Mack Sennett, one of the greatest directors ever (over 1,000 films!) believed that movies were just an excuse for a chase scene. And if you look at the highest grossing films of the 21st century, you can see he wasn’t that far wrong. Movies may have changed a lot in the last hundred plus years, but … for the most part, film makers still rely on a few blaring clichés. Here are some serious film tropes that maybe – JUST MAYBE – have become overused.
Policemen, private detectives, firemen, Special Forces personnel, Forest Rangers and Boy Scouts all have a sordid past. This has left them cynical, sleepy, slightly constipated and world-weary. They live alone (mainly in squalor) and even though they have maximum trouble relating to women (past, present and future) they still attract the hottest females on the planet.
Evil men are good looking, usually corporation rich, have impeccable taste, beautiful wives and/or girlfriends, but despite being highly intelligent, always surround themselves with some of the stupidest henchmen in history.
All Assistant District Attorneys, world-renowned scientists, cryptographers, pathologists and assorted assassins wear push-up bras.
When confronted with evil, men will have body armour, guns, knives, grenades, poison darts, a jousting lance, nunchucks, assorted landmines, two bazookas and a sword. Their female companions, however, will have a thong, high heels, that push-up bra again and a butter knife.
Contemporary push-up bras are so comfortable that women normally wear them during sex, whereas men generally find their shirts far too constraining.
Dumb-ass sidekicks will invariably do some dumb-ass stuff that puts everyone in danger – more than once.
Every older relative (over sixty) of policemen, private detectives, firemen, Special Forces personnel, Forest Rangers and Boy Scouts has Alzheimer’s.
The deadliest marksmen in the world will always miss the first shot and then go nuts, spraying bullets around as if they’re flinging pennies to the poor.
Speaking of which, bullets love plate glass windows.
High speed car chases always occur in congested urban areas where the average commute times are measured in hours, yet the chaser and the chasee will somehow manage to weave their way through traffic at speeds approaching Mach 1.
When fleeing an explosion, if you run as fast as you can, you will get flung into the air and bounced on the ground like a rag doll. However, if you just calmly walk away (in slow motion) you will not be harmed.
Hand guns prefer to be just out of reach.
Villains never just kill the policemen, private detectives, firemen, Special Forces personnel, Forest Rangers or Boy Scouts as soon as they catch them, but always take a few quality moments to reveal and outline their nefarious plans.
When you hear subtle North African music, innocent North Americans are going to die.
When you hear a British accent, that’s the bad guy.
Like grouchy old men, petty thieves, prostitutes and crack addicts generally have a heart of gold.
Most criminal investigations, including parking tickets, will involve a strip club, a seedy bar, a scuzzy hotel or a crowded Techno-Rave nightclub before ending up at an abandoned warehouse, a deserted dock or an empty office building.
Policemen, private detectives, firemen, Special Forces personnel, Forest Rangers or Boy Scouts can be hit by a train, dragged behind a speeding motorcycle, trampled by a herd of panicking wildebeests and beaten senseless by sixty blood-crazed Shaolin monks without ill effect, but will wince painfully when a female dabs their wounds with a Kleenex.
So, what have we learned?
As much as Hollywood likes to pat themselves on the back for its oh so-o-o-o sophisticated storylines and complex characterizations, not a whole lot has changed since the Keystone Cops were falling all over themselves on the silent screen.