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What is a neck lift? and why is it important in films? Simply put It’s a movie trope frequently used to demonstrate
Super Strength, often applied to make one character appear
helpless or outmatched compared to another. It’s used A LOT in comic book and fantasy
movies So why is this important? Well Unfortunately it has been MISUSED to compensate for bad writing or to fill in for action scenes in PG 13s Which leads me to a term I’ve coined called
the “Protagonist throw” What is that you ask? It’s a neck lift combined with a throw Originally used for intimidation The earliest movie I’ve seen use the “Protagonist
throw”, and used effectively is in the original 1985 movie “Fright Night” When Jerry “the vampire” confronts the protagonist
Charley, In order to threaten Charley into stopping
his investigation on our villain The Antagonist demonstrates his super strength
by lifting Charley by the neck followed by throwing him across the room! Jerry is only threatening Charley and doesn’t
necessarily want to kill him! But he could kill Charlie if he really wanted
too an example of this would be shown Later in
the film When Jerry gets angry and kills a nightclub
bouncer, by crushing his throat and throwing him across a dance floor Now a MISUSE of this trope would be in the 2011 REMAKE of Fright Night where Jerry clearly wants to kill Charlie,
but for some weird reason grabs his neck and throws him THEN intimidates him for no reason, while
only 15 seconds earlier Jerry had just grabbed and killed a man with
no hesitation (original Jerry cameo) Now I know there will be people putting their
hands up and saying “Well durr, if Jerry had Killed Charlie the
movie would be over..” and they would be absolutely right! The movie would be over (roll credits) Which is brings me the whole point of this
video The “Protagonist throw” has been used more
and more to effectively ruin potentially great movies Case in Point The Terminator Franchise In the Original 1984 James Cameron version Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character “The T800”
kills a man by punching him very hard! Now I will ask you this question: how many times does “the Terminator” physically
touch The main protagonist Sarah Connor? The answer is once. At the very end of the movie! Where it tries to chock her but isn’t quite
close enough to get a grip on her throat. Now Let’s compare that to the more recent
2009 “Terminator Salvation” AS you can see both movies have the same level
of success and scores on IMDB.. oh wait OK well what about Terminator 2, the T1000
must at least poke John Conner? it almost kills him, but no it never touches
him, and for a good reason, The T1000 literally kills anyone within its
range, With that in mind, can you imagine it grabbing
John and throwing him? No, because would just be stupid, the suspension of disbelief within the movie
would be broken, and the threat of the Terminator within your
subconscious would be gone A movie does not have to be realistic, only
believable and internally consistent. When the director pushes an audience beyond
what they’re willing to accept, the scene fails in the eyes of that audience. As far as Science fiction or fantasy is concerned, I know I’m willing to go along with the expiations
and explanations of how the movie works, but when the laws of the movie are broken,
it comes off either contrived or funny and yes, John Conner should be dead in this
scene and Katherine Brewster should be dead too In the Mummy The main protagonist gets thrown around, while
everyone else around him gets killed.. In Game of Thrones John snow gets thrown twice and hit with the
blunt end of a weapon while the guy before him gets stabbed and
dies instantly In Immortals The Minotaur vs Theseus instead of just hitting Theseus over the head
with his club the Minotaur likes to throw our hero several
times “clearly a more effective technique for killing
him” I could go on with more examples But I think the most extreme use of neck throws
and knockbacks within a single movie, would be in Director
Bryan Singer’s – Xmen. Apart from a wolverine fight or two, as soon as two people or more see each other everyone ends up flying around on invisible
wires! There are ways to get around this trope for example In Prometheus the Engineer rips the android David’s his
head off and goes around killing people with ease (yes throwing someone into a wall at that
speed could kill them) This adds a high level of threat to his character as the audience has now witnessed the fact that if he gets his hands on you, “you’re dead” So when our protagonist gets informed he’s
coming for her, you know she’s in big trouble The engineer almost kills her but Director
Riddly Scott does a good job setting up the scene so she has an escape! Now if the engineer had grabber her, and then
threw her again and again.. it would have destroyed any suspense or realism, and left you wondering how she survived his
attacks? I’m not asking for movies to be like something
out of a Ninja Turtles cartoon where no one hits each other Or that action movies only work because their
R rated But I often find that as soon as a movie breaks
the rules it’s created, it becomes less enjoyable well – for me at least, I know everyone has different limits to their
“suspension of disbelief” Some may be higher than others and I know the “Protagonist throw” isn’t the
only thing wrong with movies today but it’s misuse is not helping things get
better! On that note I’m going to bring this video
to an end But I’m going to leave you with this question: What makes a good adventure movie for you? Do you care if the hero gets thrown around
like a rag doll? does that irritate you? or have you never noticed till now?

