My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Saturday, November 6, 2021

November 6-7, 2021: Crowd-sourced Action Figures

[Wednesday would have been Charles Bronson’s 100th birthday. So this week I’ve AmericanStudied Bronson and other action film stars and characters. Leading up to this blockbuster crowd-sourced post drawn from the responses and thoughts of fellow AmericanActionStudiers—add yours in comments, please!]

In response to Monday’s post, Mark Lawton writes, “Stewart is my all-time favorite actor! I believe he is the highest decorated actor to ever serve in the armed forces as well. (Air Force) His bio was an interesting read—especially the parts about his friendship to fellow actor/war hero, Henry Fonda. I love that you included Mr. Smith in this action hero dive, despite him being the author of this book.”

In honor of Bronson’s bday, here’s a thread from my favorite film reviewer, Outlaw Vern.

Other action film nominees:

On Twitter, Christopher J. Smith shares another Bronson film, writing, “Can I put in a plug for Mr. Majestyk? Maybe the best Elmore Leonard adaptation until (arguably) Justified.”

Justin Mason writes, I have reviewed several different action movies on my YouTube channel including vigilante action films as well as just shoot ‘em up style films and nearly every other subgenre of action films and each offers something different…Obviously most Schwarzenegger films you go in with zero expectations and it’s more of an opportunity to just shut your brain off and enjoy the chaos (albeit movies like The Terminator and True Lies offer more richness in its storytelling.) As for Bronson (and really anything Tom Hardy does) he dives head first into the character which brings a more dynamic perspective to the story itself. You look at many of his roles (Eddie Brock, Eames from Inception, Bane, Mad Max, The Kray twins in Legend, etc.) and each are vastly different characters that he makes his own and is often amongst the most well developed characters in each movie. Despite this trait I wouldn’t consider him to be a character actor along the lines of a Christian Bale I just think he is incredibly diverse.”

Lisa Moison writes, “I am giving a shout out to the entire Kill Bill series, its feminist ideology, as well as what Uma Thurman went through to make that film with Tarantino. His on-set misogyny toward her is well documented. The Bride's survival story and Uma's off-set survival story eerily mirror one another.”

Paul Daley adds, “Kill Bill is a good one. Also would like to suggest the Netflix series The Punisher. It ended a few years back and there are rights issues with Disney so I’m not sure if it still is up there, but if it is, it’s fantastic and fits the genre to a T. If you want something that is unique and blends Dystopian with Revenge plot, try Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu. Opens up a lot of big conversations surrounding civil rights too.”

AnneMarie Donahue shares, “Gonna go with a classic Thriller: A Cruel Picture which was the inspiration for Elle from Kill Bill. One of the great early exploitation films. And you can't forget the epic career of Pam Grier! Coffey, Women in Cages, Black Mama White Mama. I know these movies are now problematic but they exist and should be discussed.” She adds, “Thriller: A Cruel Picture is an interesting example of a revenge film. The protagonist is a woman, human trafficked and forced in sex work (not the best term but IDK what would be). She's also eventually addicted to heroin and loses an eye (thus created the image for Elle from Kill Bill). However, she uses the money she "earns" from her captor to learn self-defense, weaponry, car driving, and warfare techniques. She then employs them on her captor, rapists, and others. It's a confusing movie because she's given a great deal of freedom of movement. However, when she is allowed to leave she initially returns to her parents only to learn they had believed she abandoned them. Feeling shamed by what has happened to her she returns to her captor without contacting her parents again. I like this film because while it's problematic there are interesting thoughts going on. She's a victim, raped as a child that leaves her nonverbal (mental not physical) for life, that is again victimized but then motivated to take a violent revenge with her own means. To quote Beatrix "I'll have my bloody revenge." It reminds me that justice for victims of human traffic and assault seldom exists and that there's no reason to assume that a woman wouldn't want to destroy her attackers. Anyway, that's my TED talk. I just liked that it was a female lead with a female narrative (do men worry about human trafficking? Do they make movies in which men are human trafficked for sex work? I'm certain this happens but there's not a great deal of media out there discussing it) about surviving assault and getting revenge.”

Derek Tang shares, Have you ever seen Denzel Washington in Man on Fire? It's one of the darkest vigilante action films I have ever watched. It's a fine balancing act between his semi-paternal rage and the cultural clash.”

Lara Schwarz writes, So can we talk about Midnight Run, in which there is gorgeous slippage between the roles of law enforcement, criminals, and seekers of justice?” And she adds, “In addition to subverting the artificial distinction between law and order and lawlessness, it's also pretty groundbreaking in the way it portrays a vigilante friendship between two men.”

Special anniversary series starts Monday,


PS. What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. PPS. Jeff Renye shares this great article on *The Last Action Hero*: