311: Action Movies
Title text: By my count, only 48 of the 158 minutes in Live Free or Die Hard have action. That's pathetic, guys. Crank is better, but needs a bigger budget and more Summer Glau.
A common complaint about action films is that they are light on plot and heavy on pointless violence and special effects. The Die Hard series (including Live Free or Die Hard) are typical action films about which this complaint has been made. However, Cueball reverses the complaint, stating that proportional to the run-time of the movie, there could have been much more action and much less plot. He takes this idea to an extreme, saying that his ideal action movie should have only half a minute of exposition and otherwise consist of nothing but one long, continuous action scene. Megan adds that starring a well-known and popular character - one that audiences "never get tired of watching" - would further eliminate the need for exposition and provide more time for action.
The two come up with "River Tam Beats Up Everyone" as such a movie. It is unclear if this is the actual title of their proposed movie or simply a description or teaser. In either case, the name doubles as a more or less complete plot description.
River Tam (played by Summer Glau) is a character from the popular but short-lived TV series Firefly. In the show, she is shown to have almost clairvoyant mental capabilities (including being able to read minds and aim a gun without looking), and the series largely revolves around a conspiracy concerning her. In the follow-up movie Serenity, River also possesses superhuman fighting skills - early in the film, triggered by a subliminal message, she unexpectedly begins attacking everyone in a bar. Later, in the film's climax, she subdues an entire squadron of Reavers while hardly breaking a sweat.
The poster art for "River Tam Beats Up Everyone" is almost certainly inspired by these scenes from Serenity, and Megan and Cueball's decision to use River is based on her rampant popularity among the Firefly fan base. The poster's typeface, Papyrus, has also been used in many of the marketing materials for both Firefly and Serenity.
In the title text, Randall states that Live Free or Die Hard had far too little action and suggests another movie, Crank, as a better example. He goes on to suggest that Crank would have been better if it had had a larger budget and starred Summer Glau in a fighting role.
- [Cueball and Megan are talking together as they walk away from a cinema.]
- Cueball: Another summer gone without a mindless big-budget action movie.
- Megan: Huh? Die Hard was nothing BUT action!
- Cueball: No, it was too talky.
- Megan: What? Too talky?
- Cueball: I tallied it minute-by-minute. It's at least 60% people walking and talking. ALL those movies are.
- Cueball: Just once, I want a real action movie. 30 seconds of exposition followed by a perfect 90-minute action scene. One with a huge budget, a good choreographer, and a great director.
- Megan: And they should center it around some character we already know, someone we never get tired of watching.
- Cueball: I think we've got something here...
- [A movie poster is shown.]
- Coming this summer
- River Tam
- Beats up EVERYONE
- [The poster shows a line of doorways. In the background, numerous people are lying on the ground or draped over doorways and windows. River Tam is doing a flying kick into someone's face, and another person is emerging from the doorway closest to the viewer.]
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