Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Greetings! And the Best of Both Worlds: An Ode to the Action-Comedy

Hello, greetings, and good day fellow film lovers!

Allow me to take you to a place where the questions asked are as bold as the quests they inspire, and the babes are as bad(ass) as the puns spawned after them. My name is Brad, or Duke to the internet, and as long as you're aboard this crazy train the in-flight movie will be set to what I say it is: Action-Comedy. Or more to the point, action-comedy films of the 1980's and the 1990's. But first...

A Little About Me and Why I'm Starting This Blog

Think of this blog as a testament. An ode, really, to my favorite genre of film—the action-comedy. Why is the action-comedy the genre of film closest to my heart? I'm glad you asked, rhetorical question.

For whatever reason the Gods made Man a tinkerer. We tinker, Man. And from the fires of our tinkering we create things. Awesome things. Things that otherwise would have no business being together, come together under the watch of Man. And in those moments of producing one from two, Man transcends his mortal limitations and is able to play Creator. Just for a moment. Just for a second. Just to see how it feels. But, of course, that which Man creates and has created is then left behind in this physical plane forever, a mark upon the soul of the world. There are limitless examples: The Bow and Arrow. The Sword and the Stone. Nuclear Energy and the Atom bomb...

...Peanut Butter and Jelly. Alcohol and Girls with Daddy Issues. The Internet and Porn....

You see? Limitless.

The point is that all of these examples are the coming together of two great and terrible things that, through their unification, have forever changed the face of mankind.

I love action movies. And I love comedy movies. Action-Comedy is simply the marrying of the two and the awkwardly hilarious, adrenaline-fueled honeymoon that follows.

But then, when you  have to get right down to it, what is an Action-Comedy film? What actually separates an action-comedy from being just an Action or a Comedy film? Great point, rhetorical question, and once again I'm glad you asked.

The First Action-Comedies

No one can say for sure when the action-comedy first arose from the celluloid soup of film. It just sort of happened. It was one of those "Right place, right time" kind of affairs.

Or maybe it wasn't. Maybe it was premeditated. Maybe some big-wig studio execs got together in a big board room at the top of some downtown Los Angeles skyscraper, lit up and smoked some fat Cuban cigars until the room was nice and smoky and then decided "It's time..." and unleashed the Action-Comedy upon the world.

There are those that would insist that the old timey Adventure films and serials were the original Action-Comedies. Others would say that Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte really kicked off the genre with the first buddy-cop flick, 48 Hours.

What little actual research I have done shows that Action films in particular came into a sort of "Golden Age" at the start of the 80's and by the end of the decade, and into the 90's, hybrid cross-genre Action films were everywhere. And that included the Action-Comedy.

So what does this mean for you and me? It means that I'll be playing fast and loose with the term 'Action-Comedy'. I might attribute it to an Action film that's a little more Action-y than Comedy; or just the opposite, and attribute it to a Comedy that has some really sweet Action in it, even if it's only briefly. But don't get your panties in a bunch just yet. I'm definitely going to critique and dissect films that are undeniably worthy of the genre Action-Comedy.

The System

The films will be broken down in depth and given ratings based on five factors. 
  • Ridiculousness: This pertains to the ridiculousness of plot, of action sequences, of the main character or their predicament, etc.
  • Classiness: This is in regards to the classiness of characters, of how believable the actor portrays the character, of the authenticity of the time or how well the film looks and feels, etc. 
  • Cheesiness: This is, of course, in regards to the cheese-factor of the films’ on-screen romance, of any moral or ethical themes that are brought up repeatedly or poorly, the jokes and how they're executed, etc. 
  • Hilariousness: This one kind of speaks for itself, but if you aren’t sure what this is measuring it’s how funny the film is. Clearly.
  • Awesomeness: This will be determined by all the other scores combined.  But this is the measurement of the film in terms of sheer awesomeness. The Awesomeness rating will then be used in order to rank films in how they measure up against each other, so as to determine which Action-Comedy film of the 80’s and 90’s is truly the best.
And there you have it kiddies. Them's the rules and the reasons for'em. So now let's get to the fun stuff. To the action-comedies! To the art of awesome! To the cinema!

- Duke


  1. Hey!! I just found your new blog. Its sounds like you have a good topic, and lots of good material to write about. As a fan of '80s (and some '90s) culture, I'll be checking it out. Best wishes with it!

  2. @Lazlo: Thanks! Much appreciated! Hope you'll like what's to come!