rarely cite those movies because they were too cerebral. They weren't all "America! FUCK YEAH!" coming out of the '60s and a pretty nasty war. But when a character like Rambo can be made into a hero instead of a tragic victim, it was a sign the times had
I think this particular action genre you are referring to, the star-powered, testosterone-fueled, pissing-contest type was more or less tied to the era they were made in. Action existed in the '70s, too, with the likes of Dirty Harry. But we rarely cite those movies because they were too cerebral. They weren't all "America! FUCK YEAH!" coming out of the '60s and a pretty nasty war. But when a character like Rambo can be made into a hero instead of a tragic victim, it was a sign the times had changed. Not to mention how many homoerotic moments made it into those movies, as an excuse to take off their shirt, etc. The '90s were when things started getting P.C. The Cold War ended, Rodney King made excessive force a serious concern. So while violence was still there, a lot of the irreverent tone of the earlier movies was good and gone, and pretty-boys ruled the box-office. Then came The Matrix and 9-11, when terrorism was no longer just about someone taking over a plane or a building, it became a reality for Americans. Coupled with a trend toward intelligent action, the '80s Action Movie finally petered out because the old guys just got old. I can't defend the choices of The Rock, and Vin Diesel has long considered himself an AC-TOR (still no excuse for The Pacifier). Another thing to remember is a lot of those movies were not good movies. They may have the right amount of charm, but that didn't make them quality. And as the audience stopped thirsting, they went to the DVD bin, where the money is at.
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1:12PM on 06/05/2012
You make some very good points about the changing times being reflected in what we see on screen.

And while some of those movies were "not good" many of them are classics and not just for nostalgia's sake.

Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, The Terminator 1 & 2, Point Break, Road House, Robocop, etc. were all quality films. Your more cheesy fare, like Cobra, Commando, and Bloodsport could be considered much lower on the quality scale, but they all fit into the mold of that era. I would say a
You make some very good points about the changing times being reflected in what we see on screen.

And while some of those movies were "not good" many of them are classics and not just for nostalgia's sake.

Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, The Terminator 1 & 2, Point Break, Road House, Robocop, etc. were all quality films. Your more cheesy fare, like Cobra, Commando, and Bloodsport could be considered much lower on the quality scale, but they all fit into the mold of that era. I would say a lot of those movies were good and some of them bad. Plus, you have to remember that as that was the reigning genre of the time period, that's where all the big stars and big money went.

Nowadays it goes to the comic book movie or sci-fi trilogy of the month. And while I enjoy many of those films, I have a fever and the only prescription is more old school action goodness.

Good points, Hoyle.
9:32AM on 06/05/2012
Paul, you offer another great article. You have been a great addition to JoBlo.com. This particular article offers Strikeback much to discuss.
Fat-Womanizer is right. Masculinity is not the same now as it was twenty-five years back. "Macho" seems a pejorative to some now.
ActionFan makes an outstanding observation. And, others have observed the same occurrence. At one time, America could acknowledge its enemies. Thus, action heroes had groups to fight. The Russians were certainly one of those
Paul, you offer another great article. You have been a great addition to JoBlo.com. This particular article offers Strikeback much to discuss.
Fat-Womanizer is right. Masculinity is not the same now as it was twenty-five years back. "Macho" seems a pejorative to some now.
ActionFan makes an outstanding observation. And, others have observed the same occurrence. At one time, America could acknowledge its enemies. Thus, action heroes had groups to fight. The Russians were certainly one of those groups. However, as ActionFan notes, our movies do not even present us fighting Islamic militants these days--despite being at war with them. Just consider the redactions of The Sum of All Fears or the new Red Dawn. To some extent, sensitivity serves us well. Movie-goers do not see their people villified, and Hollywood makes money from foreign markets. To some extent, politically-correct censorship and cowardice insults art and even revises philosophical truth and factual history.
Maybe, Asian cinema can provide North American action fans their old-school fix. Many Asian kung-fu flicks are wirework (CGI's cousin) and thinking man's cinema. But, many are simply balls-to-the-wall violence and spectacle with real stuntmen doing real stunts.
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9:25AM on 06/05/2012

@extratidbit


Oops, I almost forgot :D

Escape From New York
Starring: Ryan Reynolds
Directed by: The Wachowskis
The Improvement: Zoe Saldana as the ass-kicking side-kick
Cameo: Kurt Russell as The Warden with a running gag of ".. Y'know you remind me of a younger me"

Lethal Weapon
Starring: Andrew Garfield & Ice Cube
Directed by: Joe Carnahan
The Improvement: Andrew acting bug-nutty with Cube's running gag of 'I can't be doing this s**t at my age!'
The Cameo: Mel Gibson as 'the

