Vince DiCallister, your billionaire boss, and owner of the DiCallister National Conglomerate, smiles his usual, self-satisfied grin at you. Next to you is Art Van De Showere, Director extraordinaire and faux french person. The both of them seem very pleased with themselves and are staring at you, beaming with unearned pride.
“We’re hiring YOU to write our movie because you spend so much time with those Bestie guys,” says Vince “And as we all know, the writers at Bestie are the best in the world”. “That’s true” Art Van De Showere chimes in “they are the absolute best”. “Yes,” you say, thirding what your boss and director said: “they are better than any other website. Especially those HACKS at (competitors names have been removed on the basis that I want to keep my job, but you know who you are).”
“Anyways” Vince DiCallister cuts off your long list of terrible Bestie competitors “We want you to have complete creative control, but we DO have some guidelines. Listed in….” Vince waits for the title to drop.
25 Action Movie Clichés That Need To Go Straight Into The Trash. Boom! There it is!
1. There is usually a scene where a bomb needs to be defused and it usually ends at the last second. Vince puts his hands out like he’s having some great revelation. “It starts and our hero has to defuse a bomb that will destroy their city. The moment is tense and action-packed because get this– they’re defusing it while on a citywide slip n slide. Then, at the last moment, before you think the whole place is going to go kablooey, they stop the bomb from going off!”
2. The heroes always jump through glass unphased. “GENIUS!” cries Art in response “Pure, unadulterated genius!” he then turns to you and does the same revelation gesture: “And then, suddenly, the slip and slide ends and CRASH! Our protagonist goes through 15 panes of glass, coming out with only a scar in a place where it would look cool”.
3. Ha ha! Turns out the hero was wearing a bulletproof vest! Foiled again, villains! Maybe shoot them in the HEAD next time! It’s either that or the bible stops the bullet. “But just when you think it’s all cool for our hero,” says Vince, standing up to appear that he has had the more genius revelation “two Russian/North Korean/Terrorist/Enemy of the Month death squads come up and fill them with bullets! But don’t worry! They had a bulletproof vest on the whole time!”
4. There is always a hacker and it is usually some nerdy, technically inclined character. Extra points if they have glasses and some nerdy hobby. Like reading! Freakin’ nerds, who READS anymore? Art stands up as well, a little taller than Vince, his arms still out like a bird. “We’re thinking of having a sexy support character who does all the hero’s hacking and tracking and whatever. She’ll be kind of frumpy, but not so frumpy that she looks realistic”.
5. Everyone automatically knows how to fix a wound. “Alright, so there’s our hero, lying down, covered in glass and bullet holes. How do they fix themselves, go to a doctor, right?” Vince hops on his chair, truly having the most genius of revelations “NOPE! They patch themselves up RIGHT there in the middle of the street! That’s totally kick-butt!”
6. The old cop and the young rookie are made partners. Of course, they don’t like each other at first, but learn to work together. “Right, and–” Art Van Der Showere’s revelation is so genius he knocks everything off of Vince’s desk and jumps on it: “we need to give our hero a partner, right? We’re thinking of a younger, sexier person as the lead, so their partner needs to be an older, grumpier counterpart. You’d THINK there’s no way these two will EVER get along, but…”
7. The fodder bad guys (I.E. Stormtroopers, Robot armies, ACTUAL Stormtroopers) usually have terrible aim and are practically made out of straw and ACTUAL fodder. Vince DiCallister has a revelation so great, he flips his desk with Art still on it, sending him careening into the wall. “Now, we want people to take the villains seriously, so let’s have their henchmen constantly get easily killed by the heroes and have them shoot like their blind, deaf and dumb.”
8. Recognize this line from every villain ever: We’re not so different, You and I. From underneath the desk pops the head of Art Van Der Showere: “The villain needs to be a dark reflection of the hero, so at one point he HAS to say: we’re not so different, you and me!” Vince looks at Art and says: “You and I”. Art replies: “Yeah, what are we doing?” (laugh track).
9. Need to hotwire a car? Just kick open the spot beneath the steering wheel and mess with the wires. Vince DiCallister gets so excited about his next genius, totally original revelation that he starts to rip the photos from his walls. “Sure, our hero has a sexy technical support nerd but they need to be street smart! Let’s have them hotwire like… 15 cars!”
10. You better not die in an action movie, because your funeral is going to take place in the rain. “Then,” says Art, kicking his revelation into the drywall “tragedy strikes. Our hero’s father’s cousin’s neighbor’s cat dies. The funeral, of course, takes place in the rain and of course, the hero at one point is alone at the grave, drops to their knees and goes: NOOOOOOOO!”
11. Fighting in fire? Just worry about how cool you look, inhaling smoke doesn’t exist in action movies. “That’s when,” says Vince DiCallister, punching a nearby mirror and having the glass smash all over his now bleeding hand “our hero walks by a nearby fire and decides to save the people inside. He is in there for at least 45 minutes and never passes out from too much CO2. Why? Cause it’s cool as heck and fire is dope!”
