The Ten Most Repetitive Action Movie Clichés

The Ten Most Repetitive Action Movie Clichés

1. The bad guy is super obsessive...

Yes, life long grudges exist and people can get insanely obsessive about one thing or one group or one place, but bad guys in these action movies will literally stop at nothing, including their own deaths, to get at whomever the one person is they feel has wronged them. I mean, they will literally slaughter half their own entire team sending them in to person. Logistically and financially, is that worth it? In real life, I think most real life evil warlords only really care about final end results. Did we kill all of their people? Did we destroy their entire neighborhood? Did my ultimate enemy die in all of that...okay wrap it up, we're good.

2. ...and must expose his entire plan to the hero

And while we're at it, the villain being obsessed with killing the good guy for years, finally catches him, and then wait what... sits him or her down and has a long chat about how s/he intends to kill them, how they arrived at this point, what the future holds....and then oh wait...!

The Ten Most Repetitive Action Movie Clichés

3. ...just in time for someone to save the good guy

Yep, while the bad guy action villain is wasting time explaining his life story of villainy, right about then is when the good guys team bursts in, shoots and kills him, and saves the day. Barring that, the hero will figure out the plan and save the day after narrowly escaping the action baddy.

4. The impossible feat is always possible (*except permanent injury or death*)

Did the good guy have to jump over an entire canyon with his car, slide down the side of a 40 story building and walk away, fight an enemy on a moving train and no one falls off unless it's the bad guy, crash his car head on into a train but manage to jump out in time landing with only a few scratches, be fired upon by 10 people with guns and manage not a single bullet. If it's an action movie, it's possible. It does matter what it is, the good guy will escape it with nothing but flesh wounds, or a montage of him/her recovering over a few months to then magically and mystically get right back into action with no after effects from their injuries.

The Ten Most Repetitive Action Movie Clichés

5. Danger is all around, but sure, let's do it

Impending death makes a lot of people do a lot of weird things, but this notion that people just jump into the sack right before or during extremely dangerous situations is clearly meant to keep some people in the movie seats. It stands to reason that you can't do it if you're dead, so maybe, just maybe a better plan would be to save yourselves and whomever first, before you do it.

6. Explosions of any kind are ridiculous

We have this natural human reaction to things that go BOOM and that's fight or flight. It is instinctual and cannot be made to go away "with practice." It makes zero sense that something could explode, especially behind you without warning, and you would not flinch or duck or move at all. The only way this is possible is if you were maybe deaf and could not hear the sound, but even a deaf person could feel that deep level of vibration that happens with intense explosions especially near by. Then there is the after burst of energy released in explosions that knocks people over. You aren't walking away head held high from an explosion 10 ft away from you! You're being hit by flames, shrapnel, the after blast, etc.

But it goes on. Every car with the slightest tap, bump, or drop from small height, just automatically explodes. The auto industry, believe it or not, works very hard to ensure that one car running into another will not automatically cause one or both cars to just explode. May very rarely catch on fire after a while or with other accelerant, but automatically explode, not so much.

The Ten Most Repetitive Action Movie Clichés

7. No one is getting hurt in those collapsing buildings?

Collateral damage only exists in movies if it's a person closely related to the hero or villain. Bad guy/good guy can go on a full on rampage after each other in the city, in the jungle, at the castle, wherever, and blow up buildings, collapse houses, run people over, but it's always invisible pain and suffering and none of the destroyed cities ever talk about the intense level of damage these guys caused. They just stand there and say thank you at the end over the burning rubble.

8. Only one person can fight at a time with no weapons

Wait! There are 37 of the bad guys and only one good guy, but only one of the bad guys can fight the good guys at a time?!? What? Better still, the good guy is unarmed and all the bad guys have weapons but let's call the one martial arts guy/girl who also has no weapons to come and fight rather than just all aim the guns at once and kill him/her.

The Ten Most Repetitive Action Movie Clichés

9. Do you know emergency surgery...of course you do!

Everyone including the good guy knows everything. Just got in this here plane that's going down and with the 8,000 buttons in front of them, they just figure out how to fly it. Or perhaps, they just got shot in the leg, their random friend can sit them down, pour some alcohol on the wound and just retrieve the bullet with a pen knife without hitting another artery and having them bleed out. Or perhaps its the enemies gun or other weapon the good guy just found, and knows how to operate despite it being totally different from any weapon they've previously used throughout their training or the entire film. Or, my favorite, the hero always pretends that he or she doesn't know the enemies language, but for that one scene, they surprise them by knowing everything they are saying and say something back in their native tongue.

