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Old 02-06-2013, 01:34 AM   #1
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Default Are Old School Action Movies Dead?

http://www.comingsoon.net/news/weeke...s.php?id=99886
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I was really hoping something would change in the last few weeks so I could avoid having to write this piece, but something seems to be happening right now where a once tried and true genre has been stumbling at the box office, while at the same time the return of some of the biggest and most popular action stars from yesteryear isn't creating any sort of interest, not even nostalgia, among the fans of said genre. Of course, we're talking about two of the biggest bombs of the year so far, the new movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, which failed to find even close to the success of the last two "Expendables" movies.

Mind you, I've never been a huge fan of '80s and '90s action movies, but I do believe that the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis have a place in our pantheon of movie heroes and that old school action movies--the kind that rely on real car chases, shoot 'em ups and hand-to-hand combat--can still be entertaining fun and a good reason to go to the movie theaters.

And yet, over the last three weeks we've seen three movies fail to find an audience, starting with Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Last Stand, which opened with just $6.2 million over a four-day holiday. It was followed a week later with Jason Statham's new movie Parker, which only made $7 million its opening weekend. The real stumper though came this past weekend when Sylvester Stallone, one of the guys responsible for bringing back many of the action heroes of the '80s and '90s with The Expendables, teamed with 48 Hours director Walter Hill for action movie Bullet to the Head, which tanked with just $4.5 million over three days.

I've seen all three movies and I actually had a lot more fun with The Last Stand and Bullet to the Head than I was expecting. They may not be great movies but they're better than many of Stallone's other recent films as well as some of the movies Schwarzenegger made before he retired for politics. Even with the Super Bowl on Sunday, it's surprising that so few of the people who rushed out to see The Expendables and its sequel would give Stallone a chance to entertain them with his new movie.

Of course, we could blame these bombs on their marketing, but however you slice it, it's been translated down to just one story being written, one that's quite persuasive, which is that Schwarzenegger and Stallone can no longer bring in audiences. There have been just as many speculations that Sly and Arnold's movies didn't do so well because they weren't franchise movies like "Rambo," "Rocky," "The Terminator" etc. but seriously, is that really so important to moviegoers these days? Any year when there is more than two or three sequels, everyone starts complaining about it, so here we have three movies that are trying to give nostalgic moviegoers something they used to enjoy, a fun movie experience, with an original story, and they're completely ignored.

The sad truth is that moviegoers seem to have become quite jaded and desensitized to what's involved with doing real on-camera stuntwork. That's because movies like The Avengers and Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" movies have made it so that action fans really need to see something absolutely enormous and fantastical, mixing on-set stunts with expensive CG effects. These movies often cost $150 to 200 million to create the optimum big screen experience, though realistically, if all action movies cost this much we'd be seeing even more and bigger bombs on a yearly basis.

We're less than a week away from the return of Bruce Willis as Sgt. John McClane in A Good Day to Die Hard and some may already be wondering whether movie fans will care enough about that franchise to flock to theaters to see it as they did with the previous installment, Live Free or Die Hard. The "Die Hard" series is about as a throwback to old school action movies as you can get and while it will clearly have a bigger budget than those other movies, we have to think that moviegoers have spoken and they no longer care for nostalgia.

One big difference between Willis and Schwarzenegger/Stallone is that Willis has remained pertinent over the past twenty years and didn't disappear into politics or straight-to-DVD movies, so he theoretically still has a fanbase. That said, he's also had his share of bombs in recent years. Did anyone see The Cold Light of Day last year for instance?

The showings for The Last Stand and Bullet to the Head must be somewhat worrisome for Summit Entertainment who are releasing the Schwarzenegger/Stallone prison movie The Tomb later this year. Could they dump it ala "Cold Light of Day"? Otherwise, Willis has generally been able to bring in $18 to 20 million and up opening weekend for a non-"Die Hard" movie with 2010's RED doing well enough to warrant a sequel later this summer.

If A Good Day to Die Hard disappoints--and anything less than a $30 million four-day opening would be a disappointment--the only saving grace for the action genre this month may come in the form of the Dwayne Johnson's Snitch, which isn't a retro action-thriller per se, but it's more of a modern drama featuring some cool action scenes. It's a relatively low budget movie, but if it's able to find an audience at least it will prove that moviegoers aren't completely opposed to lower budget action movies.

