Monday, January 22, 2007

Moral Ambiguity Means Good Action

Noticed something interesting. The most spine-tingling moment of Terminator 2 is the moment where Sarah Connor's escaping the insane asylum, and John Connor arrives to rescue her with the Terminator. The core conflict in The Fugitive isn't the conflict between the good guy and the bad guy; it's the conflict between the good guy who escapes from jail and the other good guy who's chasing him. This is almost exactly the same dramatic structure as the escape and chase scenes in The Rock, which have to be among the best such scenes in the history of the movies.

There's a stereotype that action movies are all about moral black and whites, and therefore they don't have any intellectual stimulation to match their frenetic pace, and that to some extent the frenetic action is there to cover for the lack of ideas. There are certainly action movies for which this is entirely true, but the best action movies include subtler conflicts as well, and the irony is, these subtler conflicts are actually more exciting to watch.

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