10. Convenience is convenient

Right when the hero/villain runs to the elevator, it's right on their floor because they pushed the button. Gun runs out of bullets, the next one, happens to have a new clip fully loaded. Right when they are falling down a cliff, there is the tree branch to grab on that perfectly supports their falling weight. Right as they run out of the building, there is a car/bike/someone waiting that they can easily get to, or start, and drive away in. Right in the middle of the car chase, when the one car gets trashed, the hero/bad guy can easily jump to the next and not die.

The Ten Most Repetitive Action Movie Clichés

Action Movie Dishonorable Mentions

-you can punch anybody and they will go down unconscious immediately after that one punch

-if any character mentions any kind of family or we see any family in the movie, they WILL be kidnapped or murdered

-whenever the main character knows its a trap, they go in anyway

-Sure, the hero is shot in the leg and bleeding everywhere and doesn't wince or shed a single tear, but let someone pour a bit of rubbing alcohol on the injury and they are wincing in horrendous pain

-if anyone throws any type of knife, it hits the target perfectly square on

-if you are an action movie minority--you either will be killed off as soon as possible, know martial arts, or know some mystical magical power handed down through generations

-Police never question the hero no matter what he or she does. Sure they murdered those 18 people and caused a crap ton of damage, but that's okay, because they're the hero no questions asked

-When the good guy needs to escape his ropes or cuffs, there is always a key/sharp edge to help them nearby

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Most Helpful Guy

  • - There is conveniently something big and heavy over the head of the bad guy. The level to drop it just happens to be next to the good guy. Of course the heavy thing is probably held up by chains which come rattling down after the heavy weight.

    - Everyone tries to outrun a car, instead of just stepping to the side.

    - The severely overweight person can run forever. Wilford Brimley in The Firm comes to mind.

    - The women wearing heels stops to take off her shoes while being chased. Either that or the heal breaks off and what does she do? Breaks off the other heal.

    - In the chase scene they turn down a narrow ally. There just happens to be someone coming from the other direction. So they throw it in reverse, driving a perfectly straight line at high speed in reverse.

    - During a chase scene, picking up a metal trash can and throwing it at the guy.

    - The JUMP. Look at the distance to jump. Look back at the bad guy. Look at the distance. Look back at the bad guy. JUMP! The bad guy doesn't stop in time and goes over the edge, falling to his death.


Most Helpful Girl

  • All my favorites! I love how everybody always has an endless supply of amo and they can shoot and shoot for minutes at a time without reloading. That's why I appreciated the beginning scene of Deadpool where he only has 12 bullets to kill all the bad guys with

    Car chases are the best. I can't even get to work without having to honk my horn at some dumbass who cut me off, doesn't know where he's going, or is basically stalling in the middle of the road, but movie characters always manage to find those long stretches of road without any cars actually blocking their paths. Let alone that most people would drive off the road or crash early on into those chases

    Come on, everybody knows they teach you emergency surgery in action hero school! I've given myself some pretty crude stitches before, but they probably would've popped out if I had gone and kicked somebody with that leg. Adrenaline keeps you from feeling the pain in the heat of the moment and rubbing alcohol is a bitch, so I'll give them a pass on that one

    And there's always that one person in an action flick who is basically a just along for the ride and not trained at all. Seriously, this person would be dead meat, but it helps bring in that fantasy element to help make you believe you could be a part of it too

    I grew up watching the Mythbusters, so I love explosions of any kind while simultaneously being able to tell exactly how that wouldn't work in real life. Those car explosions though--the movie would be boring without them

    • AHHHHHHHHH!!! THIS!!! I developed this annoying habit of counting bullets after someone pointed out the unlimited supply of amo thing to me years ago, and it's one element I can't unsee in movies, but yes to Deadpool for really making fun of the entire genre. Reverential and hilarious at the same time. I totally get we couldn't have movies where the hero actually gets shot by one of those thousands of bullets and dies after the emergency surgery he did failed in the first half of the film, b/c what else would there be of the movie, but it's still just fun to talk about how unrealistic they all are and probably why we should leave this kind of stuff to cops... who do, in real life, actually die when they get shot at sometimes, and we'll just leave the rest to pure fiction fantasy.

