Posted by RazzaTazz (9479 posts) - - Show Bio

I should maybe precede this blog by stating how boring I now find action movies to be. I was recently forced to sit through watching Expendables 2, a movie which if given my own choice I would have turned off after about 30 seconds. The problem with action movies as I see it are an over reliance on shooting and gun violence. The repetitive nature of gun battles with a catchy one liner at the end (which usually isn’t so clever) makes it hard for me to sit through most of these movies any more. In fact I can’t remember the last action movie which I truly enjoyed, as they all appear to be the same with the same generic formula. I wonder at times if this formula though should stay on the silver screen and not be applied elsewhere. Part of the appeal of the action movie (I think) is that it is based on an overload of the senses, not on character development. That being the case, it is why I can still bear some sci-fi action movies (like Battleship for instance) as the entire plot is not based around the crack of some cordite. When it comes to comic though I am not certain what the appeal of gun based characters is. They are generally wise cracking just like the action movies, but for me one of the benefits of being in a world where superpowers are possible is that guns are somewhat boring by comparison. There is an interesting parallel here between “gun powers” and those kind of ridiculous stories from the 1960s where superheroes were forced into playing sports. The end result is that it is not really much fun to read. So the combination of a non-immersion in the shooting characters and a lack of significant need for such unextraordinary powers makes me why these characters fit so well into the comic medium, at least in recent years.

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#1 Posted by Lone_Wolf_and_Cub (4917 posts) - - Show Bio

It's not so much the gun but the bullets that make you dead inside! I kid I kid. ;)

#2 Posted by Betatesthighlander1 (7462 posts) - - Show Bio

@razzatazz:

you think gun battles are repetitive?

is there any kind of battle you do like?

#3 Edited by RazzaTazz (9479 posts) - - Show Bio

@betatesthighlander1: Well they are repetitive even in movies, but in that medium there is more of an immersive effect. Some battles are ok, but I find gun battles are pretty boring in a universe where almost anything is possible.

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#4 Posted by Betatesthighlander1 (7462 posts) - - Show Bio

@razzatazz:

oh yeah,I prefercomics when rediculously powerfulpeople are involved

ahev you readInfinity gauntles?

#5 Posted by Xanni15 (6758 posts) - - Show Bio

I've always found sword fights more entertaining, you can usually see the action. With guns and big explosions, it's almost like they're trying to hide everything.

#6 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

Huh, here I always thought it was a character's personality, goals, values, interactions, morals, etc. that drew people to them... not whether they shoot you with a bullet or heat vision. I guess I've been doing it wrong all these years.

#7 Posted by RazzaTazz (9479 posts) - - Show Bio
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#8 Posted by RazzaTazz (9479 posts) - - Show Bio

@ravager4: Are the personalities of the gun character very different though?

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#9 Posted by k4tzm4n (36433 posts) - - Show Bio

You know, I was actually agreeing with you up until this:

That being the case, it is why I can still bear some sci-fi action movies (like Battleship for instance)

/slams door

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#10 Posted by YourNeighborhoodComicGeek (19938 posts) - - Show Bio

My favorite type of battles are martial arts battles. They are almost always fresh, have really cool stunts, and extremely interesting to see. Its pure skill vs. pure skill, and one lucky hit doesn't mean an instant win, so its one of the most fair types of combat.

Sword-fights are my second favorite. Very majestic, and honorable (the same can be said for hand-to-hand combat in situations). European and medieval sword-fights are my favorite, with Japanese Katana combat being a close second.

Guns are the least epic. They are cool and have the most customization. They are fond to look at in games I suppose, but really they aren't spectacular. I don't mind them in movies and TV series, but I prefer them the most in war films where they don't focus on spraying and action one-liners. Dramas also tend to use guns well, usually as something that breaks the ice (or creates thin ice).

#11 Posted by RazzaTazz (9479 posts) - - Show Bio

@k4tzm4n: I would watch Battleship on non-stop repeat for the rest of my life, before being subjected to another second of Expendables.

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#12 Edited by Betatesthighlander1 (7462 posts) - - Show Bio

@razzatazz: what was your problem with the expendables 2? that moviekicked ass

anyways,Infinity Gauntlet has a scene where an omnicidal alien uses a magic glove in a battle against love,hate, chaos, order, eternity, a giant in a mustache, a giant with a purple suit, a time-man made of space, and 2 spage-god-robot-giants

#13 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@razzatazz: So you're saying is that all characters who use guns are written exactly the same? That is a bit of a gross generalization that doesn't give writers a whole lot of credit. I don't think using a gun as a primary weapon automatically makes a character boring. Bad writing makes a character boring. I don't know about you, but I read comics for the characters themselves, not the powers they have. Sure, cool powers are a bonus, but I don't take a look at a character and go, "guns? that character doesn't belong here, moving on." If it's a well written, entertaining character I couldn't care less what power they have.

