Reimagining the Action Film


In her discussion of female antagonism in Blaxploitation films (see unit 3, week 5), Melissa DeAnn Seifert observes that “[f]ilms featuring women as active agents … often create a divide between female characters and deny gender-based solidarity,” and argues that by dividing women and pitting them against one another, these films conveyed an “anti-sisterhood” message to women in the audience (2012, p.3).

The recent action film – Spy (released in 2015, starring Melissa McCarthy) –portrays a female central character who works in alliance with other female characters. Discuss how this film re-imagines and re-presents the conventions of the action film. What message does this film send to women in the audience about female solidarity? Analyze at least three specific scenes from the film, drawing evidence from each scene to support your argument.

Make sure you address the significance of both the social, political and historical context in which the film was made and factors such as the character’s race, age, gender expression, sexuality, ability/disability in your discussion and analysis of the film.