• Requiem for action cinema
  • Requiem for action cinema

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  1. #1
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    Requiem for action cinema

    So if you've known me for awhile, then you'll know that I have a love for the action flicks of the 80s and 90s. I love those movies more than any other kinds of movies. Many people see them as dumb entertainment for idiots but I beg to differ. I always believe that a good chunk of people respond to movies on a visceral level rather than an thoughtful, mental one. It's why comedies, horror, and in case, action flicks get a huge response from audiences. They're loud, abrasive, intense and can be un-PC depending on the film. For me, it's the cinematic equivalent of rock and roll.

    With the advent of bigger budgets and better, advanced visual and CGI effects we've been getting action movies on a grander scale. This isn't bad by any means. There's a number of big budget blockbusters that I enjoy. However, and this is probably just an old ass man ranting, I can't help but feel we've lost something from the bygone era of action movies. Sure, the action movies nowadays are probably better written and better acted but the action flicks of yesteryear had something that movies of today don't have; old fashioned craftsmanship. Back then, we didn't need CGI special effects to entertain. Pyrotechnics, stun work, squibs and solid camera work was all you needed. Hell, even in Z grade action flicks could be watchable just because everything was done on set. There wasn't anything added in post production (Aside from sound and music of course), it was done all in camera. This also brings me to another thing modern action movies lack; bite. A lot of the classic action movies back then were R rated, something they took full advantage of. I know it sounds sick but the blood in those movies gave the gun fights kick. You could almost feel the impacts yourself. There's a lot of classic movie shoot outs I could use to demonstrate this but two that come to mind is the opening shoot out in The Killer

    And the police station shoot out in The Terminator

    Just look at that. May it be The Killer's expert use of slow-motion to highlight the bullet hits (You could almost smell the gun smoke)or just the excellent use of sound in The Terminator (Especially that assault rifle Arnie uses. Just magnificent. The fact that they changed the sounds in the DVD and blu-rays is a damn crime against humanity), it shows that when all of that hard work comes together, you can't get anything better than that.

    Nowadays, you don't get that. Because studios want the broadest appeal imaginable, they go PG-13 so it doesn't scare away the kids or over-protective parents, and go with more fantastical stories like with superhero movies. And with CGI, as great as it can be, more and more it's used in these movies as a crutch. Instead of the organic in camera trickery, we get CGI fight scenes that feel like a video game cut-scene. There's no real sense of weight or impact with these types of fights. Even if in the rare chance that we get an R rated action movie, it's filled with shaky-cam to hide the fact the actor isn't really that skilled in fighting or we get CGI blood, which doesn't provide you with the same kind of visceral punch that old-fashioned squibs give you. Hell, even John Wick, a movie I love and consider it to be the best action move in years couldn't escape it. I know some people would argue that action movies have improved in quality and I'm just looking at it with nostalgia glasses, and perhaps they're right. Still, it's gonna take a lot of convincing to make me believe that the CGI battles in a lot of the marvel movies are better than something like this.

    So my old-ass man rant is done for the day. The floor is all yours.

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  3. #2
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    I actually like a lot of movies from the 80's and 90's. They felt more real. Like movies today are too touched up and over done and you don't get the same feel for them. I know the special effects are meant to make action movies look better today but a lot of times they end up making them look too unnatural.

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