Tag: Paul Verhoeven

May 14, 2014 / / Main Slate

The 1980s are often considered to be a sort of ‘Golden Age’ for testosterone fueled action cinema, mostly manifested under the guise of some sort of jab at the violence perpetuated – and perhaps warranted – by the Reagan administration. Leading actors carrying guns of increasing size and power was a trend that could be traced back to 1971 thanks to DIRTY HARRY’s ever present .44 magnum which was “…the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off…”. That film was acclaimed and accepted by the public but deemed fascist by major critics including Roger Ebert and Pauline Kael, which should come as no surprise to the screenwriter – self described “zen fascist”, admitted firearms diehard and oozing machismo – John Milus. Following DIRTY HARRY, the vigilante film would become increasingly financially viable and an integral part of Americana, both on and off screens. DEATH WISH (1974) and TAXI DRIVER (1976) opened only a couple of years apart and were both set in the modern day wasteland one was likely to see/visit, New York City. Violent crime across America was a problem and, as in accordance with COBRA’s (1986) advertising campaign, it needed a cure and the movies were going to give it one. Or at least die trying.