August 6, 2013

Educational Action

A lot of people think all action movies are dumb fun, with little to no merit and that after you watch them you cast them aside and eat more pizza. Admittedly there are a few movies like that, however that is doing the genre a disservice. There’s a fine line between being preachy but also making a point about real life situations in an entertaining fashion.

Let’s look at Taken starring Liam Neeson; it was an hour and a half of pure adrenaline but it also brought the awful sex trafficking trade into the public eye  and started a trend where every action movie would have sex traffickers as the villains. This is a serious problem in real life with thousands of people going missing every year.

Yes, Taken was entertaining but it really brought this subject to the fore and made you feel awkward about it, as you should. Whenever the bad guys are working in the trafficking of humans, you instantly have no problem with watching them get their comeuppance in whatever violent way possible.

Rambo (2008) showed the atrocities that have been going on in Burma for years and brought it to the attention of audiences. Thankfully Rambo blew pretty much the entire army away with a huge cannon at the end and once again it’s extremeley violent.

Because these were particularly nasty bad guys who rape, kill and are generally horrible then you have no problem with watching them die. After the film had been released (apparently) the situation in Burma improved and the government had a “change of heart”.

Bollocks? maybe, but then again maybe this action movie brought to attention some real atrocities that have been going on and finally someone decided to do something about it.

Blood Diamond starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou was a huge hit  because it brought the subject of the diamond trade to audience’s attention. Something most people wouldn’t ever think about was suddenly top of mind but the film also had heart and plenty of ‘splosions too.

Sometimes, however a movie can go too far into being preachy like Green Zone starring Matt Damon. It was clearly showing an obvious political agenda and it turned audiences off.

The trick is to get the tone right; to make sure your movie is entertaining and to not focus too much on ramming the message down people’s throats. It sounds easier than it is though but the next time people say all action movies are dumb (after you’ve taken your foot off their neck), you can educate them and say “well actually…”

About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel

I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it’s a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone.



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