The release of The Raid: Redemption in theatres across North America this month has served as a wake-up call to action movie aficionados everywhere. The hard-hitting martial arts film has been earning rave reviews from just about everyone (except Roger Ebert), and it has sparked a debate over the stale and overstuffed state of America’s own action movies. An article by Adam Sternbergh appeared in The New York Times a few weeks ago entitled How the American Action Movie Went Kablooey, calling out Hollywood for losing its dominance in the genre. His theory is that Last Action Hero was the movie that put the final nail in the coffin, and that CG-heavy superhero movies have basically taken over ever since.
I think we can all agree that ’80s action movies died out for a reason (partially because they did become a parody of themselves), but I find it interesting that this article is coming at a time when we’ve also seen a bit of a resurgence in old school action thanks to Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables. Although I do agree that American action movies have largely become cartoony CG extravaganzas, I don’t necessarily think that Sly and Arnold’s replacements have been all bad. If anything, Hollywood has learned to make action movies with people who can actually act, and I think a lot of people would argue that directors like Christopher Nolan have elevated the action genre to respectability. What do you think? Has America dropped the ball when it comes to putting action on the big screen? Are Hollywood action movies now being trumped by releases from many other parts of the world or can they still hold their own? Can any summer blockbuster hope to top The Raid: Redemption in terms of sheer energy and excitement? Give us your thoughts here on Open Forum Friday.