Action heroes have returned to our screens, with veteran actors joined by young pretenders from the US. Leading the way is a sequel 36 years in the making.
Top Gun: Maverick has so far earned over $700 million in the US and Canada, grossing over $740 million in the rest of the world resulting in a global gross income of over $1.4 billion. But the long-awaited Tom Cruise sequel is not alone, a wealth of releases from home and abroad demonstrate the popularity of the action genre.
An international movie genre
Streaming services such as Netflix are also providing a platform for international action movies. Subscribers have responded to the availability of movies such as Carter, which was written, directed, and produced by South Korean filmmaker Jung Byung-gil. Following the release of the movie on Netflix, within just three days it had racked up 27.3 million hours viewed on the streaming platform and hit the global number one spot in the Top Ten non-English movies on the site.
Another example of foreign-language movies muscling in on the action movie genre is the French movie Restless, which is based on A Hard Day, the South Korean movie directed by Kim Seong-hun. It tells the tale of a rogue cop who is involved in the cover-up of an accident and is harassed by a mystery witness.
The action genre is also popular in other areas of the entertainment industry, such as the video game sector with the Grand Theft Auto and The Hitman franchises. There have been countless video games that tie in with movie releases, such as the James Bond video games. The genre is also popular in the iGaming sector, with a large number of action slots loosely based on movies such as Double O Dollars, London Hunter, and Gangsters, which are available to players who enjoy playing casinos online in Canada. Online casinos are able to capitalize on the popularity of the action genre to attract players to try out their selection of action-themed slot titles.
The return of the action heroes
Alongside Tom Cruise, there has also been a notable return of veteran action heroes such as Mel Gibson, who stars in Panama, which was directed by Mark Neveldine. The 66-year-old, who is best known for the 80s action movie series Mad Max and Lethal Weapon, plays a member of the CIA tasked with recruiting a former marine, played by Cole Hauser, as the US prepares to invade the Central American country Panama.
Another 1980s action hero, Bruce Willis, known for the Die Hard franchise, stars in Wrong Place, alongside Ashley Greene. The movie gives fans the opportunity to bid farewell to the 67-year-old as it is one of his final films following his retirement from the movie industry.
Northern Irish actor Liam Neeson stars in two action movies released this year. He is one of the stars in the action-adventure Blacklight, where he plays an FBI operative, and Memory, which sees the 70-year-old actor play an aging hitman.
The young pretenders
Viewers have also been given a glimpse of the latest generation of action heroes in the form of actors such as Zac Efron in the Australian survival thriller Gold and Chris Pine in the action movie The Contractor. With the potential for a 30-year action movie career at stake, the pressure is on for the young pretenders to deliver.
The Netflix action movie The Gray Man, which had a limited US release sees two other contenders become the next big action hero in the form of Canadian actor Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans. The movie, which is based on the novel by Mark Greaney, sees the two 41-year-olds battle it out as Gosling, who plays a CIA agent, is hunted by Evans, in his role as a rogue operative, which could also be a metaphor for the fight for supremacy to become the next action movie hero. Action movies have bounced back this year, both on the big screen and on streaming services. As the old guard of action heroes disappear from our screens the next big battle will be fought by the young pretenders to the throne.