Sylvester Stallone Says Superhero Movies Are Making The Action Genre Fade Away

Sylvester Stallone Says Superhero Movies Are Making The Action Genre Fade Away

Stallone is definitely correct regarding the fact that not many action movies are made today in the vein of the 80's films which starred himself, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. But is this evolution or regression?

Speaking to ET about The Tomb (2013) alongside Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone pseudo-lamented the fact that the action movie genre is seemingly being replaced by superheroes. Have the likes of John McClane, Rocky Balboa and The Terminator indeed been replaced by Batman, Captain America and The Hulk? Said Stallone on the prospect---

"This genre unfortunately is becoming… let's just say it's fading away. "You have the superheroes today which are possessed with all extraordinary powers; they can blink and a fireball comes out of there. It's great. And then you have a bunch of us which is just your basic male-pattern badness. … Kind of like hands-on action."

While Stallone, Willis and Arnold are still making movies today, they aren't making them the same way they did once upon a time. Even when they're continuations of the same film series, it's obvious that Live Free or Die Hard (2007) is not the same type of movie as the original Die Hard (1988. Even Rocky Balboa (2006) tried and failed to capture the same aesthetics and tone of Rocky (1976) and I'm sure the same will probably occur with Total Recall (2012). By no means am I saying this shift is evil but the action films of the past had a certain ability to get the testosterone flowing that just isn't matched today. It's part of an industry-wide trend that I feel was summed up quite succinctly by Meryl Streep recently --- [Source: CBS viaFilmDrunk]

Oh I don’t see those (comic book movies). That’s called the narrowing of the audience. The movie business has worked assiduously to discourage intelligent, discerning people, FROM the theater. They have worked hard to get rid of you, because you don’t go and then buy toys and games.

Be honest, there's far more Ghost Riders(2007) and Fantastic Fours (2005) out there than there are Avengers (2012) or Batman Begins (2005). And while all of the past action movies were far from cinematic masterpieces I'd take the worst 80's action flick over the worst superhero movie any day. Obviously I don't have to prove that I'm a major supporter of comic book movies but if you've watched movies for the last 20+ years like me, you'd have to be blind to not notice the shift in who and what the movie industry targets. Often times it appears that the movie is merely a speed-bump on the way to merchandising. There are no Cobras (1986) or Predators (1987) being made today. The closest we've come in recent memory was Drive (2011) from Nicolas Winding Refn and while that's a fantastic film, even that had the synthesized feel of the 21st century. Unfortunately, it's hard to pinpoint one moment or aspect of film-making which led to the current state of the action genre. All I can say is that it's not the same and while that's not necessarily a bad thing, I sure do miss the old days.

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Mark Julian
Member Since 6/8/2011
Filed Under "Action" 5/29/2012
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SHHH - 5/29/2012, 10:34 AM
He Is [frick]in Right..... 80's Ruled

LucasMend - 5/29/2012, 10:36 AM
I love both types of movies, but if they want(the classic action heroes) they could just come back and their faithful fans will come around to see it!
tjbpinkfloyd - 5/29/2012, 10:38 AM
Actions movies are fading away to give way to more well-written, more exciting movies? ...Sounds good to me!
Curmudgeon - 5/29/2012, 10:41 AM
I wouldn't blame the 3-4 superhero movies a year on the decline of action stars.

I would blame the 1,800 straight to DVD action films starring no-names and washed-ups. The one's that populate the 5 dollar bins at Wal Mart and are always the last things left over in the Redbox once the good titles are picked clean.
Darkknightman - 5/29/2012, 10:45 AM
Stallone, the action genre is fading because they are poorly written, poorly acted dumb movies. Audiences have evolved and expect more bang for their buck. Ticket prices have ballooned thanks to high salaries for these actors. Expendables was a terrible movie. I don't care how many action stars you put into it. That movie only appealed to tattoo wearing muscle head neanderthals with two brain cells that are fighting each other
REDSTORM - 5/29/2012, 10:49 AM
He's just jelly because the train left the station without him. If he were a few years younger, I'd bet he'd be dying to play a superhero.
Ha1frican - 5/29/2012, 10:49 AM
If anything the films made by those that were in Expendables (awful by the way)coming out so often is what killed it... one of my fears about so many cbm's but luckily most today have enough heart to them that we have avoided that, for now at least
Minotauro - 5/29/2012, 10:50 AM
CBMs are more well written, exciting movies? To the common nerd, yes. Exciting I understand. But lets act like the Avengers wasn't "bang for your buck". Action heros where the real heroes back in the day, because well, they were realistic. Lets just say, CBMs are the "new trend" of todays society. I'm just saying this out of respect to these old dudes. I enjoyed all of them.
Danbojohnj - 5/29/2012, 10:51 AM
No real credible new action leads,bad scripts,bad direction and acting is killing action films not superhero movies.
Iceman01 - 5/29/2012, 10:52 AM
Hypocrite was in judge dredd
HughJasol - 5/29/2012, 10:52 AM
Die Hard is still the best action film for me. Great flick.
GiantNerd - 5/29/2012, 10:54 AM
Ghost Protocol comes to mind. I thought that was pretty bad ass. I'm not a Tom Cruise fan at all either.

