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Recommend some *good* action movies

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Paul_Scott, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Well-Known Member

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    i'm probably going to sound like a snob (what else is new). but the subject of the Criterion version of the Rock came up and the person asked if he should buy that or some other title.
    To me, The Rock is one of the weakest action movies i've ever seen for many reasons.
    yes i will agree the 'action' scenes are well choreographed and nice and glossy, but the characters and situation and patriotic posturing are so damned inane, i can't view the movie as anything but obnoxious drivel.
    so then i was asked to list some of the action movies that i thought were better, so they would know where i was coming from.
    i thought a few minutes and came up with this short list;

    The Great Escape
    Bridge On The River Kwai
    The Professionals
    Bite the Bullet
    (really more adventure than action)
    Bend Of The River ( " ")
    The Train
    The Bourne Identity
    Raiders Of The Lost Ark
    Sahara
    ( the Bogart version)

    with the couple qualifications noted, i was pretty satisfied with this list as it represents to me movies that not only have gunplay and explosions, but also well drawn characters who behave in intelligent and believable ways (this is where The Rock fails miserably for me).

    beyond these though, i had a hard time racking my brain.
    especially trying to find movies that fit the term 'action' in the more contemporary meaning of the word.
    a few more that i came up with were
    Hard Times (not much on guns or explosions, but some rough bare knuckle brawling)
    Mr Majestyk
    The Guns Of Navarone


    so based on the criteria of good stories having believable characters taking precedence over the explosions and mayhem, what titles would you add to a list like this?

    edited to add a running list of the suggestions so far

    The Dirty Dozen
    The Getaway
    La Femme Nikita
    Leon: The Professional
    The French Connection
    Die Hard (1,2,3)*
    Ronin
    Hard Boiled
    The Killer
    Police Story 2: Supercop
    The Road Warrior
    Lethel Weapon (1,2)
    Saving Private Ryan
    The Fugitive
    The Rock
    Mad Max
    The Day of the Jackal
    The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
    The Towering Inferno
    Three Days of the Condor
    Marathon Man
    The Parallax View
    48 Hours
    Rififi
    From Russia With Love
    Goldfinger
    (most of the Bond movies as a matter of fact)
    Bullitt
    Where Eagles Dare
    The Thomas Crown Affair (both versions)
    Patton
    Tora! Tora! Tora!
    The Poseidon Adventure
    Air Force One
    The Replacement Killers
    Rush Hour
    Blade
    Entrapment
    X-Men
    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
    Enemy at the Gate
    Under Siege
    The Hunt for Red October
    Gettysburg
    Cliffhanger
    Speed
    True Lies
    Crimson Tide
    Black Hawk Down
    Cliffhanger
    Demolition Man
    Equilibrium
    Gone in Sixty Seconds (1974)
    The Long Kiss Goodnight
    Mad Max
    The Road Warrior
    Speed
    The Negotiator
    Terminator
    Pulp Fiction
    Heat
    Big Trouble in Little China
    Tango & Cash
    Young Guns
    Total Recall
    The Running Man
    Silverado (good western action)
    Tombstone
    U-571
    El Mariachi
    Desperado
    Once Upon a Time in Mexico
    The Thing
    Brotherhood of the Wolf
    Rambo trilogy (the first in particular)
    The Mask of Zorro
    Commando
    North By Northwest
    Enter the Dragon
    Chinese Connection
    Fists of Fury
    Return of the Dragon
    Lawrence of Arabia
    The Hunted
    Lord of the Rings trilogy
    Reservoir Dogs
    Scorpion King
    Gladiator
    Gangs of New York
    The Patriot
    Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
    Apocolypse Now
    Full Metal Jacket
    Robocop
    Under Siege
    The Quick and the Dead
    Independence Day
    Fight Club
    Jurassic Park and Lost World
    Braveheart
    True Romance
    S.W.A.T.
    Spartacus
    Marked For Death
    The Last Boy Scout
    Rob Roy
     
  2. Haggai

    Haggai Well-Known Member

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    The Train, woo-hoo! I love that movie, although it's not very well known these days. I would definitely add The Dirty Dozen to the list, I love the characterizations in that movie. Sam Peckinpah's original version of The Getaway, as well, if you're willing to call it an action movie, which I think is a fair classification.
     
