James Bond, the world’s favorite spy. He’d score the women, nail the bad guys and ride into the sunset in his shiny Aston martin. Classic hard core action sequences, G-Force sucking high speed car chases, virginity busting sex scenes, gadgets to die for and the smooth vodka martini. He’d need no cape, no undies over his pants, no ring from outer space, not even a wand. His little Walter or now his MP-5 sub machine gun realistically did the trick. From Connery to Craig; they all filled in the shoes of Fleming’s Bond and enthralled audiences with sheer acting excellence and withheld the true taste of a good action movie.
Sadly, in the past couple of years, there have been just a hand full of movies that have stuck to the age old recipe of an explosive ‘guy flick’. The latest trend of fusing a soppy love story right in the middle of a good cop-bad cop story line is hideous. What happened to busting the front door open, or the Pulp Fiction like interrogation sequences, Mexicans with sombreros doing tequila shots, shady nigg...um…African Americans popping caps in butts? In the words of my favorite country singer-Brad Paisley, with actors today lining up to get ‘nuder ‘ and some getting facials, manicured and tucked, it’s apparently hep now to be feminized. Now I’m not anti feminine, just a disappointed action movie fan.
Jason Bourne, wanted in like 6 countries, takes on the CIA and screws them over. Far from the ultra-suave, always-in-control, lost man that defined his character, the intensity and attention to detail throughout the Bourne Trilogy was epic. No theatrics, the guy punches you, you punch him back, he punches you again, you throw him off a building. Apart from the kick ass fight scenes, Jason did have his amnesia fading, the odd emotional ‘why me’ moments, but he pulled through. Off the record, my favorite part-when he drove off the roof in the Ultimatum…;)
Action movies tend to get predictable at times, I agree. It sometimes is necessary to put some sense in the mayhem to counter the stuff blowing up. Now take Desperado for instance, a muchacho out to get the guy who killed his lover. Pretty ordinary and Bollywood’ish a story and nothing fancy to work with. So how did they manage to make it a movie for the ages? Give Antonio Banderas a guitar. Fill the case with a couple of guns, get two more guys, give them guitars, turn one into a rocket launcher, the other into a machine gun, get a latino chick with really nice legs, whose ready to ooze cleavage all through the movie and a good rack or just rope in Salma Hayek (nice) and Wollah....El mariachi…
The epic onscreen battle between Vampires and Lycans revolutionized action back in the day. The trademark blood dripping canines and hairy claws made them the most looked up pieces of fiction. Be it the creaking sound of a vampires coffin opening or the full moon howl of a werewolf, people never were bored of watching a pretty girl get her neck gauged on by a dodgy vampire. Van Helsing and the Underworld series did their bit to keep the evil alive. And then came Twilight (facepalm). Twilight vampires are whiny, emo brats, the werewolves are buff hobos and the romantic leads are soppy. Kinda like a High School Musical remake, with fur and sleep deprived dark circled dudes…they’re ‘all in this together’.
Things got really bad when they tried getting angels involved. Legion was the most boring ‘end of the world’ movie ever made. I’m a religious but practical guy and the idea of two angels going head to head is kinda new and awesome. But the way Legion pulled it off, was just pitiful. Why the additional drama of the kid being born, the crazy grandma crawling off walls?? The story completely lost its way with so much happening.
Even today when I watch Rocky Balboa in the ring against Apollo Creed, my fists jab the air and I’m literally dodging superfluous punches to my head. That’s what I miss with movies today. The realism and excitement, kinda like a getaway from all the stress you can’t vent out. Some people don’t like the idea of violence on screen, yea they got a point, but I’m a guy, I need this shit.
Today things are getting pretty bad. Back in the day John Rambo, Taken, Saving Private Ryan et al were movies with heart and brawn. Stuff did blow up, but when the smoke clears every action movie has a story the present day theatrics tend to blur. From Clint Eastwood’s days as a rugged gun slinger to little Master Yoda’s light saber duels, action flicks have always been my most sort after genre of cinema. They push the boundaries of imagination, but sensibly. So as a fan I’ll keep the faith cause hey, cool guys don’t look at explosions…(*fistpump Andy Samberg).