I like action movies. I also like sci-fi movies with a lot of action mixed in. I love fantasy movies as long as there is a lot of action going on. I’m not made up completely of testosterone as I sometimes dabble with a few rom-coms, the occasional drama, and a smattering of mindless thrillers.
But you know what I hate? I hate action movies that are ruined by unnecessary romantic subplots. There is only so much fluff one can tolerate especially when one’s adrenaline is revved up and all we want are planes crashing, buildings exploding and robots fighting. Sure, sometimes the lovey-dovey parts are integral to the film but, most of the time, they overstay their welcome.
Here are stellar examples:
The Last Airbender (2010)
Don’t get me wrong, I love this movie. Little Noah Ringer’s martial arts moves are amazing and Dev Patel stole the limelight in every scene that featured Prince Zuko. I’m okay with Sokka but I can barely tolerate Katara.
Everyone knows that Sokka and Princess Yue eventually develop a charming infatuation but the schmaltzy farewell and kiss seemed a little forced since Jackson Rathbone and Seychelle Gabriel have zero on-screen chemistry.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
Ok, fine. So Padme and Anakin have to procreate because if they don’t, then we wouldn’t have Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker. Dark Vader wouldn’t have uttered those immortal words that established his paternity in the middle of a bitchfight with his son. We wanted to see young love, but we don’t want to see that much! Padme’s outfits were bad enough–as if a demotion to Senator after being Queen was a license to bare as much skin as possible around a creepy bodyguard. But the writhing, tumbling on the grass was traumatic! My brother shut his eyes, covered his ears, and sang a song to block out the Skywalkers’ intimate moments.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
This could possibly be the worst of all. I’m not a fan of Megan Fox but I missed Mikaela Banes so badly while watching the third installment of Transformers. Mikaela had spunk and wasn’t afraid to get her clothes (and face) dirty. Carly Spencer played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was obviously a mere ornament whose glaringly white suits and dresses stayed spotlessly clean from beginning to end. I almost felt bad for the poor girl. I loved the fight scenes, the destruction of Chicago, all the Decepticons and Autobots–especially Optimus Prime–and I even liked Sam Witwicky. But Carly… I don’t know why she’s even there. If they wanted to cover up Megan’s departure, suddenly-single-heartbroken Sam would have been more believable than suddenly-dating-a-blonde-airhead Sam.
I’m not judging blondes at all. I’m just wondering where Carly’s brain cells went because she didn’t see how much her repulsive boss wanted her. And what kind of loyal girlfriend would go to her boss’ house alone and have an intimate dinner with him? I was puzzled with Carly’s presence, especially the part where Sam would’ve moved heaven and earth to get to her. Who would rescue her? She just gets in the way and wastes precious screen time which could have been used for more robot mash-ups.
If there are overdone romances, there are also wonderfully written budding relationships. I’ll just cite one:
Reign of Fire
I would watch any movie with Christian Bale in it because he has one of the strongest, most distinctive noses in the history of cinema, second only to Colm Feore. Noses are important. The profile of an actor can make or break a movie.
Having Bale and Matthew McConaughey in one film would have raised the testosterone levels of any viewer. But Bale was wonderfully understated and McConaughey played the violent Van Zan to a T. Izabella Scorupco was easy on the eyes but she was also integral to the plot. She did her share of the stunts and attacked dragons as aggressively as the guys. And though the viewers were given a glimpse of the developing affection between Alex and Quinn, there was nothing more than a few concerned looks, a tad of consideration, and him throwing an arm over her shoulder at the end when they already had three months to get to know each other better. There were no blood-curdling speeches, no kiss before the dragon attempted to kill them and no smoldering looks across a crowded room. There were no distractions from the Man vs. Dragon plot or Van Zan and Quinn’s bromance.
Bravo, Rob Bowman.