Sylvester StalloneBack in the 1980s, you couldn't spin a cat in a cinema without hitting the oiled muscular abs of an action hero. In fact, you couldn't spin a cat at all, that sort of thing being frowned upon.

But the point remains that you were more than likely to end up watching the waxed abdominal muscles of Arnie, Sly, Jean Claude and, to a lesser extent, Dolph as they manfully went about their business killing, maiming and crushing their way to box office glory.

Those days are long gone, of course, although that hasn't stopped Sly Stallone doing his level best to bring them back with his Rambo and Rocky franchises and upcoming new actioner, The Expendables. Sly's also revealed in an interview which film he feels killed off the muscle man action star... Tim Burton's 1989 blockbuster Batman.

Speaking to LA Times blog Hero Complex, Sly said: "It was that first Batman movie. The action movies changed radically when it became possible to Velcro your muscles on. It was the beginning of a new era. The visual took over. The special effects became more important than the single person. That was the beginning of the end." Sylvester StalloneBack in the 1980s, you couldn't spin a cat in a cinema without hitting the oiled muscular abs of an action hero. In fact, you couldn't spin a cat at all, that sort of thing being frowned upon.

But the point remains that you were more than likely to end up watching the waxed abdominal muscles of Arnie, Sly, Jean Claude and, to a lesser extent, Dolph as they manfully went about their business killing, maiming and crushing their way to box office glory.

Those days are long gone, of course, although that hasn't stopped Sly Stallone doing his level best to bring them back with his Rambo and Rocky franchises and upcoming new actioner, The Expendables. Sly's also revealed in an interview which film he feels killed off the muscle man action star... Tim Burton's 1989 blockbuster Batman.

Speaking to LA Times blog Hero Complex, Sly said: "It was that first Batman movie. The action movies changed radically when it became possible to Velcro your muscles on. It was the beginning of a new era. The visual took over. The special effects became more important than the single person. That was the beginning of the end."

It's an interesting take on things although putting the blame squarely at the bat feet of Michael Keaton and co is simplifying the issue. As the 90s began, the Reagan era ended and a wave of Sundance led independent talent began breaking Hollywood with cinema audiences desiring something different with their popcorn. Having said that, the 90s did give us a couple of Die Hards, some Lethal Weapons and the inexplicable careers of Vin Diesel, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Jason Statham proving that there will always be an audience for that sort of thing. And so there should be.

Although Stallone told Hero Complex he wished he "thought of Velcro muscles myself," try telling Adrien Brody that muscles aren't in after he put in serious workout hours to go from weedy thespian to six-pack sporting alien botherer in the recently released Predators. And as well as The Expendables we've got films like Thor and the Conan remake coming out, buff character actors like Chris Evans and Tom Hardy as well as protein shake guzzling tween star, Taylor Lautner. Maybe it's not quite time to leave the gym just yet...

What do you think, are the day's of the traditional muscular action star over - or is there fight in them yet?

CATEGORIES Movies