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Action film heroes showing signs of weakness

Bruce WillisThere was a time when the name Schwarzenegger, Stallone or Willis meant legions of fans would pile into theaters to see them punch and shoot their way through any army of foes. But, it’s not been a good year for the muscle-bound actors who once kicked the living daylights out of all box office competition.

Arnold Schwarzenegger officially returned to acting in mid-January with “The Last Stand” playing a small town sheriff who must stop a drug kingpin from escaping to Mexico. Schwarzenegger had made a brief appearance in the “Expendables” movies but this was the first time he had to carry the load on his own.

Audience greeted his return to acting — after her brief break in politics — with apathy. The movie netted less than $12 million dollars domestically. Even his “Raw Deal” made more than $16 million back in 1986.

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Latest film not painful for Johnny Knoxville

Coming up with the first question to ask Johnny Knoxville is always easy. After watching him be beaten, electrocuted, gored, smashed and had his manhood hit with almost anything heavy imaginable, the big concern is how Knoxville is feeling. He’s not as big a “Jackass” these days but one has to wonder how much of the aftermath of all the physical abuse he took over the years in the name of the TV show and movies remains.

“I’m feeling pretty good because everything’s completely healed right now. But there have been a few breaks and sprains and concussions. Not lately. Knock on wood,” says Knoxville during an interview for his latest film “The Last Stand,” that opened in theaters today.

Knoxville plays a gun hoarder who comes to the aid of the local sheriff (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to stop a drug cartel leader headed to their quiet community.

I worry about Knoxville because while he might seem like a raving maniac when you watch him on TV or film, he’s actually a very nice guy. He’s nice but you never want to turn your back on him or you might suddenly find a set of battery cables attached to your derriere.

Once the health issue was covered, Knoxville got to talk about why he would have worked through any pain to be in this movie. His favorite scenes is where Schwarzenegger is firing a massive gun out of the back of a school bus and Knoxville’s character is feeding him the bullets.

“Doing an action sequence with Arnold Schwarzenegger was it for me. It’s one of the highlights of my career — and life. Just to be on a set with him, to film a movie with him, was surreal for me,” Knoxville. “But he makes it so easy for you because he’s so open and pleasant and the most gregarious person I ever met. He just loves to be around people and make movies.”

And he never once hit or kicked Knoxville in the groin.