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Gender Meets Genre in Postwar Cinemas$
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Christine Gledhill

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036613

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036613.001.0001

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100% Pure Adrenaline

100% Pure Adrenaline

Gender and Generic Surface in Point Break

(p.54) Chapter 4 100% Pure Adrenaline
Gender Meets Genre in Postwar Cinemas

Luke Collins

University of Illinois Press

This chapter analyzes the quintessential action movie, Point Break (1991), arguing that we experience the film as generic surface. Despite critical efforts to construct the film as a creative play with masculinity or with the action genre, the film remains culturally and politically ambivalent. As is often noted, Point Break repeats the “vessel” of the action genre without rupture, spillage, or slippage. In this sense, Point Break expresses an awareness of its cultural/commercial form by filling out the homosocial trope latent in the action genre's intense male relationships and fetishization of the male body. However, at no point does it seek to exceed, parody, ironize, or reflect upon its genre. The fullness that this produces is a flatness: a surface. This surface is not a negative construction but provides a way to address the network of relations between film, audience, and industry.

Keywords:   Point Break, masculinity, action genre, action movies, homosocial trope, male body

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