The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Where have all the Good Guys Gone?

Written by: Coach D, Special to CC2K

ImageWe need a hero…who won’t sell out with a string of cheesy kids’ movies.

As I sat there waiting to preview the new movie The Other Guys with my main man Big Ross, I mentioned to him that The Rock was in this movie and how I was glad he was back in a role in which he played a true action star, even if it was a short lived cameo. This comment brought up a spirited discussion of one of my pet peeves: whenever a new up-and-coming star has a few really good action movies come out, the dreams of crowning him the next Sly Stallone or Bruce Willis that pop into my head get crushed because this new action star decides to “sell out” and make a kiddie movie. Or several. Case in point, here are (IMHO) two of the biggest culprits that have driven me nuts for selling out. Before I reveal my most wanted for this crime, I am going to enlighten you with my definition of “selling out.”  

sell out [sel out]

1. Any actor who, after several great action movies, whether on the counsel of some career “advisor” or of their own volition, for some god awful reason makes a kiddie movie that sucks donkey balls such that it either ruins their career or stikes a blow that sets their career back years, just to make a few million.

Honorable Mention – Action stars that made kiddie movies but managed to maintain some level of success: Arnold Schwarzenegger (Kindergarten Cop, Last Action Hero, Junior, Jingle All the Way), Jackie Chan (Around the World in 80 Days, The Tuxedo, Spy next Door)

Most Wanted #2: Vin Diesel

Mr. Diesel’s record could have been totally clean except for one major Hershey squirt on his career. Vin hit the ground running in one of his first leading roles in the great, low-budget sci-fi/thriller Pitch Black. Diesel played Riddick, a muscular, bald, ass-kicking prisoner who has to wear welding goggles because of his “surgical shine job” augmented eyes. Riddick found himself stranded on a fierce, dark planet infested with human eating aliens with a rag tag bunch of survivors either scared of, or trying to recapture him, because he is an escaped convict. Pitch Black was a great movie and a great start for a young, up-and-coming action star. It made me excited to see what kind of career Vin Diesel would build for himself, and with movies like The Fast and the Furious and XXX, I knew this guy was going to be a true man’s man action star.  

Nevertheless, this young man’s dream was turned into a turd nugget when the news came out that Vin Diesel was going to pass on a sequel to XXX, and instead was going to do the movie The Pacifier (2005). Diesel plays Shane Wolfe, a disgraced Navy Seal whose new job is to protect the family of a highly regarded dead scientist who left a top secret invention in the family’s  house (smart move on his part). Anyway, the movie goes back and forth with Diesel trying to be babysitter and bodyguard and contains a bunch of cheesy comedy moves set to make kids laugh.  I mean it does have some action in it, but you could smell the stink coming of this one from the trailer alone.  

Say it ain’t so, Vin. Please tell me you didn’t make this movie thinking that it was going to help your career.  Did you even read the script, or did dollar signs pop into your eyes when you saw the name Walt Disney?  Needless to say, after making this little gem his career hit a wall. Vin hasn’t had a movie match the action quality of XXX since making The Pacifier. He tried with Babylon A.D., which was subpar at best, and that wasn’t even until 2008. Recently he has resorted to starring in sequels of some of his past hits (Fast & Furious) and doing voice overs for video games. Some amount of redemption may be in the future with the announcement of XXX: The Return of Xander Cage, but that may be too little too late.  

Most Wanted #1: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

In my opinion, The Rock is the biggest sell out in action movie history. Now before I start, I must tell you that back in the day I was a huge WWF/WWE fan. I watched The Rock perform week-in and week-out, taking all the other Jabronis down Know Your Role Boulevard and checking their candy asses into the Smackdown Hotel, and then turning around and personally delivering a heaping serving of smack-talk to the crowd.  When news came out that The Rock was going to be in The Mummy Returns, I was so pumped to see The Rock kick some ass on the silver screen. Even though his part was little more than a cameo, he did kick around Brendan Frasier, which doesn’t happen often enough. He kicked ass so much in The Mummy Returns they did a spin-off movie called The Scorpion King, where we get to see The Rock in a lead roll for the first time.  The Rock plays Mathayus, a mighty warrior who must fight against an evil tyrant and save a lovely Seer (Kelly Hu). Of course, he saves the day and gets the girl and becomes the Scorpion King. The exact definition of a great action movie.

As a fan of wrestling in general and The Rock in particular, I was ready to see where his career was going to go. With the releases of The Rundown (2003), Walking Tall (2004), and Doom (2005), his action career looked like it as the right path. Hell, The Rundown had the Governator himself in throwaway cameo to almost literally pass the action hero torch from Ahnold to The Rock. I know I know, some of you are thinking “Wait a minute, what about Be Cool (2005)?” Yes, The Rock played a gay bouncer for Vince Vaughn, but we will let that one slide. I mean come on, that movie had John Travolta, Danny Devito and Aerosmith, and it was a sequel to Get Shorty.

Anyway, then the Disney curse hit again with The Rock doing some totally crappy movies entirely meant for eight year olds: The Gameplan and (even worse) a remake of Race to Witch Mountain. Then, The Rock added a turd on top of the cup cake with The Tooth Fairy, yes The Tooth Fairy. Now you may ask, “How do you know that these were bad movies if your such an action movie buff?”  Well, I watch a lot of movies, and I wanted to see how far The Rock would go to earn some money.  All I have to say is Rock, I can smell what you’re cooking……and it’s Crap!

I am just wishing that a new action star would rise from the depths of obscurity to conquer the silver screen and save us from the action star who will sell out at the first whiff of an easy pay day. Please give us a guy that will have the marbles to be true to the action movies of my youth and stay an action hero. Give me a guy who will blow shit up and kill a room full of guys at the blink of an eye and will still have some time to get the girl. Are there any of those guys still out there?

I guess there is always Channing Tatum (G.I.JOE: The Rise of Cobra), oh shit wait, I don’t think he is willing to Step Up.