Action movies have an "all powerful" and constant celebrity that we rarely acknowledge. This entity, so influential, that it has an entourage, and a fan club. Without the presence of this VIP, action films would be weak and meaningless, and remarkably less exciting. The question is, would the action film genre survive without the support and loyalty of this character? A leading light of most action movies, with the exception of martial arts films, deserves its due.
The idol power is mighty, for this superstar which usually appears as a potent force that is not to be reasoned with, it follows directives without fail. What would action be without the bullet?
The good and the bad folks are moved, usually to run very quickly when its projectile presence is near. In crime and mystery flicks it is the bullet which is first recognized and then the identification of said shell will guide investigators and viewers to the weapon and eventually, to the shooter. The overall power of the bullet is undeniable, these small silver hollows filled with gunpowder, generate much of the action in films. Bullets maim, hospitalize, halt, wound, miss and kill.
Bullets serve up a comedic role in some movies, in the Kill Bill films, remember the scenes with all of the injured people? Kill Bill bullets were Tarantino’s crazy departure from most action films, frequently, hordes of bullets fly in one direction and never hit any one; or if a bullet or two does meet up with a person, you can generally bet that individual is not the star of the film.
Movies also use bullets for a sick on screen amusement called Russian roulette. In this diversion a single bullet is placed in the barrel of a handgun which will normally hold 5 to 7 rounds. The barrel is spun and snapped into place and then the characters pull the trigger, hoping that the single round of ammo doesn’t show up while the barrel of the gun is pointed at their heads. Rarely do movie folk lose this game, but those who try the game at home do not fare as well.
Take a moment to think about films that have tons of ammo? Star Wars, Matrix films come to mind immediately. As a rule, war movies and science fiction films, provide the brightest, most consistent stage on which to showcase the bullet. On these sets the “big guns” appear and so do massive amounts of ammunition.
If you see a police uniform, count on seeing guns, and hearing bullets. Rarely does one actually see the bullet in a crime drama, instead, we witness the aftermath of a bullet visitation: shattered glass, a deflated tire on a moving sports car, a gas tank exploding, and the blood spewing out of a flesh wound.
Bullets can even do tricks, in the film Wanted, Angela Jolie’s character Fox, shot a bullet that killed about eight or nine people who were standing in a circle. Now that is one talented bullet.
The bullet served its most dramatic and inspired role in Westerns! It is the duel at sundown, in the center of town, the good and bad guys face each other grimacing, hands on weapons. Everyone knows who is going to win, who the bullet will choose, but it is such an exciting arena for the bullet; a grand hurrah for shot legerdemain.
For its role in the world of action, for its entourage (Colt 45, 357 magnum, and the machine gun to name just a few), for its ability to make criminals quake with fear and put up their hands and utter “Don’t shoot!” and for being the catalyst in the action film genre, bullets we salute your role in action films. Bang! Bang!