Hey, look at me
Walking away like Action Movie Hero Boy,
A subtrope of the Action Hero
, a Hollywood Action Hero is The Hero
of a Summer Blockbuster Action Adventure
Movie. He (and it's almost always a he)
is usually defined by a few specific traits that separate him from other types of heroes:
- Personality: Usually a Hollywood Action Hero is stoic and glib or wisecracking and jolly. Usually he's either creative or determined. This last one usually combines with Made of Iron to form Implacable Man.
- Intellect: Usually Book Dumb but deadly practical, sometimes unusually smart.
- Morality: A few are Anti Heroes but most are plain old heroes who are morally upright. That doesn't stop them from killing mooks yet deliberating a bit with villains though.
- Aesthetics: Usually rugged and unshaven, often muscular, and usually scarred.
- Martial Ability: They'll of course be Made of Iron or just plain made of hit points, soaking up tons of damage without stopping. They'll rarely fight with anything more complex than Good Old Fisticuffs and a trusty BFG or Hand Cannon.
Now compare the above to Common Mary Sue Traits
Unsurprisingly, these types can fall to Invincible Hero
if done poorly, especially when you consider your typical Action Hero wastes a mole
of mooks by movies' end. When it's averted, expect it to result in the hero bloody, bruised, and hurt badly by the end. He may be a Badass Normal
, but he still worked
for that victory. Speaking of normal, Hollywood Action Heroes rarely have super Powers
, perhaps because they tend to fit a male viewers "fantasy" of their ideal self, a strong warrior ubermensch
type who kills bad guys, does good, and gets the girl.
The phrase "action heroes" appeared early in the 1960's, used to describe the Charlton Comics
protagonists (later the inspiration for the characters in Watchmen
). This phrase, coined by Dick Giordiano, applied to their mostly non-metahuman adventurers such as The Question
and Ted Kord
. The era with the biggest affluence of Action Heroes are probably the 80's and 90's, with big name stars like Stallone, Schwarzeneger, Bruce Willis, and many, many
others starring in a half dozen Summer Blockbusters
every year. Many film critics lament that the current generation of actors has failed to produce a viable crop of Action Heroes, with only a few actors fitting the "classical" model like Jason Statham
, Vin Diesel
, and Dwayne Johnson
aka The Rock. There was also a big action movie scene in Hong Kong, with stars such as Bruce Lee
, Chow Yun-Fat, Jackie Chan
and Jet Li
kicking serious ass with kung fu (or Gun Fu
, in the case of Chow Yun-Fat).
The movies of the 2000s have instead produced the Action Survivor
who, rather than being a Marty Stu
, is more akin to a Self-Insert Fic
where Hilarity Ensues
. Occasionally both are teamed up as an Action Duo
. Contrast the Nerd Action Hero
Examples of Action Heroes:
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
Jean-Claude Van Damme