With the release of The Expendables soon upon us, so too will theatres be brimming with giddy fans of 1980s action movies.
After all, with a cast that includes Sly Stallone, Dolph Lundgren and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the thriller is a virtual flashback to the Reagan-era blockbuster.
However, The Expendables is only one of several ’80s-themed action movies Hollywood has discovered lately. This summer alone has seen the reimagining of such decades-old fare such as The A-Team, Predators and Clash of the Titans. With more titles to come, it seems Tinseltown is now playing with the ’80s action trend.
“There is an obvious nostalgic appeal for these viewers,” explained Brock University film studies professor Barry Grant recently. He outlined that many movie-going adults are nostalgic for the decade in which they themselves were impressionable children.
“For those viewers who are even younger, films that adapt ’80s shows will be of interest because they’ll want to see what all the fuss was for their parents.”
From a producer’s point of view, retooling a recognized brand is surely favourable in a risky, big-budget industry that relies on familiarity and a strong first-weekend box-office. Tackling such ’80s action hits as Red Dawn, Conan and even Romancing the Stone (all of which are in production) will surely create a certain curiosity, but the trend is not without its critics.
“Hollywood’s turn to the 1980s for subject matter bespeaks the general lack of vision and originality that is pervasive in American cinema today,” said Grant.