As you munch on your many Easter eggs, and long for something great to watch over the Easter holiday, we are back to bring you another 10 selections from our mammoth “100 Action Movies You Must See!” list. So without further delay…
90 – ’12 Rounds’ (2009) / Stars: John Cena, Aidan Gillen, Ashley Scott. Director: Renny Harlin.
Continuing his emergence into action cinema, WWE’s John Cena this time plays Danny Fisher, a New Orleans cop who is about to have a real bad day. Two years after Fisher captures Miles Jackson (Aidan Gillen), a violent Irish terrorist, he is now living happily with his girlfriend, thinking all is right with the world. But what he doesn’t know is that Jackson has escaped from prison and is intent on exacting revenge against the cop for the death of his own girlfriend during his capture. Kidnapping Fisher’s girlfriend, he forces the cop to take on a series of deadly missions around the streets of New Orleans, with a time limit for each challenge, and every one designed to reign havoc down upon the city If Fisher is to save the love of his life, he needs to play the games of the mad terrorist until the last round, or he’ll face a TKO. Anyone who loves ‘Die Hard With A Vengeance’ must check out ’12 Rounds’. Not only does it share almost the same premise, but it’s director Renny Harlin is actually the director of ‘Die Hard 2’, along with many other action gems, such as ‘Cliffhanger’, ‘Deep Blue Sea’ and ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’. On top of that, this movie shares one of its producers, Mark Gordon, with ‘Speed’, ‘Speed 2’ and a selection of Roland Emmerich’s blockbusters, including ‘2012’ and ‘The Day After Tomorrow’. Absolutely fantastic movie, with some of the most exciting chases I’ve seen in action cinema. A must own.
89 – ‘The Replacement Killers’ (1998) / Stars: Chow-Yun Fat, Mira Sorvino. Director: Antoine Fuqua.
Although I’m a massive fan of action movies, I rarely find one that is 100% perfect for me. With problems ranging from either weak stories, bad performances or lack of promised action, I don’t often throw around that word, “Perfect”. But with ‘The Replacement Killers’, I wouldn’t hesitate. A movie running under 90 minutes has never delivered more spectacular action, amazing gun play and fantastic charisma from its lead stars than this movie. Hong Kong action God, Chow-Yun Fat, stars in his first American-made action movie, playing a tough assassin who is being blackmailed into various murders by a vicious criminal kingpin and his goon squad who have the killer under threat of his family being executed. But when he is given a job he cannot carry out, he turns against his forced employers, determined to kill them before they kill his family, in retaliation of his refusing to carry out his last assignment. With the help of a documents forger, played by Mira Sorvino, the two must outrun the replacement killers sent to kill them both and save the life of the intended target, along with the assassin’s own family. ‘The Replacement Killers’ features not only Chow-Yun Fat, but also his longtime collaborator, action master John Woo, who joined the movie as a producer. Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Director of the magnificent ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ and Oscar-winning thriller ‘Training Day’), this is one movie that fills its short running time with all the action glory you’d expect from a 2 hour + movie. Pure perfection.
88 – ‘The Tournament’ (2009) / Stars: Ving Rhames, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Hu. Director: Scott Mann.
From perfection to total glorious stupidity, ‘The Tournament’ is guilty pleasure at it’s best. With a terrible script, silly performances and a story so bonkers you question how it even got made, this is such fun. “The Tournament” is a showdown every seven years between the world’s greatest hitmen, which takes place in different locations every year. When it comes to the UK, a British priest becomes involved in the mayhem, as the assassins are fitted with tracking beacons, and one of them ends up in the priest’s stomach (Through a cup of tea!). With the crazed killers hunting each other to claim the prize of $10 million, along with the title of “World’s Best Assassin”, the priest must rely on a super-sexy Asian killer (Kelly Hu), to get out of the game alive. Ridiculous movie, from start to end. But the action sequences are a total joy, soaked with blood and riddled with bullets, along with some incredible martial arts, making ‘The Tournament’ a dumb but wonderful action-packed thrill fest.