    • Agreed. There are a lot of cop shootings near where I live, so I agree we need to leave the dangerous stuff to trained professionals. There's a guy in one area who dresses up as a vigilante when he's on duty for neighborhood watch and he's already gotten a bunch of gang hits put out on him. Now not only was it a dangerous area to begin with, but the cops have to deal with protecting this one guy

      Deadpool is my absolute favorite movie for pointing out flaws like these in movies. That part about the superhero landing being hard on your knees was golden

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What Guys Said 9

  • The emergency surgery one gets me every time.
    Johnny McCoolguy gets shot, and the first response is to pry out the bullet (which is not doing anything now anyways) in a basement with a pair of dirty pliers. Aaaargh just stop it, you're only going to make it worse!
    Same when somebody gets stabbed or otherwise has something stuck in them and the first thing they do is pull it out.

    • Even in basic CPR/First Aid, they tell you if you break something, something is lodged in someone, leave it in, wrap the object as gently as you can how you found it in the person, and then transport them ASAP because by pulling the objects out, you may cause more bleeding, or hit something else on the way out pulling it free that could kill the person. But sure, in movies, don't sterilize anything, reach in their grab what you want b/c you're going to live.

  • I actually came up with a story that has the first point in it - the protagonist will stop at nothing to kill the person who wronged them. But I'm trying to put twists on it so that it does not exhibit the typical clichés

    • Man hunts his enemy and makes his life hell. The hunted tires of this game and having his life at risk all the time so he decides to go find the hunter and kill him once and for all. He succeeds. He thinks he's free. A week later, the hunter shows up on his door even more vengeful than before because now the hunted has killed his twin by mistake. Boom! Mic drop.

    • No, he does not make his life he'll. A main theme of the story is that he wants to do this as cleanly and smoothly as possible with zero collateral damage. He believes his mission is to simply end the wrongdoer's life. Nothing more. Nothing less.
      The hunted on the other hand is a reformed man who lives in constant regret whilst also trying to move on with life. He is both running from the Hunter as well as trying to plead or reason with him - apologising and etc.

    • Oh, that was just my version of a twist plot.

  • I dont what you're talking about. These things happen in everyday life. Also those people are not actors. They are just normal real people that just happened to have soneone filming them with a 4k cam nearby. Duh.

  • Great Take again, these cliches are so ridiculous :D

  • Actually #1 IS true in real life, sometimes. Hitler drew resources from his war to exterminate the Jews.

    • But not for one specific individual did he befoul or financially ruin an entire army.

  • Haha yes, I love it. These cliches are super spot on. Their explosions always are accompanied by a gigantic slow moving fireball too, which in real life seldom happens, and the special effects people go to great lengths to artificially create them. Also guns always magically get way more powerful when the good guy is using them vs the bad guys. The apparent power of the good guy's handgun is often equivalent to a real life small artillery piece or cannon, where the bad guy's rifles' apparent power is similar to a real life airgun or.22 rifle in terms of damage done.

    • LOL, yes!!! Good guy weapon 927 bullets. Bad guy, same weapon= 1 bullet, it jams the gun, the gun explodes... into a giant fireball... in slow motion.

  • 😂😂😂😂😂
    Gotta love em. Good quality entertainment lol

  • they might be repetitive but they work, action movies make good money

  • 11. The Birt is ALWAYS the villian


What Girls Said 4

  • Just the other night I asked my boyfriend "do guys really go unconscious from one punch?"!

    • Anyone can land a knockout punch with a lot of luck or if they are a skilled fighter, but most punches in fights that are unplanned will cause damage like broken noses, bleeding, black eyes, but knocking someone out cold is not every fight, every person, every time, even with luck and skill.

    Oldboy does the 1st one very well.
    But yes!
    I wanna be able to deal these debilitating punches
    Black Panther in Captain America, I couldn't get over that he had essentially the spirit of Africa giving him powers (comic people, correct me if you want, I know it's a rough estimate XD) And then suit dude cheadle and skippy bird man were just sidekicks XD

  • LOL these cliches! I never get why the villian is so fond of talking to the hero and that too very amiably 😀

  • so true


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