Tag Archive: vin diesel


RIP Paul Walker: 1973 – 2013

VERY sad news this morning that Paul Walker, star of the Fast & Furious franchise has been killed in a tragic car accident.

Walker’s acting was never going to win any awards but he was an integral part of the Fast & Furious franchise from the very beginning and it only worked so well because of his and Vin Diesel’s chemistry and partnership on screen. His performances added to the fun and the excitement of the films and he will surely be missed.

In reality, Brian O’Conner is probably one of the most evolved characters in the action series and his transformation from police detective to co-leader of one of the biggest criminal gangs in the world has been enjoyable to watch.

Everyone who has ever come into contact with Walker seems to be coming out this morning and saying what a nice guy he was and this is completely believable as you never heard about him doing anything wrong and he was always smiling, laughing and joking around in interviews.

It is such a shame that Walker is no longer with us and he will be truly missed by fans of the Fast & Furious franchise. Far too young and way too soon; he had so much more to give.

RIP.

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With the introduction of Dwayne Johnson in Fast Five, this franchise cemented its place as a must see film among the summer blockbusters; something for die hard action fans. After the commercial and critical success of the fifth installment it left fans wondering just how Fast & Furious 6 would top it? The solution: add a tank, add an aeroplane, bring back Michelle Rodriguez and just generally up the stakes. So what of the result?

“Give them a reason to stay.”

Fast & Furious 6 struggles to find its feet for a while, it’s as if the franchise isn’t quite sure how to better itself or what direction to take. Is it supposed to up the ante with the action sequences or focus on the family side of things and Brian O’Conner’s (Paul Walker) newborn baby. As a result the two strands of action and emotion are ruthlessly combined and don’t quite pack the punch expected, leaving Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and, most surprising of all, Tyrese Gibson to help the film pull through and come out well on the other side.

Enter Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). As Hobbs (the retuning Johnson) reliably informs us, he has been chasing Shaw and his crew across 12 countries stretching over four continents. Right from the off these are set up as some big time criminals, meaning that Hobbs has to put a team together capable of catching criminals like these. And the only team good enough is led by Dom Turetto (Diesel). When Roman (Gibson), Tej (Ludacris), Han (Sung Kang) and Gisele (Gal Gadot) return there is no time for reacquaintance as they are introduced to their target and the real reason Dom has agreed to play for the law this time round: Letty (Rodriguez) is still alive.

“I can reach out and break you whenever I want”

Soon enough the slow emotional parts of the film are eased out and instead of being told “we’re a family”, “you’re a family” over and over again, the real action begins. The team find themselves in London, racing through the streets of the English capital (although how anyone manages to elicit an illegal street race through the center of London is anyone’s guess) and the fights fly. The pick of the bunch early on is seeing Rodriguez go toe to toe with new addition Gina Carano.

The cars get faster, the action gets better and the stunts get bigger throughout and appears to peak in the incredible tank sequence; taking out cars is one thing but when there’s a criminal mastermind manning a tank, firing a cannon down the motorway and not afraid to crush however many innocent people it takes, then it’s going to be difficult going. And just when you think the story is coming to an end it takes another turn…

“This is something we don’t do”

And you end up on what must be the longest runway in the world with Shaw attempting to flee via a plane and Toretto’s crew not having any other option than to bring it down! That’s right… taking out a flying plane with just a handful of cars and Dwayne Johnson’s muscles. The adrenaline pumping finale takes all the worries you had and politely tosses them out as you’re sucked into the exciting ending where the stakes are higher than ever!

The one thing the Fast & Furious franchise has lacked so far in its existence has been that a real defining villain has never really been seen. Shaw has all the makings of it: he’s emotionally cold, he’s as intelligent (if not more so) than our heroes and he’s physically able to hold par with anyone, as seen brilliantly in his brief fight with O’Conner. However, when you leave the screening not really knowing what the villain’s plan was all along, then something has clearly gone wrong. The potential was never reached with Shaw.

“Maybe the Letty we once knew is gone”

But if the post/mid/beginning credits teaser was anything to go by, Fast & Furious 7 will have the real villain it deserves.

My Rating: 7/10

UK Release Date: 24th May 2013.

Stars: Justin Lin (director), Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, Sung Kang, Ludacris, Jordana Brewster, Gina Carano, Luke Evans, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson.

