Carrying on with this mammoth list, here are the next 10 entries in the countdown. To check out the last pick of action gems, click here.
40 – ‘The Prince’ (2014) / Stars: Jason Patric, Bruce Willis, John Cusask. Director: Brian A. Miller.
Jason Patric stars as a former hitman who sets out to find his missing daughter, who he fears has been kidnapped or murdered. With the help of one of his daughter’s friends, the brutal killer tracks across New Orleans, desperate to find his daughter, and finds himself in grave danger as he comes face to face with a past foe. ‘The Prince’ is a movie I’ve seen recently, and it impressed the heck out of me. Although I’ve nothing but love for the 3 lead stars, I expected very little of the movie. I was very wrong. Take pieces of ‘The Transporter’ series and the ‘Taken’ series, throw in a dash of ‘Bourne’ and you get this. A fast-pace action-packed thriller, with Jason Patric whooping ass and taking down one bad guy after the other, showing of his fighting skills, but also with plenty of shootouts. There’s also a great car chase, the cornerstone of any great action movie. It mightn’t be original, but it’s certainly a kick-ass action movie. I loved it.
39 – ‘Jupiter Ascending’ (2015) / Stars: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Eddie Redmayne. Director: The Wachowskis (Lana and Lilly Wachowski).
The Wachowskis may be best known and loved for ‘The Matrix’, but since then they’ve faced a lot of criticism for their movies such as the sequels to ‘The Matrix’, as well as ‘Speed Racer’ and ‘Jupiter Ascending’. Although also greatly praised for ‘V For Vendetta’, those other movies have never had the love they deserve. ‘Jupiter Ascending’ is another movie I’ve come across recently, and in my opinion is the best fun the Wachowskis have ever had with a movie. The story is complete lunacy, but so wonderful. A wolf-man crossbreed (Channing Tatum) battles across the galaxy to save the princess of Earth (Mila Kunis) from being murdered by an alien warlord who is intent on harvesting the human race for their genes, in an effort to make his own race immortal. Filled with incredible battle sequences and special effects, ‘Jupiter Ascending’ may be very silly, but it’s truly spectacular to watch. The stars obviously have fun in their roles, but the Wachowskis are the ones who bring their A-game, directing every action scene with relish. A wonderful way to spend 2 hours, this is a movie any action and sci-fi movie lover should see. Horribly underrated.
38 – ‘Road House’ (1989) / Stars: Patrick Swayze, Kelly Lynch, Sam Elliot, Ben Gazzara. Director: Rowdy Herrington.
If you haven’t seen ‘Road House’, you’re not living. Although probably best loved for ‘Dirty Dancing’ and the brilliant ‘Ghost’, I loved Patrick Swayze for his action roles. ‘Black Dog’ featured in an earlier part of this list, now it’s the turn of ‘Road House’. James Dalton is a tough bouncer (AKA a “Cooler”) who is hired to head up security for a bar in Missouri. Things go smoothly for a while as Dalton cleans up the infamous “Double Deuce”. But when he crosses a ruthless and brutal businessman (Ben Gazzara), he must fight for his life, with the help of an old friend from his past. And of course, what’s an 80’s action movie without a stunning woman on the hero’s arm? Kelly Lynch is on hand as Dalton’s girlfriend who aims to keep him out of harm’s way. ‘Road House’ defines 80’s cinema. It’s cool, tough, violent and very sexy, with a top soundtrack to top things off. Patrick Swayze may be gone from us, but his movies will stay here forever. And ‘Road House’ is the great man at his best.
37 – ‘Warrior’ (2011) / Stars: Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Nick Nolte. Director: Gavin O’Connor.
There are many fantastic boxing/martial arts movies, but none of them ever had the effect on me that ‘Warrior’ does. It’s absolutely knockout stuff. When two estranged brothers (Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton) are thrown back together, their pasts come between them again. But with both in need of money, they become UFC fighters, one to provide for his family, and the other to provide for himself. But as tensions come back to life between the brothers, they have only one way to settle their feud once and for all is to enter the ring, and take on each other. I’ve always loved a good fight movie, from all the ‘Rocky’ movies to anything with Van Damme. And another I saw recently, ‘Southpaw’ with Jake Gyllenhaal. That was an incredible movie. But ‘Warrior’ stands above most, in my opinion, and certainly is number one for the acting and the fighting scenes. Powerful, bone-crunching and very emotional, I loved every bit of this movie. The leading stars are all wonderful, Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte (as the alcoholic father to the brothers) and Joel Edgerton give it their all, they are spectacular. A must see.
36 – ‘Knock Off’ (1998) / Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Rob Schneider, Lela Rochon, Paul Sorvino. Director: Tsui Hark.
Van Damme has spent much of his action movie career being very unappreciated by critics. But any true lover of action knows that his name is one of the finest in the genre. Sadly, his movies also tend to go unappreciated. And ‘Knock Off’ is one that definitely has never gotten the love it deserves. Van Damme and Rob Schneider (Also a man who deserves much more respect than he gets!) star as knock-off artists, dealing in cheap copies of expensive brands, known as “knock offs”. But when they get caught up in a deadly race against time with the Russian mafia, the term “knock off” is about to take on its second meaning. As one hides a secret that ends their partnership in crime, they are forced to work together in a bid to stay alive and stop a massive terrorist operation. ‘Knock Off’ is very silly, but as it’s a Van Damme movie, silly is sometimes to be expected. But also expected is large doses of fantastic action and comedy, both of which the Muscles From Brussels always excels at, and this movie has it all to offer. Very fast, very funny and filled with wonderful action scenes, ‘Knock Off’ is an awesome little gem crying out for more love and attention. Long live Van Damme!
