Haven't I seen you before?*
One example of the Action Hero
. With the emphasis on one
You know this guy, because you have seen him a thousand times. He has the lead role in almost every action movie and video game and, like Bruce Willis
or Will Smith
, has a single role that he repeats over and over again.
Unlike the Featureless Protagonist
, he does have fixed attributes, and they are always the same:
- Almost always American.
- Born to Blue Collar parents.
- Buzz-cut black or dark brown hair.
- And shaved, usually with Perma Stubble. Growing the Beard means developing personality.
- Usually a former soldier or police officer, very rarely in active service.
- Uses handguns as his signature weapon. Rifles and submachine guns are always immediately discarded after using them.
- Chances are good his name is Jack or John.
- Either has a dead relative or is only in the action hero business because he has to save a loved one.
- Has no respect for authority, but his boss secretly admires him for this trait.
- A tendency to use One-Liners of differing quality.
This character has become immensely popular as the protagonist in video games in recent years. The difference to an Featureless Protagonist
is that those characters are left without real characterization to let the player fill the character with his own ideas, while the Action Genre Hero Guy follows a very specific set of traits as listed above.
If you can remember a character's name, he is probably not an example.
Compare A Space Marine Is You
. For a common alternative, see The Ahnold
- The topic of this article.
- Chris Redfield from the Resident Evil series, who fits all criteria except for the buzz-cut. Jake Muller in Resident Evil 6, though, hits the look hard and fast.
- And Alex Shepherd from Silent Hill Homecoming, who fits the trope to a T. Except for the military background, which turns out to be a delusion to shield himself from a traumatic event.
- Murphy Pendleton from Silent Hill Downpour seems a close enough match, with a status as a convicted killer serving as his hard-ass background.
- Dan Marshall from Binary Domain.
- Isaac Clarke from Dead Space.
- The default Commander Shepard from Mass Effect has the looks (and the name; John), but can develop a personality depending on how you play him.
- Both Mercury and Jacknife from Mirrors Edge.
- Nathan Hale from Resistance.
- Preston Marlowe from Battlefield: Bad Company.
- Solid Snake from the Metal Gear series started as one, but did develop a very detailed and unique personality as the series progressed.
- Same goes for his buddy Gray Fox, whose actual name is Frank Jaeger.
- Galen Marek/"Starkiller," the protagonist from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.
- Nathan Drake from Uncharted fits almost every characteristic, except that he hasn't lost a loved one (he does what he does because he's a naturally curious adrenaline-junkie) and has sufficient charm to overcome his generic design. Played with, though, in that he looks kinda like Nathan Fillion.
- Jet Brody of Fracture.
- Deconstructed to hell and back with Captain Martin Walker from Spec Ops The Line.
- Despite his inclusion in the above article, and his name being as nondescript as John or Jack in his native Serbian, Grand Theft Auto IV's Niko Bellic has a beard as thick as his layered personality, the latter of which is fleshed out (with the player's help, of course) as the game progresses.
- Subverted in Far Cry 3. While Grant Brody might fit much of the bill, both in background (ex-US Army reserve), personality (motivated by a want to protect his family), and appearance (short brown hair and slightly grizzled), he is not the Player Character, and he is killed off already in the tutorial level.