Plot: Since letting Dom and Brian escape at the end of Fast Five, Luke Hobbs has been has been tracking an organisation of lethally skilled mercenary drivers across 12 countries. Unable to bring them to justice on his own, Hobbs must call on Dom to get his gang back together from all corners of the globe in order to match this rival gang at street level. The reward? Full pardons for their previous crimes.

Of all the trailers/tv spots to be revealed during the Super Bowl Fast & Furious 6 was the one I was most looking forward to. To ignorant outsiders this will simply be palmed off as a mindless action film; but to fans of the series this is just an indication of how far Dom and friends have come since their first outing back in 2001. What started as a simple street racing franchise has now developed into being at the forefront of action cinema and has left its simple roots a long way behind.

The introduction of Luke Evans in this film is a great one, in my opinion. From the official synopsis and what little we see in the trailer it looks as though his character is going to be more than a match for Dom Turetto. With any luck he may provide something more than the stereotypical villains we are used to seeing and may be able to provide the Fast & Furious franchise with a memorable villain it really does deserve.

Even though every clip lasts less than a second there is a lot to be excited about here. There’s the return of Michelle Rodriguez and that will play out very interestingly being as though Dom thought she was dead; there’s planes being blown up, tanks crushing cars. It’s great to see all of the team back together which, for me, was something I really loved about Fast Five. Bring on May 24th!

2013 will see the release of the sixth film in the highly commercially successful and highly critically criticised Fast & Furious franchise. Last week Vin Diesel uploaded some pictures to his Facebook account of him on set and these photos were met with largely negative response to people on the internet with people saying things like “oh look, Vin Diesel in a car, they’re really pushing the boat out for this one” or just simply “shit” etc etc etc. But really, what did people expect from the Fast & Furious franchise? And with every film pulling in great box offices so far and the latest instalment Fast Five being the highest praised and highest box office is there any need for all the negativity and is there any need for the series to be clamped?

It all began back in 2001 when producers decided to make a film about street racing clubs that use Japanese cars to race in New York City. And the first instalment, The Fast and the Furious, set the tone for what every other film that follows was set to be about; illegal street racing. And while these are just typical popcorn, mindless action films (up until Fast Five) is there really anything wrong with that? Actors, especially back in the 80s, have made names for themselves in making mindless action movies and what we have here is just an hour and a half – two hours of real escapist fun. The films aren’t made for the critics, they’re made for the fans and as long as the fans are out there the films will get made.

The fourth instalment reunited the original cast… if only for a brief time.

Whilst the series continues with 2 Fast 2 Furious and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, when the rightful sequel arrived in 2009 with the original cast members all back together the franchise seemed to be reborn. Fast & Furious reunited Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez as well as adding new characters that would seem to become main players in the franchise from her on out: Gal Gadot and Sung Kang (the latter also appearing in Tokyo Drift). With Fast Five some more talent was added and Dwayne Johnson received high critical praise for his performance (and is it any wonder? He was brilliant!) and the series continues to add fresh acting talent with The Fast and the Furious 6 adding Luke Evans, Gina Carano and Joe Taslim. It was rumoured that Rihanna (excuse me while I throw up) was reported to be in the next instalment but thanks to scheduling conflicts (Hallelujah!) we are not being subjected to that torture and she is rumoured to be replaced by British pop sensation Rita Ora… interesting.

Various shots of The Fast and the Furious 6 in production

Anyway, it was Fast Five that was the real game changer. It seems that now Fast & Furious has finally reached it’s full potential. With Fast Five, the writers, cast, crew, directors, producers, whoever! had got a grasp on what was going on in the series and Fast Five showed that it was more than just mindless action. They allowed for real character development; it was great to see how much Dom Turetto had changed since his first outing in 2001 as well as Paul Walker’s former cop turned criminal’s relationship with Jordana Brewster’s character. The really disheartening thing is that, because people think the first few films are rubbish, the majority of people will not watch Fast Five and they are missing out on a real treat and one of the greatest action films of all time!

Yes, the acting isn’t always brilliant and the stories aren’t always gripping but Fast & Furious has never set out to be a contender for big awards in film making. For this series it’s all about having fun; fast cars, hot women, tough men, big action scenes and explosions. And when you watch Fast & Furious you can’t help but have fun. So people should stop moaning about the quality of previous films, sit down and watch Fast & Furious (2009) followed by Fast Five and prepare to be swamped in fun, explosions and at times surprisingly touching friendships. Embrace it.

 

 

How can you not want to at least watch Fast Five after that?

