Posts by James Couche:
The rise of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1980s is a thing of legend. After a highly successful bodybuilding career (and a not so successful film career) in the 70s, “Aunold” would break out onto the scene in a big way with 1982’s Conan the Barbarian. His ascension through the ranks of Hollywood was driven by the equally meteoric rise of action cinema in general. More than any other action star, Arnold was a brand unto himself; and with the 90’s fast approaching, he and the genre he now dominated were poised to take over the cinema landscape.
In the history of cinema, there have been director / actor partnerships that reliably produce legendary results: John Woo and Chow Yun Fat, Scorsese and DeNiro, Scorsese and DiCaprio, Martin Campbell and whoever happens to be playing James Bond at the time, etc. For over a decade, if you were in a video store and saw the names Isaac Florentine and Scott Adkins on a DVD, then you just knew you were in for a great time.
With the proliferation of streaming services, a new kind of action movie has risen to prominence; the low budget thriller featuring an aging A-list action star. From Mel Gibson to Russell Crowe, former box office titans found a second life as the marquee stars of DTV or direct to streaming actioners made on the cheap; though few have been as prolific as Bruce Willis. With over a dozen credits within the past decade, Willis is quickly becoming the king of this particular sub-genre. Hard Kill is his second offering of the year and his third with director Matt Eskandari. But with this many recent credits under his belt, one has to wonder; is Willis honing his craft or diluting his brand? Ultimately, it all comes down to the quality of the film itself.
Aging A-list stars showing up in low budget actioners is quickly becoming a genre unto itself. From Mel Gibson, to Russel Crowe, to Bruce Willis, these box office titans of yesteryear are finding a robust second life in the DTV and direct to streaming space. I had the pleasure of speaking with Matt Eskandari about his most recent directorial effort, Hard Kill with Bruce Willis and Jesse Metcalfe. He gave great insight into the unique challenges of making these types of films as well as the artistic opportunities the genre can provide.
Back in 2007, fans of rising action star Scott Adkins were given reason to celebrate. After years of hard work in the DTV action scene, he would be appearing in the sure-to-be blockbuster film, The Bourne Ultimatum. Our boy had finally MADE IT. That feeling of elation was replaced by disappointment when Adkins is easily dispatched by Matt Damon after less than five minutes of screen-time. Since then, many of us have wondered how great it would have been to see Adkins star in his own globe-trotting spy thriller. It would be 13 years before this wish came true in the form of Legacy of Lies; but now that it has, was it worth the wait?