It will be interesting to see how the movie does, being Johnson's first of four consecutive movies over the next four months while he also defends the WWE title he won just last week. Snitch is followed by bigger over-the-top modern action movies like G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Fast & Furious 6 with Michael Bay's "smaller movie" Pain & Gain nestled in between, but none of them really follow the "old school action" principle with two of them being the type of big budget CG-laden action movies that have become more regular.

It may even be even more interesting to see if the inevitable The Expendables 3 will be able to bring back the audiences that flocked to the previous two movies, because that would confirm that moviegoers need to have a known franchise or a number in the title to give a movie by Schwarzenegger and Stallone a chance.

Even so, if moviegoers continue to ignore the studios' attempts at making smaller action movies at lower budgets, ones that aren't necessarily sequels or franchises, they're just going to stop making those movies completely. If that happens, then moviegoers can't really complain about there being too many sequels or the fact that there are so many action movies that rely on bad CG (like the recent hit Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters). Because let's face it, if you don't vote with your moviegoing dollars and instead choose to wait until the movies are on DVD, then studios are going to be less apt to release movies like these in theaters, which is a shame since they're almost more fun to see with other people.
Over the last month or so I've been watching a lot of oldschool action films, I don't think you can recapture the charm they had and it will never be as it was regarding what constitutes a blockbuster.

Mega budgeted CBM's and fantasy are the core of Hollywood's bank now and so it's not really fair to compare these mid budget films Arnie and Sly are in to their primes, as back in the day a lot of their films were top of the food chain budget-wise and while you can look up what they cost and think it's small by comparison to today's blockbusters, you could get a lot more out of $40M in the 80's and early 90's.

However I don't think oldschool action movies are dead, Skyfall, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Fast 5 were huge hits and are all oldschool in the sense that most of the action is real stunts and there are no aliens, superheroes, costumes or other worldly stuff, although you cannot avoid CGI altogether in a tentpole film these days. You can also add Taken, Life Free or Die Hard and the other 2 Craig Bond films as big oldscool action hits of the last 5 years.

Sadly time is probably just about up for Sly and Arnie I feel but their two recent bombs I think are more a sign of original oldschool action movies being dead than the genre or their careers, if you aren't hooked up to a franchise your going to struggle to get a big audience for an action movie based around regular humans and action, and we certainly wont be getting the amount of oldschool action movies we used too, but hopefully the genre will still see hits.

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Old 02-06-2013, 01:48 AM   #2
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Default Re: Are Old School Action Movies Dead?

The Last Stand, Parker and Bullet to the Head didn't have a hook to them. You can Redbox the DTV equivalents to these for cheaper.

The Tomb has a hook. Arnie and Sly throwing down in a supermax prison they have to escape. Ten has a hook, an ensemble cast getting murdered one by one, it's a David Ayer film too, he's a big name these days.

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Old 02-06-2013, 01:54 AM   #3
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Default Re: Are Old School Action Movies Dead?

I don't know it's kind of an iffy situation, take Liam Neeson for example who would be 63 this year just a few years shy of Arnie and Sly's age but his movie Taken was a surprise hit, and it followed the basic premise of an old school revenge action yarn minus big budget explosions. So how was it a hit and while Arnold and Sly's movies were not? who knows/

Audiences today are very fickle and what with Arnie and Sly not being relevant these past couple of years the young movie crowd today would probably wince at seeing two old dudes running from explosions or getting into fist fights without breaking some bones and getting arthritis.

And frankly as for A Good Day To Die Hard after seeing the trailers with it's over the top explosions it just feels so different when you compare it to the smaller budgeted original Die Hard, it doesn't even feel like a DH sequel.

And while I like Jason Statham kicking all sorts of ass on the big screen I'm rather tired of any more Transporter sequels and we definitely don't need any more Crank sequels, Statham needs to branch out to other genres or he'll be like another Van Damme and Seagal.