  3. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Well-Known Member

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    both excellant choices.
    the subject really came up in the context of which disc he should buy and PQ was a criteria. i've heard that the DD disc doesn't look so hot (and i think the Getaway is probably a little long in the tooth now as well).
    Hopefully Warner will get around to remastering these sometime in the future.
    as soon as they do, they'll be a must buy for me.
     
  4. Haggai

    Haggai Well-Known Member

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    Ah, I see, PQ on DVD was part of the discussion. I don't own either of the titles I mentioned either, and will also nab them when (hopefully) they get re-done.
     
  5. Chris

    Chris Well-Known Member

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    Bourne Identity has quickly become one of my favs [​IMG] I'm glad it's on your list as well.

    I've always been partial to La Femme Nikita (original) and Leon, which I felt both were great suspense action flicks [​IMG]
     
  6. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Well-Known Member

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    The French Connection
    - It's not exactly what you would call an action movie, but you'll be hardpressed to find something as great as the car chase and the opening sequence.
     
  7. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Well-Known Member

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    You may like Ronin some as well. Based on your reaction to The Rock, I'm fairly sure you wouldn't like my other suggestions (like Hard Boiled, The Killer, or the good 80s/90s action films).
     
  8. Robert Anthony

    Robert Anthony Well-Known Member

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    I can't believe no one's mentioned "Die Hard" yet.

    And while some consider it Horror, and some consider it a War movie, I've always considered "ALIENS" as an action movie.

    and while we're on the subject of Cameron--gotta mention T2. Call it Sci-Fi if you want--but that's one of the purest Action movies ever made.

    Hard Boiled should be mentioned, without a doubt. hell, I know people denigrate it now--but I thought Face/Off was by far his best American movie, and is a good movie in it's own right.

    Oh, and "The Road Warrior" which has possibly the best stuntwork ever.

    or maybe not, if you're going to take fighting into account--I know "Police Story 2: Supercop" (aka just "Supercop") is considered a Kung Fu movie, but it's really an action-fest--and Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh are doing a lot of crazy stunts aside from gunplay and whupping ass.
     
  9. Jim Williams

    Jim Williams Well-Known Member

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    Saving Private Ryan

    I just re-watched this and was blown away again.
     
  10. David C Lin

    David C Lin Well-Known Member

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    Aliens. It's a sci-fi movie but action packed. [​IMG]

    Also, don't forget all the Indy movies. Good action movies.
     
  11. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Well-Known Member

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    I have that in my stable of essential 80s and 90s movies, but his post suggests its the type of film he doesn't like ("but also well drawn characters who behave in intelligent and believable ways").
     
  12. Robert Anthony

    Robert Anthony Well-Known Member

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    I always thought that was the appeal of Die Hard at the time--the character isn't a superman, gets hurt, reacts accordingly, and while he spouts off a one liner or two, he's more human than any action hero up to that point had been. He's not trying to stop crime, or rescue treasure--he just wants his wife back. The only reason he's there in the first place is to reconcile with his estranged wife.

    I don't know if "The realistic action movie" has been filmed yet, and I wouldn't call Die Hard in any way realistic, but I think McClane fits into that story just as intelligently and believably as Indy Jones fits into Raiders. I think that's a major reason the movie resonated as it did at the time, and spawned it's own sub-genre of action movie, much like Indy did in 1981.

    and actually, now that I think about it, maybe instead of Hard Boiled--it's "The Killer" that should be mentioned in this thread. I haven't seen "bullet in the head" or "A Better Tomorrow" so I can't comment on those, but The Killer is actually VERY character driven.
     
