Action stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Jackie Chan are all on the wrong side of 50—but, don’t count them out just yet, because they’re all coming out with new, big-bang starrers this season!
It helps a lot that they’re still in fighting trim, but their now craggy faces require them to play age-appropriate, more mature characters.
Despite making necessary concessions to the passage of the years—and decades!—the mature action heroes still perform at least some of their risky stunts themselves.
In the distant past, cowboy movie stars hung up their six-gallon hats and spurs much earlier, with the notable exception of John Wayne as one-eyed Rooster Cogburn in the original “True Grit” western.
Another mature action star, Charles Bronson, sustained his stellar career way past retirement age by playing urban dads who went on the vengeance trail after their wives or daughters were victimized by rapists or killers who deserved to be hunted down and obliterated from the face of the earth!
Despite these stellar exceptions, the second wind that Stallone and company are currently enjoying is a relatively novel show biz phenomenon, and it’ll be interesting to see how it’ll play itself out in the coming years. Will Stallone manage to star in “Rocky 50” and Willis in “Die Hard 100”?! The possibilities—and implausibilities—are chilling.
For his part, with his current starrer, “Chinese Zodiac,” Jackie Chan is more realistically bidding his action-film career a fond but relieved farewell. He isn’t retiring from film acting entirely, just from the painfully slam-bang action blockbusters that have made him internationally famous—and landed him in the hospital more times that he cares to count!
We understand perfectly why Chan has decided to go the nonaction route from here on in. We’ve followed his career from the very start, and have witnessed the many acrobatic and bone-cracking feats of filmic derring-do he’s come up with through the years, establishing himself as the global screen’s most adept comedy-action exponent.
Since he can still “go comedy,” all is definitely not lost. —Besides, he can always change his mind, as not a few “retired” entertainers have done through the years (right, Barbra Streisand?).
Willis still has some good stellar years left in him, because his character in the “Die Hard” film franchise is iconically “ageless” (well, more or less).
Actually, it’s Schwarzenegger who has his work cut out for him to keep his stellar career afloat. His problem is the fact that he changed career—from acting to politicking—some years ago, making it difficult for his fans to go from calling him “Terminator” to “Governator”—and back again!
However the next decade will pan out for these and other mature stars, they can always console themselves with the realization that they’re going on further and longer than most of their contemporaries, who have long opted out of the movie scene for good, or make-do with odd cameos or even walk-on bits.
“Blame” their feat on the long-running film franchises that some of them have been associated with through the decades, which have habituated their now similarly mature fans to patronizing even their umpteenth installments. —Now, if only young action fans can be persuaded to follow suit!