80s and 90s action movies were often maligned not just for their violence, but also for their lack of depth and psychological sophistication. "They're not important."
But these movies built a generation of men who are now in their 30s and 40s.
They didn't learn that killing is cool, which was the worry of people who didn't watch those movies and didn't understand. This violence was central to the cinematic experience, but incidental to the story.
The complainers ignored the story because they thought it was basic, trivial. Wrong. Write down the plot synopsis of every action movie, and awareness will come over you:
A marginal guy must save a hot chick from bad guys; when he does, he gets the girl
A generation of adolescent boys learned immediately three things:
1. marginal guys are the real heroes.
2. heroes never die.
3. bad guys exist as bad guys, not as good guys who went bad, or bad guys with some good in them also. Darth Vader was unquestionably bad starting in 1977, unimaginable that he was once a sweet young boy with good in his heart. That story had to wait a whole generation to be told.
4. in order to get (active verb: to obtain, procure, convince) a hot woman to fall passionately in love with you, you have to do do some extraordinary things: take out thirty terrorists, master kung fu, be in the special forces, etc.
What I tell myself everyday.
To all the people watching, I can never ever thank you enough for the kindness to me, I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask is one thing, and this is.. I'm asking this particularily of young people that watch: Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism - for the record it's my least favorite quality, it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen." - Conan 'O'Brien