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Contemporary Action Cinema$
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Lisa Purse

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780748638178

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638178.001.0001

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Race in the action film

Race in the action film

(p.112) Chapter 6 Race in the action film
Contemporary Action Cinema

Lisa Purse

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter argues that the contemporary action film evidences the persistence of traditional racial hierarchies and racial stereotypes, with the ethnicity of the action hero still frequently ‘defaulting’ to Anglo-American while non-white and non-Anglo characters remain on the sidelines, only permitted to be active and heroic in the context of a larger group. The chapter then investigates the representational negotiations that take place when a nonwhite person takes on the role of action hero, using I, Robot and Avatar to analyse how notions of otherness become redirected, before considering how whiteness operates as a structuring concept in the action movie's representational hierarchy, both as a dominant category and as a locus of fear, using xXx as an example.

Keywords:   Whiteness, Race, Ethnicity, Racial hierarchy, Representation, Anglo-American, Latino, African-American

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