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Action Genre Codes & Conventions

Rob Miller | Tuesday September 27, 2011

Categories: A Level, Eduqas (WJEC) A Level, WJEC A2, WJEC A2 Media Studies, WJEC AS, WJEC AS Media Studies, Film, Action, Action Adventure, Key Concepts, Genre

Recommended Reading

  • ‘Spectacular Bodies’ - Yvonne Tasker (Routledge) 1998
  • ‘Action’ – Richard Dyer, 2000
  • ‘Action Women: Muscles, Mothers and Others’ – Yvonne Tasker, 1998

Contemporary Action Films

  • Your Highness (Adventure/Comedy Hybrid) David Gordon Green, 2011
  • Inception (Action/Sci Fi Hybrid) Christopher Nolan, 2010
  • Quantum of Solace Marc Forster, 2008
  • Die Hard 4.0 Len Wiseman, 2007
  • Tomb Raider Simon West, 2000
  • Mission Impossible: II John Woo, 2000

Codes and Conventions

  • 12/15 certificate, maximising youth audiences
  • Often hybridised with Sci Fi/Adventure/Romance
  • Major Hollywood studio produced and distributed
  • High production values including CGI FX. Fast paced editing
  • Classic Hollywood 3 act narrative structure
  • Predictable chain of events – cause and effect
  • Single stranded, linear, closed narrative
  • Dramatic non-diegetic sound
  • More narrative action codes than enigma codes
  • Clear binary oppositions
  • Star Marketing: Audience identification/expectations (Cruise/Pitt/Willis/Thurman/Jolie/Stallone/Craig/SchwarzeneggeDi Caprio…). Generic Typecasting and Secondary Persona apply
  • Romantic sub-plot, Humorous dialogue
  • Relationships with new technology (youth audiences)
  • Use of close up/Insert shots/High Key Lighting
  • Dominant representation of gender: male/female action hero. Mulvey’s male gaze and contemporary female gaze can apply
  • Propp’s theories applicable
  • Uses and Gratifications theory can be mapped onto Action Films

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