> Another problem for R-rated adventure films; many of the prominent
> performers from the 1970's and 1980's have faced serious problems:
> Steven Seagal: not longer as fit and agile
> Chuck Norris: eleven years the senior of Seagal, and while still fit
> for a man of his age, has seemed to focus more on his family life
> JCVD: well publicized substance abuse and family problems
> Charles Bronson: deceased
> Clint Eastwood: has moved on to other projects and directing
> Stallone: substance abuse HGH, noticeably aged and weathered
> (actually, Stallone's Rocky films never received R-ratings)
> Schwarzenegger: exit strategy of moving on to politics
> Bruce Willis: actually moved on to other genres; note that the last
> Die Hard went PG-13
Jason Stratham and Clive Owen are both far better and subtle actors
than beefy lunkheads like Norris, Van Damme, Seagal, Stallone or even
Schwarzenegger, and have both appeared in some decent action flicks,
with more than a smattering of hard-boiledness. Don't know about the
ratings of their films, don't particularly care. I'm not twelve -- I
can see what I want.
But the heavy-handed action flicks those guys trafficked in never
really appealed to me, anyway, mostly because they took their juvenile
cinematic wankery far too seriously -- and most of the stars had all
the emotional range of a bicep. The best thing Stallone ever did was
COPLAND, and it was the few rare moments of wit in Arnie's mostly
thudding, special effects-laden action flicks that actually made them
palatable to me.
But that's just me.
Given a decent script, Stratham and Owen (the man who should have been
Bond and might still be Marlowe) might do some good stuff. And
Eastwood and Willis still occasionally make hard-boiled films. So I
don't think the end of hard-boiled films is at hand, not at all.
and Mario wrote:
> This may sound like heresy, but I don't miss any of those guys or
> the films they made. Especially Chuck Norris and Schwartzenegger.
> About detective films, the point for me is not quantity but quality.
> A couple good ones a year would be fine...
I agree. The lunkheaded action films, whatever their ratings, never
really appealed to me, although they do go down well with a case of
beer and a tart-mouthed gal in a nothing-better-to-do-on-a-Saturday-
night way. Things blowing up, guys shooting other guys, some wobbly
and predictably non-PC stereotypes, and some more stuff blowing up
might be fine if I'm in a certain mood, but generally I want something
a little tastier.
And I don't see exactly why their ratings have much to do with their
Particularly the American ratings system, which seems perfectly at
ease when it's dealing with decapitation and disembowelment and other
family-approved violence, but squeals like a little girl if consenting
adults actually have sex -- or talk too explicitly about it. The main
difference between a regular action flick and an R-rated action flick
is usually a nipple or two.
Look at all the hypocrisy over a Superbowl nipple nobody actually saw.
Recent films like DIE HARD IV or THE DARK KNIGHT might be considered
action flicks, but they're hardly dumb. And tweaked a little, GRAN
TORINO might have made a great noir film. Though it might not have
achieved the same popularity.
No, the dearth of good detective films has very little to do with the
ratings system -- or Republicans. It all comes down to popularity.
Most of the great detective films did just fine with the ratings they
were handed. If GONE BABY GONE had done better -- which it should have
-- we'd all be bitching about all the crappy P.I. films that have come out this year, instead of the dearth of them.
A few good ones every now and then are all I ask. The first two
versions of THE MALTESE FALCON were movie fans' penance -- the third
one, by Huston, was their reward.
Kevin Burton Smith
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