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I have had an inkling within my mind over the past couple years, and simply haven’t had the gusto to try and write it out—and I still don’t.  But I felt like sharing it with all of you.  It would work best as a short film, possibly a movie, and (if it could be done well) maybe just a thriller novel.

A typical action story.  Joe Hero works for a secret government agency, and he has been working hard to take down a crime syndicate and its malicious warlord.  As he and the [insert acronym here] fight against the evildoers, his wife is kidnapped.  He goes undercover and off the grid and takes on the syndicate himself.  In a thrilling invasion, he and a few comrades make their way into an abandoned warehouse where the boss has been conducting his business and where Joe’s wife is being held.  They go in, guns ablazing, and after a scary fire fight, in which one of Joe’s fellow agents die, they make it out of there alive.  As they head to the getaway SUV, a few more goons pop out of nowhere.  A few shots, bullet to the leg, bullet to the shoulder, and—one guy dies.  The heroes head out with the wife safe and sound, while the camera (I can’t help but picture it as a film) zooms in on Dead Goon.

The bad guys are cleaning up, and someone places a call to Goon’s family.  They receive the news with terrible outbursts of pain and sadness.  Father, Mother, brothers, sisters, relatives—each one hears the news of Goon’s death.  They talk, they cry, they drink, they cry, they fight, they comfort each other.  Someone visits the syndicate.  The family visits the body at the morgue.  They plan a funeral, make calls, order flowers.  The funeral rolls round and it’s a sad affair.  The story picks up with the family a few months later, as they are still dealing with the loss of a loved one.  The pain is still strong and raw.  A brother falls to drugs.  A sister ignores her family.  The mother and father lose their relationship, one falls to depression.  One day, while watching TV, Joe Hero receives a medal from the President.  Fin.

My inkling has always wrapped around the question: What happens to the families of all those goons the hero kills?  Yes, the goon is working with evil men doing evil work, but how often does a guard know the deep secrets of their employer?  And how often does a family know?  Death is often such a little thing in action movies, and some critics have argued that it is worse than pornography or horror films, as it involves a heartless consideration of human life.  Bullets fly, people die, and no one cares, as long as the hero saves the day.  It would be interesting to see the story behind the goon.  Just a thought.

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  • Two things come to mind when reading this post:

    The first is from one of the last chapters of The Two Towers, where Samwise is listening to two orcs converse about their families and lives back home. An uncommon look at the “human” element present in even the lowest of creatures.

    The second? An episode from the tenth season of South Park entitled Stanley’s Cup. It looks at the cliche storytelling structure found in many Hollywood films, and throws a number of curve balls at the audience throughout the episode.

    I think it’s a great tool that has potential to create something unique.

    • Thanks Nick! I haven’t yet watched much South Park– it’s hard to get past the abundance of poop jokes (both figurative and literal poop), but I know they do great social commentary. I’ll try to find that episode.

      I do like that element in The Two Towers– and I found another while watching the movie the other day. When Faramir catches Frodo and Sam, he talks about how the warriors who were joining Saruman were men like them, with families and friends back home.
      It’s a hard but good thing to remember an enemy’s humanity. Bilbo has pity and mercy on Gollum, and, as Tolkien writes, “the pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many”.

  • This is an interesting point of view.
    I myself have wondered about what happens to all the goons that get shot in action movies. I can’t remember exactly, but there was a youtube video that made a similar story, but it was with video game baddies.

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