87 – ‘Broken Arrow’ (1996) / Stars: John Travolta, Christian Slater. Director: John Woo.
The 1990’s was a spectacular decade for action movies, with many stars rising up to super stardom, and directors emerging to breath new life into the genre. Although John Woo had been in America before (For a movie that will be included in a later part of this list!), ‘Broken Arrow’ showed the Asian action master at the top of his game, delivering one of the finest action flicks of the ’90’s. John Travolta and Christian Slater star as two military friends who are tasked with testing a state of the art stealth bomber plane, which carries nuclear warheads. But when one of them decides to steal the nukes from the plane, the other ends up in a desperate race against time to find his old friend and stop the use of the weapons before they destroy a large amount of the USA. With action scenes ranging from the awesome mid-air plane hijacking, to the incredible finale set atop a speeding train, ‘Broken Arrow’ delivers the goods better than most action movies made even today. Travolta and Slater are terrific, and Woo’s classic style of directing makes the movie pound with excitement. Not to mention the wonderful score by the legendary Hans Zimmer, along with instrumental chart-topping icon Duane Eddy, which somehow makes the movie even more spectacular. Thank God for John Woo.
86 – ‘Delta Force 2: Operation Stranglehold’ (1990) / Stars: Chuck Norris, Billy Drago. Director: Aaron Norris.
Obviously this is ruining the list later on, but naturally, ‘The Delta Force’ will feature, in a later part of this list, along hopefully with a fuller piece for that movie by itself. It’s an extremely important part of my movie-loving life. But for now, back to ‘Delta Force 2′. Smaller, tighter and far cheesier than the previous movie, this time Chuck Norris’ hero Scott McCoy and his team are sent into Colombia to take down a ruthless drug lord and free US agents who have been taken hostage. Although far and away from the first movie, ‘Delta Force 2’ (Known as ‘Operation Stranglehold’ in the US, and ‘The Colombian Connection’ in Europe) is a rocking action thriller, with Chuck delivering his fast-paced mix of fighting skills and classic quips as he fires his way through tons of violent killers, naturally saving the day and giving us action fan boys another jolt of joy as he does so. A movie I’ve constantly enjoyed since I was a young boy, ‘Delta Force 2’ stills makes my day any time I see it.
85 – ‘Raw Deal’ (1986) / Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Wanamaker, Robert Davi. Director: John Irvin.
Coming at the height of Schwarzenegger’s fame, among classics such as ‘The Terminator’, ‘Commando’ and ‘Predator’, ‘Raw Deal’ has long been overlooked in the career of our beloved Arnie. But as us fans know, you’ll seldom go wrong with the Austrian Oak. Arnie plays a former FBI agent who is forced out of his job and ends up a sheriff in a small town (Similar tones to ‘The Last Stand’), who makes it his job to crack down on local crime. But when he is approached by his old FBI boss and asked to take on a lethal undercover case, the Sheriff is now tackling a Chicago crime organization, as he poses as their new employee to bring their business to the ground. ‘Raw Deal’ is not perfect, as it spends a fair amount of its time on an awkward love story and constant exposition into the movie’s villains. But when it’s time for action, Arnie rises to the challenge, as always, as he guns down countless villains and throws out one fun quip after the other. Among the highlights is a terrific shootout set to the Rolling Stones’ classic ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’. As with most Arnie movies, it also has a mighty theme tune for the hero, one I hum almost every day as I get dressed, pretending I’m Schwarzenegger getting ready for a day of action. Brilliant movie.
84 – ‘Turbulence’ (1997) / Stars: Ray Liotta, Lauren Holly. Director: Robert Butler.
The 1990’s was a decade riddled with airplane movies. Too many to even mention. But one of the best was this stunning action thriller. ‘Turbulence’ is set around a vicious serial killer (Played by Ray Liotta) who is being transported to death row on board a commercial passenger flight, on Christmas Eve. But soon after the plane takes off, the federal marshals escorting him are murdered, and now the plane and its passengers and crew are being held at the killer’s mercy. With horrific weather battering the plane from the outside, and a brutal killer intent on bringing it down from the inside, it’s up to a stewardess (Lauren Holly) to save the day. ‘Turbulence’ has rarely been mentioned, either by movie goers or film critics, and that has always saddened me. It’s a terrifying, violent and often hilarious thrill ride, with some incredible special effects, and one of the best finales to feature in a plane movie. I highly recommend it.
