Throughout the 70’s and 80’s, we’ve seen plenty of gung-ho action movies that try and be each other. Particularly during the Cold War, action movies served a particular purpose: to make us feel good. This is the very reason why we look up to these action heroes: they make us feel good, and they do the tings we can only dream of doing.
For many people, they are the defining image of what a man should be. Sometimes, their morality can really connect with you. For example, Stallone’s character in Cobra believes that the law, in respecting the criminal’s “rights” is obstructing justice. What happened afterwards in the movie speaks for itself. Come to think of it, a good deal of Sylvester Stallone’s action movie roles are like this, all harking back to the idea behind Dirty Harry.
Other examples of Stallone’s cowboy cop include:
- Demolition Man (as a mismatched cop working in the LAPD of the future)
- Tango and Cash (where he’s paired with Kurt Russell)
Sometimes, action heroes can be idolized by the people simply for expressing 0% emotion, and 100% raw power, as was the case in The Terminator. After that, Arnold Schwarzenegger later starred as action heroes that were more like human beings (because they were human beings), but the Terminator movies are still the biggest reason for his recognition.
Bruce Willis on the other hand is a more humorous, and more full-blown action hero, and to a great effect. If you want an explanation as to why so many people like Bruce Willis, just watch Die Hard, and that’s all the explanation you need. He even got to star in an action game on the original PlayStation.
Lately, traditional action heroes have been declining in prominence, and almost frowned upon by our liberal-dominant culture. Perhaps anti-war sentiment, combined with our obsession with technology, is pretty much killing the traditional action hero. But it’s the traditional action heroes that we need in our society. They are one of the few valid kinds of role models for boys, because they do what we only dream of doing: putting right what’s wrong, the only way that works.
The traditional action heroes give us something impossible to look up to, and as men, we like what they are, and we like what they do. Who in hell would deny us that happiness? The people who want to shelter our kids from both reality and fantasy? The hippies who want “peace”? The law? Hollywood? Nobody can, nobody would, and nobody should.