'My keyword today is action. No, it’s not about Meaghan Morris the action hero! But it is about Meaghan Morris as a woman of action. It is also about Meaghan’s work on action cinema and cultural research as engaged scholarship in action.
'I want to begin in the official genre of a keyword.
'Keyword: Action. Action refers to a genre of cinema, a culture industry and a cultural practice of ‘doing’. As a body genre derived from contact sports such as martial arts, its narrative is characterised by the rivalry and combat between two or more opposing individuals or groups (what she calls ‘a transnational mode of historical fiction’). Morris discusses the contact narrative of action cinema as a new transnational genre with an industrial history that precedes Hollywood-based beginnings in the 1970s (with films such as The Towering Inferno and Jaws). She highlights the formative role Hong Kong has played in this history since the 1950s, with the introduction of swordplay films by the Shaw Brothers studio, its co-productions with Japan, Thailand, Korea and Hollywood in the 1970s and 1980s, and the expansion of its ‘direct to video’ industry in the 1980s and 1990s. This industry is characterised as a minor economy consisting of low budget, fly-by-night production using local cast and crew; shot in cheap locations such as slums, factories and disused buildings; erratic global distribution; and exhibited through informal spaces of consumption.' (Introduction)