Action sequences have gotten a bit messy in recent years, and we’re talking about the increasing use of shakey cam. While Paul Grenngrass and his ‘Bourne‘ movies have mastered the art, most every film that has followed has been nearly nauseating. More than the rise of shaky cam though, action sequences suffer under their own lack of narrative necessity.
Here to help us flesh out the complexities of a valuable action scene is the short video essay “Action Masterclass: ‘The Terminator’ — Action As Storytelling.” “The Terminator,” the essay argues, is the perfect example of action serving story. Until the shootout in the Tech Noir bar, we as the audience know nothing about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s assassin. Here is when we learn — and Sarah (Linda Hamilton) along with us — that Schwarzenegger is an unstoppable robotic terminator and that Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) is there to keep her alive.
The video is an intriguing look at how much action can do to tell story in the right hands. It’s an interesting watch, especially in light of the recent Vulture article about the blockbuster’s desire to relay exposition about everything that’s happening and leave nothing to the imagination.
So, what say you? Are action sequences and blockbusters giving up on story, viewing it only as a means to connect the dots between shootouts and destruction? Check out “Action Masterclass: ‘The Terminator’” below and sound off in the comments.