Angelina Jolie's Salt, and the action movie double-standard.
The cover story of this year's Entertainment Weekly summer movie preview concerns the behind the scenes scoop of the new espionage thriller Salt, directed by Phillip Noyce and starring Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Much of the 1.5 page article is a group 'pat on the back' for the seemingly amazing progressiveness symbolized by the fact that Angelina Jolie ended up playing an action hero originally written for a male star like Tom Cruise (he bailed when the script began to too closely resemble a Mission: Impossible picture). Fair enough, such a thing really shouldn't be a big deal in 2010 and the fact that they are falling over themselves in self-congratulation is the very opposite of progressive. But the real kicker occurs at the top of page 38. A direct quote:
So, hidden in an article centering around just how the making of Salt is oh-so empowering for female action heroes is this tidbit. To put it in plainer terms, the filmmakers believe that it was perfectly OK for the spouse to be rescued from mortal danger if said love-interest was a girl, but not if the romantic partner was a man. So it's great if the action hero is a girl, as long as they don't have to opportunity to one-up any male counterparts and/or reverse the oldest cliche in the action-film handbook. Saying that girls can be portrayed as helpless damsels in distress but boys can't/shouldn't be is the very opposite of the sort of 'progress' that Noyce and Jolie claim to be making.