Oops, I almost forgot :D

Escape From New York
Starring: Ryan Reynolds
Directed by: The Wachowskis
The Improvement: Zoe Saldana as the ass-kicking side-kick
Cameo: Kurt Russell as The Warden with a running gag of ".. Y'know you remind me of a younger me"

Lethal Weapon
Starring: Andrew Garfield & Ice Cube
Directed by: Joe Carnahan
The Improvement: Andrew acting bug-nutty with Cube's running gag of 'I can't be doing this s**t at my age!'
The Cameo: Mel Gibson as 'the Chief'

Action Jackson
Starring: Tyrese Gibson
Directed by: Michael bay
The Improvement: Explosions, gun/fist fights, bare-titties cranked to 11! Added bonus if a sports car can be shoe-horned into this scene [link] LOL!
Cameo: Hmm, take your pick. ;)
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8:20AM on 06/05/2012

The Matrix Happened

For me, what killed old school action movies was The Matrix, plain and simple. I am not talking about the fact that it gave birth to the so called "thinking man's action movie" genre, I am talking about the fact that it sort of made action movies more clean cut, sterilized and stylized.

In my opinion, the problem is that most action movies that have come out after the hufe success of the first Matrix movie, try to to copy its overchoreographed fight scenes and balletic stunts. Just look at
For me, what killed old school action movies was The Matrix, plain and simple. I am not talking about the fact that it gave birth to the so called "thinking man's action movie" genre, I am talking about the fact that it sort of made action movies more clean cut, sterilized and stylized.

In my opinion, the problem is that most action movies that have come out after the hufe success of the first Matrix movie, try to to copy its overchoreographed fight scenes and balletic stunts. Just look at a fight scene from any 90s action movie: it's two or more guys pummeling each other. They bleed, you can hear the punches and hits connect and you go "awwww daaaaymn" when a powerful blow connects with a face. Now take a look at a modern action movie: you can totally tell that the fight has been choreographed, especially if the actors participating in it aren't trained martial artists. Also, they are just not brutal enough. What I'm trying to say, is that they don't look real. The problem for me is that now every cop and crook that you see in movies, is apparently also a ninja!

Action movies need to stop being overstlylized and they also need to start being about sort of "ordinary" people, caught in extraordinary events, pretty much like John McLane, not supermen who can pretty much walk away from everything completely unscathed. In fact, that's the biggest problem that plagues most action movies that come out nowadays: the stars are practically superhuman, so you never feel that they are in any kind of danger.
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7:58AM on 06/05/2012

I'll try to be as brief as possible

I have few theories as to what happened to the "old-school" action, but the main one I can cite is, Ending of The Cold War.

Seriously, take a look at most of those classics, Top Gun, Die Hard, Predator, Commando, etc were directly or indirectly inspired by it and as a result you had John Rambo, John McClane, John Matrix, etc but now, there's nobody and no one left to fight! Well, except maybe Al-Queda who I kinda hoped would get their ass-kicked by Rambo when I first heard about the 4th
I have few theories as to what happened to the "old-school" action, but the main one I can cite is, Ending of The Cold War.

Seriously, take a look at most of those classics, Top Gun, Die Hard, Predator, Commando, etc were directly or indirectly inspired by it and as a result you had John Rambo, John McClane, John Matrix, etc but now, there's nobody and no one left to fight! Well, except maybe Al-Queda who I kinda hoped would get their ass-kicked by Rambo when I first heard about the 4th movie but I guess that wouldn't have been 'plausible'.

1991 was the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. The lean pretty-boy with washboard abs as opposed to the greasy-muscle bound funny accented action-hero. The new market: Ladies who the genre nearly neglected.

That's why Keanu Reeves (Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against him I still think he's cool in a goofy way) became the new the template for the 90s action-star and its been downhill since then i.e From Keanu to Taylor Launter...?

Another theory, is the rise of CGI. because nearly EVERYTHING from explosions, cars-flipping over, gore n' guts, gun-fights (or sometimes the guns themselves) all CGI which either looks cool (in some cases, anyway) or cheaper compared to using practical effects which is why 80s action-flicks had that sense of 'realism' but nowadays you might as well be watching a video game (300, anyone?).