But maybe I'm misunderstanding. What do you mean by a "gun character"? Are you talking about any character that uses a gun, or specifically some kind of stereotype?

#14 Posted by Inverno (13061 posts) - - Show Bio

With that said, no one has ever learned anything from Equilibrium when it comes to making a awesome gunfight.

#15 Posted by RazzaTazz (9479 posts) - - Show Bio

@betatesthighlander1: The lack of a coherent plot and so many cliches that it covered what there was of one.

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#16 Edited by RazzaTazz (9479 posts) - - Show Bio

@ravager4: I think in terms of gun based characters that they take a lot of fun out of the comics for me. I read comics as it is a medium where essentially everything is possible. It is like I wrote above, that characters are capable of the impossible, so it seems almost limiting to give a character as his main ability the skills needed to fire a gun. It is a medium where characters can fly through stars or fly to other dimensions. I am not wholly opposed to gun based characters, I was just saying that there is no real appeal for me in the characters themselves and that they are kind of boring. Inside of specific universes where there are gun based characters like Danger Girl where there are no other real powers, then that is ok, but even when they use them it is not about using the gun and how cool that is in itself, rather it is something which drives the plot.

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#17 Posted by dtm1980 (240 posts) - - Show Bio

@razzatazz: You need a balance between action and story, noise and dialogue, tits-out nudity and snappy dressing. I feel the same about most movies now but I did enjoy the Expendables sequel more than the original even though I found the dialogue worse, interestingly enough. It was just funny to see has-beens showing younger actors how violent stunts are properly done.

But as an appreciator of film and writing, I find myself needing a reason for the violence if there is going to be any. As a reader of the news and current affairs, I need a better excuse for violence than "that man/country is evil and we are the good guys trying to stop them!"

Funny you mention pointless gun violence in films. i just watched Seven Psychopaths and it has a lot of grisly scenes but they act as mere evidence to back up a case in a story of growing possible outcomes. There is a scene where a character is explaining a movie shootout he made up in his head and all of a sudden all the film's characters are parodies of themselves just pointlessly shooting each other to bits. You expect the film therefore to end that way. It doesn't because everybody tries to make sure they don't die so absurdly and for no actual reason. Perfect movie that makes fun of stereotypes, try it if you havent already.

But Equilibrium... that film had silly stunt action from an age where they were trying to revitalise a tired action formula. What really made it as good as it was, was the story, the characters and the context of fighting back against heartless fascist dictatorship and mind control etc. I enjoyed it like I enjoyed 1984 and V for Vendetta.

#18 Posted by End_Boss (725 posts) - - Show Bio

Guns tend to lie on one of two extremes in comic books. Either they're in a cape book and they're laughably insignificant (seriously, when was the last time you saw a superhero genuinely terrified of any kind of firearm?) or they're in a non-cape tale and have a serious impact on the scene (like in Revival or The Walking Dead). Honestly, at the end of the day it comes down to the quality (or lack thereof) of writing. Anything can be made to be exciting with the right adjectives applied.

#19 Posted by Betatesthighlander1 (7462 posts) - - Show Bio

@razzatazz:

the cliches were cool

and what was incoherent about the plot(though i would admit Villain had vague motivation)?

#20 Edited by mrdecepticonleader (17602 posts) - - Show Bio

Well the thing about guns in the context of comics are that people who don't have superpowers for example,Joker Two Face,Black Mask (most of Batman's villains really) Punisher etc,use guns because they don't have powers.Or characters like Deadpool who have powers but non really in the offensive type use them.

And I mean Batman is a good example most of his rouges don't have powers,so they use guns,knives,flame throwers,swords etc.And to me Batman has the best rouges gallery in comics.Really because they are very human.Alot of them symbolize a particular mental illness or part of Batman himself.Really the weapons they use aren't a big thing about them it goes for really any other character who uses them.So instead of the superpowers been a big thing about the character it can work to focus on the character them self.

Now I am not saying that Batman's villains who have powers are boring they aren't and can be just as interesting as the ones who don't.Nor am I saying that character with powers are boring either.

But to make the assumption that a character who has no powers and may use firearms is boring is ignorant.

The OP is pretty much your opinion and your preference,which is fine of course.

#21 Edited by Amaranth (8210 posts) - - Show Bio

There doesn't seem to be anything about guns which automatically ruins any chance of character development, plot or story. It just seems that the films that often have gun battles are aimed at a different demographic.

#22 Edited by Park (2969 posts) - - Show Bio

I think you might be generalizing a bit here.

#23 Edited by sagejonathan (1824 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree that most action movies are pretty stale. My dad gets loads of movies through netflix and I turn down watching most of them because I don't want to watch the same thing again. I can understand that. I don't think guns are boring tools though. I think, like you said, it's the formula of how things are made that makes it boring and repetitive.

