From Kyle Buchanan’s 5.25 report about Thursday’s “Rendezvous with Quentin Tarantino”: “Asked if he had ever watched a film where the violence wasn’t justified, Tarantino at first appeared so stumped that the audience chuckled.

“Eventually, he cited Patriot Games, the 1992 Harrison Ford thriller. Tarantino had found the motivations of the villain [i.e., Sean Bean‘s “Sean Miller”] so relatable, he said, that he rebelled when the character took a late swerve into psychopathic violence.

“‘Just the fact that the villain was this much understandable, that was too much as far as the filmmakers were concerned,” QT said. “So they had to make him crazy. That’s what I got morally offended by.'”

Tarantino’s Patriot Games riff is actually 29 years old. He first articulated his feelings in a chat he had with Dennis Hopper on 3.17.94.

“I keep using the movie Patriot Games as an example of uptight American action movies: It’s supposed to be a revenge movie, all right, and as far as I’m concerned, if you’re going to make a revenge movie, you’ve got to let the hero get revenge. There’s a purity in that. You can moralize after the fact all you want, but people paid seven dollars to see it. So you set it up and the lead guy gets screwed over. And then, you want to see him kill the bad guys with his bare hands, if possible. They’ve got to pay for their sins.

“Now, if you want to like deal with morality after that, that’s fine, but you’ve got to give me what I paid for. If you’re going to invite me to a dance, you’ve gotta let me dance.

“But the thing that is very unique, I mean, that is very indicative of American films, in Patriot Games, is the fact that the bad guy actually had a legitimate reason to want revenge against Harrison Ford, [who had] caused the death of his brother. So he actually had a legitimate reason to create a vendetta against him. But the studio was so scared that we would even identify with the bad guy that much to the point of understanding his actions that it turned him into a psychopath. I never thought that he was a psychopath, and it took legitimacy away from what he was doing. Then he bothers Harrison Ford so much that now Harrison Ford wants revenge. So you’ve got these two guys who both want revenge, which is an interesting place to be.

“But then they get into this stupid fight on this boat, and they do the thing that my friends and I despised the most: Harrison Ford hits the guy and he falls on an anchor and it kills him. And it’s like you can hear a committee thinking about this and saying, ‘Well, he killed him with his own hands, but he didn’t really mean to kill him, you know, so he can go back to his family, and his daughter, and his wife and still be an okay guy. He caused the death but it was kind of accidental.”

“And as far as I’m concerned, the minute you kill your bad guy by having him fall on something, you should go to movie jail… all right? You’ve broken the law of good cinema. So I think that that is a pretty good analogy for where some of these new, relentlessly violent movies are coming from.”