The trend of popular video games being adapted into films for the cinema screen continues with the announcement of casting news in the Need for Speed movie. As you can probably guess from the title Need for Speed are racing games and so you would expect that the films would just be the same as the Fast & Furious franchise and, even though they are great fun films, you don’t want to flood the market with the same material from two different franchises. However, the casting of the lead character has been announced and it is one of the best actors on television: Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad). Aaron Paul is clearly a better actor than the likes of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and, as much as it pains me to say it, Dwayne Johnson so perhaps Need for Speed will be taking a more dramatic route? I doubt it.

Marvel have been busy this week with announcing a release date for Ant-Man and another one of their projects has been surrounded by casting rumours this week. Captain America: The Winter Soldier has been described as a ‘political thriller’ and will see (judging by the Winter Soldier character in the comics) the return of Cap’s World War 2 comrade Bucky. But casting in two other roles is under way with Mary Elizabeth Winstead being touted for a role likely to be Sharon Carter. And a strong, franchise hopping male character is also under consideration with LOST star (and one of the best characters) Josh Holloway one of the front runners for the role.

There are a lot of pointless sequels being made at the minute and one of those is Woman in Black: Angel of Death. The sequel to the post-Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe film will not star The Boy Who Lived but will take place several years after the original story. Anyway, Angel of Death now has a director attached and that man in question is Tom Harper. Harper’s television work will be more known that his film work so far having directed episodes of This Is England ’86 as well as the first series of Misfits.

And finally… Janis Joplin is often remembered as one of the greatest musicians of all time. And with biopics of stars from years gone by, especially musicians (Nowhere Boy, Walk The Line) having gone down very well previously it should come as no surprise that a Janis Joplin movie is in the works. Amy Adams is attached to star and Oscar nominated Lee Daniels is in talks to direct; Daniels is best known for critical winner Precious as well as his latest film The Paperboy starring Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron.

There hasn’t really been much news this week that has really grabbed my attention other than these three stories so this shouldn’t take long.
Steven Spielberg’s Robopocalypse is one of the most highly anticipated movies in production right now and the film takes place sometime in the future after the robot uprising.

Earlier this year Chris Hemsworth was reported to have landed the lead role (although some people say that is still being negotiated) but now there have been more rumours about the casting. Anne Hathaway is reportedly in talks to land the female lead which, I think, would be a bad call for this because she doesn’t have a reputation in big blockbusters (The Dark Knight Rises being her only one) and she isn’t actually that good an actress in my opinion; I just don’t see the hype. However, the other casting rumour involves British actor Ben Whishaw who I have no doubt will be a huge star in the next ten years. He has wonderful acting ability and a great sense of likeability surrounding him: he will be in Cloud Atlas and Skyfall later this year. Robopocalypse is due for a 2014 release.

Whishaw is ‘Q’ in the latest Bond outing.

Last month I wrote a blog about my dream cast for a female version of The Expendables. In that cast list I placed Gina Carano, who had her first acting role at the very beginning of this year in Haywire, and now it seems that she is the first name to sign on the dotted line and join the movie. A great choice. Carano will next be seen in the next Fast & Furious instalment alongside action heavyweights Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson.

And finally another casting choice that I can smile about. Casey Affleck has taken a part in Race to the South Pole. The film will chronicle the real life journey of two men in the early 1900s, the British Robert Falcon Scott (Affleck’s character) and Norwegian Roald Amundsen (yet to be cast), and their race to be the first man to reach the South Pole which is the last uncharted territory on the planet at the time. What’s more is that Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (that old friendship) will be partnering up to produce the film based on Peter Glanz’s script. It will be Glanz’s second feature film after The Longest Week but Casey Affleck does choose his films carefully so all signs are pointing in the right direction on this journey.

Sometimes, appearing in a huge franchise can make you become a household name across the world and the rest of your career becomes easy, but for some actors (and quite often better ones) are forced to play from the sidelines; consistently being a supporting actor and never the main role, this is the case for Karl Urban. Urban is an actor from New Zealand who, despite having gained critical acclaim for films in his homeland he has never been thought of as a leading man for Hollywood, yet unless you have been living on Mars you will have seen him in quite a few of his films, ones that you could even count among your favourites, but you just might now know.

As I mentioned Urban started out working in his home country of New Zealand and here he started out working in the theatre and appearing on television adverts. Karl Urban then got a break after being seen internationally by appearing on the television series’ Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess in the recurring roles of Cupid and Julius Caesar. After fulfilling his work on television he appeared in an offbeat romance film entitled The Price of Milk for which he received a nomination at the New Zealand Qantas Film and Television Awards; he later appeared in Out of the Blue (2007), a dramatisation of New Zealand’s Aramoana massacre and gained positive reaction and the Qantas Film and Television Award for Best Supporting Actor.

