It would be more accurate to say I love action movies/stories. I truly enjoy seeing some bad guy get the mess beat out of himself by the good guy. Taken was one of the best action movies that has come out in the last couple of years, I think. I also enjoy the Bond movies. And Lethal Weapon (especially the fourth one). And no one can deny that Kill Billwas pretty huge, not to mention it’s one of the only serious action flicks that has a woman as the man action character. Who doesn’t love The Dark Knight? Or that last Die Hard (sorry, haven’t seen the others)? Shooter? Mission Impossible?Independence Day? And I’m a huge fan of the Bourne series.
So what makes otherwise peaceful people love seeing explosions, fist fights, and shoot-em-up style movies? Well, I think there are a few things that make us completely forgive murder and pain in the theatrical setting. Things that not only make us forgive. They make us want it. It’s true. I’ve sat there going, “I can’t WAIT to see this guy get killed.” Me. Female. Former Pre-School teacher. Less than 5’3″. Craving for the bad guy to get punished in a way that satisfies. Here’s why:
1. We Love Revenge. It’s true. How many movies use revenge to justify countless murders, broken bodies, and exploding houses/cars/boats. They killed my dog. They kidnapped my daughter. They took my memory. They terrorized my city. They tried to kill me. These are all part of the plots of various movies I listed above. And, you know what? We’re ok with that. Because we can relate. We’ve all been wronged in someway by someone in our lives. And we wanted to just haul off and punch that person. Or maybe that’s just me. But, guess what? If someone killed my dog. Ooooh boy. They better run. Movies sate that inner hunger for revenge. It might not be good, but it’s true.
2. We Love Our Country/Countries. Aliens, should they really exist, might as well avoid our world. Because we’ve seen Independence Day. And we’ve got Will Smith on our side. We love Mission Impossible, Bond, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Independence Day and more because they feature people working for their countries. They are out there, taking on entire terrorist cells, foreign invaders, or even legions of UFOs in the name of their countries. These action heroes are out there killing the bad guys to save our kids and theirs (or get the girl, if it’s Bond). You just can’t blame them for killing or maiming everyone that dares get in the way.
3. We Love the Dramatic. Have you ever seen someone put too much lighter fluid on a grill? It flares up, and we all jump back. But plop us down in front of a HUGE explosion on tv, and we’ll all be saying, “WHOA! That was AWESOME!” We don’t want to be there next to an explosion. Real explosions are dangerous. But movie explosions rock. Same goes for the shooting, punching, stabbing, etc. We wouldn’t actually lose control of ourselves and hurt someone just because they are jerks. But watching a movie where someone physically puts the jerk in their place,…well, that’s just what we WANT to do but never would because we’re rational adults, not calculating assassins doling out punishment. So we enjoy seeing someone do the dramatic thing for us.
Who remembers the movie Along Came a Spider? Alex Cross, played by Morgan Freeman, was the main character. Well, he, much like Jason Bourne, originated in print. James Patterson created Alex Cross. I believe there are 15 books featuring Cross, with Along Came a Spider being the last book. I’ve got the first one, Alex Cross’s Trial, checked out from the library. I’m really excited to jump into it. I love a well choreographed fight sequence and a good explosion on the silver screen, but following a character in a book-that’s my favorite. After these books, maybe I’ll read the Bourne books.
What other action stories do you think are done well in literature or in film? I’d love to check them out. And do you think I’ve covered the main reasons we love, or at least excuse, violence in movies? If not, what else adds to that?