The Lost Action Hero

An interesting piece by Stephen Hunter appeared in this morning’s Washington Post about the fairly vacuous topic of action heroes in film. I find it interesting not because I care much about action heroes (though I do like a good, mindless action movie now and then), but because—in comparing today’s to those of old—the author exposes a serious problem I’ve noticed with modern cinema and television.

In most modern entertainment, there is no subtlety. There are few complex characters—people who are neither pure good nor pure evil, but rather a realistic mix of the two in varying proportions. In modern television and movies it is rare to find a protagonist who you sometimes hate (House excepted) and equally rare to find an antagonist you sometimes like.

It’s most obvious in the action genre—has there been a good action hero since the ’80s ended?—but I have noticed this pattern in other genres as well. Think about it.

Scott Bradford has been putting his opinions on his website since 1995—before most people knew what a website was. He has been a professional web developer in the public- and private-sector for over twenty years. He is an independent constitutional conservative who believes in human rights and limited government, and a Catholic Christian whose beliefs are summarized in the Nicene Creed. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from George Mason University. He loves Pink Floyd and can play the bass guitar . . . sort-of. He’s a husband, pet lover, amateur radio operator, and classic AMC/Jeep enthusiast.