I recently took my wife up on her suggestion to watch The Crown. And I have to say that I exhibited much more patience than she would have had for any of my viewing suggestions.
Several episodes into the The Crown and I’m thinking this is deadly dull. When will it pick up? Surely, something exciting must happen soon, I reasoned.
So I kept watching and waiting for this main character – I think her name was Elizabeth – to reveal that she’d been a feared hitwoman during the war. Maybe she’s a shapeshifting alien waiting for the proper moment to reveal herself to humanity. Or maybe she’s a robot, constructed to replace the real Queen.
If you’re familiar with this show about spoiled royals, you know that none of those things happened. That’s several hours I’m never going to get back.
Didn’t they take into account that they had to compete with the second season of Reacher?
Before this happens to you, let’s review what makes for a good movie plot element in these modern times.
Here’s the short checklist:
- Assassins who forgot they were assassins, because they had amnesia
- Assassins who change their identities to leave their old “assassin life” behind
No Country for Old Men and Bullet Train are examples of the first checklist item. The latter movie continuously brings a funny, dark sense of humor to its bloody mayhem. That differs greatly from NCfOM, which is dark, darker, and darkest.
To my mind, The Bourne Identity is emblematic of point number two. I loved reading the books by Robert Ludlum so much so that it inspired me to publish my first book — mentioned below.
John Wick is a prime example of number three. But a surprisingly good alternative in that space is Nobody, starring Bob Odenkirk. It has a great soundtrack, too.
If you like your killers on the female side, you might try Gunpowder Milkshake, The Protégé, and Jolt. The delectable Kate Beckinsale stars in that last one. All are marvelously entertaining.
But do you see a pattern?
It seems to me, every other movie has assassins in it. And truth be told, I’ve enjoyed many of them. I even dabbled in the same area myself, for my first book: Future Perfect, although I’ll take credit for an original plot twist.
SPOILER ALERT AHEAD
My amnesiac 19th century gunslinger turned out not to be an assassin, but a time traveler.
But are there any non-assassin plot devices? Why can’t moviemakers strive for some originality?
If they can’t get away from assassins, at least add a fourth category: assassins who intentionally get their memories wiped and then accidentally remember some things that prompt them to go to Mars, where they aid a revolution that they had been fighting before they got their memories wiped in the first place.
Oh, wait! Been done. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall.