The honest archetypal “action hero” is a protagonist of an action or adventure centered media. Many of the important types of action heroes come straight out of comic books, western movies, television shows like the walking dead, or movie like, First Blood. This type of genre branches out to ordinary individuals that find themselves invulnerable to anything that seems to step in their way. We say that these people suffer from, “Action Hero Syndrome.” This type of trait seems to fall on people that suffer mentally or physically but never back down.
But what makes a hero? When we think of action heroes, we think of Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, or Dolph Lundgren to name only a few. A hero is someone who exhibits certain abilities or displays specific qualities that have been modeled by society as the ideal. Action is genre of film or television show that places this hero that contains the qualities and abilities society believes they should contain and forces them into obstacles, to which, they must overcome.
Together you get this archetypical “action hero.” We must suffer their losses and rejoice in their successes. Most action hero films make the hero not only fall into disrepair physically, but also mentally. When all hope seems to be lost, they find the light that carries them through. Some action hero’s have an innate ability that allows them to push forward and places them above most of their competition. There are others that are “human.” They produce no specific physical ability that makes them above the rest, rather, they use their unwillingness to give up and there wit to solve some of the most difficult challenges. We take this from the Die Hard and Indiana Jones franchises.
The stories of hero’s stretches back millennium. What we think as an action hero today, isn’t truly the same as it was two hundred or even one thousand years ago. Today, more or less our hero’s are mainly those that have human qualities and are thus human. In mythical times, hero’s were portrayed as individuals that were above the human condition, surpassed life and strength capacity. Some of the most prevalent hero’s come out of the Greek mythology, including Zeus and demigod, Hercules.
We are starting to see this shift in hero movies. Most theatre has strayed from the strict movie hero to the comic book hero. Most of this influence comes from this reemergence of mythology. A lot of imagination is coming to surface, giving a twist to the normal mythical character. To finally sum up the “action hero,” we look towards individuals that have this innate physical and mental power with forces that continually keep them in check. And we take action hero’s like other genres with the social norms of the day.