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Old 02-06-2013, 02:07 AM   #4
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Default Re: Are Old School Action Movies Dead?

The marketing department for Statham's movies sucks. Do you really establish Michael Chiklis as a threat to Statham and then show Statham beating Chiklis to death later in the trialer?

Homefront has the Stath taking on a crime empire. If the trailer shows him running over James Franco, Wynona Ryder, Frank Grillo and Kate Bosworth being all awesome, then there's no need for anyone to see the film. They need to hook people by showing Statham, as an underdog, out of his depth, trying to protect his daughter.

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Old 02-06-2013, 02:17 AM   #5
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Default Re: Are Old School Action Movies Dead?

The problem is that none of these movies distinguished the actors' selves enough to make it feel unique. I will admit they tried with Parker and The Last Stand but it wasn't good enough to put butts in seats.

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Old 02-06-2013, 02:19 AM   #6
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Default Re: Are Old School Action Movies Dead?

I really don't think they did. Only the red band trailer for The Last Stand showed any personality. Parker took all the dramatic tension out of the film by making it obvious The Stath wins and making look like Transporter 4.

Bullet to the Head had the most potential for a hook by being a buddy film, with the guys being hunted by Kahl Drogo. But the pooped the bed with the most boring choice in Sung Kang. So Sly was basically talking to a brick wall.

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Old 02-06-2013, 02:29 AM   #7
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Default Re: Are Old School Action Movies Dead?

Exactly. It was an attempt, but it failed.

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Old 02-06-2013, 02:32 AM   #8
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Default Re: Are Old School Action Movies Dead?

Yeah I don't think that there we will get real old school action type films anymore, cause quite frankly the 80's and 90's were chocked full of them... And for every one that was a hit or classic we got 50 poor ones that we still thought was good!

I think nowadays u need to change ur approach when dealing with this type films... I don't think "Hollywood" should try and make 80's and 90's action films now, because it will be generic and mundane. Instead film makers should be trying to make good Modern Action Films. Kinda how Chris Nolan reinvented Batman for the 21st century.

And truthfully whether people want to admit it or not, the latest entries in Fast and Furious is probably what other action films should try and aim for. Ensemble Cast, with characters people care for like, situations that pushes the characters to there edge, shouldn't be taking itself seriously, not being afraid to push the film into a different direction, and just huge CREATIVE action scenes.

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Old 02-06-2013, 02:40 AM   #9
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Over the last month or so I've been watching a lot of oldschool action films, I don't think you can recapture the charm they had and it will never be as it was regarding what constitutes a blockbuster.
Full agreement. Charm goes a long way, and it's insanely hard to replicate. A film either has it or it doesn't. 'Back in the day' stuff has it in spades.

If films manage to have an aura about them, in marketing and hype, that's a start.

There seems to be a quandry of either trying too hard or not trying enough.

Anyway, old school never dies. If I've got it on a disc it's forever.

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Old 02-06-2013, 03:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: Are Old School Action Movies Dead?

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The sad truth is that moviegoers seem to have become quite jaded and desensitized to what's involved with doing real on-camera stuntwork. That's because movies like The Avengers and Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" movies have made it so that action fans really need to see something absolutely enormous and fantastical, mixing on-set stunts with expensive CG effects. These movies often cost $150 to 200 million to create the optimum big screen experience, though realistically, if all action movies cost this much we'd be seeing even more and bigger bombs on a yearly basis.
This paragraph is all kinds of wrong. TDK especially had as little CGI in its action scenes as possible, so yeah.

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We're less than a week away from the return of Bruce Willis as Sgt. John McClane in A Good Day to Die Hard and some may already be wondering whether movie fans will care enough about that franchise to flock to theaters to see it as they did with the previous installment, Live Free or Die Hard. The "Die Hard" series is about as a throwback to old school action movies as you can get and while it will clearly have a bigger budget than those other movies, we have to think that moviegoers have spoken and they no longer care for nostalgia.
This paragraph is also wrong, as the new trailers/spots for DH5 have showcased. Nowehere near old school action.

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Old 02-06-2013, 03:09 AM   #11
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Default Re: Are Old School Action Movies Dead?

