Monday, August 13, 2007

Worst Action Movie Cliches

Worst Action Movie Cliches - page 4 - Moviefone

If life were an action movie, then it'd always be safe to, say, jump off a moving train or drive straight toward someone shooting at you ... so long as you were the good guy. But beware of doing something dumb like celebrating your impending retirement. Now, we're not implying anything about 'Rush Hour 3' (necessarily), but with the release of the last big blockbuster of the summer, we couldn't resist examining some action movie cliches that, like the evillest of villains, will ... not ... die. Take a look, then tell us which action movie cliches you think should be banished to a jail cell with no air ducts in sight.

1. Henchmen Are Lousy Shots
Uber-villains may not have much trouble recruiting scores of henchmen to enlist in their terror organizations bent on world domination (do you think they get health insurance?), but boy, do they draw the worst shooters. How many times have we seen action heroes dodge what looks like a thousand bullets from 15 different shooters on their trail? They hardly ever get hit, aside from the occasional, far-from-fatal flesh wound. Come on baddies, ever hear of target practice?
Appears in: Pretty much every action movie ever made

2. The Female Hostage
It's no secret that men rule action movies in Hollywood. But could we start getting more creative with women's roles in them? Do they always have to be taken hostage? To make matters worse, the female's captivity is always announced at the same point: when our hero has the bad guy right where he wants him (with a gun to his head, hanging upside down outside a skyscraper, etc). Cue the phone call from the villain's associates, the nervous hostage crying for help. At least sometimes they fight back.
Appears in: 'Live Free or Die Hard,' 'Bad Boys II,' 'Crank,' 'Die Hard,' 'Face/Off,' 'Lethal Weapon,' 'Rush Hour,' 'Rush Hour 3,' 'Mission: Impossible III,' 'National Treasure,' 'Spider-Man 2,' 'True Lies'

3. Government Files at Your Fingertips
No wonder this country's in so much trouble. Apparently anyone with a laptop and a wireless connection at a coffee shop -- or public library or precocious kids' room -- can hack into the super-secret database of FBI personnel files, super-secret defense plans or super-secret blueprints for a massive bomb. That's what we call freedom of information.
Appears in: 'The Bourne Supremacy,' 'Conspiracy Theory,' 'Enemy of the State,' 'Mission: Impossible,' 'War Games'

4. The Death Trap
If you captured your enemy after a long chase, wouldn't you do away with him right then and there? But no, not movie villains -- that's way too easy. So they devise elaborate schemes meant to torture and kill their victims, like the shark pool that should off James Bond (Roger Moore) and Solitaire (Jane Seymour) in 'Live and Let Die.' Except Dr. Kananga (Yaphet Kotto) lets his attention stray, giving Bond the chance to cut their ropes with the saw in his watch (of course!) and escape. Looks like some villains never learned to K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Also appears in: 'Die Hard With a Vengeance,' 'Goldfinger,' 'Kill Bill Vol. 2,' 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'

5. The Ticking Time Bomb
Somewhere a bomb is ticking away the seconds to an explosive finale, as the steely and determined action hero races to find its location. Once it's discovered, the question is: Which wire do you cut? Is it the red or the green? Or is it the white? It doesn't matter: The hero inevitably cuts the correct wire with a miniscule amount of time (usually 00:00:01) left on the clock. It's convenient, but we understand: No one would care if the hero disarmed that mother with 59 minutes left on it.
Appears in: 'The Manhattan Project,' 'Broken Arrow,' 'Die Hard With a Vengeance,' 'Face/Off,' 'GoldenEye,' 'Goldfinger,' 'The Peacemaker,' 'Speed' 'War Games'

6. Third Person Shooter
The bad guy has the good guy in his sights, his trigger finger poised to squeeze off a life-ending round. A shot rings out, and we shudder -- but the hero does not fall. As he frantically checks his body for the mortal wound he must have sustained, a dazed look overcomes the villain's face, and he slumps to the floor. Then, and only then, the camera reveals a gun-toting savior who blew away the baddie before he could kill our protagonist. And people doubt the second shooter-on-the-grassy-knoll theory.
Appears in: 'Die Hard,' 'A History of Violence,' 'Independence Day,' 'Raiders of the Lost Ark,' 'Reservoir Dogs'

7. The Expository Speech
Oh, egomaniacal villains, when will you learn to curb your hubris, resist the urge to talk and just blow away the good guy when you have him trapped? But no, instead of pulling the trigger, you decide to blather on and on about the unparalleled evil genius of your plan, giving the hero just enough time to figure out how to shoot you, blow you up or otherwise creatively make you dead. Oh well, at least they've got some handy last words for their tombstones.
Appears in: 'Die Hard,' any other 'Die Hard' movie, any Bond movie, 'Under Seige'

8. Check for a Pulse, Dummy
Here's an obvious rule: When you kill someone, make sure he's dead. Period. But most heroes, for all their street smarts, can't seem to get this one thing right. While it may not exactly be an action movie, the prototypical example of this would be 'Halloween,' in which that crazy Michael Myers just won't stay dead; every time someone thinks they've finally got him down for the count, they ... stand across the room with their back to him. And what happens? His shadowy body moves, and the chase is on again.

