With “The Expendables 2” set to open Aug. 17, some geeks are clamoring about whether or not the old action hero is dead.
Sure, the budding action series is getting good use of what’s left of names like Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Norris, Van Damme, Lundgren and company. But like all recyclable material, the final retirement date on these actors is fast approaching, despite the men’s hair dye, hormone injections, low-carb diets and erectile dysfunction jokes.
Though there have been a few flaccid attempts to replace those guys – fellow “Expendables” stars like Jason Statham and Jet Li – there seems to be a cultural shift in the gender of action heroes.
Of course, female action heroes are nothing new. Sigourney Weaver in the “Alien” franchise showed everyone the versatility capable in women: decisive under duress, creative, nurturing, vulnerable when appropriate and combative when necessary. And then there was Linda Hamilton in the “Terminator” series … And Pam Grier in “Foxy Brown” ….
Here’s an abridged list in case you don’t think women are experiencing an action-hero Renaissance:
• Gina Carano in “Haywire” (a former MMA fighter)
• Scarlett Johansson in “The Avengers”
• Saoirse Ronan in “Hanna”
• Angelina Jolie in “Tomb Raider”
• Anne Hathaway in “The Dark Knight Rises”
• Kate Beckinsale in the “Underworld” series
• Ellen Page in “Super”
• Uma Thurman and Lucy Liu in “Kill Bill”
• Zoe Saldana in “Columbiana”
• Carrie-Anne Moss “The Matrix”
• Regina King in “Southland” (TV)
• Jennifer Garner in “Alias” (TV)
You probably recognize at least some of these names, but perhaps the most impressive ones are those you do not recognize. That’s because it’s no longer a novel idea to fill leading action roles with women.
Perhaps the female takeover was inevitable; these ladies fulfill a lust for blood and sex for men, and they appeal to women, too. It’s now conventional wisdom that women are the golden demographic in terms of PR. The fairer sex is far more likely to buy most things: health services, technology, books and plenty more.
As women continue to stride past men in academics (according to various studies) and as the gender-based pay gap narrows, consider how your product appeals to your mother, sister, wife or fellow lady friends.