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Return of the Dinosaurs

2008-03-31 14:26
And lately, moviegoers have been getting just what they deserve. Sylvester Stallone, who really should know better, has recently resurrected both Rocky and Rambo, two of the dumbest movie characters ever conceived. Then the creaky old Harrison Ford risks hip injury for us in a new Indiana Jones installment (coming soon!), and Willis the Bruce is back in what we can only pray will be the last Die Hard movie humanity will ever have to face.

OK, just what the Hell is going on here? I’m used to Hollywood movies using the same old stories over and over again, but the same old actors too? And by old, I mean really old. Stallone and Willis may still have a good few wheelchair-free years left in them, but men who have to grunt when they stand up are in no condition to single-handedly save the world from terrorism. Ford is the worst offender, though. The ravage of time has transformed the man into a giant liver spot, and to revive his role as the swashbuckling Indiana Jones is less than dignified. I’ll go and see it, of course, if only to laugh cruelly at Ford as he stumbles his way through action sequences between nap breaks.

But there’s a reason for all this revivalism. Hollywood needs its machismo heroes, and lately, most of the younger male actors haven’t exactly been brimming over with testosterone. In an age of metrosexuality, healthy living and self-discovery, the movie industry has produced a crop of effete pretty-boys - non-threatening, baby faced cherubs who understand their feminine side, but have no idea how to look cool while shooting bad guys in the face with a rocket launcher. This is not to say they haven’t tried. The Bourne movies were pretty slick, but preppy Matt Damon as a hard-nosed assassin? I don’t think so. He looks like he’s permanently on his way to visit his girlfriend’s parents: charming, well groomed and about as tough as a seedless grape. Then there’s über-nerd Tobey Maguire, mysteriously cast as Spider-Man when he should only been given roles as the person everyone else beats up for the fun of it, and as for Jude Law as a hero in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, I’m not even going to go there. Let’s just say he looks like if co-star Angelina Jolie pulls into him he might start crying.

The list goes on: Matthew McConaughey tries way too hard to be rugged and ends up looking like the kind of person who spends 80 percent of his life staring into a mirror. Christian Bale looks too pretty to be doing anything other than modeling, let alone fighting crime in a bat suit. And Heath Ledger is… Oops. Too soon.

But nobody illustrates the James Bluntification of the new generation of A-listers quite like Cillian Murphy, who ludicrously tried to convince us a fat-lipped, rosy-cheeked, pouting dandy-boy could survive multiple zombie attacks in 28 Days Later. Girls, if you think he’s hot, you’re a lesbian. Enjoy your new lifestyle.

So it looks like Hollywood has no choice. Until younger movie stars stop obsessing over skin care products and start acquiring some testicular verisimilitude, the old guys are going to keep coming back to scare us with their wrinkles. Let’s just be thankful that for the most part, they keep their shirts on.

- Chris McEvoy
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