There are a couple films I would like to analyze that produce masculinity and produce it the best out of any action movie that I have seen. First I would like to start with the movie “Blood Sport”. The main character is Jean Claude Van Dame who is an American fighter who is trained by one of the best martial artists in the world. He enters a tournament called the kumatay which is an outlawed fighting tournament basically without rules. The scene I want to look at is the ending scene where he is fighting the last guy. The bad guy has blinding powder in his hand and decides to throw it in Jeans face and makes him blind because the bad guy knows that without that there would be no way he could win. This scene depicts masculinity because Jean learned how to focus and uses his senses even though he was blind making him the ultimate fighting “Man” and not to mention he is in the best shape of his life rock hard body not scared of anything or anyone and not to mention at peace with the world.
The other movie I want to mention is Road house this movie above all shows the depiction of masculinity to the core. Patrick Swayze is a bar bouncer who is mainly warm hearted who doesn’t like to fight, but everyone knows that he’s the “main man” he was once accused of ripping a man’s throat out and if this doesn’t show how masculinity is show in action films or just in general then I don’t know a better example.
When I think of masculine women that are in movies it’s always the movies that are action filled hence the genre im discussing. Some movies that come to mind when thinking of this right away are. Kill Bill, Charlie’s Angels, Alien, even the movie Elektra which is based that the lead character (Jennifer Garner) is a assassin that is supposed to take out her target but unwillingly becomes close two them and decides to end up saving them from harm. Now a days when people think of action films they really don’t associate them too much with just men because believe it or not it’s a competitive world out there and women in my opinion are taking on the new role of action hero’s that display their masculinity that women can be just as tough as men and that this world is here to share not be dominated.
During the 1980’ and 90’s women were finally starting to show up in films as being “Badasses”. There was other talk about how men liked women being in films because it was a turn-on to them to see a women portrayed as a badass chick. While doing a little research I found a particular line that pertains to this. “The enormous popularity of women as film enforcers has stirred much debate over what these films say about women, feminism, Hollywood, and violence, and whether it’s progress or exploitation. But no one has answered a more interesting question: What does this say about men? After all, none of the big female hits could have achieved its staggering popularity without nabbing a significant male audience, those same guys who were once the primary consumers of Die Hard, First Blood, and Commando.”( www.washingtonmonthly.com) I really do think it takes a general idea of what an action film is like die hard and commando to understand a woman’s role in the action film genre.
It took a lot of time for women to be able to “normalize” there role in action films. Due to the fact that before the 80’s it was all about how the average white American male is the house holder who works out and is extremely masculine pretty much the bread winner. Well as I can see and the rest of the world things have definitely changed and I think it’s for the better especially if its bringing in a bunch of money.
When I hear the word masculinity it makes me think of a strong tough not afraid man that provides and doesn’t let the little things bother them. I would like to take a look at how masculinity is seen in action films and what masculinity consists of. This could be things like age, race, class, power, domination, and how it’s all intertwines together to make the pitch perfect action hero so to say. Someone who always wins and doesn’t seem to have a care in the world besides what makes them, them. Or how they are going to defeat the “bad guy” by using their over the top antics to presumably save the day.
Now when taking a look at masculinity on a scholarly level there are a few references I found that can describe how masculinity is portrayed in action films more specifically films directed by John Woo. “As Lee Grieveson recently argued in Screen, it is becoming increasingly clear that in contrast to earlier, more totalizing theories of gender and social privilege, masculinity has never been fixed and stable but always had ambivalent relation to power and domination.”( www.jstor.org) The article was also stating that most action films that are displaying masculinity come with anxieties where as John Woo’s films represent an emotional side as well as the person being beat up and worn down.
“Woo is famous for his vision of intense male friendships-depicted through his trademark blend of breathtakingly choreographed action sequences featuring balletic shoot-outs and sporting exit wounds combined with tragic and sentimental plots about the place of loyalty and honor in a corrupt and violent world.” The article explains more on how action genres display this. “Discussing male bodies and by hyperbolic performances of what it means to be a man. This might provide a way to understand contemporary anxieties about gender and social roles.”( www.jstor.org) What I pull from this is nature vs. nurture I believe that all men who grew up with a father figure were taught how to be a masculine man whether it involves sports, working on cars, taking girls out on dates however one foresees masculinity it’s the same way in action films. The Hollywood style shows men being strong work out all the time never worry about a thing.
There are a ton of action films out there and a majority of them display in one way or another a form of masculinity but there are different types and categories that are different for every film I thought it was interesting to actually take a look at how it’s seen in foreign action films kind of fascinating.
The scene analysis I decided to do pertaining to editing and Mise en scene which I described before in both of the previous posts is that of the movie limitless I would classify this movie under the genre of an action thriller with tons of suspense. The scene I would like to promote is when he is at his computer writing his book and ideas are flowing out of his brain like seeds in the wind from a wishing dandelion. I thought it was a good use of Mise en scene because of how the director also focused on the room surrounding the character making it seem like his ideas were all over the place, making it feel like if you had this type of knowledge would you possess it also?
