In the golden age of action there were a few things which were essential for your movie to be awesome; here are a few I came up with.
Ridiculous Action Hero Names: This is key to any action movie. If your name isn’t Mason Storm, John Matrix, Cole Trickle, Forrest Taft, Ace McCloud or something rad then are you even an action hero?
Cool Characters: How come no one is cool anymore? Look at Bruce Willis, there was no one cooler than him in Die Hard or The Last Boy Scout but over the past 15 years he’s just become a miserable bastard. We need more badasses who smoke, swear, wear shades and more importantly have a wisecrack for every occasion.
One-Liners: This is one of my favourite aspects of any Arnie, Bruce or Sly movie from their heyday with classics like “Stick around!”, “Yippe-Kiyay motherfucker” or “It turns blue!” There is a distinct lack of memorable fun dialogue from modern movies and we need to get back to it.
Gratuitous Bad Guy Deaths: Something sorely lacking in modern cinema is the over the top and sometimes unnecessarily cruel demise of our villain. Yes, you can shoot the bad guy but that’s no fun; I want him impaled on a combine harvester or fired from a missile from a fighter plane into a helicopter or better yet thrown from a firetruck, falling through some electric cables and then getting his head crushed by a random piece of construction machinery (thanks Cyrus “the Virus”). Preferably while our hero says something cool or witty.
Training Montages: I know I’m not the only person who loves a good training montage; Rocky, Kickboxer, Bloodsport, Karate Kid; they inspire to rise above mediocrity and punch adversity in the face.
Inspirational/Cheesy Music: If Stan Bush isn’t on the soundtrack to your movie I’m afraid you already dropped the ball. You Got the Touch! Fight to Survive! So many classic songs all of which are on my iPod which I play at the gym every day. I’m going to say it but I think Rocky IV is the best training montage of all time.
Screeching Electric Guitar Music: Following on from that, practically every action flick in the 80’s and 90’s had an electric guitar theme tune especially during a car chase. If there isn’t guitar in your chase then I’m a little less interested.
Exploding oil drums: I have to tip my hat to Jon Truei when we were on a drunken night in New York a few years back and he brought up this important subject. Every bad guy lair whether it be a hollowed out volcano to a ship on the docks it’s important you have strategically placed barrels which will explode spectacularly during the movie’s climax. Just watch any action movie from the 80’s and 90’s and you’ll see these random barrels just sitting there waiting to blow up!
Strip Club Scenes: This will never happen in today’s climate but a guy can dream. In pretty much every action movie like Marked for Death, Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout and many, many more you aren’t investigating a crime if you don’t shake down a strip club.
Shouty Police Captains: So you’ve been to a strip club and asked a few questions; it then culminated into a city wide car chase causing millions of dollars in damage and the mayor ain’t happy about it. The police captain/chief isn’t pleased either and isn’t shy about his feelings.