9. Never Trust The Man
We've seen it so many times: The trusted government bigwig -- the one who's been so helpful to our hero, or so we thought -- turns out to be a traitor. When asked why he committed treason against the country he's supposed to be protecting, he acts as though his actions were a necessary evil, defiantly proclaiming, 'I love my country! I am a true patriot!" Thanks, action movies -- as if we weren't skeptical enough about the U.S. government already.
Appears in: 'The Bourne Supremacy,' 'Clear and Present Danger,' 'Dirty Harry,' 'Enemy of the State,' 'Minority Report,' 'Unforgiven'

10. Restricted Access Is for Sissies
"Do Not Enter" signs and barriers mean nothing to an intrepid hero in hot pursuit of a villain or The Truth. And if you're in a hurry, it doesn't take a faked-up ID or passwords to gain access to a restricted area. All you have to do is hightail it straight past the security guard -- keep going, don't even slow down -- at which point the guard's head will swivel in your direction, he'll say, "Hey, you can't --" ... and voila, you're in! Try this the next time you're trying to get into the VIP section of a U2 concert. Trust us, it works.
Appears in: 'The Bourne Ultimatum,' 'The Matrix,' 'War Games'

11. Jack Bauer Syndrome
Some men are not like the rest of us: They emerge from any beating fresh as a daisy, miraculously revived by an Ace bandage. Take super-agent James Bond. In virtually every movie he's shaken, stirred and knocked around, and STILL the man rocks a tuxedo like nobody's business. Hell, in 'Casino Royale,' Bond runs out to his car, restarts his own heart with a shot of adrenaline, then buttons up his dress shirt and goes back to the poker game. Now that's a man. Even Jack Bauer would be impressed.
Also appears in: Any 'Bourne' film, 'Demolition Man,' 'Kill Bill Vol. 1,' 'Predator,' 'Pulp Fiction'

12. The Sliding Doors
Are you an action hero on the run? Is there a cold-blooded killer hot on your trail? Or a live bomb only seconds from detonating? No problem, just run as fast as you can in the opposite direction and eventually you'll come across a large steel garage door swiftly closing. Slide feet-first under said door at the very last second possible, and be careful of caught clothing or other extremities. Closing doors can also be slid under when you're chasing someone else -- they're pretty handy that way.
Appears in: 'Raiders of the Lost Ark,' 'Rush Hour 3,' 'Terminator 3,' any film set on a spaceship

13. Oxygen Mask of Deception
If you're ever injured and there's a fugitive on the loose, RUN. Otherwise, he's bound to kill you, co-opt your stretcher and cover his face with your oxygen mask, earning himself a ride to freedom and more killin'; and if you're very unlucky, Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) in 'Silence of the Lambs' will do all that AND remove your face and use it as his own (yum!). This technique of using an oxygen mask to sneak out of a jam is so successful, even the good guys do it sometimes. Bad guys can't have all the fun.
Also appears in: 'The Negotiator,' 'Ocean's 11,' 'The Professional'

14. The Car Suddenly Won't Start
Cars just aren't reliable in the movies. Sure, they're fine when you're on a stress-less cruise through the city, but once the action starts, they have a strange tendency to break down or take forever to start for no particular reason. Though you're more likely to find your car stalling when you're on the run from a masked killer or zombies, car trouble also tends to strike those who've just robbed a bank or need to rescue a hostage. But hey, at least you can always hop in a cab and tell the driver, "Follow that car!"
Appears in: '28 Weeks Later,' 'Children of Men,' 'House of Wax,' 'Out of Sight'

15. The Gun Is Out of Bullets
It's the moment of truth: You've got your enemy right where you want him. Cue the climactic music, the widened eyes ... click. Click. Whoops, no more bullets. Even more fun is when this happens to both you and your antagonist at the same time. What are the odds? No matter, it just gives one of you the chance to scramble to safety -- or to toss aside your gun and start doing neato flying kicks, like Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) in 'The Matrix.' Let's see a gun do that.
Also appears in: 'Desperado,' 'Face/Off,' 'Mr. and Mrs. Smith,' 'Mission: Impossible'

16. I Think I Love My Ex-Wife
It's not easy being a hero's wife. It may seem glamorous, but your hubby keeps terrible hours and consorts with unsavory characters, and the pay is lousy. What relationship can survive that? No wonder so many heroes wind up divorced or separated, forced to save the world while estranged from their true loves. Fortunately, there's nothing like being threatened or kidnapped to make a woman realize that all she wants is to be is Mrs. Hero ... again. (See also Female Hostage, The.)
Appears in: 'Black Rain,' 'Die Hard,' 'Minority Report,' 'Running Scared'

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