Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

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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Anton Yelchin has numerous pop culture ties

TSD-15444.jpg There may be someone out there, but I’m having trouble thinking of any actor associated with as any huge pop culture franchises as Anton Yelchin. Harrison Ford comes close.

In 2009, Yelchin became part of the massive “Star Trek” world when he played Chekov in the feature film that relaunched the space franchise. Once a person is associated with a “Star Trek” project, they have a fan base for life.

That same year, he played Kyle Reese in “Terminator Salvation.” That movie franchise doesn’t have as many fans as “Star Trek,” but few things do. It’s still a feather in his pop culture hat.

You can add two more treks into the pop culture world for Yelchin as he provides the voice of Clumsy Smurf in “The Smurfs” and takes over the role of Charley in the re-imagining of the 1985 cult horror classic “Fright Night.”

All he needs is for George Lucas to make another “Star Wars” movie and Yelchin could be the king of pop culture.

For now, he’ll have to be content with going back to roles he’s played in previous films. During an interview for “Fright Night,” Yelchin reveals what he doesn’t know about upcoming film projects.

“They are making another ‘Star Trek’ movie but I don’t know when it starts. And, I have no information on what’s happening with the ‘Terminator’ franchise,” Yelchin says. “They just loop me in when they need me.”