Ready to Take Action (But Should They?)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Some bald men comb over that last wisp of hair to cling to their waning vitality, just as some male movie stars squeeze out action movies to retain an air of bankable youthfulness.

A fourth "Die Hard" movie opens Wednesday, nearly 20 years after Bruce Willis began the yippee-ki-yaying saga. Joining Willis, 52, on this stubborn assault on the passage of time are Jackie Chan, 53, with "Rush Hour 3" (out in August), Harrison Ford, 64, and his fourth Indiana Jones movie (in pre-production) and Sylvester Stallone, 60, whose fourth Rambo movie is currently filming.

Given their advancing ages and decreasing acclaim and box office clout, should these guys keep sliding over car hoods and rappelling down buildings? Or follow the example of the Forefather of Aging Action-Adventure Stars, Sean Connery, now 76 and in semi-retirement, or their peer Arnold Schwarzenegger, 59, who slid into the more mature but equally virile role of governor of California?

A look at the past health of their careers may point to a diagnosis for their future work, which they've all staked on a return to their signature franchises.

-- Dan Zak

Graphic: Tracking the Action Heroes

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