Contemporary Action Cinema

Contemporary Action Cinema

Contemporary Action Cinema

Contemporary Action Cinema

Synopsis

Responding to the era of the sequel, the multi-media franchise, and the War on Terror, the US action film has altered dramatically. This textbook covers the changes and highlights the attributes of the genre in its current state, examining the influences of major events such as 9/11 and the War on Terror, British and European connections, as well as the role of homosexuality, gender, the body, and ethnicity on the genre.

Excerpt

I stand in the lobby of my local multiplex on a summer evening in 2010. I’m in the queue for Predators (2010), but I have the choice to see several other action movies, including action thriller Inception (2010), action fantasy Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010), the vampire themed action romance The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010) based on the best-selling Stephenie Meyer Twilight books, or the action romantic comedy Killers (2010). The summer season has already taken in Iron Man 2 (2010), Robin Hood (2010) and Clash of the Titans (2010), with nostalgic fare like The A-Team (2010) and The Expendables (2010), action fantasy The Last Airbender (2010), female action film Salt (2010) and comic action thriller Knight and Day (2010) still to arrive on multiplex screens before the season’s end. Since the start of the millennium the acceleration of new entertainment technologies has turned cinemagoers into gamers, bloggers, video-texters, Twitterers and downloaders of television, movies, video clips and music, but they still see action movies in their droves. This book explores why action movies remain such a popular strand of Hollywood production, and what form action movies take in the first decade of the twenty-first century.

DEFINING ACTION CINEMA

Action cinema’s cultural and commercial resilience can be partly explained by its adaptability. As my attempt to classify the films at my local multiplex illustrates, contemporary action cinema is a resolutely hybrid form. As both Steve Neale and Richard Maltby have pointed out, Hollywood genres are not stable categories, because most movies ‘use categorical elements in combination’ and because critics, audiences, film marketeers and filmmakers often mean different things even when they are using the same genre identifiers . . .

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