Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Relieved and Worried

On Sunday I turned in my final exam for my class, thus ending yet another term.  I have 7 more classes to go before I get my masters (maybe less if I can get some transfer credits).  Not sure what happens then, but that's a while away, so I'll not think much on that for now.  I'm already trying not to think about school until February 4th, when my next term begins.

My 10-year old is having a sleep-over birthday celebration in a couple of weeks, so Isaac and I will be beating feet out the door and seeing an action movie.  Right now, we're probably leaning towards The Last Stand, Arnold Schwarzenegger's triumphant return to action cinema.  Or is it?

The film opened on Friday, and debuted at #10 at the box office.  This has a lot of action fans wringing their hands.  Back in the day Arnold would have debuted in the top five easily.  Normally, you could chalk this up to his 10 years out of movies (aside from an occasional cameo here and there), and his draw seeming to have waned.  But some people feel there is more going on here.

Let's face it, the current generation of movie-goers is a whole different breed than those of us who watched action films in the 80's and 90's.  The testosterone-filled, muscley heroes of yore have given way to the pretty-boy slick action movies of the "Bourne" generation.  And even these are not so numerous as the CGI-laden popcorn schlock, or even the endless stream of RomComs and Art-house indie films.

All that being said, 2013 promises to be a big year for old-school action.  Arnold in The Last Stand, Sly in Bullet to the Head, Bruce Willis in another Die Hard sequel (though thankfully this one will be a hard-R), and even Jason Statham has a couple coming out.  All in all, a very entertaining year for action fans.  But will it live up to our excpectations?  Will these films only be enjoyed by the select few, with the masses largely dismissing them, or waiting for the DVD release?

I have to admit, it makes me sad that the kind of movies I love just don't seem to be big enough draws to warrant their being made any more.  The Expendables films are an exception, and really, the draw of those was the novelty of seeing so many action guys on screen at the same time.  But, how many of those individual stars can draw a large crowd on their own now?  Especially when that crowd is made up of XBox Babies, who only want flash and slick style, or snobby art-house types, who deride action movies in general.

But, there is a glimmer of hope.  The Direct to Video market is rife with small-budget, quality action films.  Many of these feature mixtures of old-school action guys (like Jean Claude Van-Damme and Dolph Lundgren) and younger guys like Scott Adkins, creating a natural "passing of the torch" bridge between generations.   These movies actually do pretty well on video.  So, this may be where action fan must go in the future.  It sucks that we may not get to see a lot of great action on the big-screen anymore.  But more and more people are getting large-screen TVs these days, so that may be the next best thing.

Either way, I will try to see as many of the new action movies I mentioned above in the theater.  Something tells me this may be a "Last Hurrah" year for Action Cinema.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

Bullet in the head looks intersting. And the new Die Hard!