Watch: Just What's Wrong with the State of Action Movies Today?

February 10, 2015

The Problem with Action Movies Today

While the world of comic book movies is pretty strong, the straight-up action genre has been struggling for years now. From mediocre sci-fi remakes like Total Recall and RoboCop to lackluster sequels like Taken, there are very few pure action movies worthy of praise like The Raid franchise and last year's John Wick. The stories are lame, the action is bland, the characters are hollow and it all just feels like the same old garbage. Now Chris Stuckmann has put together a video essay examining the problems with action movies today, and he even has some suggestions for how to fix these problems and take the genre back.

Here's Chris Stuckmann's The Problem with Action Movies Today (via The Playlist):

Some of these problems you may not have realized were as rampant as they really are, but we're seeing far too many invincible heroes going through the same motions to get their loved ones back or stop some inexplicably evil bad guy from carrying out a plot that doesn't really have any believable stakes worth being invested in. Did you remember that John McClane was afraid of flying in the first Die Hard? But then all of a sudden he has no problem dealing with a crashing jet in Live Free or Die Hard or jumping from ridiculous heights in A Good Day to Die Hard. Let's hope Hollywood starts fixing some of these issues.

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  • Tuomas Lassila
    And I always thought old-school action films are pretty lame.
    • The 7-11 slurpees are available on isle 5. Thanks.
      • Tuomas Lassila
        • Luis_from_Mexico
          What ain't no country I've ever heard of!
          • Tuomas Lassila
            I have no idea what's going on anymore.
        • Tester
          exactly !!
  • ari smulders
    There isn't a problem with action movies. The audience wants something different nowadays. There will be time in the future they are back again. Now we look at superheroes and blue creatures, and little fight movies like taken or the raid. And it's fine with me, because marvel does a great job, like Ayer and fugua with their movies.
  • The biggest issue for me is that the action scenes are so big, so video-game-like, so unrealistic that audiences have absolutely NO sense of dread or peril for the actors because they know it's not real. I'm a MASSIVE CG fan (in the industry) and this isn't CG's fault, it's it's usage. There is no visceral connection to the action that's happening because humans aren't experiencing it themselves in the shot. The latest FF#7 trailer is a perfect example. NONE of what is being shown on screen could have been created practically (in camera with humans)... and it's obvious because of the scope and insanity of the action (we shouldn't call them stunts anymore, they're not). IF Action movies want people to buy-in to the action, then focus on the human peril, the danger and actual physics of the world. Have characters get hurt, be encumbered, be slowed/winded or take a breath here or there. Make us believe it's real, don't just show us how much money the shot cost to make. Michael Bay should not be the high water mark folks.
    • Payne by name
      Beautifully put, I couldn't agree more. As you say, directors make these huge action scenes and forget the characters and their real time role within the scenes. Cap 2 is a classic example for me. They created some big action set pieces but when the makers realised that they had painted themselves into a corner regarding the peril of the characters, they pulled out this ridiculous 'get out of jail' hole in the ground maker, not once but twice. From feeling the slow building peril of 'blimey, this fight isn't going well, how will the heroes survive', they pull out an easy McGuffin and the audience feels cheated. For me it was what happened with martial arts film and the over usage of wire work. It just managed to kill the thrill for me. What's amazing about proper martial arts is how the body can perform such amazing feats with such balletic grace. Add some wire work so that a character can literally fly up a wall and over a rooftop or balance on a bamboo branch, and suddenly the earlier double backwards somersault seems lame when the laws of gravity and reality aren't really applying any more.
  • ragethorn
    Everything this video said is true. If you don't agree, you're part of the problem.
  • RJmacready
    His examples are weird. Indiana Jones isn't an action movie, it's an adventure film based on the old time serials. And Doctor Jones is definitely not an "ordinary guy". And The Matrix and The Terminator are sci-fi films. Apples and oranges.
    • Huh they all feature "Action". There was never the talk of pure action movies.
    • What is an adventure film without action? That's like saying Love Actually isn't a comedy, it's a romance.
      • RJmacready
        The title of the piece is 'What's Wrong With Action Films Today'. An adventure film, by comparison, is a character on a quest for something greater and larger than himself. Yes, there are action moments, but an action movie is quite different. Jean Claude Van Dam makes action films. Harrison Ford does not. Love Actually is a romantic comedy. That's also a very specific genre. My point here is that if one's "thesis" is about what's wrong with the state of contemporary action films, it makes sense to compare said films to OTHER action films, as opposed to a bunch of other genres. The Die Hard and Speed comparisons were compelling. Star Wars and the Matrix not so much.
  • Robjules
    They should make one final Die Hard that follows the first movie's flow. Not some over the top action movie. Have it take place in a single building or possibly arena/stadium of some sort. Wrap it up the way it began.
    • I always thought "how the fuck are they NOT getting their own movie concept?". DH5 was a fucking piece of shit of a movie.
  • grimjob
    Interesting video. Goddamn I love movies.
    • mooreworthy
      Hells yeah!
    They simply just evolving for what audiences want, or rather what producers think we want. We can have bad ass movies like TAKEN, and then we can have TAKEN 3.




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