Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Action Mentality

With some free time on my hands today, my mind started entering ranty mode again.  It's gotten too difficult to resist the urge to go on a spiel about something I hate about many of the action movie goers:  The mentality that being an action film totally excuses the writers from actually writing something.
I mean, I know it's commonplace for action movies to have cheesey dialogue and bad stories, but why does that need to be the case?  Why do more critical minds have to be chastised just because they would've liked some semblance of quality in a movie?  I can't think of any good reason to be like this.
Every time I bring up how bad an action movie's story/characters/plot/writing is to a fan, they generally have the same reply:  "Yeah, but wasn't awesome?  That made it great."  My general reply:  "Yes, it was awesome.  No, that did not make the entire movie great.  When only about 1% of the runtime of the entire movie is actually worth watching, that doesn't mean it's good.  That's actually a really good testament to how bad it is."
It is not too much to ask to actually be entertained by the full movie that I paid to see.  Revenge of the Fallen and The Expendables each had a grand total of 2 scenes that I actually thoroughly enjoyed.  That wouldn't have been worth the price of the ticket if the rest of the movies' footage was only boring, much less as painful as they were.
There's also the fans who don't care about the story and just want the action.  I'm OK with that, but if they don't care about it, then why should it matter to them whether or not a movie has a good or bad story?  Why should that stop the writers or directors from actually trying to make a decent plot?  A movie with good action and a good story reaches multiple demographics and I can only assume would make significantly more money than a movie with only good action.
In answer to my earlier question ("why does that need to be the case?"):  It doesn't need to be the case.  There are already several examples of movies with great action and quality writing.  Even the original Die Hard had a pretty decent script.  Taken, my personal favourite action movie, has a fantastic plot; both incredibly character-driven and well-performed.  Taken also has incredible action scenes.
So the upside to the situation is that I have my alternatives if I want an action movie that's actually a good film.  I certainly wouldn't mind if that could start applying to a lot more films however.  It's not like intelligent writing has no place in the general public of movie-goers, especially when we have films like Wall-E and Inception doing as well as they did.
My biggest pet peeve is hearing certain fans refer to films like Revenge of the Fallen or The Expendables as 'good'.  Saying you enjoyed them, sure, but..."good"?  'Good' denotes some sort of quality.  These films know about as much about quality as Stephanie Meyer knows about vampires.

Well, that's my rant.

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