So now lets move on to what I know him for: being a supporting actor in a number of franchises. The first of them, and arguably the biggest of all of his films is Lord of the Rings. Now, Lord of the Rings has a huge cast and story that spreads itself over three films so there’s no doubt that you’re not going to be able to name all of the actors an actresses who were a part of the project, but Karl Urban had a pretty decent role in The Two Towers and Return of the King. Karl Urban played Éomer. Éomer has quite a significant role in the books which is diminished in Peter Jackson’s trilogy but he still plays a part. In the films Éomer is made an outcast but is present at the Battle of Helm’s Deep as he remains loyal to the King of Rohan, he is also responsible for the death of the leader of the Haradrim. After this part in one of the most successful trilogies of all time you could have forgiven Karl Urban for thinking he was going to have a pretty tasty career.

The final chapter of The Lord of the Rings trilogy was released in 2003 and in 2004 Urban appeared in two more franchises significantly differing in quality. First was The Chronicles of Riddick where Urban plays the villain to Vin Diesel’s hero and as such Urban’s character dies in the climatic battle scene. This was a first taste of Hollywood films really and an encouraging start although the film itself didn’t go down well with critics. Despite this, Urban’s next choice was superb. If you missed Karl Urban in Lord of the Rings you may have seen him in The Bourne Supremacy (part of another of the best trilogies of all time). In Supremacy Karl Urban is again the villain playing second fiddle to Matt Damon’s hero who everyone loves; Urban was the Russian agent Kirill who killed Marie but inevitably failed in his mission to kill Bourne himself.

In 2007 Karl Urban got a shot at being the leading man in Pathfinder, a Viking adventure film. The film itself lacks in the dialogue area and replaces it with an emphasis on violence, blood and gore… this was probably a reason for the harshly negative reaction to it, however I don’t mind the film but it certainly didn’t do anything to help Karl Urban’s career.

As a childhood fan of Star Trek Urban actively pursued a role in the 2009 reboot.

In 2009 Urban returned to doing what he does best and decided to hang around in the background of another huge blockbuster: Star Trek. This is probably a role that Urban is most famous for to fans across the globe. In JJ Abrams reboot of the famous science fiction series Urban plays Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy who becomes Kirk’s first (and pretty much only) friend at Starfleet Academy. As Bones, Urban injected (a nice little pun for those who have seen the film) some comedic moments into Star Trek and his performance is held in high regard by fans of the original series.

After appearing in Red and Priest, Urban gets another chance at being a lead man in a big blockbuster this year in Dredd, a reboot of the 1995 film starring Sylvester Stallone, in which Urban will be playing Judge Dredd. The film itself is being hotly anticipated by fans of the comic book character  and it received positive reception at Comic Con which has probably the hardest crowd to please in the world.

At the age of 40 it may be a little late for Karl Urban to make that step to the forefront after being in the secondary roles for so long but it is not unheard of. Urban has a real talent for acting and I have enjoyed every one of his performances that I have seen. In my opinion Karl Urban has not got the recognition or fan base that he deserves but with the Star Trek franchise looking as though it could stretch out easily for a few films then he may get it there or in any upcoming Judge Dredd sequels. He deserves it, that’s for sure.

Here’s a video of Karl Urban talking about his role in Star Trek and just generally being cool. His colleagues seem to love him too!

Fast Five (2011) Review.

Fast Five was the latest instalment in the Fast & Furious franchise which saw its main cast return, directed by Justin Lin and written by Chris Morgan (the duo previously worked on The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift and Fast & Furious). It is time that this franchise had some new life injected into it as it had began to grow stale and audience may be getting bored with seeing the same thing over and over again so what was changed and how good is Fast Five really?

The official synopsis of Fast Five is thus: Dominic and his crew find themselves on the wrong side of the law once again as they try to switch lanes between a ruthless drug lord and a relentless federal agent. However, this doesn’t tell the whole story; Fast Five is not just a simple ‘you chase me, I’ll chase you’ story like the original films as the brief synopsis would suggest, instead the characters are put into a different world in South America where they attempt to pull off a huge heist and but their freedom.