I feel like most action films are like some of you said, extremely lazy.
Jaspion - 5/29/2012, 10:57 AM
Terminator 2 is still the best movie of all time.
Ryguy88 - 5/29/2012, 10:58 AM
I guess the 'original story' action movie is something we don't see much of anymore as most big budget action movies are based off of popular novels and comic books. Anyways, most straight up action movies kinda suck!
DanteSparda - 5/29/2012, 10:58 AM
Stupid Stallone, the only problem with today action movies it's that they are plain bad, they have gotten worse every year, I prefer Ironman, X-men or Batman anytime before a Die Hard 4, Expendables, Fast and Furious, and even the new Denzel Washington movies.

The action genre was great from the 70s to the 90s, but as of lately it have been pure sh¡t, they have to sart putting more brains in the stories, or at least make them a also science fiction movie, like Terminator, Predator, Minority Report, etc.
dabo - 5/29/2012, 10:59 AM
RED was a great movie and both an action film and a comic book movie... Explain that Stallone :) Yeah of course there are the comic book films that don't work but there are plenty of traditional action films that don't work as well. It's easy in hindsight to pick out the classic actioners from the 80's and 90's but that is selective and neglects all the terrible ones that exist as well. What's popualar and what films get made will always develop and change over time. That is the way of the industry..
Ha1frican - 5/29/2012, 11:00 AM
^^ idk about that but T2 is in my top 5
Greengo - 5/29/2012, 11:01 AM
I bet he woulda loved to have been Nick Fury.

wildbillyb - 5/29/2012, 11:02 AM
Well, what happened was that well-written movies with action and an atypical action star started coming out. I mean, Mission Impossible allowed Tom Cruise to become a kick ass star rather than a smiling 80s dude. Also, Matt Damon can also now kick your ass. Let's not forget about Wood Reeves in the Matrix movies. All of these films came out and were turning points away from the oversized Arnold and Stallone action films. Final note--Bruce Willis was really one of the first to do this in Die Hard, because previously, he was in a romantic comedy TV show before demonstrating that a normal guy can also kick ass. STallone is just sad that people need more than just muscles nowadays.
HarrisonBergeron - 5/29/2012, 11:03 AM
Were there Action movies before the late 1970s? Seems like the true action movie genre was something that came and went, for lack of a better word it was kind of a fad.

Super hero movies will likely be the same way, they will get very successful, the market will become over saturated and they will eventually become less popular.


Who considers Rocky an action movie?

If it is one, then it most certainly is not one from the same vein as the Arnold flicks, Die hard flicks, or Rambo flicks.
JohnnyKrypton - 5/29/2012, 11:04 AM
"Even Rocky Balboa (2006) tried and failed to capture the same aesthetics and tone of Rocky (1976)"


"There are no Cobras (1986) or Predators (1987) being made today."

Don't be ssilly. First of all, Cobra was (and is) a crap film. Fun maybe, but crap. There are also plenty of action films every year...what is missing are the new action STARS
Ha1frican - 5/29/2012, 11:06 AM
@HarrisonBergen Rocky is a motivational sports movie not action
Greengo - 5/29/2012, 11:06 AM
I wish this was true BUT... Jason Statham
Seejay - 5/29/2012, 11:08 AM
GiantNerd0720 - 5/29/2012, 10:54 AM
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Ghost Protocol comes to mind. I thought that was pretty bad ass. I'm not a Tom Cruise fan at all either.

I feel like most action films are like some of you said, extremely lazy.

Agree. I also really liked that film.

Not so sure Expendables 2 will be good. But this one is certainly looking great.

Chewtoy - 5/29/2012, 11:08 AM
Superheroes didn't cause it... Superheroes just better fit into the direction that Hollywood wanted to go, i.e. PG-13 rated action/adventure films. Those have always been where the big money was (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, etc.)

True 80's action films were never the box office behemoths. The only ones that reached the upper levels of the box office already included super-heroish sci-fi elements: Robocop, Terminator, Total Recall, Predator. Even more niche stuff at the box-office like Highlander was heavily super-heroic in nature. The big shift has just been in ratings more than anything.