35 – ‘Spawn’ (1997) / Stars: Michael Jai White, John Leguizamo, Martin Sheen. Director: Mark A.Z. Dippe.
We all have movies that we adore, which for any reason unknown to us are slammed by both critics and many movie goers. ‘Spawn’ is one of those movies for me. Underrated to a point that sickens me, ‘Spawn’ has long thrilled me with its wonderful style, big energy, comic book special effects, dark humor and spectacular action. As fantastic as I could ever ask for. Action legend and martial arts icon Michael Jai White stars as Spawn, the legendary comic book hero/villain who strikes a deal with a demon to lead his hell’s army in Armageddon, if granted the opportunity to go back to the world one last time. With Spawn desperate to say a final goodbye to his beloved fiancee, he discovers that the man who claimed his life has now created a biological weapon that could wipe out much of the world’s population. For Spawn to be free of his fiery chains, he now battles for good and is determined to save the world from his own killer. ‘Spawn’ is a glorious action movie, from start to finish. Filled with terrific gags (Thanks mainly to a hilarious performance from John Leguizamo as Spawn’s classic nemesis Violator), a stunning rock soundtrack and action scenes as good as most other 1990’s comic book movies, this is literally one hell of a movie. Forget the negative reactions, those people are so wrong.
34 – ‘Black Rain’ (1989) / Stars: Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia, Ken Takakura. Director: Ridley Scott.
Much like every other filmmaker, everyone has their favorite work from director/producer Ridley Scott. While I am a fan of much of his work (‘Blade Runner’, ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Black Hawk Down’ are 3 of the greatest movies ever made, in my opinion), ‘Black Rain’ has always been my fave of his movies. Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia star as New York detectives who are given the task of escorting a Yakuza killer back to Japan. But when they arrive, their prisoner escapes, and the two detectives begin a massive hunt to track down the killer, with the help of Masahiro Matsumoto, a Japanese detective (Played by the late great Ken Takakura). ‘Black Rain’ is everything that I love about Ridley Scott’s work… Elegant, beautiful, intense, brutal and mysterious. Filled with powerful action, some great humor between the leads and a magnificent soundtrack score by Hans Zimmer, ‘Black Rain’ is film making at it’s very best, and easily my favorite of Scott’s filmography. The 1980’s never looked so cool.
33 – ‘Marked For Death’ (1990) / Stars: Steven Seagal, Basil Wallace, Joanna Pacula, Keith David. Director: Dwight H. Little.
When John Hatcher (Steven Seagal) arrests a henchmen working for a drug lord known as “Screwface”, he and his family become targets of a gang of violent killers led by Screwface. And Seagal kills every single one of them, in a non-stop display of awesome fighting skills, sword fights and back-breaking. Seagal movies tend to follow the same path, as in he plays a cop and his family are in danger. But wow, ‘Marked For Death’ is definitely one of his greatest, and sadly overlooked. Stupid of course (“Screwface” is obviously intended as a “Scarface” tribute, and there’s actually a song sang in the movie about said “Screwface”!), but so much blood thirsty fun. I miss the classic 80’s/90’s Steven Seagal, he was wonderful.
32 – ‘The Specialist’ (1994) / Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, James Woods Eric Roberts. Director: Luis Llosa.
At the height of both Sylvester Stallone and Sharon Stone’s fame came this wonderful sexy action packed thriller from the man responsible for the movie that I’ll get to straight after this. ‘The Specialist’ stars Stallone as Ray Quick, an ex-CIA agent- now a bomb-making expert who acts as a hitman for people in need of justice. A one-man A-Team. When May Munro (Stone), a woman with a thirst for revenge, hires him to take on a brutal crime boss, along with his henchmen and his son (Played by Rod Steiger and another action movie legend, Eric Roberts) who murdered her parents when she was a child, things get hot and heavy between them. But as the bombs go off, and villains start falling, the pair find themselves pursued by the hitman’s former CIA partner, Ned Trent (James Woods), who is out for revenge of his own. ‘The Specialist’ is flawed at times, and focuses perhaps a little too much on the romance between the two leads, but it’s still up there with Stallone’s best, with stunning action sequences, some great humor and one of the best sex scenes to ever grace a movie (If you like that sort of thing…). And as great as both Sly and Sharon are, ‘The Specialist’ belongs to James Woods. He steals every scene, he brings so much nastiness and laughter. He really is the highlight for me, a wonderful actor. If you haven’t seen it, you really need to.
31 – ‘Anaconda’ (1997) / Stars: Jennifer Lopez, Jon Voight, Ice Cube, Eric Stoltz. Director: Luis Llosa.
‘Anaconda’ is a B-movie masterpiece. The monster movie all monster movies should aim to be. Starring Jon Voight as a ruthless hunter who takes a documentary crew hostage in the Amazon in an attempt to catch a gigantic Anaconda snake, the movie follows the desperate attempts of the crew and wildlife experts to escape not only the clutches of their captor, but of the terrifying Anaconda itself. With a fantastic cast – Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Eric Stoltz, Owen Wilson, Kari Wuhrer (Whom I absolutely adore!), Jonathan Hyde, and Jon Voight of course – ‘Anaconda’ is as much as fun as anyone could ever ask for. Gruesome, action-packed and very scary, this is the definitive 1990’s B-movie monster hit. And its impact has been massive in the movie industry, leading to countless sequels, crossovers and copycats. Get the DVD and a bucket of popcorn!
Check back soon for the next chapter in this crazy countdown of 100 Action Movies You Must See!