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Tony Scott and the Dying Macho Man

With tough guy movies like Man on Fire the filmmaker reminded how violent instincts actually uphold the best of civilization.

by
Andrew Klavan

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August 21, 2012 - 10:30 am
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Really sad to hear about the death of Tony Scott. I didn’t know him and have nothing personal to say, but I was a genuine admirer of his films. They were macho — manly — and that in itself made them a cut above much of what comes out of Hollywood.

Many people in the West use the word “macho” as a pejorative. This is because they are self-deceiving knuckleheads. They are kept so safe by (mostly) macho men with guns in the military and our various police forces that they can feel free to pretend they are somehow better and more civilized, doncha know, than their protectors. But the fact is if good boys aren’t taught to fight and win for what’s right, bad boys — from street gangs and Iran and Russia and China — will teach them how to fight and lose. And no, generalizing and excepting the exceptions, girls can’t cut it.

So it behooves an artist to pay tribute to tough guys now and then. Not nice guys who talk tough but the hard bastards who understand that, in certain circumstances, violence is not only an act of love, but the act of love that makes all other acts of love possible.

Tony Scott did that in terrific action films like Top Gun, Crimson Tide, and Unstoppable. My personal favorite, however, is Man on Fire.

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