Thursday, August 16, 2012

He Said He'd Be Zzzzz...

I wonder... Did any prescient movie journalists back during the "Arnold Era" of American action movies do any serious writing about the action stars of said era having a "bubble problem?" As in: So much of their appeal was bound up not in their performances but in their cartoonishly pumped-up "straight-dudes-can-be-gym-queens-too" physicality they were innevitably going to have much greater difficulty transitioning to the "aging hardcase" phase of their careers?

Case in point: The trailer for Arnold Schwarzenegger's (lead-role) post-Governorship comeback, "The Last Stand;" an apparent riff on "High Noon" wherein a very, very, very tired-looking Arnold plays a very, very, very tired-looking former big city cop living in very, very, very tired-looking semi-retirement as the very, very, very tired-looking Sherriff of a peaceful southwestern border town who must lead a team of local cops (plus some hastily-deputized local ruffians for comic-relief - why, hello there somehow-just-as-anachronistic-as-Arnold Johnny Knoxville!) in a last-ditch blockade against a Mexican Cartel Death-Squad looking to blow through their jurisdiction on the way back across the border.



I get the sense that "Border-Jumping Cartel Death Squads" are going to become the next omnipresent stock-villain for generic American action movies; partially because it sounds superficially relevant but mostly because it's an effective way to exploit Middle America's knee-jerk paranoia about the "browning" of America (aka "OH NOES! WE'RE BEIN' INVADED BY TEH HISPANICS!!!") without being explicitly racist or xenophobic about it.

18 comments:

Tom Shapira said...

See, normaly I wouldn't really care about the comback of non-actor in a decidedly middeling-looking retro-actioner... bit this thing is diracted by Kim Jim-Woon. As in "The Good, The Bad and The Weird" "A Bittersweat Life" and "I Saw the Devil" - if they told me he was making the fucking Teletubbies movie I'd be all over that.

Aiddon said...

Arnie, ya really just should have hung up the gloves. Your time is over and it's not exactly an era that anyone with intelligence wants to go back to.

Joshua the Anarchist said...

Come to think of it, why haven't there been more High Noon riffs? I mean, it's a pretty archetypical action plot that can easily be adapted to multiple settings & time periods. You'd think this would be like Yojimbo, Seven Samurai, or Die Hard, one of those movies with a ton of "remake in everything but name & setting" clones. Or are there a bunch of movies I need to head out & see right now?

The Dude said...

Maybe it's just me, but I always thought Johnny Knoxville got a raw deal. He was in a few movies that I thought were pretty decent (Daltry Calhoun / A Dirty Shame) but nothing ever came of it. He's got lots of Charisma and can be pretty funny, so I'm hoping that this will work out for him and we'll see him in more roles.

Lido said...

this makes me really sad cause I honestly like Arnold, I honestly think he could still do a good action flick, maybe not the high octane action films of his youth but there's a reason he's been massively successful in all 3 of his careers, but he just looks so old and so tired here that it's a shame, this is a part written for a younger old guy (I know that sounds weird) and honestly western just doesn't fit Arnold, such a waste

John said...

Didn't Arnold cheat on his wife and have an illegitimate baby with his maid? And he's still going to be in movies?

Omorka said...

Probably not. After all, the issue of an actor's looks being a product with an expiration date has historically been an issue primarily for women in the business; the hypermasculinity of the muscle-bound action stars of the '80s put them diametrically opposed to anything female, right?

Mister Linton said...

Right, because it's racist to paint drug dealing murderers in such a negative light.

Mister Linton said...

Oh, and also I pretty much GUARANTEE one of the reveals in this movie is that the true leader of this cartel is a white American dude (probably even a law enforcement agent) so yeah...

Lord Slithor said...

After having seen that trailer, I could only come away with the thought that this is what Jim Arpaio imagines himself as every day.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan said...

I can agree that Arnold probably should have retired or, at the very least, transitioned to a different type of role.

This movie just looks extremely generic.

As for this...

"...but mostly because it's an effective way to exploit Middle America's knee-jerk paranoia about the 'browning' of America (aka 'OH NOES! WE'RE BEIN' INVADED BY TEH HISPANICS!!!') without being explicitly racist or xenophobic about it."

I know this may sound strange to you, Bob, but not everyone outside the northeastern United States is a racist. I'd go so far as to say the vast majority of people aren't.

Speaking more broadly, not everything is trying to make a racial statement. In this instance, it's just a dumb-looking movie. Leave it at that.

Razmere said...

I'll take this and twelve sequels to it over him making another TWINS movie.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@Bob

"...but mostly because it's an effective way to exploit Middle America's knee-jerk paranoia about the 'browning' of America (aka 'OH NOES! WE'RE BEIN' INVADED BY TEH HISPANICS!!!') without being explicitly racist or xenophobic about it."

See, this brings me back the the same question I asked last week: If a movie can't use Mexicans, North Koreans, Chinese, Russians, Middle-easterners, or even other Americans for enemies with out you calling it racist... who the fuck are action movies supposed to use as enemies?

It seems that now a days can't even have giant alien robots with out being called racist.

Joe said...

Doesn't Arnie have millions from real estate investments? It's not like he has to work for a living.

I thought the same about Stallone, but then he directed the last Rocky and Rambo films, and both of those were well-done and fitting sendoffs to their respective franchises. In fact, I was looking forward to the first Expendables as a result, and was extremely disappointed when it showed none of the care and heart of those two films.


@TheAlmightyNarf:

Hollywood could try making action movies that aren't about Americans. I would love to see a movie about Carl Gustaf von Rosen, legendary Swedish pilot who championed humanitarian causes and flew combat and relief missions against fascism despite being related to a top Nazi. But there's no way a Swedish-made film would ever have the budget to made it truly awesome.

MovieBob said...

@Almighty,

It's not so much about ethnicity as it is about context. Latinos as bad guys? No problem, anybody can be a bad guy.

Latino bad guys who are violent thugs that have slipped across the Mexican border to do evil and whose invasive presence imperils a sunny all-American border town? That carries some eyebrow-raising baggage when you consider things like Sherriff Arpaio and the "papers, please" law in Arizona. Nothing exists in a vacuum.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ MovieBob

That sounds reasonable enough. I suppose I should actually watch the trailer now so that I'll have a better idea what I'm actually talking about...

*watches*

Ok, well, first off, other than the word "cartel" being thrown around, the baddies of the movie aren't even in any way identifiably Latino. The only Latino shown in the trailer was a sheriff, and the only enemy shown was Swedish.

Given the trailer alone (because the movie didn't interest me enough to do any actual research on it), this seems to be addressing the very real issue of cartel violence spilling over into the US, with out actually making the enemies racially specific. Assuming the subject matter isn't off limits for a cheesy action movie to be based on, that's probably the most tactful route for them to go down.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, BOB is not really in the right here, its not just Arnie is making his comeback its the fact that this from the director of I Saw the Devil, Kim-Jim Woon, so honestly I don't think this going to be the horrible thing he makes it out to be. I mean yes there is a chance for him to screw up but with a director who is at least a little well known.

Anonymous said...

Why was every scene shown of Johnny Knoxville portray him as a laughing retard?