12. Do you have 77 henchmen to fight all at once? Don’t worry, the most they’ll come at you with at a time is 3. They’re polite, evil, baby-killing henchmen, after all! Art has such a genius revelation that he rips the door off Vince DiCallister’s office and tosses it out a window. “Let’s go back to the henchmen, you know, the totally competent ones who couldn’t shoot the side of a barn? How about in one scene we have a moment where our hero has to fight 6, 799, 628, 876, 091 of them, but they only come at him one at a time. It’ll be like… 4 hours of fighting, so people who liked the last Hobbit movie will love this scene”.
13. I told you, I’m out! I’m retired now, I’ll never come back to the force! What’s that, they have my daughter/wife/ neighbor/dad/cat/dolphin-man hybrid? Alright, I’m back! “So all this wacky stuff makes our hero retire to the mountains, where they make a living cutting wood and being generally sexy. That’s when his old boss comes in with a major revelation: the hero’s father’s cousin’s neighbor’s cat is still alive! And captured by the bad guys! Of course, they have to come out of retirement to defeat this evil menace” Vince DiCallister says this as he has his most genius revelation yet, so of course, he starts running down the halls of his office building, kicking and destroying everything.
14. Flicking a cigarette into gasoline, causing a massive explosion. Art Van Der Showere comes barreling from the mess that was Vince DiCallister’s office, fly kicking the receptionist in the face. “THEN” he says, excited and having something unseen revealed to him, “our hero will get caught in the bad guy’s warehouse. He is a BAD GUY, so of course, he smokes. He says: “Goodbye, hero” and then flicks his cigarette into some gasoline and blows the whole place up!”
15. Need an intense setting for a fight scene? How about a rickety bridge? Vince DiCallister picks up his unconscious receptionist and tosses her out a window in excitement over his newest revelation. “They escape the compound, burning and broken, but those really genius henchmen we talked about follow them. They end up on one of those carnival bridges that flip a bunch of times and have a fight scene. Trust me, it’ll be great!”
16. Who could that motorcycle helmet wearing savior of mine be? He is probably… what’s that? She took off her helmet and it was a WOMAN? Who could’ve seen THAT coming? Vince and Art are now grabbing as many employees as possible and tossing them through windows, their mutual revelations exciting them so. “Alright, so they get saved from the bridge battle by someone on a motorcycle. Then the presumed MAN takes off their motorcycle helmet and… IT’S A WOMAN!” “WOAH!” replies Art “you just blew my mind!”
17. Cool, action guys don’t look at explosions when they walk away. “Speaking of blowing,” says Vince as you worry this article might not get put up “There is, OF COURSE, a huge explosion where the bridge USE TO be, but our two new heroes walk away without looking behind them”.
18. The villain/hero must take on their counterpart one on one… even with all their henchmen/friends behind them. Vince and Art have now taken to throwing the furniture and office supplies out the window. “That’s when our hero is first confronted with the villain who killed his father’s cousin’s neighbor’s cat. The villain is surrounded by his infinite amount of henchmen, but of course he says: “Stand back. This one is mine” and fights the hero one on one”.
19. Think the villain is dead JUST because you shot him five times in the chest? Should’ve aimed for the head, because now their bleeding, dead corpse is pointing a gun at your love interest… “The hero beats the tar out of the villain,” says Art as a copier goes flying out of the building and into the busy street below “and our hero shoots them in the arm, neck, leg, chest, crotch, and feet. But just as he thinks it’s all over, the villain has a pistol pointing at his biker chick…”
20. The hero is always too good to let the villain die. “BOOM! The shot goes off, and the hero isn’t in time to save her” says Vince as the crash of a printer on concrete fills your ears “Given the choice of saving his girlfriend or the bad guy, the hero decides he can’t let the villain die or else HE’D be just as bad as the thing he swore to destroy. Wow. Philosophical.”
21. The hammy, over the top, dying in your arms scene. “BUT!” says Art, finishing Vince’s revelation with his own genius revelation “before he nurses our bad guy back to health, he, of course, needs to have a death scene with a girl. “We sure had a lot of good times, didn’t we?” she’ll say, or something equally as dumb”.
22. Even if the villain turns good, he will eventually betray the hero. “So, the hero nurses our villain back to health and a new partnership is formed to combat more, greater evil” Vince laughs at his own sarcasm “I’m of course kidding, the villain stabs him in the back”.
23. Every action hero who goes through something sad or life-changing grows a beard. “Our hero,” says Vince, spraying gasoline all over his office “broken and distraught by this totally unforeseen betrayal, grows himself a nice beard and returns to the mountains to continue chopping wood. And being sexy”
24. The hero will face the villain and lose, only to come back later and win. “Of course,” says Art, flicking a zippo and looking at Vince “our hero will face the villain and LOSE the first time, only to come back later and defeat him in a much more expensive, glorious action fight sequence”
25. There is always a ruthless woman who works for the other side, usually with bangs. “Here’s the kicker” says Vince as the three of you stand in front of the charred remains of his office: “The motorcycle chick, she was a bad guy the WHOLE TIME!” There is a pause between the three of you. “Pure. Unadulterated. Genius.” Art finally says. You shrug your shoulders. Hey, whatever pays the bills!
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