I recently watched Inside Man. It turned out to be a depressingly unimaginative bank heist film, occasionally being so predictable that it verged on parody. But I did learn a few things from it.
How to make a standard Hollywood action movie
1. A maverick detective with a point to prove. He's a bit of an outsider in the department and his unorthodox methods raise a few eyebrows on the operation. He will eventually get the job done, maybe gaining some respect along the way.
2. A veteran policeman who's seen it all before. He will occasionally smoke and make philosophical comments - 'Why does it have to be like this?'
3. A mastermind criminal who's got it all figured out. He's calm. Very calm. Because he's got it all figured out. It's the perfect plan. He's a genius.
4. A sassy woman's in there somewhere. She's untouchable, unpredictable and sassy. Did I mention she's sassy? Yes, yes I did.
5. If there are hostages they all have to be inherently annoying. They chatter to each other about how they were going to 'a ball game' until the terrorists captured them. There's one that wants to be a hero. There's a loud one. There's a child. There's always a child.
6. A variety of rubbish music. There's the this-is-a-serious-situation music, the walking-cops-with-attitude music and the aren't-these-people-evil music. Whenever the maverick detective phones his girlfriend cue sexy saxophone music.
The only interesting thing about Inside Man is that it's got James Ransone from The Wire in it. Watch that instead.