Thursday, April 9, 2015
THE RUNNING MAN: OR GRUMPY OLD MEN PART 3 A.K.A. GRUMPIEST OLD MEN: IN OTHER WORDS - ARNOLD SCHWARTZENEGGER VS. SYLVESTER STALLONE
Having recently finally watched ESCAPE PLAN. Which seemed like an 80’s fantasy of bringing two action her powerhouses together Co-starring in the same film. While not the dream project me nor either of them was probably hoping for. As truthfully they are in THE EXPENDABLES series together. In ESCAPE PLAN they spend most of the film in scenes together. While a review of that film is forthcoming. It allowed me to remember their subtle rivalry in their heyday’s. So here I present some thoughts on each and the span of their careers thus far.
Though relax this isn't the battle to end all. It's more notes on if there was a fight.
Arnold Schwarzenegger seems to be the John Wayne of my generation. Only he lasted long enough to be partially disgraced by scandal and diminished box office returns. He is an iconic screen star and movie hero, though like Wayne a certain screen type no matter how he tries to stretch. His acting ability is never truly tested though never stood the test of time as a dramatic acting legend. He is around and he knows what we expect of him and we as an audience accept his dramatic limitations.
Though foreign he strangely seems to stand for modern Americana working his way up from the bottom. Molding his body into a supposed modern God like figure. Aged in screen at the perfect time from young manhood to older gentleman. It makes us feel like we know him since most of his roles were starting ones. We watched him mature on screen. He embraced his stardom and wealth. Yet until late in life never Renee too arrogant. Seemed to instill all American values including wealth.
Though because of his accent never seemed to play too many cops or government officials always more as a rebellious figure. Though whose accent was rarely explained or had excuses made for. Because of that though only appeared in a few sci-fi and fantasy movies though more of the noteworthy and financially successful ones of that era and talked able seems more a science fiction hero though the list of films TOTAL RECALL, PREDATOR, THE TERMINATOR, TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMEnNT DAY then eventually THE SIXTH DAY, and THE TERMINATOR 3, while not as good or prestigious, Are no slouches either. There were plenty of sci-fi films made but he seemed to be the only major star at the forefront of studio made memorable ones. If you include fantasy film the Conan movies and END OF DAYS
Like Michael Jackson music he seems to try and fit in and change With the times. But seems an ill fit as his type of action star is missing and becoming extinct to a degree, but is also a familiar relic. Good in their time still entertaining. But seem so distant from today's special effects extravaganzas. Though you never doubt his talent and drive. He just seems a hold out dorm a previous era who is trying to change his image to a degree to stay in fashion. He doesn't seem hell bent to be willing to break to adhere to the audiences to make them go to see his type of films. Like Sylvester Stallone who keeps making films his way that luckily there is still more of an older audience for though with diminishing results. Which he seems to refuse to accept as he tried going back to drama and tried comedy. Which got him noticed but never truly acclaimed or worked out. Even his successful modern action films there is a gimmick, either an all star extravaganza or over the top violent. Or a sequel to one of his successful earlier films. I believe Stallone realizes his purest fit is in the action films of yesteryear and if he has to be one of the few making them so be it. Which is admirable to a degree. Yet also maybe misguided. Like s King after pervious victories. Schwarzenegger seems perfectly content to work when he wants of her wants and do what is required of the role. Even if it means tweaking his on screen image... A bit.
Which is why I believe though there was a competiton Schwarzenegger seemed to win back then and still. He just came off as more successful as he went with the ride and wasn't as focused and determined as Stallone was. While Stallone never acknowledged the competition. He seems behave made peace as they seem to co-star once in awhile in moves together. Which was always dreamed about in their heyday. Now is a gift that seems a bit too little too late. Though at the height of their competition in the old days Stallone seemed to always be in the corner jealous and scheming. Now he is doing what he should have done back then. Instead of just accepting paychecks for questionable starring roles STOP OR MY MOTHER WILL SHOOT, OVER THE TOP. Now he is writing and/or directing his one films rather then taking what is offered to him as much and only doing the necessary amount of work. After all he still appears in movies like GRUDGE MATCH, but to be fair he gets to co-star with acting legend Robert Deniro.
Though Arnold will always reign supreme as an action hero. I was always personally partial to Bruce Willis what I admired about him is that he could go for comedy to drama And maybe comedy if he wanted to. He was charming but also had a certain gruff attitude.
Schwartzenegger. Stallone and Willis were always big action stars. The trifecta. You could include Mel Gibson but he always tried different genres. Not necessarily trying to be an actor more then they did,But trying to be more of an all around star. Where as the trifecta seemed to realize where they were best used and had no qualms of being more or doing more then asked. Even if Stallone wanted not only control, but to write or at least have intellectual property credit. Schwarzenegger always came out on top and more successful then Stallone who actually won an Oscar for writing and was either writer or director or both on his own films and one that didn't even star him. Though Stallone's weakness was he believed his own hype a bit too much and always acted like he was making great art. Then he seemed to take on too many paycheck roles. That diminished his brand to a degree. They were mostly filled with testosterone and went with the times, but have aged badly and now seem not only dated but embarrassing to watch. He wanted variety. Bruce Willis was more the wisecracking Everyman hero. Like a modern day Humphrey Bogart. As an audience member you could identify with him or wanted to be as cool as him or be friends with him at least. Even if he seems to possess a dangerous hostility that comes out only when provoked and forced, still, always managed to keep his sense of humor.
It seems for now while Schwartzenegger seems like he is willing to try new and different things that essentially all boil back to mostly action and thrillers. Stallone has tried to new things, but seems intent if he is going to star in a film. For it to be either a sequel to one of his best known hits (RAMBO, ROCKY) if not he will try to make action films that harken back to his successful days (BULLET TO THE HEAD). Schwartzenegger seems to only do this with the TERMINATOR series. As some of the properties he can’t exhaust as far as sequels as they moved on without him and thankfully others stand perfect as stand alones.
Strangely Stallone reminds me of George Clooney in the fact that his films while memorable never seem to be hits they were supposed to be, yet still finds starring roles. Not that it’s a bad thing. They are of the lucky few.