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Action Genre

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Oh yeah! You know lots of big, loud stuff is going to happen!

The Action genre is highly prevalent in movies and video games, and is characterised by a lot of adrenaline and blowing things up.

The typical scenario of the protagonists in an Action is a plot-specific — usually MacGuffin-retrieving — series of mini-stories in the form of fights or challenges, usually featuring extended violence with a prevalence of firearms because the protagonists are in direct physical danger. Over the years, the visual impression of these action scenes has become of tantamount importance, using cinematic techniques like The Oner with liberal use of visuals and Special Effects. Protagonists may be varying shades of Anti-Hero, but will almost always win.

The story or tension in Action typically shades in comparison to the visuals, but will be a threat of physical danger to the heroes or a loved one, often with a Race Against the Clock aspect.


Increasingly, the soundtrack has become as important to works in the action genre as the action sequences are. In film, the genre developed in the 1970s with the increase of modern stunt work.

In Hong Kong, they have a particularly booming Action movie production line — it's the home of John Woo, Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li movies — seen as the gem of the country's film industry and being heavily influenced by Chinese Circus and Peking Opera (stylised, highly dramatic acrobatic fight scenes as entertainment). See the Martial Arts Movie for more.

The Action genre can be qualified as submitting to Rule of Cool.

Has a lot of overlap with the Spy and Superhero genres as well as Fighting Series.

The main guy is the Action Hero (usually film, see Arnie, Jason Statham and The Rock) or the Action Genre Hero Guy (usually games, see Nolan North).


See also: So You Want to Write an Action Movie? and Action/Adventure Tropes.

Super-Trope to the Action Game and super-super to Action RPG and Action-Adventure game. There is also an index of Action Series.

Examples of Action Movies:


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