Action heroes Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone
and Bruce Willis take aim at new villains, writes Glenn
Whipp, of the Los Angeles Times.
Time to pull on the legwarmers and wriggle into those
fingerless gloves. The '80s are back. Or, more specifically,
in a trend that may raise your hair to the teased heights of
yesteryear, three vintage '80s action heroes are kicking down
the doors of multiplexes again.
Can nostalgia and testosterone coexist? I took a look at the
upcoming wisecracking, explosive adventures starring Arnold
Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis.
BRUCE WILLIS (57)
The movie: A Good Day to Die Hard (February 14).
The (anticipated) catchphrase: ''We're not a hugging
Saving the world from: Russki no-goodniks.
Last time in the saddle: Schooled Joseph Gordon-Levitt
on life, love and vengeance in the bloody, trippy sci-fi
mind-bender Looper last year.
Obligatory reference to ageing: Riding up an elevator
with Jai Courtney, playing Jack McClane, son to Willis' John,
a Muzak version of Ode to Joy tinkles in the background while
father and son lock and load. ''I guess you've done this
before?'' a passenger asks. Jack: ''Don't encourage him.''
Return to action: The fifth entry in the Die Hard
franchise sends McClane to Moscow with a story that
incorporates elements from a host of film formulas - the fish
out of water, the buddy movie, the estranged father-and-son,
It's a little bit of a callback to the culture shock John
McClane felt in the first movie as a New York cop in LA,''
producer Wyck Godfrey says.''
Only now he's older, even more set in his ways, and in
Russia. That's a problem.''
Yippee ki-yay or yippee ki-yawn? Marketing materials
equally split between explosions and Beethoven. Willis
already talking about a sixth film. Die-hards might be
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (65)
The movie: The Last Stand
The (anticipated) catchphrase: ''I am the
Saving society from: Mexican drug cartels.
Last time in the saddle: Aside from cameos in
Stallone's old-dog Expendables romps, Ah-nold's last starring
role came in the 2003 pre-Governator franchise sequel
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, an efficient and, at
times, exhilarating entry in the series.
Obligatory reference to ageing: Diner manager: ''How
are you, Sheriff?'' Schwarzenegger: ''Old!''
Return to action: Korean director Kim Jee-woon makes
his American debut in this tale of a border-town sheriff
chasing an escaped drug kingpin. He came away impressed with
I have always felt that the best of any industry embodies
unique qualities, and Arnold was no exception,'' Kim says.''
If I were to pick just three of the smartest people I have
met during my two years in the United States, Arnold would be
one of them.''
Yippee ki-yay or yippee ki-yawn? Luis Guzman owns
nearly as much time in the trailer as the 65-year-old
Schwarzenegger. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it
doesn't exactly signal that this movie will return the former
governor to relevance. Then again, Kim has made six diverse
movies, and they're all solid.
SYLVESTER STALLONE (66)
The movie: Bullet to the Head
The (anticipated) catchphrase: ''Bang. Down.
Saving society from: Cold-blooded condo builders.
Last time in the saddle: Stallone starred in the two
fossil-fuelled Expendables blow-'em-ups, co-writing both and
directing the first. A third is in the works ... with Jackie
Obligatory reference to ageing: Stallone and partner
sit in a car while Foreigner's Hot Blooded plays on the
stereo. Partner: ''You mind if we listen to something from
this century?'' Stallone: Stony silence. (Perhaps a single
tear rolls down cheek afterwards?)
Return to action: ''It's a retro movie, a homage to
the action films of the 1980s,'' says writer-director Walter
Hill, who, as the man behind the 48 Hrs films, knows a thing
or two about the particular subset of this genre.''
People call them buddy movies, but, to me, that doesn't work.
They're partners forced together. They don't like each other.
They're anti-buddy movies, really.''
Yippee ki-yay or yippee ki-yawn? At its premiere in
November at the Rome Film Festival, the movie earned solid
reviews as a lively enough 48 Hrs knockoff that showcased
Stallone's timeless ability to dish out punches and tough-guy