There was a time when a train pulling into a station was a groundbreaking, edge-of-your-seat kind of moment in cinema. The Lumière Brothers 1896 film “Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat” created the earliest known action sequence. A few years later, after some other films like “The Great Train Robbery,” it was clear that despite these hair-raising feats, something was missing: the action star.
How spoiled we’ve been with our “Mission: Impossible” films and our “Spider-Man” franchises — the Tom Cruises and Tobey Maguires (and, yes, the Andrew Garfields too) without taking the time to think of where they originated. Ethan Hunt would not be clutching onto planes and exploding fish tanks with bubblegum if it weren’t for the diseased, swashbuckling lothario Erroll Flynn or ex-Olympian Johnny Weissmuller. The action hero, though intentionally and oftentimes overtly masculine, has been affected by complicated worldviews and given us little guys a ray of hope for decades.
In their terrifically knowledgeable three-part homage to the action star, CineFix has developed a brilliant chronological look at the progression the action hero has taken in American cinema. From Clint Eastwood in Leone films, to Bruce Lee’s gravity-defying leaps, to the perfect postmodernist archetype, Mr. Harrison Ford (he’s Indiana Jones, Blade Runner, AND Han Solo? OK, the man is a goddamn legend) these spots are a must-see for any cinephile. Be prepared for lots of explosions, shake a martini James Bond style (Sean Connery would be proud), and enjoy.