“Kintergarten Cop”: Amazing Efficiency

I recently re-watched Kindergarten Cop, a 1990’s action comedy with Arnold Schwarzenegger where he (duh) plays a hard-boiled cop who becomes a kindergarten teacher for a while.

Aside from the kid in class who utters the infamous line about how one can identify between boys and girls (his father is a gynecologist, see?) and how utterly EVIL such a statement of common sense knowledge being uttered by a child would be in today’s world of identity warfare, the main thing that stuck out to me was how incredibly efficient the story was.

The movie followed the law of Chekhov’s Gun to the extreme. Every single device introduced was actually followed up on. Every setup had a payoff. Every joke had a setup (whoa!). Every bit of “Oh, I wonder if…” detail in the movie was actually used. It was sort of amazing to watch just how incredibly tidy the entire production was.

I haven’t looked into who was involved in the production, but the level of skill involved in creating such a tight, concise bit of storytelling (even if predictable and leaning hard on a few somewhat worn-out character tropes, even by 1990’s standards) indicates a vast experience in either writing efficient stories or maybe a master editor involved at the end.

I wish I was that clean about designing systems!

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