FAST BIRDS, FALLING SAFES, AND EMPTY EMERGENCY ROOMS

Now that all the world’s problems have been put to bed, the economy’s been quantitatively eased, Obamacares for the ill, the Middle East has had its Arab spring, and now fall, winter and summer, it’s time to move on to weightier matters—violence in Hollywood.

I’ve kept silent long enough. There is a growing epidemic of, for want of a better term, cartoon violence in our action-adventure cinema, and it’s got to stop. No one talks of it, neither conservatives, progressives, ethnic groups or the increasingly vocal LGBT community, so I must.

It didn’t start with the street fight in Rocky 5, I’m sure, but that’s when it first came to my consciousness. Venerable action heroes like Chuck Norris didn’t stoop to it. When he hit someone, they stayed down. A bone-crushing, jaw-mangling, tooth-extracting blow did what was intended. Bodies collapsed, emergency rooms and trauma centers filled—doctors had work to do.

Then, somewhere along the line things began to change. Perhaps plot lines were getting thinner and more air time had to be filled. Perhaps the video game demographic became just too large to ignore. In any case, one after another, movies filled the big screen like so many “real life” reenactments of Roadrunner episodes.

Have you seen the latest addition to the “Die Hard” franchise? Never have so many absorbed so much with so little trauma. Yes, the son of aging hero Willis’ character did wince when the metal object skewered his belly. But a little thing like that doesn’t slow a hero down. No need to invoke special powers or a Kryptonian upbringing to explain it. Long, drawn-out battles, trading one lethal blow after another, are just extensions of the “suspension of disbelief” you learned about in grade school English. Excitement trumps plausibility every time.

Perhaps it’s a sign of aging, but my love for Roadrunner (meep-meep!) faded somewhere in the depths of time along with my patience for the cinematic equivalent of the Ajax safe falling on Wiley Coyote’s head in grade B after grade B me-too action flicks. It must stop. So I ask you, dear reader, to rise up and join me in protest. Don’t patronize any production that allows this kind of cartoon violence unless the recipient is wearing tights, a cape, a hood, carrying a hammer or trident, or is able to hit a dime with an arrow at 200 yards.

It’s just not believable.

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