100 thoughts on “Why Action Movies Have Started to Suck: The Protagonist Throw!

  1. I personally think you're describing a symptom of the problem, and true, it's a symptom that highlights the problem. Formulaic fight scenes. Fight scenes with a crapton of jump cuts. You can tell when something's gone through a cookie cutter, and that's what movies pretty much are, today. The action has been given priority over the story. We have to have more action, and it has to be over the top, and each action sequence has to outdo the preceding one, until the point is reached that they are absolutely ridiculous and unbelievable.

  2. that's true, when a villain kills everyone in his path but never touches the protagonist, it feels far more tense as if he gets close to him he'd die.

  3. man its not fair!! every time I watch one of your videos I learn stuff and things like the protagonist throw come to my attention!!! … is why I love your channel!!!

  4. I'm a massive movie nerd ever since I could think and.. holy shit.. i never really picked up on that. I loved the video! Thanks! Got yourself a new sub!

  5. I wouldn't say the hero throw itself is the problem, more the lazy writing and Plot deciding everything. In the case of an assassin like a Terminator it makes no sense for them to not kill their target as quickly as possible, so a fist fight that a normal human vs a machine was stupid. But it branches out further than that for me. It's not only the hero survives something insanely dangerous simply because of plot, but also figures out some key clue or pulls the key McGuffin  out of their pocket just because. There is also the ninja effect the other way around. A clearly skilled and superior hero who fought his way through 1000 enemies drops to one guard smacking him to the back of the head because it's only the first act and the movie needs to draw the story out more. Suddenly they are incompetent in some way just to give the bad guys a chance.

  6. Between you well reasoned main point, and, importantly, putting spoiler warnings AHEAD of said spoilers, this was an exceptional video. Subscribed.

  7. I wouldn't say you have to look wider than just the throw. I hate it when supposedly ordinary, non super people survive a backhand from a giant robot or super villain or the like. I mean, they get hit with such force that they fly 15 – 20 feet through the air or sometimes even more. Their skeletons should be annihilated! It also saps all the cool out of a scene when 2 super creatures are going at it and throwing each other through walls if ordinary humans can survive the same sort of thing.

  8. The protagonist throw is a stupid one, unless the movie accurately depicts what happens to a person thrown at that force into a solid object. Even then, it's still a terrible way to kill someone, but at least people will stop getting up from a throw without broken limbs.

  9. I have notice it but not the throw part. Its just that a bad action movie seems like the protagonist or main characters are not in any present danger even though there are in front of someone or something that can kill him right away. Good action movies, you feel the suspense that something might go wrong at any moment.

  10. I have noticed how in 90% of fight scenes the stakes seem to be non-existent. I just wait for the fight scene to be over so I can get more plot stuff. I think The Throw is just a side-effect of that.

  11. Remember watching T Salvation and thinking it wasn't as bad as I expected. Then it got to the Bale scenes and it went down hill.

    The fact that Terminator and Robocop went from good 18+ movies to crappy TV shows for kids tells you a lot about quality these days.

  12. Spot on, absolutely spot on, i hate it when the "big bad" just chucks the hero around like a chump.(the villian is the chump here ofc) Kind of why I don't like action movies, boring, predicitible and completely unrealistic. Unrealistic in the way you describe it in this video, it had to fit the rules of their world.

  13. The valid point being made here is negated by the ridiculous use of blurry borders around the images which is a horrible way to present them thus proving the presenter doesn't practice what he preaches regarding proper professional storytelling.

  14. I bet we can all agree that the original ending of terminator salvation would have been better then the half hearted ending we got.

  15. This is spot on. For decades I've been saying that the throw in fight scenes is the cheapest way to elongate them. They are the McDonald's french fries of fight scene elements, having zero nutritional value. It can be done well only when used sparingly and actually causing pain that the character substantially acknowledges. Example: John Wick being thrown over the rail in the Red Circle club. Occasionally theres a goodun, but 98%are trash .

