R for warring smugglers, smashing glass, a career criminal drawn out of retirement for one last gratuitously violent job

Release Date: January 13, 2011


Do you, like many Americans, struggle to identify the protagonist in an action movie? Well, simply answer these foolproof questions about your prospective hero, and tally one point for each “yes” answer!

  • Does he seem reluctant at first to engage in violence, even though he eventually spends most of the movie on a killing rampage?
  • Is he drawn back into a life of crime for totally legitimate and honorable reasons, like saving his kid brother-in-law from danger?
  • Is he portrayed by Mark Walhberg?
  • Does he have a wife, and if so, does he promise to defend her “whatever it takes”?
  • Does another character – possibly his father – describe at length what a good citizen and upstanding father he’s become?
  • Does he first attempt to resolve his conflicts through peaceful negotiation, before resorting to awesome explosions?
  • Is a “quick temper” his one character flaw? (Note: What action movie characters call a “quick temper,” you and I would probably call “psychopathic drive for bloody vengeance.”)

0-3 points: I’m sorry, your character is in fact the coldblooded villain he appears to be.

4-5 points: Your character is the loyal and hot-headed sidekick of the hero. He has a good heart, but his reckless, impulsive ways create messes for the real protagonist to clean up.

6-7 points: Congratulations! Your character is the hero! His violent, antisocial behavior is, in fact, the stuff of real moral integrity.

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