There is something that is often overlooked in action movies. Oftentimes, the film gets away without having to ever properly show it. There are not many movies which spend extended sequences on foot chases. Some actors excel at running, and it becomes a trademark of their performance, while others are just so goofy at it, it almost feels like a nude scene that nobody asked for. Here is a non-exhaustive look at running in action movies.
1. Tom Cruise
This montage is great, you can really see early on in Tom Cruise’s career, the subtle hints of his perfect running style. He is throwing ALL his body into the run. Often, you can see that he’s running so hard, that he actually skids to a stop. The dude never ends a run with out doing a tokyo-drift of sorts. But despite the wildness of his movement, its always very much under control. That in itself, could describe his entire acting style. Wildly energetic, but disciplined in its release.
2. Sylvester Stallone
Stallone, perhaps, has the most awkward run of any action superstar ever. It is damn right awkward. Like someone taught a potato to run. I don’t get why he can’t figure it out. His head seems to cock like a chicken, and his arms seem to move faster than his legs, maybe he thinks it’ll give him more power. Or maybe he skipped leg day. Who knows, but the dude only runs more awkward as he gets older. Can’t fault him for it, he’s a senior citizen and more ‘roided up than ever before. Personally, i love that actors use steroids like crazy now. I love completely unattainable body ideals that go so far away from reality, that my own flabby self can accept it as pure fantasy, and it stops lowering my self esteem. I might feel bad about not ever visiting Australia, but i don’t care if i never go to Jupiter. Thanks Stallone.
3. Nicholas Cage
I love Nicholas Cage. He’s the Salvador Dali of Acting. But when it comes to running, the dude is as melty as a Dali Clock. He always appears to be a bit exhausted by the whole thing. His performances are always two sided, full-on nuts and then quiet, soft-spoken faux introspection. When it comes to running, he’s made the decision to be soft-spoken, which is one acting decision I must disagree with. He probably tried to run, in full-nuts mode, and ended up breaking his legs.
4. Vin Diesel
Vin Diesel takes after Sylvester Stallone, in running and in acting. They are both growly, almost incomprehensible when they speak. Their faces are both sort of lop-sided. Compare:
And Vin Diesel also runs like a potato with legs attached. Its sort of adorable, to be honest.
Compare Vin Diesel’s run to
5. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
The years of being a wrestler in the WWE, have made the Rock one of the most powerful, electrifying runners in cinema. Wrestling is filled with running. When wrestlers make big dramatic surprise entrances, they run to the ring. Before the Rock drops the people’s elbow, he runs across the ring twice.
He runs like the juggernaut, and if they made a grim and gritty Thomas the Tank Engine movie, he should be the one they cast. The Rock is a rolling stone, the dude moves like an avalanche. (Check out this post from Erick Freitas, for more on the underappreciated genius of wrestling)
6. Doctor Who
Doctor Who and Running goes together like cheese and crackers. That is why it’s on the list, despite Doctor Who mostly being a tv show. Doctor Who is a Time Lord, which is an alien, who looks like a guy, who flies around in a time machine. But for a dude who can go anywhere in time and space, he always seems to park a few blocks away from where he’s gotta go. Dude needs to hook that thing up like the batmobile, and have it come to him. I’ve always been a fan of the 9th Doctor, Christopher Eccelston. He was tall, lean and lanky. He dressed like Johnny Cash, all in black, and he looked like he was running to live, running from his past. David Tennant had a good run, which was made by his exasperated expression. He always looked like he was on the verge of a break down, and perhaps he was. The 10th doctor’s story arch is the story of a man losing his boundaries and discovering the consequences of power. Matt Smith is the 11th doctor, I suspect his training as a soccer player has done him too well. He just looks like a physically fit nice young man. I bet he’ll run in a final scene of a romantic comedy. Wait, who am i kidding? The 11th Doctor’s entire run is a romantic comedy.
That damn cowl never looks good on the move. For whatever reason, most of the rubber suit Batmen, have always had stiff necks. Don’t know how such an obvious design flaw made it past the prototype stage. The fact that Nolan Batman had to ask Lucius Fox to fix it, makes me think there’s a reason the military wing of Wayne Enterprises was shut down.
Batman often runs, not like a potato with legs, but like he’s carrying a bookbag filled with potatos. You ever try to catch a bus, when you’re a nerd and believe you should carry all your books at once in your backpack? You look like a penguin doing cardio. It’s ridiculous. The Burton/Schumacher Batmen, weren’t as stiff, but they had a bad case of shaky cowl. The cowl would always bounce around like that magic pencil trick.
Finally, for now, we are left with..
8. Steven Seagal
Steven Seagal is perhaps the worst runner of all time. He’s got such a wimpy run. It’s always been a fantasy, that Steven Seagal is in any way a talented martial artist. His entire career is a fluke. As a young man, he was scrawny and his hair was already thinning. At best, he was a tough guy in a shitty bar doing a bad Clint Eastwood impersonation. And as an old guy, he’s a fat dude with painted on hair. His fighting technique has always been the same. Quickly dodge oncoming attacker, twist attacker on to the floor or into an obstacle, occasionally snap necks. The dude is the worst. He’ll make you believe that talent is just a quirky idiosyncrasy of some successful people.
That’s all for now. This was an entirely useless list of running in movies.