It’s ironic that sexagenarian Hollywood action movie titans Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone’s future vehicles are all about looking to the past.
That list of upcoming projects includes Sly’s throwback to 1980s buddy movies (Bullet to the Head), Ah-nuld’s homage to classic westerns and films like Die Hard (The Last Stand), this summer’s Expendables 2 - which is a second round of old-fashioned, testosterone-fueled action – and finally the prison escape thriller, The Tomb, which pairs Schwarzenegger and Stallone together in more than a limited capacity.
During a recent interview with ET on the Tomb set, Stallone spoke out about his desire to keep Hollywood’s old-school approach to action filmmaking alive:
“This genre unfortunately is becoming… let’s just say it’s fading away. You have the superheroes today which are possessed with all extraordinary powers; they can blink and a fireball comes out of there. It’s great. And then you have a bunch of us which is just your basic male-pattern badness. … Kind of like hands-on action.”
Okay, admittedly, we’re kind of confused as to which superhero character Stallone is specifically referencing here (kidding – sort of), but his point is valid.
Moving on to why it’s taken more than three decades for Sly and Arnold to join forces onscreen, the former said:
“I think in the beginning we were competitive — there’s no question about it. A little alpha territorial. And then we realized it was good for our careers [to work together].”
Schwarzenegger agreed as much, during his own interview with ET:
“The funny thing is we have tried, I think, our entire careers to always work together. We have talked about it for three decades and it never happened. I think we tried maybe too hard. … But now after the governorship, somehow this just fell into place.”
All things considered: there’s something cool about seeing both Schwarzenegger and Stallone look more their age (re: no hair dye) for The Tomb – especially Arnold, who kind of resembles an older version of Josh Brolin from No Country for Old Men. (That is to say, he looks kind of badass.)
Perhaps the pair’s wizened appearances will also make it easier to accept them as, respectively, a brilliant cyber-terrorist and Ray Breslin, “the world’s foremost authority on structural security” – which is alluded to in the following official plot summary for The Tomb:
After being framed by persons unknown, all of Breslin’s ingenuity and expertise are about to be put to work in the most challenging test he’s ever faced: escaping from a high-tech prison facility that’s design is based on his own protocols. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Emil Rottmayer, a complex inmate with multiple shades of gray.
With a narrative setup that recalls Fox’s Prison Break TV show (albeit, even more outlandish) – plus, a script penned by people like Miles Chapman (Road House 2: Last Call) and Jason Keller (Machine Gun Preacher, Mirror Mirror) – quality is not a guarantee, as far as the storytelling side of The Tomb is concerned.
Still, director Mikael Håfström has delivered satisfactory genre fare in the past (see: Derailed, 1408) – and the sheer star wattage of Schwarzenegger and Stallone makes The Tomb a flick worth keeping an eye out for when it hits theaters (most likely, in 2013).