5 of the Most Overused Action Movie Cliches You Probably Didn’t Even Realize Were Cliches

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3. The Super Badass Hero Whose Super Badass Past is Ridiculously Badass

Steven Seagal

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.

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About Nix

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Editor/Writer at BeyondHollywood.com. Likes: long walks on the beach and Kevin Costner post-apocalyptic movies. Dislikes: 3D, shaky cam, and shaky cam in 3D. Got a site issue? Wanna submit Movie/TV news? Or to email me in regards to anything on the site, you can do so at nix (at) beyondhollywood.com.

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  • ErickKwon

    If I can suggest one more: We Both Brought Guns To A Gunfight, But–The Bad Guy Who Throws Away His Gun and Decides to Go Mano-a-mano

    Recent examples: “The Raid”, “The Man From Nowhere”, “The Expendables 2″.

    You’re the bad guy whose crimes range from harvesting human organs to butchering cops, but when facing possibly the most dangerous and capable good guy, you decide, “No, shooting you would be too fast and not enough fun. Or maybe despite the horrible things I’ve done in this movie already, I have a tweaked out sense of honor that demands we fight like men, so let me put away this loaded and locked gun and give you a chance to kick my ass.” Now, I’m not going to grudge a movie for fitting in another kickass fight scene, but this gambit almost always goes south for the bad guy. Even if the bad guy wins, it’s not an easy win and he can expect at a bloody nose and maybe a broken finger or two. Even for henchmen, there’s gotta be easier ways to get your cardio in for the day.

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Nix

      I believe Van Damme ran out of bullets and it was Stallone who decides to go mano-a-mano. But I get your point. I actually don’t mind tis because like running from explosives, this kind of enhances the movie.

      • ErickKwon

        Ah, damn, stand corrected. And you’re right, I can’t begrudge it because in the case of “Man… Nowhere” and “The Raid”, it did lead to probably those movies’ best fights.

  • http://reeltalkonline.org/ Candice Frederick

    ahaha. love it.

  • Debo4735

    The badasss killer from Man from Nowhere really had to test his skills against this uber bad ass killer everyone thought was just a pawn shop broker, and that led to the best knife fight I’ve ever seen in a movie.

  • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

    GREAT LIST!!! Now lets get a Cabin in the Woods style actioner where they play with all the cliches and make them fun again!!