  16. I've never noticed this until now, like with the terminator explanation. It might actually be one of the biggest reasons why the terminators in the first two movies felt so threatening, while the later movies felt like action toys. I'm gonna keep an eye out for this now though, so thanks

  17. I noticed this, and yes it is annoying, and yes it takes away from the movie. When a killer robot (or mummy, or whatever) whose number one goal is to kill someone, instead decides to throw that character, allowing them to live, and not really be injured by the throw, it weakens the story and the tension. In the newest terminator sequels, it is just ridiculous that a Terminator, with 1,000s of files on killing humans instantly, decides to repeatedly throw someone….ugh.

  18. What makes a good action movie for me? A gradual build up and actually getting to know the characters before I'm expected to give a shit about them.

  19. It is however a great way of having two characters on the same level fight each other. When the unstoppable force meets the immovable object it looks great to see them beat the absolute crap out of each other with the impact of their attacks slowly depleting as they succumb to their surmounting wounds until eventually one of them is brought down. Two Terminators (the original Arnold version) would be a perfect example.

  20. I haven't noticed the protagonist throw specifically… but I've definitely noticed how much fluff in the fight scenes there are when the protagonist gets involved. Enemy could be slashing people left and right but against the protagonist he can't touch him (outside cosmetic damage), but if he uses his fist then all of a sudden his fists are homing missiles and will strike almost every time. The best example in my mind is Batman, in The Animated Series he actually took damage from blows and bullets (In theory) could kill him (Ignoring one episode where he dodges a tommy gun by standing still). Skip to "Beware the Batman" and he gets beaten up, blown up, and plunged 40 feet towards the earth and he is no worse for wear because the action might as well take place in another dimension.

  21. This has bothered my for YEARS! Most of the time, the villain would be some big brute buy who can probably smash skulls with his fists, they grab the protagonists by the head, and instead of crushing them, stabbing them, shooting them, or whatever, they just throw them across the room. I hate this SO MUCH. Just kill them! Throwing won't do shit, or rather it should kill them, but it doesn't.

  22. Thank you for making this video. I've been thinking this for years, I'm so glad someone has articulated it in visual form.

  23. I was aware of this dumbfuckery but not as to how wide spread it is.
    that Terminator Salvation montage is pure gold 😀

    and to answer your question:

    an adventure needs a clear set of stakes and a sense of danger for the protagonist.
    the biggest problem is not the protagonist throw, it is but a symptom of Hollywood's refusal to set a realistic stage (inside the movie's own rules) .
    When we went into The Force Awakens we all knew that Rey and Finn are save and will make it through the movie. Look at Trek or Transformers. same thing happening there. or the Marvel movies and shows.
    the franchisation of storytelling is the death of (excuse me for this) death (and tension) in movies

  24. Terminator 3 gets a bad rap here. The Terminator is struggling with his programming, and tossing Connor could be a compromise behavior that comes from the synthesis of his two competing command clusters (kill/protect John Connor)

  25. I had never noticed before, but I totally agree with you. It is a big part of what makes our brain tick: "oh, that's not so big of threat".
    I can't imagine jurassic park raptors throwing people around…

  26. Well observed, I hate this trope in movies and you're right, everytime it's used, a little of my passion for movies dies with it. What happened to good film makers, why did the last generation not pass on their skillset?!

  27. To be honest, that one "grab and throw" scene which you're using with the Terminator with Skynet trying to take over, I think the reason he is using the "Protagonist Throw" isn't because he is trying to intimidate, but he is trying to get the character away from him while he has some ounce of control, rather than killing him when he is struggling for control.

  28. the bad guy/s don't kill the protagonist when they can cliché, it's the same as when they don't shoot the protagonist in gunpoint when they can.
    'When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk'.

  29. Yes yes yes ty so much for noticing I thought I was the only one that thought movie's today are becoming clown shit! Not only with the example given here but with the female role becoming less believable as well with women completely man handling men no pun intended, literally throwing men around like rag dolls! Now in the 80s & early 90s there was some pretty tough women characters but they were usually if not always outmatched by villain unless she catches a very lucky break! Now what's disturbing is that damsel in distress role is not only diminishing but it's being reversed in alot of circumstances probably to do with social changes within our society!

