All movies are action movies, in a way, if you simply define “action” as characters walking around and saying stuff to each other. However, there are movies that are more action-packed than others. Indeed, there’s an entire genre of movies packed with action. Back in the glory days of video stores, there were shelves and shelves of action movies. Now we have the Internet, and with it comes thousands of action movies just waiting for you to experience.
But with such great access and power comes great responsibility – the responsibility to know which action movies are the best. Herewith, a list of the best action movies ever made.
Air Force One
“Get off my plane!” bellows President Harrison Ford to one of the Russian terrorists who skyjacked Air Force One. And that, friend, is the gist of this “Die Hard on Air Force One” action flick. Enjoy!
Ridley Scott’s Alien was a gothic horrorshow dripping with gloom and doom. The sequel, directed by James Cameron, is a straight-up action flick, pitting space Marines against swarms of Aliens, ending with a fistfight between Sigourney Weaver and the Alien Queen. As Bill Paxton says, “Game over, man!”
Probably the best James Bond movie since GoldenEye, Daniel Craig’s debut as 007 is a fast-paced, intense, and gritty reintroduction to the British secret agent. The chase on the airport runway is nail-biting; so is the finale in the sinking Venetian mansion. Hell, even the poker scenes are pretty tense.
Maybe the best “guns & muscles” blow-’em-up flick that the 1980s had to offer. Certainly the best Schwarzenegger movie called Commando. The former Governor of California plays a guy named John Matrix who demolishes everything in his path toward the mercenaries who kidnapped his daughter. “Somewhere, somehow, someone’s going to pay.” Indeed!
Crank: High Voltage
This movie is utter insanity. The sequel to Crank, Jason Statham falls from a helicopter, gets abducted by Asian gangsters, and has his heart replaced with an artificial one. In order to keep his new heart beating, he must expose himself to lethal volts of electricity. In. San. I. Ty.
The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight is an epic crime saga in disguised as a superhero flick. It’s a serious meditation on human nature, the kind of film that requires use of phrases like “meditation on.” It’s also an amazing action movie, with jawdroppingly cool chase and fight sequences.
This Christmas story about a New York cop waging a one-man war against terrorists/thieves in an LA skyscraper reinvented the action-movie game. The sardonic wisecracking Bruce Willis and the grimly clever Alan Rickman are perfect adversaries. This launched dozens of “Die Hard in a … ” imitators.
Enter the Dragon
This is sorta the Citizen Kane of martial arts movies. It’s cliche to say that Bruce Lee was the master, but he really was. Watching him fight his way through an island full of bad guys is like watching a really badass ballet performance.
Oh man, what were the filmmakers on when they made this movie? John Travolta and Nicolas Cage swap faces, and explosions and gunfights ensue. It’s directed by John Woo, so of course there’s a lot of slow motion, and shots of doves flying around.
The first four installments of the Fast and Furious franchise were mere street-racing movies: fun but forgettable. Fast Five changed the equation, being a knockout, frenetic heist flick with hella fast cars. If you love cars, though, you might watch this through your fingers: this movie’s merciless toward its vehicular stars (as well as physics).