Cinema has the ability to trick the viewer. It tricks the viewer into thinking the people on screen are actually emoting. The viewer knows that what they are watching is fiction, but cannot help but feel sad, angry or happy about the situation on screen.
Action films work in a tangent of this human emotion connection: they are marketed to satisfy most people’s lust for death and destruction. Like slowing down to observe a car crash on the road, people like to see something mysterious and rare. Poking their heads out in hope of seeing a corpse for the only time in their life. In action films, all these fantasies come true.
It is very rare that an action film will speak out against violence. With the exception of Michael Haneke’s Funny Games and the like, all are happy with their violent content. They also rarely categorically state that they are works of fiction.
NAKATOMI PLAZA is a reorganization of selected shots from the 1988 film Die Hard. The Protagonist, John McClane, runs around Nakatomi Plaza getting dirty and bloody but finds no enemies: they have been removed. As the scenery is repeated and John’s situation does not change, he is stuck in this building, scared out of his mind, looking around for someone to shoot. The breaking of continuity in the color of his shirt and selection of guns breaks the linear narrative and open interpretation to what is happening. Is he in a videogame? A dream? Nightmare? Is he simply insane?