#24 Posted by RazzaTazz (9479 posts) - - Show Bio

I am generalizing to be certain, but I am generalizing off of my own experiences with all kinds of media.

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#25 Posted by CromCruach2ndaccount (13 posts) - - Show Bio

As a fan of Westerns and trained to be a historian. I love well done gunfights in movies.

#26 Posted by TheCowman (461 posts) - - Show Bio

As a fan of Westerns and trained to be a historian. I love well done gunfights in movies.

I think that might be were the point of contention is though. A well done gunfight is always awesome. But I think guns ARE easier to "cheat" with though.

A martial arts fight or a sword fight have to be planned out and carefully choreographed if you want them to look good. With guns you can kind of skimp on the style if you ramp up the bullets, noise, and destruction. You can do the same with martial arts and swords, but I think it's a little more obvious with them.

#27 Posted by CromCruach2ndaccount (13 posts) - - Show Bio
#28 Posted by Avenger85 (1607 posts) - - Show Bio

I love guns and gunfights.

It's the liberals and their gun control laws that make me feel dead inside. But that is another topic for another day.

#29 Edited by TheCowman (461 posts) - - Show Bio

I have to disagree with this vehemently, the best movie gunfights are a choreography just as much as any unarmed martial arts fight or weapon duel.

Of course they are. But I'm not talking about the best movie gunfights. I'm talking about the movie that lacked the time/money/motivation to put that kind of work into said fight so they just put together a generic shootout with little imagination. I just think people tend to do that with guns more than they do with other weapons.

Kind of like shaky cam or bullet time. Both can be used effectively to enhance a scene, but overuse or lack of style can make them simply distracting and annoying.

#30 Posted by CromCruach2ndaccount (13 posts) - - Show Bio

Of course they are. But I'm not talking about the best movie gunfights. I'm talking about the movie that lacked the time/money/motivation to put that kind of work into said fight so they just put together a generic shootout with little imagination. I just think people tend to do that with guns more than they do with other weapons.

Kind of like shaky cam or bullet time. Both can be used effectively to enhance a scene, but overuse or lack of style can make them simply distracting and annoying.

And? Your argument post above is that gunfights are easier to make because you can just add explosions, noise and bullets. But here you're contradicting yourself by saying gunfights are more often poorly done. If anything these things are more often sores to the scenes when executed clumsily (Micheal Bay movies anyone?)

If gunfights were easier to pull off, then the majority of them would not be boring. The harder it is to pull off something, then more difficult it is as an artform. Logically speaking, then if it harder to pull off an actual good gunfight , then it is harder to cheat to get an actual gunfight scene to work. Then gunfifghts are harder to actual make good.

#31 Posted by The Stegman (23158 posts) - - Show Bio

Guns are boring, give me a good ol' fashion fist fight (preferably involving Jackie Chan and some props) anyday of the week.

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#32 Posted by TheCowman (461 posts) - - Show Bio

@thecowman said:

Of course they are. But I'm not talking about the best movie gunfights. I'm talking about the movie that lacked the time/money/motivation to put that kind of work into said fight so they just put together a generic shootout with little imagination. I just think people tend to do that with guns more than they do with other weapons.

Kind of like shaky cam or bullet time. Both can be used effectively to enhance a scene, but overuse or lack of style can make them simply distracting and annoying.

And? Your argument post above is that gunfights are easier to make because you can just add explosions, noise and bullets. But here you're contradicting yourself by saying gunfights are more often poorly done.

Not at all.

I'm saying gunfights are more often exploited poorly.

Your example of Michael Bay is an excellent one. Explosions are cool and when used correctly can be really epic. But if they're overused or used poorly, they become a detriment to the action and the movie overall.

I must not be explaining my point very well, cause from what I can tell we aren't actually disagreeing on any of the fine details. Except maybe that there tend to be more poorly done gun battles than other types. But seeing as guns are the weapon of the age, they are more often used in pop-culture, so it's kind of unavoidable.

#33 Edited by CromCruach2ndaccount (13 posts) - - Show Bio

@thecowman:Swords are equally abused, Ever since highlander made the trenchcoat sword wielding badass a staple of action/supernatural action adventure/etc movie. There have been so many poorly executed and boring sword fights. Especially since, Hollywood keeps trying to convince us that blades are more heroic/badass then guns.

the number of boring, uninspired sword wielding characters is staggering. The difference is that pop culture views guns as inferior weapons for heroes.

#34 Posted by TheCowman (461 posts) - - Show Bio

@cromcruach2ndaccount:

Eh, here's where I bow out of the discussion. I haven't got the numbers on which weapon set is used more in the entertainment mediums and lack the interest and motivation to try and look it up.

