The last few cold, hunker-down weeks have been a time for watching action movies of the lone-hero variety, your “Die Hards” and “James Bonds.”
These movies are a departure of my usual genre fare, which has been described by others as “movies with a buncha talking.” Purposefully never having had seen “Die Hard” and perhaps catching only parts of a James Bond installment here and there over the decades, I came away with what I assume to be fairly obvious observations about such movies:
(1) In the world of character development and role playing is the concept of “alignment.” That is, how a character’s moral/ethical views affect their actions. In action movies, a character’s alignment directly correlates with their ability to aim a gun. Plotted on a graph, with the X axis going from most good to most evil, and the Y axis going from best aim to worst aim, we would see a perfect bell curve, with the best aim coming from the most skilled and virtuous AND the most sinister. The worst shooters are the evil minions, your Stormtrooper-types or expendable goons.
(2) When a bad guy finally has a gun pointed at a good guy, shoot him! I don’t care how witty the line you have to say is, I don’t care if now’s your chance to finally tell the good guy what you really think of him, you shoot him. Case closed.
(3) Every bad guy dies in order of their importance to the criminal organization they belong to.
(4) It doesn’t matter if, two minutes ago, dozens of nondescript bad guys were firing every kind of weapon at the good guy. When it comes down to it, real men settle things via fist-fight. Even the Predator fighting Arnold Schwarzenegger. Apparently antiquated man honor applies to aliens, too.
But the biggest head-scratcher to come of all this action viewing was the prevalence of car chases in what have to be the busiest parts of each respective city. Some observations and theories:
(1) Two things that only exist in movies: Fireworks trucks and trucks carrying huge loads of cabbages. It seems there’s no better way to get a few extra explosions in there than to put explosive cargo onto a already-highly-explosive truck, which tend to detonate when involved in even the most minor of fender-benders. And where that truck full of cabbage was destined in the middle of that city, nobody knows. The cabbage looked pretty cool flying all over the street, though.
(2) If you operate a fruit stand in a movie, look out. Speeding cars with drivers oblivious to human life are bound to come through at any moment.
(3) Though, if you’re an innocent fruit stand owner or uninvolved pedestrian, there’s little chance of injury. Unlike in real life, where such car chases would result in mass carnage.
(4) Speaking of which, we never see the stories of the aftermath. How many office workers were dutifully typing at their desks when that helicopter crashed into the side of building? That cabbage truck driver – a mere working man – probably lost his entire season’s yield. That fruit stand operator lost his only means of making a living. How will their families cope? How do the media tell these stories? What answers and explanations do governments provide their constituencies? Does law enforcement even investigate with the sheer frequency of all the explosions and car chases?
(5) My guess is that these street-chase scenes are at the heart of how these evil enterprises really make their money. We think it’s about shadowy organized crime operations or deep-state world domination of the ultra wealthy, but really, it’s all about street vendors. Either the evil organization has their own fruit stand guys to come in and fill the vacuum left by the fruit stands that were destroyed, or they had gone to the existing fruit stand owners before the car chase came through, set them up with damage insurance with the knowledge that they’d be able to collect on any given day.
For once I’d like to see the good guy die in the movie’s first 10 minutes for reasons unrelated to the story. You know, like an accidental opioid overdose, or an untimely freak heart attack where he goes peacefully in his sleep – movie over. I could use the remaining time to watch a movie “with a buncha talking.”