  13. Kevin Grey

    Kevin Grey Well-Known Member

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    The Fugitive perhaps? The first two Lethal Weapon Films?

    Considering the extreme lack of movies from the last twenty years its kind of hard to figure out your taste. Particularly since I don't think I would classify Bridge on the River Kwai or Great Escape as "action" films. There's been a lot of action movies between Raiders and Bourne Identity and while there's certainly a lot of crap there's been a lot of good ones too.
     
  14. Shad R

    Shad R Well-Known Member

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    I agree. Die Hard is one of the only action movies I've ever started to ROOT for the main charector. It's very involving, cause you can relate. He's just an average joe, trying to do the best he can with what he can to stop some thieves. It's my favorite action movie. BTW, I liked Rock, and thought it had the most action you could fit into a movie.
     
  15. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Well-Known Member

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    ok guys- good suggestions so far, and i'm putting 'em down.

    i think what i would like to do is compile a list of what should be reference standard action movies.

    what i'm proposing is for people to nominate what they think are the best representations of the genre and i will compile these and then when we get to about 50 or 60 (maybe up to 100), i'll close the nominations and then we'll figure out some way to pare the list down to about 25-30 representing the finest action films ever made.
    i'm going to refrain from criticizing anyones choices at this stage because i don't want to inhibit anyone from nominating what they think is a good movie.
    even though i already made a statement against The Rock, i know it's some peoples idea of a great action movie so i'll throw it on the list.
    in the de-selection process i may mention it though [​IMG]

    keep 'em coming guys- and don't be afraid to nominate films that aren't widely known or popular
    i'll be a little lenient in this phase- as long as a film contains several action set pieces, it will qualify.
    it doesn't have to be wall to wall explosions.
     
  16. george kaplan

    george kaplan Well-Known Member

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    Well I think much more highly of the Rock than you do, so I don't know what you'll think of these, but I'd suggest the following not already mentioned:

    Mad Max
    The Day of the Jackal
    The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
    The Towering Inferno
    Three Days of the Condor
    Marathon Man
    The Parallax View
    48 Hours
    Rififi
    From Russia With Love
    Goldfinger
    (most of the Bond movies as a matter of fact)
    Bullitt
    Where Eagles Dare
    The Thomas Crown Affair (both versions)
    Patton
    Tora! Tora! Tora!
    The Poseidon Adventure
    Air Force One
    The Replacement Killers
    Rush Hour
    Blade
    Entrapment
    X-Men
    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
    Enemy at the Gate
    Under Siege
    The Hunt for Red October
    Gettysburg
    Cliffhanger
    Speed
    True Lies
    Crimson Tide
     
  17. DonMac

    DonMac Well-Known Member

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    I would add the original The Terminator to the list because the characters of Sarah and Reese easily meet the requirement of being well-drawn characters who behave in intelligent ways in their situation. And the movie itself is just as much an Action Movie as it is a Sci-Fi Film, if not more so.

    (And, despite the movie's low budget showing through time to time, I think it's much better than either sequel due to a tighter storyline and virtually no tongue-in-cheek "cutesiness")
     
  18. Holadem

    Holadem Well-Known Member

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    I find the Negotiator and excellent action movie that never gest mentioned for some reason.

    My top 3 are Aliens, T2 and The Matrix.

    --
    H
     
  19. Clem

    Clem Active Member

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    How about Pulp Fiction & Heat as a couple more.
     
  20. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Well-Known Member

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    Holadem,
    I'm a huge fan of The Negotiator, but I've always put it in the thriller category.

    Opening up the gates, I'd add the following into the ring:
    Black Hawk Down
    Cliffhanger
    Demolition Man
    Equilibrium
    Gone in Sixty Seconds (1974)
    The Long Kiss Goodnight
    Mad Max
    The Road Warrior
    Speed
     

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