Action Movie Essay

In downtown LA a bus explodes in front of bomb-disposal cop Jack Traven (Stephen Baldwin). Shocked, he walks to a ringing pay-phone and picks the receiver up. "Pop quiz hotshot," a voice (Ed Harris) hisses, "there's a bomb on a bus ..." Meanwhile office worker Annie Potts (Halle Berry) boards the 2525, unaware of the drama about to unfold... The pitch, of course, is as good as it ever was. But had 20th Century Fox gone with the original casting choices, who knows if Speed would have become the major action hit of the 90s.

But then again Fox had few hopes with the cast and key crew that they eventually wound up with. Graham Yost was an unknown screenwriter with a factual book about spy gadgetry and a few sitcom scripts behind him. Jan De Bont was better known as Joel Schumacher's cinematographer of choice (Flatliners). And Keanu Reeves, well wasn't he the guy from Bill And Ted? Great at the shambling surf-dude schtick, sure... but playing an action hero? It's tempting to credit Speed's success to Graham Yost's screenplay; the central conceit is certainly a classic. It should be. Much of the original idea was Akira Kurosawa's. Back in 1990 Yost, then a struggling writer of book jacket copy and entries for The Encyclopaedia Britannica had first heard of an unproduced Kurosawa screenplay about a train that had a bomb on board and couldn't stop from his father Elwy, who with his regular TV show was Canada's version of Barry Norman.

The screenplay was made by the infamous Golan/Globus Cannon partnership in 1985 and predictably transformed into a box-office disaster Runaway Train. Yost eventually went to see the film and realised that dad had got it wrong, there was no bomb involved (in fact, his Dad may have been remembering the 1975 Japanese movie Bullet Train and mixing it up with the similar Kurosawa script). "I came out of the movie and thought it was pretty good," he later remembered, "but I thought it would have been better if there was a bomb that was going to blow up. Being physically able to stop but not being able to because something horrible would happen. And I thought it would work better on a bus. I pitched the idea to a friend and said the bus shouldn't go below 20 miles an hour. He said "Make it 50." Speed started to gather, well, momentum.

But if the problem that Speed's screenplay sets is a compelling example of the high-concept hook, the casting of Reeves and Bullock is the classy chassis over the purring plot engine. "Chemistry" is an overused word in movie circles, but this couple have the celluloid equivalent of Thomas Salter's Lab 7, the one with two tubes of magnesium ribbon. A fact attested to by Speed 2: Cruise Control's disastrous failure, partly the result of a moronic script certainly, but Jason Patric, ruggedly good-looking as he was, just couldn't match Reeves's buzz-cut brio.

When Jack Traven first arrives he's the picture of gum-chewing action man heroics complete with all the cool optional accessories: neck mikes, outrageous firepower, combat pants, a ramp-leaping car and a slightly less good-looking buddy with whom to trade wiscrackery. You wind up feeling that there is quite possibly a switch behind his velvety noggin with which to operate the Eagle Eyes. Sandra Bullock avoids the traditional screaming imperilment traditionally required of women in action movies and as a couple, they're as attractive as any in screen history.

And then there's the pace. Die Hard springs to mind, but even McTiernan's classic didn't leap into the action and salty Shane Black-esque one-liners (in fact, mostly penned by an uncredited Joss Whedon who did a comprehensive dialogue polish) as rapidly as De Bont's movie; he wastes no time at all. We meet our villain — Dennis Hopper as a psychotic action movie baddie, why didn't anyone think of that before — within a minute of the opening credits. Within seconds we've had a brutal head stabbing, a lift plunge, and Dennis Hopper laughing demonically.

Here, as with the rest of the film De Bont — with surgical precision — guts the movie of any extraneous material leaving only one gloriously extended action scene. For a movie so apparently self-assured it seems strange that Speed turned out to be an unrepeatable confluence of happy accidents.

Jan De Bont would reveal himself to be a directorial flash in the pan, delivering with Speed 2: Cruise Control the worst sequel to a genuine hit since John Boorman ordered up a mess of locusts and excreted Exorcist II: The Heretic.

Graham Yost sans Japanese input would prove unable to pull off the same bravura screenplay fireworks, penning the relatively disappointing Broken Arrow (1996) and Hard Rain (1998) before producing the truly unbearable Mission To Mars (1999). Sandra Bullock would go on to the sappy likes of Forces Of Nature. But it did transform Reeves into a copper bottomed superstar who would cement his rep as the key action performer of the decade by appearing in the next movie to utterly redefine the the action and sci-fi genres simultaneously: The Matrix.

There are very few action movies that cut to the chase quite as quickly as Speed and then have the stamina to keep it up for nearly two hours.

Nearly one hundred years ago, human beings invented the gadget called camera. Nobody could have known the importance of this invention when it was devised. After years, television and cinema were invented, and people gradually understood the importance of these gadgets. They had a chance to join entertaining, interesting, and even amazing world of television and cinema because the life they saw in movies usually resembled their daily life. Now people have cosidered that movies are inevitable for them. The movie industry has become the largest industry with millions of employees, and producers have started to earn enourmous amount of money from the movies that they made . While all these change were happining, people’s pleasures and trends changed. Going to the cinema and watching movies in the evenings have become usual events of weekends among the young people (youngster). There are several types of movies that people watch regularly, and we can catagorize them into three groups according to their popularity: comedies, action movies, and sentimental movies.

