What Do We Want From Action Films?

This is the exact question that I had after watching the latest installment in the Mission Impossible franchise. The reaction to the film has been overwhelmingly positive but I have heard more than a few people react in an indifferent manner. I wondered what made them react this way. So to identify that, we need to take a look at action films in general. The first thing that any good film in this genre should have is, action. And that can come from a range of sources be it gunfire, fist-fights or even a battle of the intellect. No matter what kind of action there is, it has to be entertaining. Just to be clear, in my opinion, Fallout is easily one of the best action films to have come out in the recent past. A lot of the scenes/stunts in the film will go down in history as being among the best of all time.

The biggest problem with action films is that there are too many of them. This has made it more and more difficult for filmmakers to surprise the audience. But it must be mentioned that sometimes it does not even feel like they are trying to do anything new. We expect so many things from a film like this, that more often than not, it cannot match up to our expectations. It is like wanting an entire buffet on a plate but we do not think about the quantity of the food we take and then end up disliking the buffet itself.

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What I am about to say might sound a little crazy but hear me out. The way we watch films in general has undergone a major change. An increased amount of knowledge about the craft behind the film, makes it easier for us to nitpick. It has to be said that nitpicking is not wrong in any way. It is important to criticize but you must think about where it is coming from. A lot of the gripes that we have with action movies these days, comes from what we expect from them. We want to see big set-pieces that are beautifully choreographed, we do not want to see one-dimensional characters. We want the film and the plot to be entertaining and engaging.

It is perfectly fine to want all these things but spare a thought for those making the movie. Sometimes, there is a real possibility of overlooking one aspect while focusing on another. In the case of Fallout, seeing the incredible and not to mention insane action, I was ready to forgive any shortcomings in the other departments. But even I was surprised at how much the film was able to engage me. This is particularly commendable when its the sixth film in a franchise. So when I heard people talking about how bland the story and dialogue were, it made me wonder if this genuine criticism or are people saying it just for the sake of saying something. Maybe this is just the way I view a film and I’m not saying that this is the right way to go about it, but it is something worth pondering. More than anything, go and watch Tom Cruise run and risk his life for your entertainment. In the end, that’s all that matters.

Until next time, bye.