The main cast of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster all return with some very familiar faces in the world of The Fast & The Furious; Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Gia Gadot, Matt Schulze and Sung Kang. The return of all these cast members are very obvious nods to the previous films and an acknowledgement of where the franchise has come from. New additions to the cast include Dwayne Johnson, Elsa Pataky and Michael Irby who all come to the franchise with very different qualifications: Johnson is the ‘tough guy’, Pataky is the ‘beautiful woman’ and Irby is the ‘evil foreigner’ and anyone who has watched the rest of these films should be more than familiar with those stereotypes.

So the same cast are back and they’re still driving fast cars and parading around beautiful woman so what exactly makes Fast Five so different to the rest of the films? The heist. This is the first memorable opportunity for us to see just how clever these guys are; obviously Brian O’Conner (Walker) is a former cop and clearly is quite smart but now we get to see Domini Toretto’s intelligence as he plans the heist to perfection and we can now understand how it is that Turetto has managed to outrun the law for so long. There is a great montage where the main trio of characters are talking about different members of the team they are going to need which plays over the scenes of all the characters coming together to meet at the arranged location and the editing is just fantastic. The high quality of editing goes much unnoticed by most people but it is there and it is subtle in Fast Five and it just helps the film to run so smoothly.

Of course, if the main heist at the end of the movie was the only action we got to see many fans of the Fast & Furious franchise would be disappointed. There is plenty of action and enough explosions to entertain audiences increasing in scale right from the off: to being we have a small scale prison break, then a mid-scale train robbery, then we get to see Vin Diesel and ‘the Rock’ take each other on in a great fight scene before the huge scale heist which involves driving away with a safe attached to the back of two cars… from a police station. Some things that happen really do ask the audience to suspend their disbelief for a few moments but it wouldn’t be the great popcorn action flick that it is if it didn’t.

There is a lot here to enjoy for fans of the franchise and is an easy jump-in point for anyone looking to get involved; there isn’t exactly a deep running storyline through these films but Fast Five is well worth watching. It’s pretty much Ocean’s Eleven in cars and one of the best action films of recent years.

There has been a lot of movie news this week and there is a lot that I am interested in around directors, casting news, sequel announcements but all of these things come with fans and haters. As such, there have been a few announcements made that I am not too happy about. So let’s start with the bad things:

“But Mr. Jackson, this contract just says two films?”

As we know, Lord of the Rings prequel The Hobbit has already been split into two parts, the first will hit cinemas this year with the second chapter following in 2013. Fans were already a bit skeptical about this money making move because of the lack of material in Tolkien’s original book but now they are set to be angered even more. Peter Jackson, director of The Hobbit, has announced that The Hobbit will be a trilogy with the material from the third film thought to be coming from Tolkien’s appendices (the final chapter) of Return of the King, so not exactly The Hobbit is it? Peter Jackson needs to be careful with his Lord of the Rings treatment otherwise he will become as hated by his own fas as George Lucas by the Star Wars fans.

In 1987 Masters of the Universe was made with Dolph Lundgren. In recent years there have been rumours that the film will be remade and it appears that headway is being made. I would be interested in seeing this as I grew up watching He-Man and the Masters of the Universe on tele. However, the news that Jon M. Chu is in talks to direct is what has me worried. Chu’s most famous directorial outings to date are Step Up 2: The Streets and Step Up 3D; he also directed the absolutely disgusting, despicable, outrageous, vomit inducing concert biography that i’m not even going to mention on here but look it up if you’re interested. He is known for having dance in his movies and says this is because “dancers motivate me the most” but lets hope we don’t see He-Man and his friends breaking into street dancing when fighting Skeletor.

Avatar became one of the highest grossing films of all time when it was released in 2009 and since then James Cameron always said there would be more sequels but it has been delayed and delayed. Some people expected a 2012 release, then it got pushed back to 2013, 2014 and now the latest news has it slated for a 2015 release. Will they ever get made? Will Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana be able to reprise their roles when the sequel eventually moves forward? Let’s hope so.

Avatar is one of the most visually stunning films ever!

And now the good!-

The next instalment of the Fast & Furious franchise has announced its next new cast member after Gina Carano, Luke Evans and Clara Paget have all been added. It has now been confirmed that Joe Taslim will be joining Vin Diesel and company for Fast Six or whatever it ends up being called. Taslim starred in The Raid: Redemption that received great reviews and showcased that Taslim has a talent for action films.

