Mar 1, 2011

Components of Modern Action Hero Movies

Components of Modern Action Hero Movies

We all love modern action movies, don't we? The well-timed explosions, fantastical fight scenes, and of course, one man, alone, defeating insurmountable odds, and saving the day. How the action movie hero manages to hold his own in a fist-fight, after being shot three times by M-16 fire, we'll never know. But we love them! In order for Hollywood to keep cranking out our escapism at the volume we demand, they have to follow a formula. The best I can figure, each modern action movie must contain the following components.

Modern Action Hero Movie Components: Comic Relief
There has to be someone in each movie to relieve some of the stress for the viewer. This comic relief usually comes in one of two varieties: either a) the outspoken, spunky orphaned kid or b) a chubby entrepreneur. Quite often the character used as comic relief becomes...

Modern Action Hero Movie Components: the Unlikely Ally Somewhere in the story-line, an unexpected ally appears. This character is often introduced as an adversary, and is usually the strong, silent type who comes around to seeing the wisdom of the hero's efforts to save...

Modern Action Hero Movie Components: the Damsel In Distress Ahh...the fair maiden who needs to be rescued tends to be integral to the storyline itself. The damsel in distress is introduced as being a tough nut to crack, but is soon won over by the macho yet gentle ways of the action movie hero. Her makeup and hair is always perfect. The damsel in distress is usually saved more than once in each story, and the first rescue is often by...

Modern Action Hero Movie Components: the Lifelong Buddy Who Gets Killed Somehow, every action movie hero is both a loner, and has a lifelong childhood friend. The buddy who gets killed might die for the damsel in distress, the hero himself, or maybe as the whole point of the plot, he's always second banana to...

Modern Action Hero Movie Components: the Hero Who Makes Things Worse Like it or not, the hero is actually the character who complicates the modern action movie in the first place. Think about it. If Dirty Harry were just once to have gone by the book, none of the movie would have been fit to print. But that's what we love about action heroes, isn't it? We buy into the hero fighting all odds, in spite of their imperfections.

In spite of this tongue-in-cheek approach to what makes a modern action hero movie great, let's hope that it never changes. These movies draw viewers because the story line works. The story line works because it's fun escapism. Thank you Hollywood. Thank you!
Origininally published on 10 21-2010.

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