Friday, July 9, 2010

The Death of the Hardass Action Hero

Recently I saw the latest trailer for "Machete." God this movie looks fucking awesome. It stars Danny Trejo (The grungy mexican bad guy in every movie ever) as some sort of knife/gun wielding assassin that is out to take out anybody that is out out to take him out. That's pretty much the plot synopsis. There are also hot chicks involved, shit blows up, bad guys get their asses kicked, and Robert Deniro shows up at some point with a huge revolver. What more do you really need to know...?

I think the reason I am so psyched for this movie is because it reminds of the days of the old school action flick. Mostly it features a hero that is a throwback to the hardass action hero of yesteryear. You see back in the day heros were ugly. They didn't shave. They wore grungy, dirty clothing. They drank and smoked a lot. They used profanity while kicking your ass. Basically Average Joes like myself (Translation: Drunken chain-smoking trainwrecks) could relate to these guys which is what made them so awesome. A part of you believed that one day YOU could also roll out of bed hungover, stumble through your apartment's maze of empty beer cans, throw on a wife-beater and some jeans and go out and take out 40 bad guys with a barrage of bullets from your one gun.

Pictured to the left is Detective John McClane from the Die Hard trilogy (lets forget DH4 happened). He epitomizes the old school hardass action hero. He smoked 17 packs of cigs a day. He only owned one shirt which was technically an undershirt and has never been washed. If there was a crisis you went and found Detective McClane. He's probably passed out on the subway with his shoes off still wreaking of booze from the night before. Wake him up, give him a gun, light his cigarette and tell him of the situation. Detective McClane will wipe his eyes, shake himself off, and then proceed to go annihilate 86 terrorists who chose the wrong building/airport/entire city to fuck with today.

McClane wasn't the only Average Joe action hero running around in the 80's and 90's. There was Charles Bronson (who basically looked like your dad) going around laying down vengeance with one small pistol and a can of whoop-ass in the "Death Wish" flicks. There was pre-racist/insanity phase Mel Gibson in the "Lethal Weapon" flicks as deranged chain smoking, mullet-haired officer Martin Riggs. There was Sly Stallone and Kurt Russel teaming up to kick ass in "Tango and Cash." There was Nick Nolte in the "48 hours" flicks as hard drinking cop Jack Cates who kicked ass in between listening to Eddie Murphy babble one-liners. Shit I will even throw Steven Seagal in there although he was usually too busy beating the shit out of drug dealers with his bare hands to take time out for a drink or a smoke. There was CHUCK..FUCKING..NORRIS.

Nowadays action heros are all fancy looking and impossible to relate to. Jason Bourne kicks ass but cmon he is a trained agency assassin with all this weapons/fighting knowledge that none of us could possibly fathom having. He isn't an average guy from Brooklyn. Jason Statham is a pretty boy Brit who is always wearing a fancy suit while chasing down bad guys in expensive European sports cars in his movies. John McClane didn't drive a car. You know why? Probably cus his piece of shit 87' Cadillac wouldn't fucking start ever. Most cop action flick roles these days are given to comics like Chris Tucker or Martin Lawrence who couldn't kick your grandmother's ass. Give me a break.

I hope the bros of the world dish out some coin to go see "Machete" and badass mantown action flicks like it. If stuff like that does well at the box office than maybe we can finally have a return to the good old days when we could go see badasses on the screen that returned to their dirty one bedroom apartment with a hole in the door at the end of the day after spending all afternoon destroying bad guys. Somebody that says "hey dude if you put your mind to it, maybe you can fight some neighborhood crime today in a wifebeater with a marlboro dangling out of the side of your mouth."

I gotta leave work and catch the subway now. If I find detective McClane passed out under a seat I'll let you know.


  1. Thank you for showing love to Charles Bronson. Death Wish is underatted.

  2. Are you paying more than $5 per pack of cigs? I buy all my cigs at Duty Free Depot and this saves me over 60%.

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