3. The Super Badass Hero Whose Super Badass Past is Ridiculously Badass
Tobin Frost in “Safe House” isn’t just a very good former CIA agent, he’s a brilliant former CIA agent. Steven Seagal is never just a really good former shadowy agent, he was one of the best, if not the best. There is always a moment in any action movie where the bad guy (or some doofus) wonders out loud who it is they’re dealing with, leading a third party to scoff at their ignorance, before helpfully informing them (and us) about our hero’s super secret badass past that is so super badass that it borders on being super ridiculous. See, this guy isn’t just really good at his job, he might very well be the best. The exception to this cliche is when you’re dealing with an action movie where the hero is an Everyman. “Die Hard’s” John McClane also bucked this cliche at first, but let’s face it, even John McClane has become something of a supercop since the first movie. “Let me tell you a little something about John McClane, when it comes to dealing with terrorists in a confined space, this guy is the best there is or ever was,” etc.