Action hero musclemen types are turning all touchy-feely in a string of films that have them exploring their inner brute

Maybe it's the economy. Could be the lingering psychological fallout from the Iraq war. Personally, I blame Sylvester Stallone's midlife crisis.

Whatever's in the Gatorade, the he-men of the movies have been turning inward. It used to be that action heroes would shoot first - or kickbox, or toss grenades, or snap spines - and ask questions never. In recent months, though, a new mini-genre has arisen that could be termed re-action movies. In them, the brawny boys of the multiplex confront doubts about their strength and very purpose in life, to the point where the structural beams of the films themselves have started to buckle under the stress.

Welcome to the age of the meta-mook.

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