Here is the news that so many film fans have been waiting for. There have been a few comments made by important people this week that could indicate that a sequel is in the works for one of the funniest film series’ I have ever seen one of the most enjoyable action series’ that I have ever seen and introduced one of the on screen duos with so much chemistry that work surprisingly well together. RUSH HOUR 4 may well be on the cards!! That’s right, Rush Hour 4!!

There aren’t enough words to describe how excited I am for a new Rush Hour film!

Earlier this year, Jackie Chan suggested that he would be quitting action movies.. what he  clearly forgot to mention that he has since said is that he does not want to quit until he has made a Rush Hour 4. Chris Tucker is also back on the big screen this year after a five year hiatus and is clearly feeling the time is right for him to get back into the world of acting. Now producer Arthuer Sarkissian has dropped the biggest hints yet that a fourth film will be on the cards. At the Television Critics Association press tour Sarkissian said that he is already working on a fourth film with both Tucker and Chan! He said that he was not too happy with how the third film turned out but what he wanted to do was make a fourth seem more real, put the two characters in a different world (Sarkissian cited Fast Five as a template of how to do this) and also introduce two new characters. Could Chan and Tucker be passing on the franchise to two new actors? For now, who cares?! Let’s just get Rush Hour 4 out right now!!!

The three biggest action stars in the world… ever.

During the eighties and nineties the action genre was the place to be and many action stars were born. Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Seagal and Dolph Lundgren all made careers out of being action heroes. Their films were, most of the time, nothing more than a simple storyline where a hero just got to kick ass and the audience would have fun cheering the hero on while he did so, eg. Die Hard, Rambo. Nowadays you won’t really find that among the big Hollywood films, the genre has evolved over time and action films seemed to get more serious, genres started to merge and the days of the real action genre and action heroes are behind us, I think.

While people like the actors mentioned above are still making films I do believe that the only real action hero we have left is the English born Jason Statham. He is most famous for the Transporter trilogy and his films continue to get a cinema release whereas the likes of Lundgren, Seagal and Jean Claude Van Damme do not, so why is this? I think it is because Statham does have a real talent for acting whereas a lot of action heroes are just there because of their size and physique; Statham has shown before he can manage the acting as well as the action, he seems like a really nice guy which audiences always like and he is still relatively new in his career, having only started out in 1998. It’s been 14 years sure, but actors these days go for a lot longer than that!

The Expendables 2 is coming out later this year and back in 2010 we saw a return to the sole action genre with the original film directed and written by Sylvester Stallone himself. The idea was to bring together a great ensemble cast of action heroes to bring the genre back to the forefront of blockbuster cinema. The cast included Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren as well as a scene that features three stars synonymous with the action genre: Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis. The sequel retains this cast and expands with Van Damme and Chuck Norris. The idea to revive the big action block buster was a good one in theory and went down well with fans as the film opened to huge commercial success across the globe but critics were less favourable as the film received mixed to negative reviews. Despite this, a third film is rumoured to happen and Steven Seagal says he has been offered a part. But it does seem as though the only way to get a big action film back on the big screen is to bring together an ensemble, otherwise audiences are not going to be grabbed.

Asian cinema still features a lot of action films and the very successful The Raid (originally titled Serbuan Maut) was even released in British cinemas earlier this year and went down very well with critics so maybe it is just Hollywood that can’t get it right? I suppose that the nearest thing we have to a pure action film these days is the Fast & Furious franchise but you could hardly say that Paul Walker is an action hero or that even Vin Diesel is (come on, he was in The Pacifier) no matter how much he really likes to think he is himself. The Bourne films are marketed as action films and I guess they could be described as such but this is still an evolution from real action films as it features more in crime and even political genres, however the action does feature a lot. And Matt Damon would not consider himself an action hero I don’t think. Liam Neeson isn’t particularly an action hero yet his film Taken is probably the most successful action movie of recent times and is the only really really good one that I can think of right now.

I would argue that the nearest thing we have to real action films now are the superhero movies. The action heroes have been replaced with those of the comic book world as they appear on the big screen and clearly define the theme of good versus evil and the hero goes on to kick some ass very much like Rambo, John McClane or Frank Martin would do. All the time, trying to keep it fun for audiences.

Over time all genres do evolve as audiences crave something new, something that will break boundaries or challenge them to put the pieces together themselves but I, for one, would like to see more old school action films being made. But none of these rubbish straight to DVD films, I want real action blockbusters with real action heroes in them. All it will take is for one new action hero to step out of the shadows and then a flurry of them will follow as it did for he superhero movies and for the fairy tale films too. So whoever he is, he better step up quick.