Action Adventure film is a genre where one or more heroes is thrust into a series of challenges that require physical feats, extended fights and frenetic chases. The plot has twists and turns and moments of peril that the main charcaters have to survive, while showing grace under pressure. Of course, the narrative is one of GOOD versus EVIL, in which GOOD will eventually triumph.
Story and character development are generally secondary to explosions, fist fights, gunplay and car chases. While action has long been an element of films, the "action film" as a genre of its own began to develop in the 1970s. The genre is closely linked with the thriller and adventure film genres, and it may sometimes have elements of spy fiction and espionage.
The long-running success of the James Bond series (which easily dominated the 1960s) essentially introduced all the staples of the modern-day action film. The "Bond movies" were characterized by larger-than-life characters, such as the resourceful hero: a veritable "one-man army" who was able to dispatch villainous masterminds (and their disposable "henchmen") in ever-more creative ways, often followed by a ready one-liner. The Bond films also utilized quick cutting, car chases, fist fights, a variety of weapons and "gadgets", and ever more elaborate action sequences.
The 1970s saw the introduction of martial-arts film to western audiences. Also inspired by the success of James Bond; specifically the Asian-influenced You Only Live Twice , martial arts-themed action movies exploded onto the western cinema screens with Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon (1973).
B y the early 1970s, many of the old genres, like the Western, were becoming less popular, often being replaced by more gritty versions of the same or films that drew on other genres and stressed, at least in part, the action set pieces that had characterised the James Bond series (although had existed in other genres).
Gritty detective stories and urban crime dramas began to fuse themselves with the new "action" style, leading to a string of maverick police officer films, such as those defined by Bullitt (1968), The French Connection (1971) and Dirty Harry (1971); all of which featured an intense car chase inspired by the popular stuntwork of the Bond films. Dirty Harry lifted its star Clint Eastwood out of his cowboy typecasting, and became the urban-action film's first true archetype. Proving that the modern world offered just as much glamour, excitement, and potential for violence as the old west, Dirty Harry signaled the end of the prolific "cowboys and Indians" era of film westerns.
The cross-pollenization of genres (such as spy-films and war movies, or westerns and detective dramas) would become the norm in the 1980s. Key films in the development of the Action Adventure genre from this period are Jaws (1975) and Star Wars (1977); both were immensley successful action films working within other genres (Horror and Sci-Fi respectively); both involved special effects, especially the latter and action set pieces. The directors were two of Hollywood’s young creative talents, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, who would combine to create Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), (an idea "better than James Bond", according to Lucas) the film that introduced Indiana Jones, an adventurer, inspired by 1930s movie serials featuring action heroes who were pitched against seemingly impossible odds in a series of set pieces, often in exotic locations – but who (sometimes with the help of a sidekick) managed to win the prize and save/get the girl.
The 1980s would see the action film take over Hollywood to become a dominant form of summer blockbuster; literally "the action era" popularized by actors such as Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis.
The 1988 film Die Hard was influential on the development of the action genre. In the film, Bruce Willis plays a New York police detective who inadvertently becomes embroiled in a terrorist take-over of a Los Angeles office building high-rise. The film set a pattern for a host of imitators, like Under Siege (1992) or Air Force One (1997), which used the same formula in a different setting. By the end of the 1980s, the influence of the successful action film could be felt in almost every genre - hybrids were becoming the norm; war-action hybrids (like First Blood and Missing in Action ), science fiction action (like Terminator , and RoboCop ), horror-action (like Aliens and Predator ), and even the occasional musical-action-comedy hybrid (like The Blues Brothers ).
The 1990s was an era of sequels and hybrid action. Like the western genre, the spy-movies and urban-action films were starting to parody themselves, and with the growing revolution in CGI (computer generated imagery), the "real-world" settings began to give way to increasingly fantastic environments. This new era of action films often had budgets unlike any in the history of motion pictures. The success of the many Dirty Harry and James Bond sequels had proven that a single successful action film could lead to a continuing action franchise. Thus the 1980s and 1990s saw a rise in both budgets and the number of sequels a film could generally have. Where in earlier decades, sequels were frowned upon by most filmmakers and filmgoers alike, the 1980s saw a serious effort on the part of studios and their stars to not only attempt to capture the magic one more time, but to continually top what had come before. This basic drive led to an increasing desire on the part of many filmmakers to create new technologies that would allow them to beat the competition by taking audiences to new heights of roller-coaster-like fantasy.
The success of Tim Burton's Batman (1989) led to a string of financially successful sequels, and within a single decade, had proven the viability of a new sub-genre of action film; the comic-book movie. Yet another hybrid, comic-book-inspired films like Batman and Blade (1998), would pave the way for the new millennium, their many sequels competing for box office with big-budget action fantasies like the The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Pirates of the Caribbean , and Spider-Man , all of which (regardless of their sub-classification) qualify as "action movies".
At present, action films tend to be expensive, requiring big budget special effects and stunt work. As such, they are regarded as mostly a large-studio genre in Hollywood, although there have been a significant number of action films from Hong Kong which are primarily modern variations of the martial arts film. Because of these roots, Hong Kong action films typically center on acrobatics by the protagonist while American action films typically feature big explosions, car chases, stunt work and (more recently) CGI special effects technology. Thanks to the better availability of CGI technology at a lower price, action cinema outside of Hollywood has been able to provide viewers with a growing degree of spectacle which was once only available from American studio releases ( Blood the Last Vampire (Japan), The Host (South Korea), Red Cliff (China), etc.).
Another successful action film produced outside of Hollywood was the French made Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001), which managed to mix pre-revolutionary period French politics, the plot of the Sherlock Holmes story, The Hound of the Baskervilles, horror, martial arts and a touch of the Western. It became the second-highest-grossing French-language film in the United States in the last two decades.
While action films have traditionally been a reliable source of revenue for movie studios, relatively few action films garner critical praise. Action films have traditionally been aimed at male audiences from the early teens to the mid-30s, but many action filmmakers from the 1990s and 2000s added female heroines in response to the expanding social conceptions of gender, glorifying the strong female archetype.
Current trends in action film include a development toward more stunts and elaborate fight scenes in Western film. This trend is influenced by the massive success of Hong Kong action cinema, both in Asia and in the west. Asian martial arts elements, such as kung-fu can now be found in numerous non-Asian action films. Some credit Jackie Chan's Rush Hour to have been the first film to really get North Americans to enjoy the martial arts/comedy which has now appeared in numerous films. Now, a distinction can be made between films that lean toward physical, agile fighting, such as Blade and The Matrix , and those that lean toward other common action film conventions, like explosions and plenty of gunfire, such as Mission: Impossible , although most action movies employ elements of both.
On the other hand, one new franchise, Bourne, is almost like the anti-Bond, taking the action film back to its thriller routes, eschewing CGI and large scale special effects for a more realistic approach. It’s notable that Bourne dispatches his adversaries with items that are lying around – a pen, for example, rather than jumping through a window blasting one gun in each hand