CatHalo’s recent review of ‘Expendables 2’ got me thinking (and also speaking in a simply terrible Irish accent, but that’s neither here nor there.)  When I was a wee lad in the 80’s, it seemed that the mere mention of names like Stallone, Norris or Van Damme would sell tickets for a movie.  Of course, of Stephen Seagal, the less said the better, but it still got me thinking about the fact that the major stars of the Expendables franchise are nearing Medicare age, and Chuck Norris is well over 70 years old!  I’d say I hope to be that spry at 70, but I wasn’t that spry at 25, much less 40.

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) is getting too old for this $#!+, asking: Is it difficult for you to suspend disbelief when a 70 year old actor does action scenes?  Or would that just fall under the heading of ‘awesome?’

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. August 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm — Reply

    “Is it difficult for you to suspend disbelief when a 70 year old actor does action scenes? Or would that just fall under the heading of ‘awesome?’”

    I’m pretty sure there are those that would argue that EVERYTHING Chuck Norris does falls under the heading of ‘awesome.’

  2. August 20, 2012 at 1:14 pm — Reply

    Chuck Norris is not 70 years old. Chuck Norris did a succession of round kicks so fast that it created a pocket in the space-time continuium that he now exists in. He is now permanently 40.

  3. Oldcomicfan
    August 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm — Reply

    I grew up in a generation that saw our movie stars get incredibly ancient on screen. Is a 70 year old Arnold in a action movie any harder to believe than a fifty six year old Gregory Peck or Jimmy Stewart flying B-17s in a WWII movie (keep in mind that B-17 pilots were rarely out of their twenties if not younger)?
    And if you watch the last few movies John Wayne ever made, you’ll rarely see him mounting his horse. If they show it at all, it will be from the back and shoulder up so you don’t see the box he is standing on to reach the stirrup. Shawn Connery had the good sense to quit acting when he got too old to stump around the stage, though it makes me weep when I see somebody else trying to play James Bond, etc. The problem is if they bring in a younger actor as a side kick to the aging action stars, we get something like…. shudder…. Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull…. with… ow… The Chinless One Who…my brain…. Shall Not Be Named….where is my brain bleach….. arrgh….

  4. August 20, 2012 at 2:55 pm — Reply

    Currently, no. It’s not difficult for me to suspend disbelief when a 70-year-old does an action scene.

    A) I’m not that into Hollywood, and I don’t feel like Stallone is my dad, or anything like that. In other words, I’m not an invested movie-goer. Unless the movie specifically points out the age of an actor, my first thought is not “holy crap, he’s 70 and still doing that thing!” Because I don’t necessarily know how old the guy is, and on screen, anyone can be any age.

    B) I’m not that old myself. I understand that people around my age start to feel the aches and pains of being older, but it hasn’t happened for me yet. I don’t pseudo-empathize with people I perceive as ancient, because I don’t really know what it’s like to hurt everywhere when you get up in the morning. A good actor can convey that to me, but a lot of the time these 70-year-old actors are working very hard to conceal the fact that they hurt everywhere. In other words, when I watch an action scene, I usually think to myself “yeah, I could probably do that.”

    C) 50 is the new 30, 70 is the new 50, and 100 is the new 80. No, of course I don’t believe that, but it is true that average life span is increasing, and old people can remain active a lot longer. In my culture, which you presumably share, I’m surrounded by “amazing stories” of old dudes doing hundreds of push-ups, running marathons, and jumping out of planes. To the point where, for me, this seems like the new normal. I realize that physical feats are still very difficult for the majority of old people, but it doesn’t surprise me at all to learn of a spry octogenarian.

    C and a half) If we are to believe the likes of Ray Kurzweil, 150 years, 200 years, perhaps indefinite lifespans are possible. If we’re going to get there as a society, we’re going to have to rethink how we view aging. I think we can and will learn how to age well, and I think it is possible to maintain a fit body as long as we do remain alive. You might not attempt the impossible if you can’t imagine it, and these ancient action heroes, I believe, are the key to helping us imagine some possible futures for our old people. It might be fiction now, and depending on the movie, certain feats are impossible even for young people, but fiction always plays that role of allowing us to imagine the possibilities.

  5. Rob
    August 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm — Reply

    Those kind of movies are all about willing suspension of disbelief, pensionable film stars swinging from the scenery are not necessarly going to break me out of the moment but it can add to the acumilation of implausablity.
    I think there’s an important point here about studios being afraid to take chances and not supporting new talent. As Arnie and the other stars of my youth retire there are very few new actors comming up to replace them. Maybe we’ll see them in a few years, maybe they’ll break in from outside the studio system or maybe the days of the movie star who gauranty boxoffice just by turning up are over.

  6. Arbor Day
    August 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm — Reply

    It really depends on the extent of the action and whether or not they survive at the end. End of Days really should’ve been Schwarzenegger’s grand finale in a starring role, cause of the way it ended. Going out in a blaze of glory works.

    The flip side to that though is that if you make the action less about body count and hail of gun fire, and more of a surviving against overwhelming odds, I’d say its possible. In fact in that respect, being old makes the action more compelling.

  7. B.V.K.
    August 20, 2012 at 8:23 pm — Reply

    Yes it does. Harrison Ford is too old to be Indy anymore. Crystal Skull showed that well enough. Someone like a Jet Li or Jason Stathom can still do action, but when you get to Bruce Willis and Arnie’s age they need to give up the ghost. That being said I will still see Expendables 2 and probably love the excess of explosions and testosterone replacement medication on screen.

  8. August 20, 2012 at 9:30 pm — Reply

    It comes down to this for me: would I feel confident enough to call him “old fart” to his face? If the answer is “no, they might break a few or a lot of my bones” then I believe them in a physical role.

  9. August 21, 2012 at 7:59 am — Reply

    “50 is the new 30,”. REALLY? Thank God! Then I turn 30 next year!

  10. Shush
    August 21, 2012 at 1:44 pm — Reply

    Is it difficult for me? No. Not usually. For believability, for me, it depends a large part on the script, or rather, casting for said script. The old dogs in The Expendables 2 are all in the rolls of old men, so they’re not having to pass as younger guys.

    Since they’re cast as they’re real age, they only have to be as convincing as they’re physically capable, and if they seem a little incapable at times, because of their age, then that’s fine, too.

    Now, is it awesome? That’s completely up to the actor. Guys like Stallone, Willis, and Norris, all look pretty incredible for their age. Arnold, not so much. Norris, I would have never guessed to be in his 70s, but I also didn’t see him doing any karate. Still, I thought they all did fine, because that all have the physicality for it. Heck, I hope Van Damme gets cast in more villain roles, because he was fantastic! Since they pulled it off physically, yes it was awesome.

    That brings to mind another awesome scene where a not so physically fit older actor managed to be awesome. Morgan Freeman in Million Dollar Baby. He didn’t do any spectacular stunts, but he did punch out a younger dude in one scene. He was 67 at the time. I believed it, so it was awesome. Movie magic for the win!

  11. b003
    August 21, 2012 at 9:14 pm — Reply

    Chuck didn’t do anything in the movie but walk.
    They should have had a bear in there.
    I think “Im too old for this sh*t” Glover would have done a good job. Huffing and puffing would be more believable.

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