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Commonsense Action Movie

No idiots, no villains - characters do the wrong thing for the right reasons.
  (+13, -4)(+13, -4)
(+13, -4)
  [vote for,

An action-adventure movie in which the protagonists aren't idiots, and there are no villans.

There are no scheming industrialists who care nothing for the environemt if they can make a quick buck; instead, they are normal family guys who strugge to balance the needs of their business and providing jobs in a competitive market with social responsibility. There are no vilanous, plotting managers, only busy, hard-working, harrased , tired men and women who make reasonable (but wrong) decisions on the basis of the available facts, with the best of intentions, but disastrous consequences which they could not resonably have forseen. The heroes and heroines are not supermen and superwomen; when someone leaps from a moving vehicle, they don't bounce up and start shooting, they groan and whimper and take a while to recover. The "love interest" doens't scream helplessly when threatened; she wears trainers that she can run in, not unsuitable shoes, and once she's thumped the bad guy and knocked him down, she doesn't run, she hits him, hard, again and again and again until he/she/it is well and truly disabled.

There are no insane dashes across town; people pick up the phone and call ahead. No-one goes into a house without waiting for backup to arrive; In each scene or situation, the audience member should be able to say, "Yup, I'd have done the same thing". It might very well be the wrong thing, but it would be the reasonable and sensible option. No-one takes short-cuts through the fog-filled graveyard where the deformed maniac with a sting of assault convitions is known to lurk; when uneasy, groups don't spilt up so they can be picked off individually.

The result ? If carefuly scripted, a movie like "Apollo 13", "Supervolcano" or (to some extent) "The Day After Tomorrow". Still a nail-biting roller-coaster ride of action and drama, but without those "Sheesh, what a DUMB thing to do" moments of the tytpical Dead Teenager plot, so ably parodied in Scary Movie.

8th of 7, Nov 20 2008

The Top 100 Things I'd Do If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord http://www.evilover...lists/overlord.html
It should incorporate these useful tips [hippo, Nov 21 2008]

Movie Physics http://www.intuitor.com/moviephysics/
Why do bullets spark when they ricochet off things?
Why don't people falling through windows cut themselves?
Why do cars explode so easily?
What is the curious attractive force between glass and the mortally injured which causes people hit by bullets to be thrown towards the nearest glass object?
Etc., etc... [hippo, Nov 21 2008]


       Baked: "March of the Penguins"
theGem, Nov 20 2008

       Well, yes, but that's rather Daily Telegraph .... "Small war, very far away, no British people involved".
8th of 7, Nov 20 2008

       "The Day After Tomorrow"?! Where everyone runs away from the giant touch-it-and-you-die wall of freezy death? The film in which the only sanctity from said global catastrophe is in an old wooden church?   

       Bah, perhaps you refer to the characters' actions within that dross pile of unfounded science fiction twoddle, actions which have otherwise been forgotten amid the film's boundless flaws.   

       Don't talk to me about "The Day After Tomorrow"... [mutter, mutter] I used to like Dennis Quaid [mumble] ... Inner Space was better...
theleopard, Nov 20 2008

       // the only sanctity from said global catastrophe is in an old wooden church? //   

       No, that's John Carpenter's "The Fog". Please, do try to keep up.   

       Yes, there are a quite appalling number of scientific flaws, if not impossibilites (not the least that Ian Holm gives the freezing point of jet fuel in Farenheit, not Celsius, when talking to a fellow climatologist) but the point is that by and large the characters do "the wrong thing for the right reasons".
8th of 7, Nov 20 2008

       There must be a string of modern war-based docu-movies that fit this bill? (By that I mean films that in some way look to recreate a feel of the events)
º Saving Private Ryan falls into the category - ok, it might have a slightly corny motif in it, but the military stuff isn't outlandishly different from the reality.
º Black Hawk Down has its roots in reality.
º Charge of the Light Brigade, or Zulu maybe (I guess they're inaccurate, but still follow a 'real' paradigm)
º Bedknobs & Broomsticks? ;-)

       {sp: typical Dead Teenager}
Jinbish, Nov 21 2008

       That would be bloody marvellous. It's also sort of what Asimov is about, though making his stories into action movies would be - well, actually, baked come to think of it, but only because Hollywood are completely loopy.
I suppose Apollo XIII is a bit like that.
nineteenthly, Nov 21 2008

       //The result?//   

       One thing [8th], disregarding your taste in films for a moment, you name three movies you believe do exactly this. So, in essence, you're saying it's already done by good script-writers (in your opinion), and then produced and distributed to the entire international film-watching community?   

