New Book Announcement:

A Companion to the Action Film
Edited by James Kendrick

As the first major anthology on the action film in more than a decade, A Companion to the Action Film offers insights into the genre’s historical development, explores its production techniques and visual poetics, and provides reflections on the numerous social, cultural, and political issues it has and continues to embody. It offers original research and critical analysis that examines the iconic characteristics of the genre, its visual aesthetics, and its narrative traits; considers the impact of major directors and stars on the genre’s evolution; puts the action film in dialogue with various technologies and other forms of media such as graphic novels and television; and maps out new avenues of critical study for the future. Written for scholars, teachers and students in film studies, film theory, film history, genre studies, and popular culture, A Companion to the Action Film is an essential guide to one of international cinema’s most important, popular, and influential genres.

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James Kendrick is Professor of Film & Digital Media at Baylor University. He is the author of several books on cinema, including Darkness in the Bliss-Out: A Reconsideration of the Films of Steven Spielberg(2014); Film Violence: History, Ideology, Genre (2009); and Hollywood Bloodshed: Violence in 1980s American Cinema (2009).


Introduction: The Action Film: “Over Familiar and Understudied”
James Kendrick

Part I History

1 Origins of the Action Film: Types, Tropes, and Techniques in Early Film History
Kyle Barrowman

2 A Genre of Its Own: From Westerns, to Vigilantes, to Pure Action
James Kendrick

3 The New Dominance: Action‐Fantasy Hybrids and the New Superhero in 2000s Action Cinema
Lisa Purse

4 Around the World in Action
Mark Gallagher

Part II Form and Aesthetics

5 The Perpetual Motion Aesthetic of Action Cinema
Nick Jones

6 Asian Action Cinema and Its Influence on Hollywood
Barna William Donovan

7 Comedy in Action
Cynthia M. King

8 The Composite Body: Action Stars and Embodiment in the Digital Age
Drew Ayers

9 Translating the Panel: Remediating a Comics Aesthetic in Contemporary Action Cinema
Joshua Wucher

Part III Auteurs: Directors, Stars, Choreographers

10 Akira Kurosawa, Sam Peckinpah, and the Action Concept of Eastern Westerns
Stephen Teo

11 The Martial Arts Supremacy: Action Film and Fight Choreography
Paul Bowman

12 All Guts and No Glory: Stuntwork and Stunt Performers in Hollywood History
Lauren Steimer

13 Hollywood’s Hard Bodies: The Stars Who Made the Action Films Famous
Susan Jeffords

14 The Strange Case of Carlos Ray Norris: Reactionary Masculinity and Its Imaginary Discontents
Tony Williams

15 New Action Realism: Claustrophobia, Immediacy, and Mediation in the Films of Kathryn Bigelow, Paul Greengrass, and Michael Mann
Vincent M. Gaine

Part IV Social and Cultural Issues

16 Postmodernism in Action Movies
Micheal McAlexander

17 The 1980s Action Film and the Politics of Urban Expulsions
Jon Kraszewski

18 Infinite Crisis: Intertextuality and Watchmen
Matt Yockey

19 Blowing Up the War Film: Powerlessness and the Crisis of the Action‐Image in The Hurt Locker and Inglourious Basterds
Paul Gormley

20 X‐Men/Action Men: Performing Masculinities in Superhero and Science‐Fiction Cinema
Yvonne Tasker

21 Unlikely Action Heroine: Melissa McCarthy Challenges Bodily Ideals in Modern Action Film
Jeffrey A. Brown

22 “I Am Become Death”: Managing Massacres and Constructing the Female Teen Leader in The 100
Rikke Schubart

23 A Digital Nature: Lucy Takes Technology for a Ride
Lorrie Palmer

24 “I Feel the Need, the Need for Speed”: Prosthetics, Agency Panic, and the High‐Tech Action Film
Steffen Hantke


James Kendrick, Ph.D.
Professor and Undergraduate Program Director
Department of Film & Digital Media
Baylor University
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