Weekend Chatter: How Old Is "Too Old" for Our Action Icons?
A few weeks from now, once A Good Day to Die Hard opens on Feb. 13, we’ll have new films from Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone (Bullet to the Head) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Last Stand) in theaters at the same time. And not in an Expendables movie. They’ll all have their own action adventures competing for your box office dollars. That probably hasn’t happened since … oh, I don’t know, 1987?
So far, in all of the marketing materials leading up to the release of these films, screenwriters have slipped in jokes about the age of these once-and-future action icons. Jai Courtney, playing John McClane’s young son, calls his dad “old school.” Schwarzenegger has to makes jokes about feeling “old” as he dives through glass doors.
Part of this might be because Hollywood hasn’t yet come up with a fresh crop of action stars to replace the aging trio of Willis, Schwarzenegger and Stallone, so we’re hesitant – as a movie-going audience – to let these guys ride off into the sunset. Even Clint Eastwood, who’ll turn 83 in May, still shows up in the random Trouble with the Curve or Grand Torino.
As these guys test their box office drawing power once again, to find out if audiences still believe them as action leads, I’m turning this over to you guys: Do you think that our onetime action-movie gurus can get “too old for this stuff,” to paraphrase the great Danny Glover from the Lethal Weapon series? And speaking of that, would you want an older Glover and Mel Gibson in a fifth Lethal Weapon? Or have they grown too old at this point?
It will be very interesting to see which of the three films performs best at the box office. Truthfully, having seen The Last Stand in its entirety and plenty of clips from both Bullet and Die Hard, I think all three men are still fully capable of carrying an action film. But what do you believe? Can age cripple an action star? And has it chipped away at these three icons?
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Sean O'ConnellFandango Bloggers
Sean is a film reviewer for The Washington Post and daily contributor to Fandango.
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