Action Stars Gone Family Friendly: From Kindergarten Cop to The Tooth Fairy

They’ve entertained us with over the top action and violence, but for one reason or another, many have decided to star in family-friendly kids’ movies. As a result, stars have increasingly found themselves on the losing side of temptation to put down their weapons in exchange for the prospect of gaining a wider box-office appeal. This has effected such action icons as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vin Diesel, Jackie Chan, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson' and even wrestler-turned actor Hulk Hogan. Join WatchMojo.com as we take a look at one of the most disturbing trends in Hollywood, the phenomenon of action stars ditching their violent ways in order to play babysitter, change diapers and wear ballerina tights.
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Action Stars Gone Family Friendly: From Kindergarten Cop to The Tooth Fairy

They’ve entertained us with over the top action and violence, but for one reason or another, they have decided to star in family-friendly kids’ movies. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be taking a look at what happens when a Hollywood action star gets domesticated.

Perhaps the most disturbing trend in Hollywood, action stars have increasingly found themselves on the losing side of temptation when it comes to gaining a wider box-office appeal. Tossing their guns in exchange for tutu’s, they have proven time and time again that they aren’t beneath embarrassing themselves in devilishly elaborate ways if they have to.

Perhaps the earliest example of this phenomenon was the 1978 action film “Every Which Way But Loose,” which took the hard-nosed Clint Eastwood and partnered him with an orangutan named Clyde. While not marketed as a kids-film per say, it did reach a much wider crowd, as it expertly Eastwood’s gruffness with a new sense of lightheartedness.

Despite this early success, it wasn’t until Ivan Reitman’s offbeat comedy “Kindergarten Cop” that this genre-shift was seen as a genuine career boosting technique. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as a pissed off detective named John Kimble, he went undercover as a kindergarten teacher in order to get a drug dealer’s wife to testify. Surprisingly, Arnie’s shift from an abortion machine in “The Terminator’ to child caregiver hit a note with audiences, and the film drew in over 200 million dollars, despite its shoestring budget.

Unfortunately, Arnie’s decision to go full circle and give birth in “Junior” succeeded in putting off even his most devout fans. Undiscouraged, he later exploited the holiday spirit in “Jingle All The Way” as a father going to great lengths to buy his son a popular toy.

By this time, the floodgates had opened, and a vast array of action stars had already chosen to enter the family-friendly arena. Professional Wrestler Hulk Hogan starred in not one, but several kid-friendly flicks. Among his many attempts to redefine himself as a hero for the family, most notable were 1991’s “Suburban Commando”, and as a bodyguard to a CEO’s children in 1993’s “Mr. Nanny.” If the film proved anything, it’s that not even a wrestler could pull off ballerina tights.

Meanwhile, Joe Pesci, an actor whose claim to fame included brutally murdering people in Scorsese films did a one-eighty and decided to play an inept burglar in not one, but two “Home Alone” films. What’s even more unbelievable is that he handled the slapstick with dignity, earning honest laughs.

Sadly, the same cannot be said for martial Arts legend Chuck Norris who decided to mix his tough guy persona with a shaggy dog in the K9-buddy cop comedy “Top Dog.” It’s odd enough that the bad guys in the film where white supremacists, but the comedy often involved bad puns, and the dog taking all of the credit.

And if you thought that Norris was the only martial artist seduced by the genre, think again. Over a decade later Jackie Chan got sucked in to starring in the babysitter-with-a-twist situational comedy “The Spy Next Door,” just one of several similar attempts, such as Vin Diesel’s role in “The Pacifier.”

But if one action star could be said to have inherited the genre, it’s Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Once the man destined to own the action genre, Dwayne instead chose to kiss Steve Carell in ‘Get Smart’, perform ballet in “The Game Plan”, and drive alien kids around in “Race To Witch Mountain.”

Let’s not forget the genre’s piece de la resistance “The Tooth Fairy”, which signaled the point of no return.

Conclusion:


Is it pure boredom of firing heavy artillery and spouting kick ass one-liners over and over again? Or, is this phenomenon proof that tough guy
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