       This is a place for *original* ideas [8th]. Please, do try to keep up.
theleopard, Nov 21 2008

       Fair point, but ..... no, not "exactly".   

       Apollo XIII is based (closely) on real events. Supervolcano is also based on real geophysics. The Day After Tomorrow comes close except the climatology is rather doubtful.   

       Saving Private Ryan is again rooted in real events.   

       To clarify, the idea is for a fictional but credible plot with realistic, credible, "non-fiction" characters, not a Docu-drama.
8th of 7, Nov 21 2008

       I can't believe I'm saying this, but "Fight Club" was notable in this sense. I remember enjoying the special effects they used inside his apartment, including a full cgi rendition of the back of his fridge.   

       All films used to be like this, it's just that the movie industry, being the movie industry, everyone's got to push the boundaries just that little bit further - so what started with the swashbuckling Flynn of the 30's developed into the swaggering Wayne of the 50's which in turn shifted into the leering 70's Bonds, finally exploding into true action-movie as we know it today in the form of 1982's Conan the Barbarian (this ignores the rich parallel veins of Kurasowean and later Wooist action that had been developing across the Pacific). The rate of escalation continued exponentially from this point, ever approaching vertical, and I can't decide whether the point of singularity was reached when Neo had a fight with a Million Smiths, or whether it was when Bruce Willis took out an airborne helicopter by crashing his car into it.   

       The hard part is squeezing "Action" in with "Reasonable Characters" - unless you're talking Sport, War or Criminality (which feature prominently, by the way) The two elements are kind of tricky in terms of coexistence, and all the clichés you identify are simply oft-used methods to build the world-view in which the conceit of an action movie can exist.   

       As for films that qualify - it all depends on the level of Action you use as your benchmark - set it low enough and you can include most oscar winners - set the level of "Reasonable" high enough and you let in a whole load more - e.g. Forrest Gump, Reservoir Dogs, and all of Quentin Tarantino, Bullit, any Heist movie you care to mention, All War films, All Westerns (excluding Will Smith in "Wikkia-Waah, Wikka-Waah-waah, wikkia, wikkia-waaa, wikka Wild Wild West") - the list could go on...
zen_tom, Nov 21 2008

       With respect to your mention of WWW, [z_t]. Soo-perb.
Jinbish, Nov 21 2008

       Is that Trafalgar Smith-Smith I hear turning in his grave?
DrBob, Nov 21 2008

       I think the best way to accomplish such a movie, which substitutes plebian proles for action superheros and prohibits rogue dinosaurs, robots or other outre villians is to have there actually be no action at all. Production values would be very reasonable because there would be no need for wireworks, CGI, etc.   

       The way to make this action packed is to use the most action packed soundtrack conceivable. The Youtube version of this would actually lift pieces of soundtrack from action packed movies of the sort 8th disparages - which despite their faults often have great soundtracks. The roaring, shouting and gunfire accompanying these borrowings would help counter the fact that the characters in the movie, which will probably be 8ths buddies 6th, 5th and ðth of 7, are tying their crosstrainers and walking around the yard.
bungston, Nov 21 2008

       We have no objection to good sound effects, well-composed, dramatic music, even special effects; the criticism is directed more at character scripting.
8th of 7, Nov 22 2008

       People entering a space with a high ceiling and/or an elevated platform of some kind actually look up.   

       No one walks into a room backwards.   

       Mythbusters are called to approve each scene.
James Newton, Nov 24 2008

       A number of French Existentialist films nmight already qualify...
gnomethang, Nov 24 2008


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