FS20160 Action Adventure Cinema - Genre:Action/Adventure

Academic Year 2022/2023

The cinema of action and adventure encompasses films in a range of genres and incorporates the output and influences of a number of national cultural traditions and transnational industries. Writings about action and adventure address theoretical frames as varied as the discourse of gender and power, nation and nationality, violence and psychological trauma, philosophies of life and death of East and West, and the socio-political and economic positioning of cinema itself. This module will address this range of topics under the general banner of genre theory, from iconographical and ritual functions to ideological debates in the postmodern era. Students are advised that this module will feature discussion of films which will challenge current modalities of representation, with the ultimate goal of examination and analysis within a scholarly frame in which critical discourse advances societal inquiry.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Make appropriate use of genre theory frameworks in the analysis of films.
2. Interpret mainstream action adventure films from political and philosophical standpoints.
3. Differentiate between different configurations of the dynamics of genre films.
4. Compose a scholarly essay assessing action-adventure in an academic context using appropriate literature in review.

Indicative Module Content:

Contact content will consist of lectures, tutorials, and a weekly screening. Weekly reading lists will be provided. Tutorial times will be devoted to student contribution, preparation for assessment, and discussion of primary texts (both readings and films). Assessment will be by means of essays and learning journal.

Topics will likely include (subject to adjustment):
Genre and narrative
Economic and social functions of genre.
History and ideology in practice and critical theory.
Postmodernism and neoliberal ideology.
Orientalism, revisionism, neocolonialism.
Decolonisation, appropriation, iconography.
Agency, gender, and power.
Authorship approaches in genre context.
Syntactic approaches to action.
Ethics and aesthetics of violence.
Form and Hybridity.
Culture and nationalism, transnationalism.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours






Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Students are expected to attend lectures, which provide a broad introduction to a body of theory. There will be a case study screening each week that illustrates some of the questions raised, though the selection is by no means conclusively canonical; more an example to facilitate further thinking and viewing. Lectures and screenings are only one portion of student activity, though, and do not in themselves complete the weekly engagement with either live learning or required scholarship. There are weekly tutorials requiring ongoing contribution, and also the weekly screenings will usually be introduced by a tutor to give further context. There are, of course, also weekly required readings that will make up much of the time spent on the subject, as well as an invitation to extend your studies beyond that to the body of writing in the area having built on these core materials. As a level two module, this course will require an intermediate level of knowledge of the relevant vocabulary and theories of film introduced at level one. It will build upon key skills and knowledge typically acquired at level one, developing confidence with the application of that knowledge to intermediate scholarship. As such it is always advisable to approach this module with some background in film studies, as you will be expected to approach these films as critical texts and examine them with reference to academic reading in the subject. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

It is recommended that students have taken at least one level one film studies module, preferably more than one. It is also advisable that students familiarise themselves with level one film studies textbooks.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Participation and Engagement will be measured through tutorial contributions which may include a learning journal. Throughout the Trimester n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale No


Assignment: Mid term writing exercise Week 6 n/a Graded No


Essay: Final essay Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Written feedback will be available on all submitted mid-term and final essays, and students are invited to attend consultation to discuss this further. There will also usually be some general feedback notes either in class or on BrightSpace. General consultation is available on a weekly basis for all students throughout the trimester, including during preparation of assessment, but drafts will not be read prior to summative assessment.

Indicative titles (subject to change)
Grant, Barry Keith, Film Genre: From Iconography to Ideology, Wallflower Press, 2007.
Grant, Barry Keith (ed.), Film Genre Reader IV, University of Texas Press, 2012.
Kendrick, James (ed.), A Companion to the Action Film, Wiley-Blackwell, 2019.
Lichtenfeld, Eric, Action Speaks Louder: Violence, Spectacle, and the American Action Movie, Westport, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 2007.
O’Brien, Harvey, Action Movies: The Cinema of Striking Back, Wallflower Press/Columbia University Press, 2012.
Purse, Lisa, Contemporary Action Cinema, Edinburgh University Press, 2011.
Tasker, Yvonne (ed.), Action and Adventure Cinema, Routledge, 2004.
- The Hollywood Action and Adventure Film, Wiley & Sons, 2015.
Name Role
Mr Odin O'Sullivan Tutor