The other scene that was brought to my attention was when he was taking the magical drug that made you become smart also had dramatic side effects, when alcohol was involved it created massive black out effects and the camera shots and editing for this made the continuous editing effect come into play. The effect is he is standing in one place and then he is in another place making it seem like time flew by without a second going by but it would normally take 20 minutes if you were sober type deal. The effect is a great Mise en scene process because it involves editing and lighting and many different types of stand in characters. For me it was a fun process to analysis this.
When I think of editing the only thing that comes to my head is the way film or digital media is processed to make it look like a work of art, or a piece of expression by getting rid of all the unnecessary elements of the film. “The film editor reviews all of the footage shot on a production, selects the best takes of individual shots, and then orders these to produce an edited sequence that will convey the narrative action and emotion of the films scenes. To accomplish this editor must review footage trying to shape it into something special.” Shots also consist of editing like fades in and out, wipes, and dissolves.
Now that we have a grasp on what editing involves to a minor extent I want to use the example above of the movie “Face-Off”. If I were to choose a type of editing the picture above represents it would be focused on graphic match. This can be defined as one picture fading into another picture representing the same figure becoming one whole picture as the final product. I thought it was interesting in the book how Bordwell and Thomson explained in clips of the movie “Alien” on how her face shape laying on the pillow fading into a picture of the earth. I find that similar to this picture because they take two characters like John Travolta and Nicolas Cage and make it look like they are one person. When in the movie Nick is the bad guy and John is the good guy they switch positions and the good guy is now the bad guy and the bad guy is now the good guy. And in the end of course the bad guy loses and the good guy wins. From all that chaos though you get a sense from the editing not just from the poster but from the movie as well when they are taking their faces off from the operating room to the recovery room the transitions are smooth and give a sense of suspense to what’s going on.
In a broad view of it editing is a way to make something out of nothing. It’s where the magic is made when it comes to films and shows. It’s the sounds the everything that’s going on throughout the final product. It was interesting exploring different aspects of it.
“Mise-en-scène is generated by the construction of shots and the ways that they lead to visual coherence, across the edits from shot to shot. It includes all the elements in front of the camera that compose a shot: lighting; use of black and white or color; placement of characters in the scene; design of elements within the shot (part of the process of production design); placement of camera vis-à-vis characters in the set; movement of camera and/or actors; composition of the shot as a whole—how it is framed and what is in the frame. Even music may be considered part of Mise-en-scène. While not seen, at its best music enhances the visual and narrative construction of the shot.”
Now that we have an brief understanding of what Mise en scene is we can move forward to talking about a specific film that produces this well. The one movie that stands on to me the most for Mise en scene is the movie “Last Action Hero” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The movie itself is a very visually stimulating movie and what makes me believe that this is a good example of Mise en scene is the way the director John McTiernan created a world of fantasy and reality and a real world that crossed over to fantasy. For instance in the scene when Danny the main character besides Arnold, has already used the magically ticket that places people in the movies and doesn’t matter what they are watching hence the real world to fantasy. Now everyone in the fantasy world believes that they are living a normal life when they are just characters. Danny tries to explain to Arnold “Jack” that the movie poster of Sylvester Stallone in the Terminator 2 was supposed to be him in real life and Arnold “Jack” plays it off as “oh I love that guy he’s a really good actor”
Through-out the movie I personally loved the use of props and different characters, it gives you a feel as if you actually did walk into a magical world of the movies and it keeps you on the edge of your seat because there is pauses and action pauses and action throughout the entire film. I would have to say my favorite moment in the entire movie that makes me remember this every time, is the one scene when the one mob boss is having his funeral on the top of the building and “Jack” goes to defuse the body and the entire mob family including elderly women and men all were packing heat from handguns to shotguns to machine guns I thought this was a funny moment which also is a stimulating moment which makes me never forget and that is how I see Mise en scene in a film and this is why I think that Last action hero is a great movie to analyze because its jam packed with multiple scenes and props. I still probably have missed certain aspects of the film that’s how fast paced it is.
The scene I chose to do an analysis on was the scene from terminator 2 when he (Arnold) is fending off the police when they break into the lab as a group. I chose the mini-gun scene because to me that was the most intense scene I have ever seen when I was growing up as a child. I still quote the helicopter pilot with what he says before Arnold goes crazy on the cops. This scene was shot from so many different angles and perspectives and it gave off the aroma of feeling like you were actually at a battle or war in just a parking lot setting. As soon as Arnold pushes that desk through the window you know all hell is going to break loose, especially when you hear “That’s a damn mini-gun” a mini-gun is usually attached to a vehicle of some sort and would be extremely heavy and probably unobtainable to hold which makes this scene even more action packed and a manly type of film. Without a question this goes down in my top ten action packed scenes of all time. It still blows my mind to this day and that movie was made in the 90’s with turn of the century technology that looked absolutely amazing for its time. I remember watching this on laser disc format and thinking that it was so crisp and awesome and even the sound was better with that. Until dvd of course came about then that changed everything as well. Terminator 2 is one of the best action packed movies of its time and I think will still hold its ground with time to come.