#35 Edited by Veshark (9058 posts) - - Show Bio

Wow, I went into this thread with an entirely different expectation as to its content...(hint hint: gun control)

I don't think the Expendables 2 (or action movies, for that matter) are the best representation of gun battles on the silver screen. For my money, war movies have some of the most intense and exciting shooting of any film genre. The epic battles of Saving Private Ryan. The sniper scene in Hurt Locker. The many shooting scenes in Generation Kill. I don't find their battles repetitive, and if anything, the noise and violence of gunfire really helps to portray the hyper-intense nature of the battlefield. The overload of sensations, if you will.

As for comic-books, I think that guns have just as much of entertainment value as superpowers or other conventional skill sets do. Of course this is dependent more on personal preference and context, but if you think guns in comics are boring, I'd recommend giving Garth Ennis' Punisher a shot. Some fantastic gun battles in that one (and I'd hardly call the Punisher 'wise-cracking'). Now it's all reliant on the comic at hand; I wouldn't want guns in GLC any more than I want power rings in Battlefields. But I would hardly call them boring or not much fun to read. And comics in general are a multi-genre concept, meaning that guns have a place as much of heroes with no powers.

#36 Edited by Amaranth (8210 posts) - - Show Bio

@veshark said:

Wow, I went into this thread with an entirely different expectation as to its content...(hint hint: gun control)

I don't think the Expendables 2 (or action movies, for that matter) are the best representation of gun battles on the silver screen. For my money, war movies have some of the most intense and exciting shooting of any film genre. The epic battles of Saving Private Ryan. The sniper scene in Hurt Locker. The many shooting scenes in Generation Kill. I don't find their battles repetitive, and if anything, the noise and violence of gunfire really helps to portray the hyper-intense nature of the battlefield. The overload of sensations, if you will.

As for comic-books, I think that guns have just as much of entertainment value as superpowers or other conventional skill sets do. Of course this is dependent more on personal preference and context, but if you think guns in comics are boring, I'd recommend giving Garth Ennis' Punisher a shot. Some fantastic gun battles in that one (and I'd hardly call the Punisher 'wise-cracking'). Now it's all reliant on the comic at hand; I wouldn't want guns in GLC any more than I want power rings in Battlefields. But I would hardly call them boring or not much fun to read. And comics in general are a multi-genre concept, meaning that guns have a place as much of heroes with no powers.

I think I agree with pretty much all of this. Good post.

#37 Posted by RustyRoy (11118 posts) - - Show Bio

Do you hate all kinds of action movies or just the ones which have guns?

#38 Posted by Veshark (9058 posts) - - Show Bio
#39 Posted by BlueLantern1995 (2448 posts) - - Show Bio

I went into this article thinking Gun control or something like that instead I got something totally different. Now to my answer.

Most action movies are bad. Its the 2nd worst genre for ammount of bad movies(2nd only to romantic movies). I don't think your problem is with guns per say but with the over load of action. A think called breathing room is missing.

If you want good movies with guns here are a few I can think of that didn't overload the use of it. Hunger Games is the 1st I can truly mention that I think you should like. In fact guns only appear in one to two scenes, the rest is just with bows and arrows, swords etc. The 2nd one Catching fire will probably have more but it will be basically the same...focused on plot first action 2nd(which is your problem and a problem a lot of people have with the genre). Avatar has guns(albeit a sci-fi movie) and is another one and is again focused on plot first action 2nd(actually with this film it is visuals first, plot 2nd, action 3rd but any who). Mission Impossible Movies 3 and 4(first one isn't worth any attention and the 2nd was not great enough to recommend) are two action movies with guns that it isn't an overload as well...

There are other good movies but as I mentioned above the guns aren't really your problem its the action is the primary focus not the plot and character development. I mean if I really had to bring about my reason for hating the Michael Bay movies its the overload of guns/explosions and less(or in his case going in the opposite direction) of character developing.

#40 Posted by Shark_Repellent_Bat_Spray (745 posts) - - Show Bio

@k4tzm4n said:

You know, I was actually agreeing with you up until this:

That being the case, it is why I can still bear some sci-fi action movies (like Battleship for instance)

/slams door

My thoughts exactly.

#41 Posted by RazzaTazz (9479 posts) - - Show Bio

I love guns and gunfights.

It's the liberals and their gun control laws that make me feel dead inside. But that is another topic for another day.

I wasn't really intending to make this political. I just wanted to say that creatively that I find guns to be uninspiring.

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#42 Posted by RazzaTazz (9479 posts) - - Show Bio
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#43 Posted by Delphic (1463 posts) - - Show Bio

@razzatazz I thought you were a fan of Terminator 2? Also from reading your other blogs I know you like the Bourne franchise. Many consider those action films.