Top 10 Action Movie Clichés
Top 10 Action Movie Clichés

Top 10 Action Movie Clichés

There are countless Hollywood action films, and each has trained us to expect certain things for the full experience. This has not only made action films predictable, but gives us things we wouldn't want to go without, from massive explosions to wild action and bad guys who are hard to put down. Join as we count down our top 10 essential action movie clichés.

Top 10 Action Movie Clichés

When you watch as many action movies as we do patterns begin to emerge—some we hate, some like, and some we can’t live without. Welcome to, today we’re counting down our top 10 essential action movie clichés.

#10- Trigger Happy

No matter what the circumstance, it seems as though heroes always have the upper hand in a firefight. They dispatch enemies with ease, while the countless baddies seem unable to hit the broad side of a barn.

#9- Everything Goes Boom

As everyone knows, cars are highly volatile machines, seemingly made of tissue paper, birch bark and lighter fluid. Or so you would think by how often, easily and massively they explode. Explosions are awesome, if only more stuff went boom with such gusto!

#8- What Explosion?

Roger Ebert long bemoaned the cliché of humans outrunning fire, but even more ridiculous is the hero seemingly not noticing a huge explosion occurring directly behind him as it caresses his buttocks with gentle warmth. Look it up, that’s the definition of badass.

#7- Something To Live For

The worst thing to have in an action movie is something to live for. Having any plans means that you are already beyond saving, and might as well have a crosshair on your back. Don’t even think about mentioning retirement. This is a cliché perfectly distilled in “The Simpsons.”

#6- Just A Flesh Wound

While action movies play loose with the laws of physics, they play even looser with biology! Arnie, Sly and Bruce can seemingly shake off any sort of horrible physical trauma as a simple flesh wound. Simply put, it would be a pretty lame movie if bullet wounds or cuts caused them to stop fighting to look for a sterile bandage or seek out hospital care.

#5- Foreign Foe

European baddies aren’t just for James Bond films anymore. Having a foreign accent appears to be pretty much a mandatory requirement for terrorist school. This is especially true if a bad guy plans on being taken at all seriously by the hero or the authorities.

#4- Personal Vendettas

Money and terrorism are strong motivations for downright nasty actions by the villains. However, a personal touch like targeting the hero’s family always adds that deeper dimension. This often makes for bad guys that are just so bad they just gotta be killed with bare hands, cuz’ this time, it’s personal.

#3- Saving The Bad Guy

Despite what some might argue, it’s hard to claim you’re the good guy once you kill a criminal you could have just as easily apprehended. Just in case you forgot who’s got the moral highground in these flicks, most action heroes make an attempt to save the villain before that backfires. And then backfires again.

#2- Bad Guys Always to Die Twice

Everything is better with an explosive encore. Because of this, it’s an expectation that the hero won’t get off easy. Sure he can walk away from explosions, but he better take a minute to make sure his enemy isn’t just playing dead. Interestingly, a side effect of this is that films that skirt this particular cliché often feel disappointing or incomplete somehow.

#1- Killer One Liners

Here it is, our favourite cliché! If Arnie and company have taught us anything, it’s that the best way to dispatch a villain isn’t with lead or the law. Nope, it’s by giving them a zinger they would never forget... had they survived.

Do you agree with our list? Is there an action movie cliché that gets your blood pumping? Be sure to let us know and subscribe for more adrenaline fuelled top 10s.