Diversity in Action Movies

Posted April 17, 2014 by Eoin Friel in Articles

People like to think of action movies as merely a diverting escape for a couple hours; some ‘splosions, shoot-outs, car chases and nothing more. They may be right but there is a very positive aspect a lot of people tend to overlook: cultural diversity.

The Fast & the Furious series is now shrouded in the tragedy of Paul Walker’s death last year and it will be difficult to watch future movies without feeling sadness.

However, the series should be lauded for having an entirely multicultural cast. Each movie introduces new cast members from around the world including America (Diesel and Walker), Panama (Jordana Brewster), UK (Statham & Evans), Korea (Sung Kang), Samoa/Canada/US (Dwayne Johnson), Thailand (Tony Jaa), Peru (Nathalie Kelley) and Israel (Gal Gadot) to name but a few.

The series has really led the way in showing that a big budget Hollywood movie doesn’t need to have White Americans as the leads in order to be successful.

If you overlook the movies being about car chases and heists, they also promote the positive idea of family; all of these different races working together without worrying about the colour of anyone’s skin. They promote loyalty and even honour… OK, I’m reaching here but you get the point.

We also get to see women in strong leading roles, not waiting to be saved by a man; Michelle Rodriguez and Gina Carano’s fight scenes in Fast 6 really showed that they can handle themselves just fine and that the genre really needs more female action stars.

Although this is a great leap forward, there is still a long way to go; when speaking with UFC fighter and action star Cung Le a few months ago, he described how as an Asian actor in Hollywood, it’s still very difficult to get a script to play a romantic lead or anything other than an ass-kicker. He asked “when was the last time you saw an Asian actor as a romantic lead in a Hollywood movie?” and I drew a blank.

Television shows like Lost also had a diverse cast… it’s just a shame the ending was such bollocks. But hey, it was a good start.

Arrow has strong female characters like Sarah/Black Canary who can more than take care of herself physically and emotionally. Felicity is strong mentally and without her Oliver/The Arrow would be utterly lost.

So before you go ahead and diss the action genre for being dumb, take a step back and realise some of the positive aspects too. That is all.

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About the Author

Eoin Friel

I started The Action Elite a few years ago; it's grown from strength to strength but now seems like the right time to expand. I've always loved different movie genres like horror, sci-fi and dramas so you'll see a wide range of different movies covered here.