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http://www.comingsoon.net/news/weeke...s.php?id=99886
Over the last month or so I've been watching a lot of oldschool action films, I don't think you can recapture the charm they had and it will never be as it was regarding what constitutes a blockbuster.

Mega budgeted CBM's and fantasy are the core of Hollywood's bank now and so it's not really fair to compare these mid budget films Arnie and Sly are in to their primes, as back in the day a lot of their films were top of the food chain budget-wise and while you can look up what they cost and think it's small by comparison to today's blockbusters, you could get a lot more out of $40M in the 80's and early 90's.

However I don't think oldschool action movies are dead, Skyfall, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Fast 5 were huge hits and are all oldschool in the sense that most of the action is real stunts and there are no aliens, superheroes, costumes or other worldly stuff, although you cannot avoid CGI altogether in a tentpole film these days. You can also add Taken, Life Free or Die Hard and the other 2 Craig Bond films as big oldscool action hits of the last 5 years.

Sadly time is probably just about up for Sly and Arnie I feel but their two recent bombs I think are more a sign of original oldschool action movies being dead than the genre or their careers, if you aren't hooked up to a franchise your going to struggle to get a big audience for an action movie based around regular humans and action, and we certainly wont be getting the amount of oldschool action movies we used too, but hopefully the genre will still see hits.
I don't think Old School Action movies are dead, but just the stars' popularity. I think another problem with these stars is that they're on the wrong end of "you know what you're getting" with these guys.

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Old 02-06-2013, 03:15 AM   #12
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Default Re: Are Old School Action Movies Dead?

Sly and Arnold need to start Obi-Wan Kenobiing the other guys.

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Old 02-06-2013, 03:17 AM   #13
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Default Re: Are Old School Action Movies Dead?

The Rock is ready, he's even passed his trials. So is Statham. The latter needs a far better agent, though.

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Old 02-06-2013, 03:42 AM   #14
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Default Re: Are Old School Action Movies Dead?

I say kill Dolph, Arnold, Sly and Bruce in Expendables 3, have an Expendables sequel trilogy with Statham, Diesel, The Rock, Gina Carano and Scott Adkins.

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Old 02-06-2013, 03:45 AM   #15
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Default Re: Are Old School Action Movies Dead?

How about a Prequel Trilogy?

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Old 02-06-2013, 03:47 AM   #16
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Default Re: Are Old School Action Movies Dead?

Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin and Bruce Lee!

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Old 02-06-2013, 03:48 AM   #17
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I can dig it.

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Old 02-06-2013, 03:49 AM   #18
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Default Re: Are Old School Action Movies Dead?

Yep. You'll have to dig them up.

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Old 02-06-2013, 03:56 AM   #19
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How about a Prequel Trilogy?
Another set of films you can defend.

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Old 02-06-2013, 03:58 AM   #20
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Default Re: Are Old School Action Movies Dead?

George Lucas Expendable movies would be the most hilariously aweful thing ever. And I'd love every second of them.

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Old 02-06-2013, 04:00 AM   #21
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George Lucas Expendable movies would be the most hilariously aweful thing ever. And I'd love every second of them.
...And people thought 80s action movie dialogue couldn't be any cheesier.

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Mrs. Sawyer will destroy us all as the Light beckons us to his unearthly call. Like a drop of cool condensation cascading down the side of a glass on a hot summer's day, we too will evaporate into The Void.
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:03 AM   #22
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"You where shupposhed to by my friend Shteeve Aushtin! I LOVE YOU!"

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Old 02-06-2013, 04:03 AM   #23
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George Lucas Expendable movies would be the most hilariously aweful thing ever. And I'd love every second of them.
But you'd need romance there, too.

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Old 02-06-2013, 04:04 AM   #24
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"You where shupposhed to by my friend Shteeve Aushtin! I LOVE YOU!"


I laughed at this for several minutes already.

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Mrs. Sawyer will destroy us all as the Light beckons us to his unearthly call. Like a drop of cool condensation cascading down the side of a glass on a hot summer's day, we too will evaporate into The Void.
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:07 AM   #25
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But you'd need romance there, too.


"Why can't we be together!?!?!?!?!?"

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