The Return of the 60-minute Rule

In New Column by John Tebbutt

Some crazy things happen when you hit the one-hour mark

This week, I’m going to pick a bunch of random films that I haven’t seen yet, advance them to the 60-minute mark, and describe that scene to you.

Why would I do this? Hmmm, good question. Y’see, there’s a sort of Hollywood formula where you’re supposed to put a big action scene exactly 60 minutes into a movie. The police station massacre from The Terminator (1984), the adrenaline shot to the heart from Pulp Fiction (1994); all at the one-hour mark. I’ve explored this topic here before, but this time I want to exclusively look at movies that are completely new to me, and see how these arbitrary moments look without any context. Cool? Cool. Let’s do this!

Battleship (2012). Remember Battleship? Of course not; you didn’t see it. Nobody did. We all just agreed to stay home and mock it for being an adaptation of a plastic board game. Well, let’s just take a quick peek at minute 60 of this Navy vs. aliens fiasco….

Whoah! Lot’s of dramatic music, and a jeep getting buzzed by a UFO, before a metal arm smashes through the side window! But that’s just a split second of tense action before we abruptly cut away to a placid shot of a ship in the middle of a peaceful ocean. Did we just miss something exciting? Either way, on board the ship, Taylor Kitsch walks up to what appears to be Master Chief from the Halo video games lying on the floor. Other navy types are standing around, all concerned, and the armoured corpse appears to have multiple thumbs. Ooooh, an alien! This is going to be an alien autopsy scene, where they poke at it to see what kind of monster they’re dealing with, and it suddenly comes to life.

Three minutes later, the alien comes back to life. Called it!

The Man with the Iron Fists (2012). Hey look, it’s a guy with iron fists! And he smashes an anvil with them! This film is exactly like its title!

Lady Ninja Kaede 2 (2009). Man, I haven’t even seen the first Lady Ninja Kaede yet — I’m going to be so lost.

Whelp, let’s see what’s going on at minute 60. A lady ninja is fighting a dude in an Oni mask. She throws some shuriken at mask guy, who deflects them with his sword. Then she loses interest, and mourns a dead man on the ground next to her, whose crotch turns into a black hole, causing his body to vanish into its own dick portal. Okaaaaayyyy….

Chain Reaction (1996). A frightened Keanu Reeves explores a dark house, gun in hand. He shoots a man, gets attacked, and then Rachel Weisz bludgeons the attacker with a toilet cistern lid, and the two heroes steal the guy’s wallet and escape. Huh. You know, without context, this looks really fishy. If I didn’t know that Reeves was the hero of this film, I’d think he was robbing the place.

Age of Tomorrow (2014). Another grizzled protagonist is snooping around a creepy building, but this one is armed with a fire axe, not a gun. Meanwhile, two women try to escape from an office building while a hovering metal ball shoots lasers at them. Then, axe-man finds his long-lost daughter, just in time to see her get vapourized by a laser beam. Nooooooo! Taste my axe, floating death robot! Wow, this looks terrible, and I’m really enjoying it.

Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark (2014). I’ll bet that 90 per cent of the running time of this turkey is just dull stretches of actors in a control room, acting all concerned about the monster. Like this scene right here. Oh dear, there’s no way to turn the mechanical shark off, blah blah blah….

Suddenly, a robot shark gets flung out of the water and lands on Sydney Opera House! Oh man, that was worth it.