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Reel to Real: Mann Slams Modern Action Films. Is He Right or Wrong?

 

Michael Mann is probably responsible for some of the most cerebral and character-driven action films, having thrown out hits in the genre since the early 1980's. Whether it's Thief, Manhunter, Miami Vice, Collateral, or Heat, Mann takes to the genre often with thriller and psychological elements. Nowadays, though, he's not particularly pleased with how the genre has changed giving his recent interview with Total Film magazine in which he bluntly gave the following critiques:

I’m just bored by it. It’s not very interesting. I mean, sometimes the choreography is so outrageous that it’s fascinating, and it is quite good. But generally, no. It’s just stale.

In recent years, Mann's most notable action film Heat has seen many carbon copies, notably the 2018 film Den of Thieves which tried to do similar things to Mann's film such as covering the perspectives of both cops and thieves. However, Den of Thieves came under fire for being mostly just a carbon copy of Mann's film while being noted as far more bland with less complex characters. It seems Mann is basically saying that a major issue with newer action films is the lack of character to them. Replacing characters like Al Pacino's Lieutenant Vincent Hanna who suffers a rough home life and struggles with his duty as a cop, we have Gerard Butler playing a corrupt and intoxicated cop who cheats on his wife with no real redeeming qualities. Replacing Robert De Niro's Neil McCauley who has intelligence and even conscience that finds a doomed love, you have Pablo Schreiber playing a generic marine-turned-thief who is ready to kill anyone who gets in his way.


The 2021 film Wrath of Man had a similar element, broken into chapters that delved into the perspectives of the main character, the money truck drivers, and the thieves that are trying to rob them. Though, again, no character is given more than paper-thin backstories that drive their otherwise monotonous and cruel actions. In fact, in that film, it seems the best way to give credit to the various characters is to establish even more background characters in comparison. This is not to say there are not great action movies anymore, such as John Wick or the 2018 sci-fi action film Upgrade, not to mention foreign successes such as The Raid. However, these are often smaller indie films that one might argue just use limited budgets to maximum effect. Not to mention leaning on remakes, legacy sequels of classic films, etc.


What do you think, Sleuth News commentators? Do you think Michael Mann is right about modern action movies or off by a mile?

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9 Comments


Rambo
Rambo
Aug 19, 2022
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pusnisher having some fun

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jafinbham
jafinbham
Aug 19, 2022

Streaming just overtook Cable in the ratings for the first time ever. LMAO


https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-news/streaming-leads-tv-platform-rankings-first-time-1235201362/

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Rambo
Rambo
Aug 19, 2022
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steaming, cable, networks - they are all owned by the same companies. doesn't matter shit.


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Durand Simon
Durand Simon
Aug 19, 2022

It's just that most action movies today or action comedies like the hitman's wife or choregraphy galore like John Wick. Because it's way easier to put some recycled jokes than to create decent characters or even amazing dialogues just like the famous one from Heat.

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jafinbham
jafinbham
Aug 19, 2022

It feels like we're trying to compare Heat to Fast and Furious 10. There really isn't a comparison. One has real actors playing real characters the you seem vested in. The other looks like a crack head vomited on the screen. One has Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro sitting in a cafe talking to each other about how it's going to suck to have to kill the other one. The other has Vin Diesel giving some sort of speech about "La Familia" or some bullshit that I can't remember. One has a realistic shoot out/bank robbery that was so realistic that someone actually copied the film afterward and robbed a bank in the same way. The other shows Vi…


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Rambo
Rambo
Aug 19, 2022
Replying to

it's a different era of movies. when people are eating crap, spend hours in front of smartphones, doing tiktok,instegram etc. and taking selfies all day - it reflects in the terrible movies we get today.

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Rambo
Rambo
Aug 18, 2022

of course he's right. everything these days has become recycled, rehashed, heavily dependent on cgi/green screens and having zero story. most of the modern action heroes are weaklings which in real life situation will fall apart after a few seconds. and then of course there is that agenda that you never mention in your articles,sleuth, as if it doesn't exists.

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jafinbham
jafinbham
Aug 19, 2022
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