This chapter investigates how The Expendables film series constructs and
frames the age identity of Lee Christmas, played by Jason Statham, by
reading his position in the narrative in order to understand how ageing is
represented in action cinema. Much of the critical attention for this series
has been focused on the hyper-masculine ageing body of the franchise’s lead
actor, Sylvester Stallone. This chapter will look at the construction of
Christmas’s age identity as a middle-aged man during the unstable cultural
position of middle-agedness. It will also focus on how the middle-aged
action hero is constructed in the three Expendables films to date. It begins
with an overview of the film series’ premise, followed by a brief outline of
relevant critical ageing theory, then a consideration of how Christmas’s age
construction aligns with the ageing theories of decline, prowess and the
culture of the Third Age.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book considers memory as a specific framework for the study of popular film, intervening in growing debates about the status and function of memory in cultural life and discourse. It examines the relationship between official and popular history and the constitution of memory narratives in and around the production and consumption of American cinema. The book explores the political stakes of cinematic discourse in its production of national memory. It also examines the discursive and institutional apparatus that has come to support the memory of Classic Hollywood in British cultural life. The book also considers both the presence of music and colour in nostalgia films of the 1990s and the impact of digital and video technologies on the representational determinants of mediated memory.