A is for Action

In the beginning, Richard Armitage made scores of fans – and he keeps on making them! Welcome to the first day of FanstRAvaganza 3. A is for Armitage is proud to kick off the freeform chain in the excellent company of White Rose: Sincere and Simple Thoughts and FunkyBlueDandelion.

For my own contribution to this year’s event, I took a cue from the name of this blog and reasoned that a single letter to describe such a diverse & talented actor like Richard Armitage simply wasn’t enough. The man ought to have his own alphabet and what better occasion to launch the Armitage Alphabet than the illustrious FanstRAvaganza 3?

I’ve always enjoyed watching Richard in action, so to speak. On the small screen he wielded a sword and handled a longbow as the tragic but lusciously leather clad Sir Guy of Gisborne. Who could resist!

As the gorgeous and enigmatic MI5 agent Lucas North he kept us safe in our beds for years by chasing terrorists and other nation-threatening thugs around London, taking them out with his Glock 17 or some good old-fashioned hand-combat techniques.

As the marvelously muscular John Porter he toted some seriously big guns in Chris Ryan’s Strike Back only to come to a sticky end in Project Dawn (which I still can’t bring myself to watch!).

Richard’s move to the silver screen seems pretty action packed too. Heinz Kruger may have taken less than 5 minutes to fail in his attempt to assassinate Captain America, but he packed a lot of action in that small slot. Gun fights, a car chase, hostage taking, a submersible escape, a near drowning and a suicide. Phew! I get exhausted just thinking about it!

And as we speak, Thorin Oakenshield may well be strapping on his heavy armour and picking up his mighty blade to reclaim the treasure and his kingdom from Smaug the dragon.

I’m being slightly facetious of course, but I do think Richard plays these action parts so very well. I’m not one for gratuitous violence on screen (or in real life for that matter!) but what sets his performances apart is the fluency of his actions and the credibility of his characters. From what I can gather, he meticulously prepares for his roles and likes to do his own stunts. If it was just guns and muscle I really don’t think I would have been this impressed but by fully immersing himself into the world of his characters, Richard manages to really get his head around what makes them tick.

To prepare for the part of John Porter he trained with ex-SAS soldiers and it really shows. Not just in the physical aspect – although the muscles are indeed very impressive – but with regards to the psyche too. What makes John Porter work for me is that he really moves like a trained soldier. The fighting scenes are fluent and instinctive. When he has to kill, he doesn’t hesitate and his movements have the agility and efficiency that comes with years of training and experience.

What makes this character credible though is that Richard gets the emotional part right as well. John Porter doesn’t go back to fight for the sheer hell of it. He fights to win back his family. He fights for love. These are the things that are not directly written into a script. There is no text to tell an actor what his character is all about. He’ll have to ferret it out for himself and, more importantly, get it across to the audience in action, not words. And that’s the kind of action acting I admire so much in Richard Armitage.

All of this had me wondering though. With so many great action scenes under his belt and following the example of the ever popular Little Guy, isn’t it time Richard Armitage was given his own Action Man figure? Perhaps it could even be marketed as Armitage Man?

For more freeform contributions to FanstRA 3, see my partner’s post at White Rose: Sincere and Simple Thoughts and FunkyBlueDandelion. Tomorrow, the freeform tagteam continues at Melanie’s Musings, An Obsessed Fanatic and Do I Have a Blog?. All FanstRAvaganza 3 links can be found here.

[Screencaps courtesy of RichardArmitageNet. The ‘Armitage Man’ artwork is my own and is based on a screen cap from an Action Man review – source unknown]