The Action Hero Theory

There are two kinds of male action heroes -- the tough guy and the pretty boy.

The key to the tough guy is not what he does to other people but what other people do to him.

In particular: he can take a punch.

The defining feature of action hero stories is that the hero does get beaten up, and a lot.

There's an early review of a James Bond novel that articulates this really clearly. They get physically broken, but not mentally. That's the deal. It's the genre.

It's why Harrison Ford was an excellent Indiana Jones, and why Shia LaBeouf shouldn't have been cast in: he's a different type of hero, the "pretty boy" who out-wits the punches, and tap dances on the enemies heads. Different cliches apply for his type


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