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20 September, 2007 / Erik

Tough Guys from Across the Sea

A while back, an actor friend of mine was annoyed with the recent film, 3:10 to Yuma. His problem: good American parts played by British (for purposes of this discussion, he put Australia back in the Empire) actors. My retort: “Well, who’s going to play these parts? James Van Der Beak and Owen Wilson?” 3:10 to Yuma has been made before with Glen Ford and someone named Van Heflin. Ford, in a break from type, plays the same part Russel Crowe plays in the new version. Ford’s usual persona was that of an approachable, but solid man rooted in principles. I’ve never see the 1957 version, but knowing he plays a part Crowe acceled at makes me all the more interested.

But my actor friend’s point is still one worth considering. Where is the new Lee Marvin? (Answer: Michelle Rodriguez) Where is the new Clint Eastwood? (Answer: a very old Clint Eastwood) It seems the United States can no longer breed the sort of actor who can portray tough men in movies. I’d like to think we still breed tough men in reality, but being tough and doing their job, we never hear about them. Consider this summers action hero: Shia LeBeouf. He’s a good enough actor, but he never actually takes an active role in the film. Even his checkmate to Megatron is a reaction to the situation. He is carried along by the force of the plot (such as it is). Consider for a moment that the female is given a moment to chose involvement with the robots. As a consolation, we also have Jason Bourne, who does take matters into his own skilled hands and defeats corrupt aspects of the federal government just by walking through a train station.

How ever, does Matt Damon really sit at the same table as Lee Van Cleef or Charles Bronson? And this is the query: do we have anyone who enters into acting not to be a heart throb, but to be the guy who gets the job done? Well, anyone besides the guy who played Wolverine.

Oh, wait, he’s from Australia, too.

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6 Comments

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  1. Tim / Sep 20 2007 4:45 pm

    We still have Kurt Russell and Danny Trejo. Or maybe not.

    From the young crop? Uh….Feddie Rodriquez? Why am I only pulling names out of Grindhouse?

    Okay, how about Joaquin Phoenix and Benicio del Toro?

  2. Erik / Sep 21 2007 6:49 am

    Joaquin Phoenix? You can’t be serious.

  3. Shannon / Sep 21 2007 1:34 pm

    Well said! I’m wracking my brain- George Clooney in certain roles…???
    When did the American tough guy die? Who was the last great American badass?

  4. Tim / Sep 21 2007 8:21 pm

    I was getting desperate.

  5. Erik / Sep 21 2007 8:41 pm

    Shannon: Kurt Russell is probably the closest thing to the last American Tough Guy. The rest have all been dead ten years or more.

    Tim: Never be so desperate.

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