  30. FINALLY someone has articulated this. I am exactly the same way. I enjoy a movie until the mega powerful villain starts to throw the protagonist around. When am I supposed to get scared? The answer is never because you've ruined that effect for me. And the Terminator 1 vs Terminator Salvation was a good comparison. I stopped enjoying the movie when the Terminator started throwing around John Connor.

  31. This is so bad in movies now that I'm literally sitting there saying 'Dead…' at every point in a scene where a collision, explosion, or whatever would have absolutely 100% killed a real life person.

  32. Rather than focus on this action type throw, I think you could more get a greater audience by highlighting terrible inconsistencies and great consistency within a movie.

  33. It's just lazy writing. The moment you create a deadly situation for the protagonist to be in you have to think up a plausible way in which he/she will escape. The throw has always pissed me

  34. I think what makes a good adventure movie is when the movie doesn't take itself too seriously. It doesn't have to be a comedy, but I hate when they try to be "gritty".

  35. Completely agree for years i have said what you have said about the terminator films. Once they have a hold of a human theres no way to break the grip so throwing them makes no sense.

  36. When the too much throwing around happens I just have to convince myself that the villain want to slowly kill the protagonist, play with him/her before the final kill

  37. I wish you'd do one on how many detective movies and TV shows from America and England have been ruined by the oh so overused emotional plot device of the protagonist's wife or girlfriend not understanding that he actually has to work for a living….. E.g. there's just been a massive shootout at the bank and the detective is called in… and THEN his woman starts crying and having a fit, saying he has to either stay home with her or they're getting a divorce. Sorry. I've dated women for 40 years now and have never met one to act so irrational and unreasonable. But Hollywood, the BBC and American television seem to think that this is what all women are like.

    The other much more than pet peeve I have is when the only way to move a plot forward apparently is by having the formerly utterly brilliant detective act like a damn fool. Where, for just one example, all the audience is saying to themselves, no no no, don't leave him or her alone! only to have their fears confirmed by that person then being killed… well duh! All the audience figured that out. Why couldn't the supposedly brilliant detective?

  38. I’m not going to address the content of the video, but I’m going to tell you I’ve seen a “good” action movie made in the last 5 years because I’m 17.

  39. All I can say is excellent. I always say old action movies might not have the money or effects of today but they are more entertaining and try to be as realistic as possible without compromising too much on quality’s and storyline. Most modern movies suck and with audiences getting dumber and dumber there is no hope. Bravo!

  40. Another thing is Maiden´s in disstress suddendly becoming kicking ass machines withouth trainning or logic explanation whatsoever

  41. I think the Mummy is a little different because it's meant to be sort of campy, invoking a lot of older adventure serials. Regardless, you make an excellent point. The protagonist throw can be used effectively, but I think it has the same issue as a lot of movie tropes: overuse or inappropriate use. Suspension of disbelief only carries an audience so far, and bad writing (in dialogue, plot, and action scenes) shouldn't be expected to be covered by it.

  42. Yes, this is one of the reasons I don't like superhero movies. It always seems to end up with the two characters throw each other into cars, buildings, cliffs, the ground, whatever happens to be around to throw someone into.

    And yes, in general, each movie must set the "rules" which govern the settings and the characters. And it must then abide those rules. If it breaks those rules, then it's just nonsense. If there are not rules set to begin with and they can just make up whatever they want to at any time, then what's the point? It's then just running around, fighting, throwing characters around, and the hero just wins in the end not because of any rules and skill, but just because that's just who ends up walking away in the end.

  43. this had always bothered me, its called "lazy filmmaking" its much harder to keep tension and trepidation between protagonist and antagonist.

  44. there is such an easy alternative to the protagonist throw. simply write a protagonist who is intelligent enough to escape the villain's grasp and or keep his distance from his opponent. eg villain grabs hero by the throat so hero stabs villain in the hand or if the film is pg or g the villain can grab the hero by the collar and the hero can escape by taking his shirt off.

  45. Check out the new predator trailer (the final one). The predator instead of killing the protagonist, holds him by his neck and is obviously going to throw him, whilst throughout the rest of the trailer, it doesn’t hesitate to immediately kill everyone else. Your video made me realise how much I hate this bullshit.

