My roommate and I spent last weekend laying in our respective beds enjoying the Indiana Jones trilogy and marveling at Harrison Ford’s sex appeal. After agreeing that we would both “do” Indy (oh, the stimulating conversations in which I engage at Northwestern), I asked her what she thought of the upcoming fourth installment to the series. She was ecstatic, exclaiming, “I’d still have sex with Harrison Ford!” Then, after a short pause: “…how old is he now?”
Sixty-five. Harrison Ford will be 65 as of July this year, a birthday he’ll celebrate on the set of the fourth Jones film if shooting goes as planned.
Harrison isn’t the only action star poised to make a comeback in the near future. After the success of Rocky Balboa, action flick alum Sylvester Stallone, 60, is in pre-production for Rambo IV: Pearl of the Cobra. Die Hard star Bruce Willis, 52, is a spring chicken as he resumes his role as John McClane in Live Free or Die Hard.
What’s motivating these men to take to the screen again in stunt-filled, action-packed thrill-rides? For Stallone it was closure. Rocky Balboa was a chance to give the fans the closure they needed for the Rocky series. For Ford and Willis, though, who knows? It could be a chance to re-live the glory days, something they desperately want to prove to themselves, closure for their characters or just a paycheck.
The most pertinent question isn’t why they are resurrecting their roles, but should they? Never a fan of the Rocky or Rambo series, I don’t really care what Stallone does, but I absolutely love the Indiana Jones films (and not just for Harrison’s blatant sex appeal, either) and the Die Hard movies still stand as classic examples of the explosive, blow-‘em-up action genre. As a fan, I have mixed feelings about the revivals.
My biggest concerns lie with the fourth Indiana Jones installment for two reasons. As much as I like the Die Hard movies, I love the Indiana Jones movies. I’m much more protective of the archeological adventure franchise. But, I also worry about my beloved Harrison. His last few attempts at the action genre have been a bit like watching a young child fall off a bike: You love them, and you want them to make it, but after a while you start to worry that they just aren’t cut out for it.
I winced my way through Hollywood Homicide, thinking that the experienced Mr. Ford could make up for his no-talent co-star, but no such luck. The plot points of the film elude me now… I’m pretty sure I blacked out the traumatic experience. Firewall was an improvement (no Josh Hartnett helped), but though it was an enjoyable film for the most part, I walked away feeling as though I’d spent the last hour and a half watching someone who was clearly out of his prime. So, after my initial excitement wore off (there’s going to be ANOTHER INDIANA JONES!?!?!?!?), I was forced to wonder, would Indy share such a grim fate?
Should these aging stars be retuning to their action roots? It can certainly be done, and done well, just look at Jackie Chan (though, even he has turned to more comedic roles in recent years). No amount of guesswork and speculation can say, but it’s safe to assume that it’s going to take more than bedroom aerobics with Calista Flockhart to get Harrison ready to once again wield his famous whip.