Paul Parillo The Incompetence of Bad Guy

What is about the action movies of our time that engage us? Millions of explosions, car chases, machine guns, blood, sex, martial arts etc, it seems like there’s just simply too much to put an interested finger on. How many sequels have come from these gut wrenching flicks that either poison or enhance the franchise, and how many more will come before we start recognizing the most unfailing constant about the genre?

Antagonists and the henchmen alike are all, really bad at their jobs. It feels profound to say it, but unfortunately for me, it’s not. Are the wheels of that bullet ridden tank turning yet? No matter what the case- whether it’s a giant warehouse littered with visual obstacles, or someone standing four feet from their target, the bad guy just can’t get their shit together.

In your average revenge flick, you can almost guarantee the protagonist will be left for dead (a gunshot wound to the head even). And lo and behold, they return eventually killing their nemesis or sacrificing themselves in a bout of selflessness to protect someone less damaged or more important.

Then you have the shootouts; a couple shots are fired, people hide behind a pole, ding ding ding ding, no one ever seems to hit anything except objects that project dramatic sounds. It’s as if in almost every instance (even the more dire ones), the protagonist has got some angels in the outfield (if you will). They’re generally resting in the safe and comforting environment of the audience’s sad perception of good vs. evil.

It’s certainly common in fight scenes to watch our hero remain completely unscathed – sure they’re trained to fight, but at some point amongst the swinging chains, knives and bats, the element of human error has got to take place, right? Wrong, take a close look at a fight scene next time. It’s like watching a disgruntled and somewhat unorganized buffet line at the Mandarin. Every bad guy always appears to be patiently waiting for the guy ahead of him to go next. Some bad guys are just too polite to fight.

Where does one bridge the gap between the necessity of reality and effectiveness of movie formula? Some films smudge the line between the two with enough finesse that it takes a keen eye to notice the difference. I feel lucky as a moviegoer that I can still be swindled into believing such staged realities, I suppose I’d be a real dick if I couldn’t...........BOOOOOOM!!!!!

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