Here’s an excerpt from my latest article for IFC.com, “The Unbearable Rambo-ness of Being“:
In the ’80s, Americans found a new brand of movie hero that corresponded precisely with Reagan-era conservative values. Ripped, vengeful and violent, action stars like Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson and a beefed-up Bruce Willis helped reestablish myths of rugged individualism, militarism and machismo through an awesome display of fire power and pectoral muscles.
The bang-bang decade that saw the releases of “First Blood,” “Die Hard,” “Lethal Weapon,” “The Terminator,” “Robocop,” “Top Gun,” “Batman,” “Predator” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” may seem like a distant memory in these leaner Obama days. But the superheroic display of tough guys wreaking havoc continues to have resonance — particularly for the legions of boys whose impressionable minds were shaped by the time, and who are now, some 25 years later, playing out those fantasies once again on screens (with a limited budget).