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The Hollywood Action and Adventure Film

Yvonne Tasker

ISBN: 978-0-470-65925-0 June 2015 Wiley-Blackwell 224 Pages


The Hollywood Action and Adventure Film presents a comprehensive overview and analysis of the history, myriad themes, and critical approaches to the action and adventure genre in American cinema.

  • Draws on a wide range of examples, spanning the silent spectacles of early cinema to the iconic superheroes of 21st-century action films
  • Features case studies revealing the genre’s diverse roots – from westerns and war films, to crime and espionage movies
  • Explores a rich variety of aesthetic and thematic concerns that have come to define the genre, touching on themes such as the outsider hero, violence and redemption, and adventure as escape from the mundane
  • Integrates discussion of gender, race, ethnicity, and nationality alongside genre history
  • Provides a timely and richly revealing portrait of a powerful cinematic genre that has increasingly come to dominate the American cinematic landscape

List of Plates vii

Acknowledgements xiii

1 Action and Adventure as Genre 1

2 Action and Adventure: Historical and Cultural Overview 23

3 Critical Perspectives on Action and Adventure 45

4 Silent Spectacle and Classical Adventure: The Thief of Bagdad (1924) and The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) 71

5 War, Violence and the American Action Hero: Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) and Hell is for Heroes (1962) 89

6 Violence and Urban Action: Dirty Harry (1971) 107

7 Nostalgic Adventure and Recycled Culture: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) 121

8 Action Blockbusters in the 1980s: Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) and Die Hard (1988) 137

9 Global and Postmodern Action: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) and Kill Bill (2003) 151

10 Espionage Action: The Bourne Identity (2002) and Salt (2010) 165

11 Superhero Action Cinema 179

Bibilography 193

Index 000

“Even for readers familiarised with the previous work of Yvonne Tasker, this book brings a new look into her main area of study, as it presents not only issues pertaining the body and the representation of women in action and adventure, but also more general elements which help understand genre criticism as a whole and the action and adventure film in particular. Furthermore, and as a manual for students of Film Studies, the book fulfils its goal, as it combines the exposition of theory with clear examples, of both how the theory was previously applied and how it can be now employed to analyse the latest productions“.  (Pop-Zeitschrift, 9 October 2015)