And I don't agree with what you said about Jason Statham. The man single-handedly revived the genre for the 21st century and has been the most consistent than Vin Diesel (who to this day, I STILL don't get what's his appeal) or Dwayne 'The Rock' whatshisface... COMBINED!
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7:28AM on 06/05/2012
I think the time is changing. 70s have their fair share of exploitation movie, 80s have buddy/action movies. 90s are pretty much modern action with more special effects like T2, ID4, Speed, Broken Arrow. But I think the real problem is Hollywood big shots want to profit more from the young which are, I think, much more different from me, i.e. my MTV is NOT their MTV. The Expendables gives me hope that good action movies are still alive. They just need the right director, right casts, right
I think the time is changing. 70s have their fair share of exploitation movie, 80s have buddy/action movies. 90s are pretty much modern action with more special effects like T2, ID4, Speed, Broken Arrow. But I think the real problem is Hollywood big shots want to profit more from the young which are, I think, much more different from me, i.e. my MTV is NOT their MTV. The Expendables gives me hope that good action movies are still alive. They just need the right director, right casts, right action to pull it off.
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4:45AM on 06/05/2012
One problem we're all forgetting is that Hollywood is dominated by pretty people now. Every major actor is a model or simply a character actor/non-star. Ahnuld, Sly, Bruce- These guys were unusual looking, or had a weird voice, or embraced their male pattern baldness or whatever- The Hollywood Star has become homogenized. That's why "old school action" is dead.
One problem we're all forgetting is that Hollywood is dominated by pretty people now. Every major actor is a model or simply a character actor/non-star. Ahnuld, Sly, Bruce- These guys were unusual looking, or had a weird voice, or embraced their male pattern baldness or whatever- The Hollywood Star has become homogenized. That's why "old school action" is dead.
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4:17AM on 06/05/2012

Amen

What the new action movies are missing is balls. It's so pc and everything seems to be possible. The Heroes are mostly clean metrosexual dudes. They need to bring the old school back without making it look dated.
What the new action movies are missing is balls. It's so pc and everything seems to be possible. The Heroes are mostly clean metrosexual dudes. They need to bring the old school back without making it look dated.
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+7
3:48AM on 06/05/2012
Well when you have movies like The Raid, or even the style of the Bourne series it's hard for Hollywood and those old school action flicks to keep up with the fast, raw pace that the new great action flicks. The Expendables looked old school, but the action wasn't anything to talk about
Well when you have movies like The Raid, or even the style of the Bourne series it's hard for Hollywood and those old school action flicks to keep up with the fast, raw pace that the new great action flicks. The Expendables looked old school, but the action wasn't anything to talk about
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+18
2:14AM on 06/05/2012

don't blame hollywood

blame the people. The old school action movie 'died' because people stopped seeing them, and hollywood/movies are a business -- supply and demand and there just isn't any demand anymore.

I mean it's not like they don't try anymore, it's that people don't see them anymore. Every now and then they'll give it a go and release an old school R rated action movie... but then it bombs and often times the people that DIDN'T see it complain to hollywood that there aren't any of these types of movies,
blame the people. The old school action movie 'died' because people stopped seeing them, and hollywood/movies are a business -- supply and demand and there just isn't any demand anymore.

I mean it's not like they don't try anymore, it's that people don't see them anymore. Every now and then they'll give it a go and release an old school R rated action movie... but then it bombs and often times the people that DIDN'T see it complain to hollywood that there aren't any of these types of movies, which is just lame (not pointing fingers, just saying)

case in point the GREAT r rated old school action flick that was SAFE. Check it out asap if you haven't already action fans/cravers.
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1:58AM on 06/05/2012

It Died

It is a solid genre, and I do believe it could be resurrected, but when compared to modern action films like "Taken", some of the newer movies that try to capture that feeling fail; sometimes terribly fucking so- ie- "The Expendables". If that's what the 80s action films have to offer nowadays, I'd prefer it to be left for dead.
It is a solid genre, and I do believe it could be resurrected, but when compared to modern action films like "Taken", some of the newer movies that try to capture that feeling fail; sometimes terribly fucking so- ie- "The Expendables". If that's what the 80s action films have to offer nowadays, I'd prefer it to be left for dead.
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+18
1:54AM on 06/05/2012
I just watched all 4 Lethal Weapons, The Last Boy Scout, and Last Action Hero the other week and I was thinking the same exact thing. Specifically the buddy action film like Lethal Weapon. And I'm not talking about the serious badass with the goofy sidekick (like Rush Hour). The reason why the Lethal Weapon movies are so great is cause of the dynamic between the two. Even by the time you get to 4 and the action becomes more of the same, it's the two that make it enjoyable.
I just watched all 4 Lethal Weapons, The Last Boy Scout, and Last Action Hero the other week and I was thinking the same exact thing. Specifically the buddy action film like Lethal Weapon. And I'm not talking about the serious badass with the goofy sidekick (like Rush Hour). The reason why the Lethal Weapon movies are so great is cause of the dynamic between the two. Even by the time you get to 4 and the action becomes more of the same, it's the two that make it enjoyable.
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