I've watched a lot of generic action flicks, and am quite a fan of the genre - call it a guilty pleasure. But I'm also pretty cheap, so I only just got around to renting this from itunes.
I'm pretty familiar with the action genre conventions. But there were a couple of points in this one where the misogyny was striking - because it was so gratuitous, in that there were no female villains, so the woman being primarily demeaned was a character we were supposed to respect. There were four women in the film by my count:
- Wife of a corrupt Mexican military officer. We see her briefly, one of the team has been sleeping with her and said he plans to save her. We never see her again. He does not save her (or apparently care what has happened to her).
- A prison guard. Who sleeps with the same guy while he is incarcerated.
- The assistant to a CIA officer. At least when her boss says he hired her for her looks she gives him the finger - which is about as much female assertiveness as we get here.
- The main female character, played by Jessica Biel. Also an army officer, she seems competent and smart. But when she issues an order to some men, one of them remarks that if they fail to carry out that order they will "be on bitch duty". None of the men face this kind of insubordinate remark. Although given how women in authority get treated, maybe this film is more like a documentary. UGH.
I don't really mind when there's an action film that only features women as bimbos and bunnies. Because all the men are pretty much cartoon characters too. But if you're going to give us a strong woman character in a major role: treat her with the same respect as you do the men. Seriously.