Of course 80's style of filmmaking has fallen away... As has 70's style, and 60's style and so on. It happens. Superheros didn't shove action movies aside. Hell, plenty are still made today. I haven't seen it, but the general premise of "the Hunger Games" is pretty much "The Running Man", only with a girl instead of Arnold. Jason Statham makes a couple of action films ever year, as does Nick Cage, and plenty of others. They're just not the top draw at the box office, because there are far more filmgoers able to see a PG-13 flick.
Ranger14 - 5/29/2012, 11:09 AM
Intelligent, discerning people watch the unrealistic action drivel which is the Expendables? Give me a break, Sly. The challenge with action movies is they have action heroes that are real people do things that are so out of the realm of realism, they aren't taken too seriously. At least with comic book movies you are already dealing with material that isn't "real", so you don't have to suspend any further belief when you are watching a film. You expect a bullet to deflect off of Superman. That's what is suppose to happen. When you have 50 bad guys surrounding Sly with machine guns and he doesn't get hit at all and takes them all out...being just a regular flesh and blood doesn't take an intelligent, discerning person to figure out that is just ridiculous.
AlexDeLarge87 - 5/29/2012, 11:11 AM
Bad ideas and scripts are killing action films.
kisama - 5/29/2012, 11:11 AM
aren't superhero movies action movies? I always thought that if it had alot of action in it, it was an action movie. Silly me.

And without the smart-ass, truthfully, there hasn't been many action stars lately. Aside from Jason Stathom and Jet li, this generation hasn't had many super macho action types.
plasticman - 5/29/2012, 11:12 AM
My favorite movie series of all time is the Lethal Weapon series. But here is the reason why comic book movies are more popular than "action" movies.
A.) You can enjoy them with the whole family and not just when the kids are asleep.
B.) I'm not a cop, soldier, or bodybuilder and never will be, but noeither is the majority of comic book heroes. They're my friends, not the machismo guys that like to pick on others. This opens the door for mroe female viewership.
C.) It doesn't take a specific chiseled look to be a CBM star, and how many actors naturally have both going for them today?

If you look at the job market more and more white collar employees versus blue collar employees. Attitudes are different with this lifestyle change. CBMs are less testosteronely offensive to white collar workers.
RorMachine - 5/29/2012, 11:13 AM
Stallone is talking out of his vinagery old ass. Listen up Sly, you have NEVER made a great action movie. You hav emade two great movies, Rocky 1 and Copland, and they were both dramas. I get sick of this infatuation with those rubbisg [frick]ing 80s action flicks..fine, we get it they were part of your childhood, and it's great to have nostalgia and blah blah..fine, but times change and so do movies. These guys are desperately trying to cling on to the past by making those Expendables movies. Here's some advice guys, make the movie GOOD, and then maybe people will listen to your complaints. Because right now the action genre is alive and kicking (go see the masterpiece that is THE RAID), it's just not being perpetuated by you talent-less old bastards anymore. Move on.
Marqy - 5/29/2012, 11:13 AM
I sense some tension rising at the Hemsworth family dinner hehe
AlexDeLarge87 - 5/29/2012, 11:15 AM
The best action star we have these days is definitely Liam Neeson.
AlexDeLarge87 - 5/29/2012, 11:16 AM
Taken was awesome. Unknown was okey. And The Grey i havent seen yet but i´ve heard its decent.
And they are making Taken 2.
RorMachine - 5/29/2012, 11:18 AM
"They just don't make em like they used to". GOOD.
kisama - 5/29/2012, 11:19 AM
yeah and neeson has been on the rise
HeyVanity - 5/29/2012, 11:26 AM
Cinematic Darwinism. We are witnessing evolution.
boomshuka - 5/29/2012, 11:29 AM
There are alot of action movies that are out in theatres for two weeks.
samster10001 - 5/29/2012, 11:29 AM
The old school action movies are just plain entertaining even though some of them could be extremely corny sometimes. However, some of the superhero movies coming out today can be just as corny as those action films of the 80s. Plus we don't get gratutitous OTT violence with the superhero movies of today. I still enjoy Statham and Liam Neeson seems to have become the new Schwarzenagger which is al good with me. Overall action movies in general are still great but it seems some of the superhero movies are just a little bit better
GiantNerd - 5/29/2012, 11:30 AM
@tea You are great buddy. :)
Ranger14 - 5/29/2012, 11:31 AM
"EX2 is rated R."

No, it's rated PG-13.

""The PG13 rumor is true, but before your readers pass judgement, trust me when I say this film is LARGE in every way and delivers on every level. This movie touches on many emotions which we want to share with the broadest audience possible, BUT, fear not, this Barbeque of Grand scale Ass Bashing will not leave anyone hungry...Sly""

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