83 – ‘Timecop’ (1994) / Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Ron Silver, Mia Sara. Director: Peter Hyams.
Naturally, there will be many Van Damme movies included in this 100 list. He has long been overlooked by so many people, and yet has always deserved praise from anyone who truly loves action movies. And ‘Timecop’ is absolute proof of that. At the biggest point of his career, Van Damme embarked on what would become possibly his most popular adventure to date. Based on a comic book series, and produced by the legendary Sam Raimi’, ‘Timecop’ sees Van Damme as Max Walker, a great cop and loving husband, who one day witnesses the death of his wife at the hands of a group of mysterious killers. Fast forward 10 years into the future, Walker now works for a time travel policing service, as the new time travelling technology is being used for various criminal activities. But as his past comes back to haunt him, he is given an opportunity to right the wrongs of history and be with his beloved wife once again. ‘Timecop’ is very silly stuff, and leads to much head-scratching, but it never fails to thrill, as Van Damme utilizes his spectacular fighting skills to fend of hoards of bad guys and constantly save his own life with many jaw-dropping stunts and martial arts genius. One of his greatest movies, it’s aged a lot over the years, but the age only makes it all the more fun.
82 – ‘Judge Dredd’ (1995) / Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Armand Assante, Rob Schneider, Diane Lane. Director: Danny Cannon.
Here’s a serious question… What is wrong people? How is it that a movie so profoundly awesome as ‘Judge Dredd’ can be released, but yet so savaged by so many people? Fans of Dredd, perhaps, but everyone else? Surely this movie should have been a massive hit, and lead to at least one sequel? Where did all that ridiculous hate come from? ‘Judge Dredd’ has everything. Action, comedy, horror, romance, science fiction, drama, satire etc… Add to that one of the greatest action movie stars of all time, Sly himself. What’s not to love? Clones, robots, cannibals and that incredible theme song (‘Dredd Song’) by The Cure. Who could ask for more? Every time I watch it, it scares me that so many people can actually get something so wrong. And what’s funnier is that fans of Dredd were quick to savage this flick for various reasons (One being they expected Disney to hire one of the world’s greatest movie heroes for a massive free, but keep his face covered for the entire movie!), but yet when presented with the wonderful ‘Dredd’ (2012), they failed to even get that movie off the ground, despite the great critical response. We’re still waiting on a sequel to that one. I adore ‘Judge Dredd’, every aspect of it, from it’s genius story of framing a brutally loyal cop for several murders, to the epic performances by both Stallone and Armand Assante, to the glorious soundtrack, featuring ‘Dredd Song’, which I just mentioned. And the action? Incredible. Think ‘Blade Runner’ meets ‘Dirty Harry’. Stylish, full of color, and packed with more excitement than anyone could ask for. Is it time that people start showing this movie the love it deserves?
81 – ‘Dredd’ (2012) / Stars: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey. Director: Pete Travis.
It seemed fitting to move straight to ‘Dredd’. After the mauling of the 1995 outing, ‘Dredd’ was met with a better critical response, but once more cast aside and rarely mentioned outside of the Dredd fan clubs. While I personally wouldn’t choose this over Stallone’s blockbuster, I still have nothing but love for it. Granted, the story is basically ‘The Raid’ (2011) with Judge Dredd thrown in, but it’s still a massive action-packed thriller, with blazing gun battles and killer road chases, topped off with a terrific performance by Karl Urban. Dredd needs love, everybody. Buy both of these movies and enjoy one of the coolest characters to grace the movie screen and comic books.
Come back soon for the next 10 choices in our epic list.
Want to check out the rest of the films on our top 100? Then click here.