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.