I'm just going to respond to Desertpuma's replies, since they are very similar to Sletch's.
Believe it or not, I'm actually aware of most of the things you mention, and I think they mitigate the problem, but don't solve it.
Some of these are just the need to roll high on your attack role vs bad rolling. There are also Campaign Qualities that can affect this.
1. Guns are already deadly. This is a cinematic game and you are only guaranteed to hit wounds if you either roll a threat that can be activated or you have down your opponent's Vitality.
I guess we have different definitions of deadly. With the average hand gun, you need at least two crits to take a mid-level character out of the fight; even with all the lethal campaign options tacked on, that doesn't usually happen on the first shot, and many would argue that the odds are low enough as that you should at least gamble on not getting crit'd. I'm not talking Soldiers here. Anybody should be dangerous with a gun.
Extending terminal situations works and is a good idea for part of the problem. For the other part, my favored solution would be to adjust the threat range with bonuses and penalties taken on the attack, ie aiming increases crit likelihood, shooting at long range reduces it.
2. This goes with #1 already. As for your example, no one was rolling well as you stated. That's is not so much a game issue.
Well, it sort of is: they well rolling averagely, which meant they were hitting the bad guy, but just chewing through vitality, and not critting. Same for the bad guy. Don't remember if SC1 had lower weapon damages, but the bad guy got hit 5-10 times without slowing down too much. Before you ask: there was a Soldier and a Wheelman in the party, so it's not like they were incompetent.
3. In real life, certainly I agree, especially if it is a gun and at range. If it is close quarters, it depends on the weapon vs the skill of the person facing it. An expert at unarmed combat does not necessarily need to go get a weapon to be effective.
Sure, the unarmed master might not want the weapon, but I'm still pretty sure that one of the first things he would do is take his opponent's weapon away, because it makes him weaker. The fact that this doesn't happen indicates that a) it's either not worthwhile to remove the weapon since it doesn't change damage (or threat) much, or b) it's too easy to get the weapon back.
4. Being tripped is a problem, it does require you spend a half action to stand already. There are feats that can give you bonuses, either to stand as a free action or to fight will prone.
Spending a half action isn't really an acute problem. The opponent just spent a half action to knock you down, at the risk of falling down himself. I'm not arguing for a return of the attack of opportunity, either, but maybe for a check to get back up if the opponent wants to stop you, and bigger bonuses to attack prone characters. It's much harder to get out of the way when you are lying down. I'm also not arguing only from the point of realism, but from the movie point as well.
5. It is merely a half action to pick up a weapon just the same as drawing a weapon. If you have the Quick Draw feat, then you can draw as a free action.
Exactly. Oops, I dropped my weapon, now I gotta spend a half-action to get it back. That's not a big deal, but being disarmed _should_ be a big deal. How often do you see in movies that a disarm actually leads to an immediate surrender? Wouldn't ever happen in Mastercraft. Drawing a new weapon, on the other hand, should be pretty easy.
If you increase the severity of the consequences for being disarmed or tripped, you should make it more difficult to pull off, too. Put a hefty penalty on the attempt, but then give the PCs maneuvers that help them set up the trip/disarm by providing a bigger bonus to the next attack.
6. Terminal Situations - One of the uses of this is to catch someone completely unaware and flat footed. Per the GM's discretion, you can merely spend a single Action Die and effect their death or KO. But this is entirely up to the GM.
Agreed. Simple solution.
7. In FantasyCraft & MasterCraft, most likely, this would be using things like Edge or the Mix-Up Trick. The choice to use more than a single style of attack is at the discretion of the player already.
Admittedly, Mastercraft is _much_ better than any of my face-to-face D&D games ever were, but not quite yet where I'd like it to be.
In my opinion, what Sletch said plays a lot into it: cover bonuses aren't really large enough. But so, neither are bonuses for aiming, anticipating, etc. I'd like for most of these to scale better with skill level/character level.
8. You are already suffering upon taking your first wound. As for the inability to take certain actions or operating at a penalty in certain situations, that would be up to your individual GM.
That's not that severe a penalty. Also, it goes away as soon as your last wound heals, and has hardly a narrative impact. Sletch's idea with the temporary conditions is a good one. One could extend that to longer-lasting conditions, and vary it a bit more, eg penalty to a specific type of check, or "can't handle items with that hand. Take stress damage for every round you do so anyway".