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August 28 2011

The ten most unlikely action heroes of TV and film. Witney Seibold gives his list of actors he just doesn't buy as tough or physically intimidating. Sarah Michelle Gellar comes in at number 4.

Personally, I disagree with most of the names and the reasons why, but then I wouldn't base something like this on size or appearance. To each their own.

well, from the write-up it's clear he's never watched the show. I'm not saying watching the show makes SMG look physically intimidating (she clearly isn't) but since Buffy has superpowers that basically come from a magic spell... well, her size and muscles really don't matter.
Exactly. The show's entire premise is based on a girl given the mystical power to fight the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness. It makes sense because a vampire is likely to go after someone they might perceive as weak. Thus the slayer isn't supposed to look particularly bad-ass or scary to vamps. Doesn't mean she's not going to kill the frak out of them.
I always loved how Buffy never looked intimidating at first glance, but when you saw her in action or when she gave a speech you took notice! SMG has an amazing, powerful presence (IMO). Remember her kick-ass delivery of the speech about how she had the power and the Watchers should be begging her to be let back in the circle of trust? Or the way she set her jaw as she fired that rocket at The Judge? I could go on and on. Gosh darn, I love my Buffy :)
Just remembered this relevant quote by Miss Calendar: "the part that gets me is where Buffy is the Slayer. I mean, she's *so* little". Exactly. Right?
It's not exactly like they didn't lampshade the fact. Probably best if you actually watch the show before commenting on it. Not to mention the fact that he has talked to the silly fans, if they think the show lost its way after highschool. I just can't get on board with that thinking.

I lot of those picks (RED, Hanna, as well as Buffy,) seem to be missing the point that it is meant to be incongruous.
Yes, he actually makes the point- she did not look like she could. But she did. A lot.
Anyone who mocks Cary Grant in North By Northwest clearly does not deserve to have their opinions taken seriously.
I wish people would actually watch a show before they criticised it.
In my opinion the author has more or less admitted to a total and utter lack of imagination. That's in addition to the hubris of judging things he has never seen.
Don't worry guys he talked to some of the fans. Who neglected to inform him that Vampire Slayer isn't just a status, it destroys his whole argument.

What really wouldn't make sense is if someone tough or physically intimidating played Buffy.
Even without magical superpowers, as a 5'4" 105# teenager, I was able to throw my 5'11" 180# cop stepfather across the room in hapkido class. I also made a pretty good showing at the firing range when he & my mother were competitive marksmen.
This list kind of makes me mad.... Obviously he's never watched the show and apparently the fans he spoke to never clued him in on the fact that when Buffy was called as a slayer, she was empowered with the strength to help her kick demon ass.
The writers lose a lot of credibility when they claim that the martial arts look fake, for actors that actually have black belts (like SMG).

I'm surprised Witney didn't list that comedian / Moonlighting actor who was cast in Die Hard.
Just yesterday so a short clip of Buffy punching Ethan in that warehouse. It was surprisingly convincing, a short sharp jab to the jaw. So, pah!
Seems to me that for most of these examples the whole point is that the characters aren't supposed to be typically thought of as tough, and that's the point. It makes them more interesting and their struggle all that more compelling.
Wow. Yeah, I mean, North by Northwest is about a guy who shouldn't be in an action film being caught in a big plot. That's the point of a mistaken identity plot. And wow, it's good that he saw Sarah Michelle Gellar in a movie theatre once, as that qualifies him to comment on how convincing she is in a show he hasn't seen which he's heard from others.

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2011-08-29 18:15 ]

Totally agree with your assessment. I kind of feel sorry for people like this who lack the imagination to be entertained by these things. It's a little sad. Most of the time when I hear complaints like this I tend to think it's sexism by people that are put off by strong women, but this list included men, so I have to go with the imagination theory.

And, of course, in Buffy's case, lack of actually watching the thing you're criticizing. Duh.

