Usually, when you hear of some star of yesteryear commenting on the way things are today in Hollywood, it's with the overwhelming tinge of "things were better in my day," particularly in entertainment. And, depending on the genre, that sometimes comes with the implication that everything now is being watered down for a generation that isn't strong enough and tough enough to handle it.
But in a new interview with UK paper The Big Issue (via Film-News), legendary action star Dolph Lundgren offered an interesting twist on that old philosophy when he said today's action films were "bloodless." Rather than lamenting the days when action films were for "real men," he wondered if the bloodlessness and increased reliance on special effects were not contributing an increased desensitization to violence.
"There has been a bit of a reaction like that except all of the superhero movies that have been doing so well, they’re very bloodless and full of special effects. There is a movement towards cleaning up action and making it feel that it’s ok to shoot somebody because there’s no affect, no brain splattered over the wall. To me I think computer games and movies may contribute a little bit towards violence because you never see the affect of it. You see a guy pulling a trigger, but in reality it’s not as nice as it was in the movie. It’s always been a tough subject manner but for entertainment value sure there’s always going to be room for more realistic pictures."
It's an interesting observation from a man whose career in the action genre has spanned three decades in Hollywood and is still going strong. His most memorable roles are, of course, Ivan Drago in Rocky IV and He-Man in Masters of the Universe; younger audiences now know him as Gunner Jensen from The Expendables franchise. The man has seen some shit, is what I'm saying. Granted, the vast majority of rational, balanced, non-hateful people are no more predisposed to violence simply because they play video games or watch Game of Thrones, nor do I think he was implying that with the above statement.
But he does point out something we don't often question: So many movies we watch now, especially blockbusters, are not real. The vast majority of scenes are filmed in front of a green screen and then recreated digitally later. The same goes for many TV shows we watch. And while that's not at all a bad thing, it does make you wonder about how it may or may not continually influence us in ways we don't expect.
What do you think? I'm curious to hear your thoughts.