  46. In terminator 3 however both are there for good reason. T-X is trying to get info on John Connor's whereabouts and the throw is to scare. And T-800 is infected with nanites but is still fighting against that reprogramming. So he is attacking, because one part orders him to kill and one parts orders him to protect with the result being only causing harm. So, both throws are reasonable.

  47. Action movies are finally getting good after sucking for YEARS though? Like 1995-2010 were mostly garbage. Dredd, the Raid, and now John Wick have finally brought it back. Action movies are in the best place they've been since the glory days of the 80s.

  48. A Terminator was built up to be an un-corruptable killing machine that will reach down your throat and tear your heart out with no hesitation to complete it's mission. In one and two it never touches Sarah or John, in 3 and 4 and even 5 (only seen that terrible movie once) they get touched several times and greatly diminishes the threats of the Terminators, so yes it bothers me. Poor writing to put your titular creations in such a situation and make them feel less threatening.

  49. I think the most annoying part ist not the Throw itself, but the fact that it is repeated several times in a row, instead of getting to the core and either kill the guy or leave the place.
    Another thing I have noticed, is that bad guys often talk to much, especially when they are supposed to kill its victim. And that is why the bad guy is killed in the end.

  50. I remember in Terminator Salvation there's a part where a T-800 is shooting at John Connor in the lab. Then the Arnold-bot comes from behind and karate chops the T-800 in half then takes the gun from the T-800 and tries to shoot John Connor with. Then the Arnold-bot starts bitch slapping John all over the place but doesn't utterly discombobulate him in anyway.

  51. thank you so much! I've been saying this for years to my friends now! I simply can't enjoy a movie if it has no internal logic. IDK if the reason of this is to show off special efects or something like that, but I hate this trowing thing, specially because even if they thow them really hard the protagonist just shows a little pain, but no skull, ribs or back fractures

  52. This is probably an unpopular opinion, but I think action movies started to suck after the first Matrix came out. The physics in The Matrix make sense since the characters are in a computer simulation and have learned ways to circumvent their artificial reality. But after that came out, we got movie after movie starring action heroes in the "real world" doing all these cartoon stunts, and it got really old, really fast for me. At least with the superhero genre, it makes sense, but I've seen all this shit before.

  53. I've noticed it before, just didn't realize it was done so MANY DAMN TIMES… like OMG…. terrible writing.

  54. I never thought about it before but i expect i'll notice it in a lot of action movies from now on.
    I was aware of jump scares in horror movies though.

  55. I hate the hero being thrown around, when they could have been killed. It is weak writing and fighting choreography. I also don't like bad guys who over explain what they are going to do before they kill someone. Like WHY!?!? Just kill them already and let the manner of their death be a pleasant surprise to them.

  56. deadpool 2: juggernaut tears deadpool in half. Later he grabs Cable and.. throws him. Cause he can't grow himself back

  57. This is what makes people makes fun of the hero trope of not dying called "Plot Armor" 🤣

    Truly writers doesn't know how to make a scene good without sacrificing realism. They always make the villains dumb at the most crucial moment. Hell, some of them doesn't display strength but rather just talks to the protagonist until they get counter attacked and killed like in the james bond films.

  58. I noticed Vader in your thumbnail for this, why did he lift the guy by the throat and choke him with his hand? He could easily have lifted him and choked him with the force. Plus force users have frequently showed the ability to know what's going on in someone's mind whilst not even in their presence, so why even the need to interrogate?

  59. but didn't Arnold's Terminator in T2 throw people around even before he was given orders not to kill? Also you use Terminator 1 as an example but forget that the terminator had conveniently bad aim when it came to Sarah as he fired multiple bullets and kept missing despite being an advanced killing machine.

  60. The best p throw is in Predator (1987).
    Predator is the, or one of the, best action movies of all time,
    where an invisible hunter of men, stalks a team of hunters of men, in an environment alien to both, that has an inversion halfway (Predator loses his cloak and Arnie learns about mud), and the hunted becomes the invisible hunter, then, in the final act, all weapons are discarded, and the titans battle face to face.
    In this third act, Predator grabs Arnie by the throat and lifts him so (the much taller) Predator and Arnie are face to face.
    Perfection in storytelling.

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