Hollywood Action Films and Spatial Theory by Nick Jones

By Nick Jones

This ebook applies the discourse of the so-called ‘spatial flip’ to renowned modern cinema, particularly the motion sequences of twenty-first century Hollywood productions. Tackling quite a few spatial imaginations (contemporary iconic structure; globalisation and non-places; phenomenological wisdom of position; consumerist areas of commodity buy; cyberspace), the varied case reviews not just element the variety of how during which motion sequences signify the problem of surviving and performing in modern house, but additionally exhibit the constant traits of spatial appropriation and spatial manipulation that outline the shape. Jones argues that motion sequences dramatise the constraints and chances of area, supplying examples of radical spatial praxis via their depictions of spatial engagement, fight and eventual transcendence.

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The content, style, purpose and ideas of any given space will impact on the energetic sequences that are set there. As will become clear in the remainder of this chapter and throughout this book, action sequences cannot help but express 26 Architecture a reciprocal relationship between their methods of spatial representation and the distinct spatial experiences of their featured architecture. Temple of the Spirit Architecture is both synergistic and antagonistic, simultaneously facilitating and obstructing movement.

Speed, for instance, is set in Los Angeles, a city defined by its immense urban sprawl and abundance of freeways, details that are hardly immaterial to the film’s unfolding. 4 In Speed, a bus is rigged with a bomb that will explode if the vehicle goes slower than 50 mph, forcing police officer Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) and impromptu bus driver Annie Porter (Sandra Bullock) to navigate the freeways and horizontality of the city in an innovative manner, creating routes where there were none before (including across a fifty-foot chasm).

58 Action cinema may depict rebellious and outrageous acts, but it does so in a manner that reinforces existing systems of regulation. 59 But as much as action cinema disregards rules and boundaries, the disobedient action it represents is highly provisional. 60 Action cinema appeals to the pleasures of non-standard physical activity and display in its action sequences, even as the narratives around these sequences rarely trouble the overarching (economic, patriarchal, regulatory) frameworks of everyday life.

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