The first type of movies is comedies. Comedies are inevitable type of movies since people always seek fun and entertainment (or joy, recreation) in their lives. Sometimes life is boring and dull, and usually it is the problems that people face that make life boring. In such instances, these people would rather watch comedy films than struggle with their problems as they can escape from their reality. Interestingly, even a person who has lots of problems can forget his/her problems during the two hours that he/she watches a comedy. Moreover, there is no age for watching comedy films. Even your grandmother and your little son/daughter can watch comedy films as they are not too complicated, they are easy to understand, and they use common language called comedy. The most renowned comedian is Charlie Chaplin becuse he knew to use this common language. In those years, there was no sound in movies, but people were able to laugh at the mimics and movements. Even, now we laugh while we are watching his films. After Charlie Chaplin’s movies, producers understood that comedies might have a brilliant future. After that, they started to produce new films. Today, comedies are known as a classic. There are several poplular comedies. For instance, “Scary Movie”, “American Pie 1 and 2”, and “Road Trip” are the youngster movies. They include naughty young people who make fun of their adulthood. Moreover, “The Mask”, “Pink Panther” , “Ice Age” and “Shrek” are fantastic comedies. These films have fantastic and bizarre characters. Furthermore, “Liar and Liar”, “Hot Shots” are the comedies which make fun of other movies. Finally, “Ace Ventura” , “Dump and dumper” are the comedies which are performed by Jim Carry. Many people resemble him to Charlie Chaplin because of his popularity and his similarity to Charlie.

The second type of movies is sentimental films. Sentimental films are one of the most popular movies and usually sentimental films take awards in Oscar cerenomy. For example “Titanic”, “Life is beautiful” and “English patient” are the award takers that I can remeber in recent years. In this types of movies, we usually come across with dramatic stories, modern love stories, and tragic love stories. People watch sentimental films since the subject of these movies is not new for people. Everyone can experience love stories. People’s nature is set up for partnership. The most important sentimental film, which people have ever seen, is “Casablanca”. Then film producers (makers) have begun to make movies that affect people’s emotions. There are several sentimental movies. For example, “You have got mail” and “Sleepless in Seattle” are produced with (performed by) Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. Both of these films have a unexpected love stories. Moreover, “Sweet November” and “My Best Friend’s Wedding” are the tipical examples for sentimental movies.

The most poplular type of movies is action films. Action films are always favourite since they are different from others. They show us that life can be dangerous, dejected, bloody, and mortal or it can be glorious, innocent, and normal. It depends on the producers of action films. There are many different people outside of our houses and properties to make a movie about them. The action films deals with the endless action around us, and even the action around of ancient people and rulers. In fact, they affect us as sometimes they are produced with huge budgets. Directors and producers use computerized technics, and several action films are made in unreal studios or in computers with computerized technics. Developing technology allows them to built imaginary places or they can make a small-model of the place. For example, in “Fifth Element”, Star Wars’ series, and “Travel to Mars”, the cities, places, and strange machies were not real. They are the latest product of high-tech industry. Also, the batle ground (Miğfer dibi) in Lord of the Rings:Two Towers actually is a small-model. Furthermore, there are lots of explosion effects, hot pursuits between police and bad men in many action films. Some people watch action films in order to see explosions, blood, adventure, violence, visual effects, and popularity of these films. There are countless action movies that I can remember. For example, “Terminator 1 and 2”, “Robocop 1,2 and 3”, “Dune”,and “Star Wars:Episode 1 and 2” are the action films with robots and bizarre beings, and some of them takes their subject from other planets. Another example is “The Matrix, which in my opinion is the king of the action films, and forthcomming sequance may be better than “Enter the Matrix”. In Matrix, producers used computers many times. For example, during the fight between “Agent” and “Neo”, producers made the fight incredible with “Slow motion flying effects”. Also, the series of “Die Hard (1,2,and 3)” are the well known action movies. Furthermore, several movies of “James Bond (007)”, “Mission immpossible”, “Charlie’s Angel” are full of action scenes. These films are the reel action films. The series of “Lethal Weapon (1,2,3, and 4)” and “Mad Max” are the classics of actions with Mel Gibson. Recently, Lord of the Rings:Fellowship of the Ring and Two Towers, the imaginary historical fiction of Tolkein, get the highest revenue all around the world. The serie is not historical, it was the history which was written by Tolkein. Also, “Braveheart” , “Gladiator” , “Joan of Arc” are the reel historical films which took historical incidents as a subject. Finally, “Street Fighter” and “Mortal Combat” are the movies which was adopted from their computer games.

In brief, I catagorized movies into three common types according to their popularity. The first common type is comedies, and the second type is sentimental movies, and the most popular one is action movies. The development of movie industry started with the invention of video camera, and no one can know the future of movie sector. I suppose that as viewers, we will have a chance to join the movie with a character which we choose from the movie and the scenerio will continue in the way that we act. I hope we will live long enough to see this type of films.


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