Action Genre

There was a time when legends walked the Earth. A simpler era of humanity where these giants clashed against their strongest foes and flexed their greatest poses on VHS covers. We’d only need to see the names of Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Willis, and Van Damme to know that our Friday night viewing was about to get real.

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Bruce Willis in Die Hard

The End?

Like all good things, though, it had to come to an end. The action genre received a proverbial kick to the nuts as audiences grew tired of the same setups and regurgitated plots. There were only so many American Ninja films you could stomach before wondering what was the point of it all.

Suddenly, the Schwarzeneggers, Stallones, Willises, and Van Dammes were no longer the big-time power players on the block, and were relegated straight to the bargain bin.

In fairness, the signs had been coming for some time. Unfortunately, these films were just big and dumb, and no one wanted to spend money on them anymore. Quietly and swiftly, the genre disappeared into the shadows, with few action flicks finding their way into the video stores.

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Sylvester Stallone in Cobra

The VOD Revival

It’s safe to say it’s the age of the blockbuster now, and comic book movies have taken over the imagination and the box office. That said, viewers want something different to watch at home and won’t gravitate towards watching the same things that they’ve seen in theatres or on TV.

Apart from the latest series and movies, people want more original content and tend to experiment and take chances with the streaming catalogues to see what’s available. The surprising thing is, action movies are starting to find their feet on these platforms, with viewers finding the same big and dumb formula of the past enjoyable again. Maybe it’s the fact they don’t have to pay per rental or cinema ticket that’s made them turn a blind eye and enjoy the genre for what it is?

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Jean-Claude Van Damme in Jean-Claude Van Johnson

Does this mean that VOD is the future of the action genre? One would assume so. There’s no point in bringing these films to the theatres, since they’ll fail in the current climate, but on VOD platforms, the likes of Kickboxer: Vengeance and Hard Target 2 have found relative popularity. Heck, you only need to see the career that Frank Grillo and Scott Adkins are building with their B-movies to see there’s a market here.

While there’s still a way to go before the genre reaches the peak of popularity that it did in the ’80s and early ’90s, the signs are promising. There’s a new generation of action stars and we’re seeing the oldies appear more often than before, so let’s hold thumbs that something’s on the horizon.

So, do you think we’re on the cusp of the action film revolution?

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  1. I wasn’t aware they left. We just got baby driver, proud Mary and another john Wicke movie. Plus all superhero movies are pretty much action movies with costumes. Death wish is getting a remake, a third john Wicke is on the way. We’re good.

    • Besides Wick, every “action” movies you just mentioned are mere Millennial “action” movies. The article calls for a second wave of movies like Terminator, Predator, The Matrix and the martial arts movies of the 90s and early 2000s. We’re now pretty much settling for superhero shit, therefore we’re not good.

  2. It won’t happen. There’s too many Politically correct apologist that have to cater for every ****ing thing causing offense. And that’s action movies, where men can be men.

  3. One could argue that action never really died, but think about it – we would find it hard to mention a handful of modern day action “icons.” For me, I can only name one – Scott Adkins. And he barely sees the big screen. Nowadays it’s all about cashing in on remakes, and because they are mostly nowhere near as good as the originals, I feel like action is being de-valued even further. Just glad I have all my favourites so I can watch them whenever I want :)

  4. Admiral Bear

    It won’t happen because every fcuking film that comes out of Hollywood has to be watered down, kiddified PG13 shit.

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