14th October 2014

You Can’t Handle the Truth – action has lost its traction

Contributor Isabella Yianni feels that Hollywood ‘action’ remakes need to be terminated. With extreme prejudice.

Action has become the least compelling film genre of the lot; by definition, action movies must include dynamic sequences and a resourceful protagonist of sorts. However, more recently we witness a string of fast-paced scenes fused into a film by the inclusion of unrealistic fights and excessive explosions. We are then told repeatedly that it is a ‘must-see’.

The Fast and the Furious, for example, was an enjoyable film which included the thrill of numerous racing scenes but retained an emotional authenticity that was obliterated by the fourth film—with the seventh on the way, I have less than great expectations. Many action pictures are granted insanely large budgets that appear to be doing more harm than good and there is a worrying correlation emerging that begs the question: the larger the budget, the worse the film? Unwarranted explosions, brawling or special effects leave you with the feeling you have entered a false, Hollywood generated whirlwind of what they think the audience wants. The overuse of CGI has contributed to this; when we notice its presence it destroys the credibility of scenes that could have more often than not been performed with authenticity.

The genre’s saving grace could be the recently rising number of heroines (The Hunger Games, Divergent) as the majority of action films are led by a male while a woman is sidelined and present only to add a romantic element to the story. Unfortunately, flawed female characters are not exclusive to the genre of action, but I’ll save that rant for another time.

Remakes of perfectly good action films are leaving the genre in despair. The past few years have witnessed premature remakes of the perfectly good Spider-Man films in the form of The (far from) Amazing Spider-Man; though they generated masses they failed to deliver anything interesting or inspiring. Point Break is next on the remake agenda. While the original is greatly enjoyable and achieved a fine balance of surf culture and bank robbing action, I have no such expectations for the remake. Action films seem to be pumped out incessantly and almost always fail to be clever—long gone are the days of The Terminator and Die Hard. We have seen it all before and so we are left with over-hyped generic films that lack a real plot line or any depth of emotion.

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