ETF: typo

[ edited by guidedby on 2011-08-29 21:34 ]
That whole article was written just so it would get featured on whedonesque. They just didn't put SMG at #1 to be obvious. :-)
In that instance, I guess it's my fault for taking the bait. :)

I'm curious to hear Witney's thoughts on Hit Girl from Kick Ass. If it turns out he's totally fine with it, that would kind of frustrate the hell out of me. LOL.
I could never put my finger on it before, but yeah, this makes complete sense. If it weren't for the physiques of Hollywood actors, everything that happens in action films would seem totally realistic.
Yeah. Vampire Slayer gets super powers. When Buffy had her powers taken, she nearly got herself killed.
yeah...not impressed with this. I mean, do at least a little research before talking about a show!
Ooooh, complainy time!

I'm not sure exactly if this is a terrible list or a terrible title. It's a list inspired by the author's objections to Zoe Saldana in "Columbiana." I believe the objections are:

1. She seems too dainty - better not mention this one around Jet Li ;-) Okay, some guns are heavier than others, but hey, no one can hold a heavy gun forever. Jeez, that's what the editing room is for! ;-)
2. Doubts that she can put enough power behind a punch to the throat - Um, that'll take anyone down. 270 1b guy's throat is just like anyone else's.
3. Not a "tough talking" action star. Admittedly, some things sound/feel more convincing when delivered in a voice with a bit more bass or roughness to it, but jeez, what a narrow box. I guess they don't subscribe to the "speak softly and carry a big stick" school.

These types of objections led me to assume that the only acceptable type of action star to the author are those like Arnold, Bruce, and Sly. In which case, a better title for the article would be: "The Ten Most Unlikely Tough Action Stars of TV and Film" or some such thing.

But given what was written, I'm truly unclear on how many of the author's musings are personal preferences and how many are just ignorance. For one thing, the author seems to equate action films with guns and then make the use of guns the litmus test of tough. Which is just plain silly, because after all, a gun is THE great equalizer. Toddlers can shoot people with guns - and have. :( It seems to me that basically the author is basing their opinions on how close the various examples adhere to film tropes and confusing fiction with RL.

But in regards to the actual list...I admit I haven't seen a lot of the films the author listed, so I don't know if the complaints about them are justifiable. But the following are definitely weird objections:

1. John Cusack - This is a big guy. He's 6'3"(190.5 cm). He has actually trained in RL things like kickboxing - in RL for fun. Did the author even watch his body move in "Grosse Point Blank?" Totally convincing pen action. (Author is clearly delusional.) But I'm perhaps a little biased: I love "Grosse Pointe Blank." I own my own copy and everything. :)

2. Patrick Dempsey in "Run" - Er, did they watch this movie? He's a kid who gets accidentally caught up in something that's over his head and spends his time literally running (which he does very well) and scrambling for a way out. He was perfect in the role.

3. SMG - What we're all thinking. Sheesh. *rolls eyes*
I think big ol' bruisers getting knocked out by a 90-pound girl never gets old.
BreathesStory - For John Cusack, you could also mention that he was sparring/kickboxing with Don 'The Dragon' Wilson in "Say Anything".
If I understand this correctly... since I'm 5'11", I have a future as an action star? Sweet, I like this insane troll logic.
Talk about completely missing the point. On more counts than one. A bunch of these examples are deliberately built around the idea of an unlikely action hero. Buffy especially. And the whole supernatural strength thing completely negates his argument. And even that aside, size does not matter, as many martial arts experts will tell you. Technique and quick thinking can often do much more than brute strength. Weapons can also be a factor. This guy just isn't thinking.
I was surprised to not see Yoda or Asterix on this hacky list.
As per everyone else here, what a load of tosh!
I suppose from this writer's point of view what Schwarzenegger did in the Terminator movies is totally believable because he's big and well-muscled.

A lot of the action in your typical action flick isn't believable even when it doesn't involve robotics or supernatural powers. No one would survive it. That's one reason I loved Hit-Girl. She's really no more unbelievable than Batman.

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