All rugged heroes (or anti-heroes) in American-made films about gritty machismo under fire need to be shot at least three or four times before going down. Like a certain big-name actor in a soon-to-be-released film…one or two bullets are not enough to kill our guy as he’s made of sterner stuff. An enemy bullet in the chest cavity…aaggh but fuck you! A follow-up bullet in the shoulder…try again! Only bad guys or wimpy second- or third-billed good guys die after one shot. The more bullets it takes to bring you down = the more movie-star status you have, the greater your Hollywood reputation, the bigger your salary, etc. It all started when King Kong refused to fall off the Empire State building until he’d been hit by machine-gun fire…what, 10 or 12 times? The movement picked up steam during the Wild Bunch finale when William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oates and Ben Johnson all took six or seven or eight bullets before signing off.
Exception to the rule: William Petersen went down and stayed down after getting plugged once in William Friedkin‘s To Live and Die in L.A..
Hand-Grenade Regulation: If the thing that finally kills you is a hand grenade that explodes close by, you will not look like a more-or-less-intact sleeping baby when your comrades find your body. You will look like hamburger. You will look deformed, shredded.