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The Old Warrior

Banes at 12:00AM, July 25, 2019
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Make it So Again

There are certain story templates that we see played out over and over throughout the years, decades and centuries.

One of my favorites is the one where the Old Warrior or the Old Master is called out of retirement to rejoin the fight for one last mission. It worked in Unforgiven, and in Logan (both fantastic) and many many other times. It's sometimes a smaller element in a larger story, and I always love it.

It runs across not just action adventure stories, but dramas like the Verdict with the retired lawyer, Crime stories with the retired criminal or cop coming back, and Sports stories with the old player or coach returning to the field.

Rocky Balboa has done this multiple times now. Ditto Jack Bauer a couple times. Among many, many others.

In any case, my brother sent me the trailer for the upcoming Star Trek Picard series, and I absolutely loved it. Can't stop thinking about it.

And the story appears to be very much in the “Logan” mold, with Patrick Stewart (who was in Logan, funnily enough), called back into the fray when a mysterious, unusual young woman comes into his life and seems to know him.

I'm on board with this now that this trailer has come out (if my love for Picard wasn't enough, this trailer pushed the exact right buttons with the surprise appearance of a couple characters. It's now a must see for me. I hope it's great!

So, I love the Old Warrior story - and how amazing it is when it's an Old Warrior we actually SAW in their heyday! How incredible an opportunity is that?

It might be my favorite story template of all. I always respond to it for some reason.



I know, Sir. I know. This is what I hoped for in your last movie, too. But we have to get over it and move on!

Do you like this template? What's your favorite “Old Soldier” story or character?

Is there a type of story template that always works for you?

comment

anonymous?

ozoneocean at 9:09PM, July 25, 2019

RED is a great movie for the trope, with Bruce Willis. Gunwallace's remark about the Davil Gemmel book reminds me off the series by David Eddings... He graduated to a great Old warrior series after doing the typical 1980s fantasy author thing of recreating The Lord of The Rings with his Belgeraid and Mallorian series. I think they were called The Ellinium and The Tamuali- stupid titles but they were fun series! They were based around an older knight in black armour called Sparhawk and the way he teamed up with a bunch of other older knights to go on a quest. I really liked reading about experienced warriors who know what they were doing, rather than the typical wet-behind the ears questing novice.

usedbooks at 6:38AM, July 25, 2019

I'm not sure if I've seen this, but I also like the idea of an over-the-hill guy taking charge of an adventure and kicking ass and talking about being some awesome warrior in his youth -- but it turns out he was a store clerk or a math teacher for 40 years and he's just a naturally kickass old dude.

usedbooks at 6:35AM, July 25, 2019

I saw a movie on Netflix last year where a senile grandpa living in a retirement home seems to be making up fantasies about being a spy. Except he was a spy and ends up getting pulled back into some spy stuff with his grandson. I've seen a few things that used that "crazy old person was actually an action hero and has to be again" motif, and I enjoy it. Elder protagonists are my favorites, and I also like that secret double life trope and the underestimating old people thing.

Genejoke at 3:51AM, July 25, 2019

One of my favourites, which was also my first, is the book Legend by David Gemmell. All the fantasy novels I had read prior to that were the standard child of destiny fare, then I read legend about a legendary warrior who every one assumed was dead coming back to lead the last great defense of his country at an old fortress. Simple but very effective.

Gunwallace at 3:06AM, July 25, 2019

The latest James Bond sounds like it's doing this.

bravo1102 at 2:42AM, July 25, 2019

Gives us all those great lines like "I came out of retirement for this?" or "I'm getting too old for this stuff" Or you can have the Sergeant Major Sam Elliot played in "We were Soldiers"

PIT_FACE at 12:59AM, July 25, 2019

Rutger Hauer (God rest him) also played an awesome tough old guy role in Hobo with a Shotgun. Again, he wasn't retired in that arc, but he definitely had that vibe. The old guard protecting what little innocence left that there is around him. That seems to be a common motif and they almost always die afterwards. Like a "passing of the torch" sort of thing.

PIT_FACE at 12:57AM, July 25, 2019

I really like it as well. Two Frank MIller works come to mind: Dark Knight and Hartigan's story from Sin City come to mind. let's not forget Grand Torino! Judge Dredd is even supposed to be an old dog in the current adaptations of Judge Dredd. In his 50's. Granted he didn't retire or "take the long walk". But there is something really cool about these grizzled, tough as leather old dudes that come back.


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