A while ago I posted a deleted scene that was my “Michael Bay” moment. It was a scene filled to the brim with action and sounded like it would have looked really cool, but it raised no stakes and had no lasting consequences on the characters or the story. One article I found a while ago that helped convince me to cut that scene and write better replacement ones is this article from iO9 called “Why You Should Never Write Action Scenes For Your Blockbuster Movie”. It goes into just enough detail and gives some good examples to help you tell if you are making a kick-ass plot driving Matrix style action scene, or a time wasting pointless Matrix: Reloaded action scene. This part in particular makes things very clear:
The second big action sequence: rescuing Morpheus. The choices Neo makes and abilites he shows actually evolve the story and his character. He’s learning about the nature of the world. Learning to sacrifice. Going from a watcher to a participant. The action is simply the lens through which we see this growth — the visually arresting, badass lens. This sequence is particularly noteworthy, as you can actually track its internal three-act progression of Neo quite clearly.
“I may not be the One, but I’m going to help my guy.”
“You moved like they do.”
“Holy shit, he is the One.”
I’m starting to plot out my next book and now that I know these things beforehand, I hopefully won’t waste as much time writing chapters that will just wind up getting cut out completely.