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In this essay I am going to explore the conventions of action films
and their popularity. People love action films, and when they go to
see one there are conventions you would expect to see in the film All
plots of action films are based on the same outline, Hero and villain
meet, there’s a disruption of order, and mission, then everything is
sorted out when the villain dies and everything returns to normal.
There are Stock characters that you expect to see in this genre of
film, the hero, the villain and two attractive ladies. The main action
is around a male hero, however, modern films have featured female
heroines for example Angelina Jolie in ‘Tomb Raider’. If the hero is
male he is always good looking, intelligent, brave, chauvinistic, and
manages to escape from life threatening situations, however the hero
will always have a weakness, and if the hero is male the weakness is
normally women. If it is a female heroine then she will be really
attractive, big breasted, and quite feminine. The evil villain is
normally ugly, and greedy. The hero and villain have gunfights and
chases (featuring a variety of vehicles). One of the females is a
seductress, who works for the villain, she has to be attractive. The
other female plays the heroes love interest; she also needs to be
attractive.
Action films contain lots of physical stunts, chase scenes, rescues,
fights, humour, destructive disaster (Explosions, floods, fires,
natural hazards), escapes, and non-stop action. People expect the
stunts when they come to see an action film, because the stunts and
fights are what make the film so popular. Action films are normally
set in either popular cities or glamorous islands.
I watched a film to see if it fitted the expectations of what id
expect from a typical action film, the film I watched was twister.
Twister doesn’t fit the expectations of an action film entirely, it is
different to what I would expect from an action film, however it does
have some of the conventions. The story of twister is that there is a
large group of people attempting to find out how tornados really work,
they have designed a machine to send things up inside a tornado and
give readings from inside it. There is a relationship between the main
characters (the hero and heroine), this is the sub plot, Bill and Jo
meet again to sign the divorce papers, and start working together
again, and end up back together. This is one of the things different
to a normal action film there is two hero’s, instead of one. Jonas is
portrayed as a villain, stealing the idea of Dorothy, and is only in
it for the money. But the real villain is the tornado. There are a few
fights between Bill and Jonas, but it is mostly verbal fights, they
are racing each other to get to the tornado first. Bill, and Jo and
there team of workers tend to get their first, and Bill has a skill of
being able to sense if the tornado is going to change direction. They
are trying to find out how the tornado works so they can predict
tornados and give people more warning so they have more time to get to
safety. The film started with a scene where Jo’s dad is killed by a
tornado. Near the end of the film the Jonas is killed. This is typical
of an action film because the villain ends up dead. And like in
typical action films Jo and Bill escape unharmed. Jo, the hero, is
attractive, and is facing near death experiences quite often, the job
Jo has is thought typically a males job, but she is extremely good at
her job, there is a scene where she is in the shower, this scene is to
show her femininity. There are quite a few stunts involving the
tornado, for example the tornado changes direction, to come towards
them. The music and sound effects improve the film, and are very
important
to the film. The music is typical of action films fast beat, but not
very loud, the sound effects however are loud, the sound effects of
the tornado is extremely realistic, but
some how seems animal like, as if the tornado has been made into a
creature. The music reflects the characters, and there feelings.
I am going to watch clips from two action films to see how well they
are edited and to focus on the camera angles, lighting and, music etc.
the two films I’m going to concentrate on are ‘Mission Impossible 2’
and ‘Twister’. In Mission Impossible 2 there is non-stop action. I
watched the clip where He escapes on the motorbike then there is a
hand-to-hand fight at the end. The camera shots capture the action
really well and make it feel like your there. The shots change very
quickly from one angle to another, and a close up shot to a distance
shot. At one point there is a point of view shot so you see what he
would be seeing when then knife comes towards his eye, when this
happens you can feel the tension. Also there are replay shots when the
car is shot from the bike, which is effective. When there is a car/
bike chase tracking shots are used, which makes the viewer feel
involved, as if there are part of the scene. The scenes in the film
are varied in length and they change between the action scenes and
scenes of the girl and the helicopter. The clip ends with the death of
the villain. There is slow motion used in the action sequences, which
cause more suspense. The lighting is very good and realistic. The
music in Mission Impossible is loud during action sequences, but goes
quite before a gunshot. In the scenes with the girl the music is soft
and mournful, which makes you think she’s going to die.
The clip I watched from twister was the ending. There were also lots
of quick camera angle changes in this clip. When Jo ands Bill are
trying to escape from the tornado a tracking shot is used, as if the
tornado is following them. There is a few close ups of their faces to
show their emotions, these shots show the fear they are feeling. When
the scene is about the tornado the camera is shaky to make the tornado
seem more realistic. The camera shot is of either Bill or Jo’s view
when they are in the tornado, which makes the viewer feel as if it is
them in the tornado. When the car goes into the fire it feels as if
your there. The lighting is low-key (dark and shadowy); the darkness
makes the tornado more realistic, because it is dark in and around
tornados. The lighting goes bright suddenly when the tornado is over.
There are whistling sounds, and the music changes with the direction
change of the tornado. When Bill and Jo are in the middle of the
tornado there is soft music, which makes us believe they’re going to
die, although we know they wont.
Out of twister and Mission Impossible 2 I think Mission Impossible 2
is a better action Film, and Fits more of the expected action film
characteristics.