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JANUARY 10, 2008

THE LAST ACTION HERO...
Despite claims to the contrary...he will not be back

What’s the last action movie you saw?

If you’re anything like the projected average demographic of steroid.com (and by this, I’m talking about my own estimation), you’re likely a male, under the age of 40 (the largest group of people researching anabolic steroids at any time). And if you fit neatly into that group, then you fit neatly into the another demographic…and I’m going to guess that whatever the last movie you saw was probably an action movie.

So, now that we’ve firmly established a stereotype for you to neatly fit into for the purposes of this editorial, let’s talk about that last movie you saw – it was an action movie, right? I thought so…

Although I watch most of my movies at home now, and they typically have the word “lesbian” in the title, I still recall that the last movie I saw in the theatre was the Borne Ultimatum…or was it Live Free or Die Hard?  Either way, it was one of those two.

And if you’re looking for the last ones before that, I’ll be able to drop you a list (The other Borne movies, the other Die Hard movies, Armageddon, Fight Club, etc...) of movies that all have one thing in common…they’re action movies where the stars are all under 200lbs (except for Armageddon, which features 2 actors who are well…they shop in the plus size department). And all of them made a killing in the box office.

Nobody ever talks about those actors as having used steroids in the media – ever.

What does Bruce Willis or Matt Damon weight? A buck eighty at most, for either of them, fully dressed, with rolls of quarters in their pockets? (They’re not just happy to see you, by the way)

   

To be honest, I think that Hollywood is sick of steroid- bloated action heroes, as is the American public. I honestly think that the next Stallone/Rambocky movie will bomb like the last one did. Arnold hasn’t come out with a movie in ages, and his last few had unremarkable box office numbers. The new crop of really muscular action stars…well…they just don’t really have the draw that old ones had.

I suppose Vin Diesel is barely over 200lbs (and at least 6 feet tall), and of course, there’s The Rock, who’s definitely a big guy, and doing very well for himself for the most part…but he’s not the next Arnold or Sly…and I can’t really see there being another crop of huge steroid bloated action stars, or even really “bodybuilder-looking” (read: steroid using) action heroes ever again.

   

And although James Bond (in his latest – and best – incarnation as played by Daniel Craig) has traded in his tea-and-crumpets look for a more chiseled physique – directors reportedly told Craig to stay lean and not too big. At least that’s what Craig told GQ in an interview.



The day of the Steroid-Look in action movie heroes is over.

Well….that’s not true. If you take a look at some of the guys getting beat up by this new crop of action heroes, many of them reflect a chemically enhanced physique. People like to root for the underdog in any given fight…and let’s face it, when would The Rock or Arnold be an underdog in a fight. Even the last successful Rocky movie (which I honestly believe helped end the cold war) had him fighting a 6’ 5” Russian who outweighed him by quite a bit.



And I suppose that’s part of the problem…when you cast The Rock in a movie, you need to have a final fight scene that ideally presents him as the underdog…which means you have to hire a roughly 7’ tall 300lb+ actor – who is in shape good enough shape to believe he is actually capable of fighting (and beating The Rock).

It’s much easier to cast Adam Sandler as a former NFL quarterback who leads a prison football team to beat the (steroid using) guards of that same prison…and of course, poke fun at them. I guess that situation is similar to that of Roland Kickinger, the former IFBB bodybuilder who was touted by bodybuilding magazines (ha ha) as “The Next Arnold”. And they were almost right. He had one semi-starring role on a second-tier channel (Chanel 9, UPN), playing a big dumb bodybuilder (essentially a caricature of Arnold – complete with non-specific Germanic accent). The show was executive produced by Howard Stern, and was called “Son of the Beach”.



So I guess part of the problem is that…

But I also think that we (and I’m talking about society here) just prefer to see the Jason Bournes rather than The Scorpion Kings. And box office numbers confirm that…

The Borne Ultimatum grossed $441, 161, 071. I personally contributed to both the theatre tally as well as to the DVD sales, as I own the entire Jason Borne trilogy, and the first two movies I bought as they came out – then I bought the trilogy as a boxed set. The Scorpion King (which was essentially built on the very successful “The Mummy” franchise) grossed just around 400 million worldwide. The first “The Mummy” movie, with Brendan Fraser grossed $433,019,785 – in the US alone).

Honestly, I don’t mind The Rock at all. I frankly could have done without seeing John Cena’s last movie (the plot was horrible, but at least he isn’t a good actor). But the most successful action movie franchise of the last decade belongs to Jason Borne, and I don’t see that trend stopping any time soon.



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