Award winning screen writer Samuel Ely runs down his favorite on screen action heroes.
As the weather temperature increases so do my testosterone levels. Blue skies and sunshine maks me want to do manly things like climb the Grand Canyon, fight grizzly bears and eat dynamite.
Alas such activities will certainly end in my demise, if not purely down to my fear of heights, poor boxing stance or inability to digest fire. There are some things I just have to accept I’ll never be able to do.
But where man falls, action heroes rise. So in celebration of the things I’ll never be here’s a list of some of my favorite ball busters from cinema.
Little known facts: Arnie beat God in an arm wrestle without even breaking a sweat, Arnie made all the dinosaurs extinct by thinking about it and Arnie invented the moon.
You will note that I have not listed one of Arnie’s roles as I have done Willis’ or Allen’s. That is because with such an extensive and impressive curriculum vitae of action roles Schwarzenegger has transcended being an actor who simply plays action heroes, to actually becoming a real life action hero.
He’s been a commander, a barbarian, and a terminator. He’s also been pregnant and a politician, both in real life and in fiction but not at the same time. Yet. He’s saved the human race so often it’s pretty much permanently scheduled in his monthly diary.
Admittedly, he didn’t kick Batman’s butt as the pun-tastic Mr. Freeze, but then again that would be in direct conflict with rule 1 of the universe: Batman always wins. But he got his own back by having it stipulated in his contract that his name appears at the top of any movie poster he’s associated with. And with a name that long and hard to spell, it dominates the entire length of its spread. How awesome and burly are you when even your surname beats up other surnames!
But he doesn’t stop there. Oh no. He is a man (sometimes a machine) who blurs the line between reality and fiction to solidify his presence in the collective consciousness with his self-critical pastiche ‘The Last Action Hero’. A film where Arnie plays a popular movie star famed for his action hero roles, where one performance takes a life of its own and manages to leave the silver screen and exist in the real world, where he continues his one man attack on evil.
Come to think of it, it sounds more like an origin story.
The quintessential action figure, Buzz has it all - karate chop action, a laser beam, collapsible wings plus his helmet does that whoosh thing. Meaning Buzz is more than equipped to handle any lifethreatening situation.
However a difficulty arises when measuring just how awesome Buzz is because the usual avenues of calculation are closed. We cannot tally his body count, we cannot investigate the collateral damage of his explosions, nor can we debate the effectiveness of his put downs because Buzz is, through and through, a nice guy.
Be if we can determine strength of character by looking at the size of their heart then boy howdy does Buzz take the trophy. Never afraid to put his life on the line to save his friends, he is driven by love. The mark of a true hero and a true friend.
Truly a giant amongst men. And he glows in the dark!
Poor poor John McClane. Your marriage is on the rocks so you travel all the way to your wife’s place of work to reconcile your differences, but then Hans Gruber and his terrorist buddies decide to crash the party and kill people. Merry Christmas!
Oh well, stiff upper lip and all that. The odds are stacked pretty high against our John but that doesn’t stop him filling his quota of butt kicking. Shooting Germans off of sky scrapers, blowing up planes and ‘killing helicopters with cars’ McClane is never short of imaginative acts of bad assery.
He’s the Neil Buchanan of death who has barely enough time to pull the glass from his feet and stick his vest in the wash.
And when he’s not protecting the innocent and cracking jokes? He’s defusing bombs with Samuel L Jackson and solving riddles. With a headache! Someone get this chap another medal.