Films of the Decade: Action

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Top Five Action Films

5. Rambo

A joyous splatter fest where bad guys get eviscerated by an old man on growth hormone. I don’t know what bit I enjoyed the most. The bit where the man got his throat ripped out, the bit where a group of soldiers got splattered at point blank range by a truck-mounted .50 calibre machine gun, or the bit where a devout Christian started smashing bad guys with rocks. It’s action porn and I have a stonking hard-on.

4. Crank: High Voltage

You either appreciate the crazy genius of Crank or you don’t. Me, personally, I think the Crank films are great. And somehow Crank: High Voltage manages to improve upon the first. It’s stranger, it’s funnier and it’s more surreal. One of my favourite scenes is when a fight between Chev and a bad guy, for no reason, turns into a fake monster battle with actors fighting on an undersized set like they’re Godzilla and Mothra. It’s brilliant. I also love the final battle where we’re confronted with a bad guy who is just a head in a tank that can only say, ‘Fuck you, Chelios!’ The film literally had me hugging myself, so in tune is it with my own warped sense of humour.

3. The Bourne Supremacy

Some people think that the Bourne series has ruined action films. They can’t handle the jagged camerawork and editing in the fight scenes. And maybe they have a point. Lots of subsequent films have tried to ape the Bourne films and have failed. Hell, even Christopher Nolan copied them in Batman Begins with occasionally less than spectacular results. But the reason that the Bourne films have been so influential is because the action works spectacularly well. It’s not Paul Greengrass’ fault that other directors haven’t adopted his style as successfully. And I think that Supremacy is the series’ highpoint. The car chase, in particular, is magnificent.

2. Kill Bill: Volume One

Admittedly, I’d always take Charles Bronson over Bruce Lee (squinty-eyed, monosyllabic death machine versus charismatic, good-looking, lethal martial artist? Pur-lease: watching ‘punks’ getting blown away will always be more entertaining than athletes getting kicked in the head). Therefore I’m not really the target audience for Quentin Tarantino’s film. But still, Kill Bill is so crazy and so much fun, that I ended up loving every bloody second of it. Watching people have limbs severed and eyes gouged out has never been so entertaining. And the film ends on a great cliffhanger. Too bad that Volume Two wasn’t quite as good as Volume One. But still, even that film has its moments – Thurman fighting her way out of a casket and Michael Madsen getting poisoned by a snake being the highlights.

1. Casino Royale

After the last few dreadful Brosnan films, Bond was in desperate need of reinvention. Cue then lots of bitching and moaning when the Bond producers had the audacity to hire a blonde geezer. The franchise is doomed! Thankfully these idiots were proved wrong. Casino Royale is a colossal return to form for 007 and Daniel Craig is one of the best Bonds. Tough, smart and with a body that would have even the straightest man questioning his sexuality, he lends an air of believability to a series that was last seen not just flirting with the ridiculous, but fucking it hard and deep with invisible cars and CGI parasailing. And sure the film owes a slight debt to the Bourne series for the grit of the fight scenes, but who would win in a fight? Come on, Bond would be sipping a Martini while Jason Bourne nursed his broken ribs while crying about his broken brain (who am I? What’s Treadstone?). Plus the torture scene is awesome, and not just because Daniel Craig has buttocks that could crack a Brazil nut.

Five Worst Action Films

5. 300

Now I usually get a lot of guilty pleasure out of ridiculously macho action films, but 300 isn’t one of them. 300 is so relentlessly macho that it feels like a teenage cock is being thrust in your face – no matter how hard you swat it away, it keeps twanging back in your mush. The scene that positively had my eyes bugging out of my head is when the Spartans celebrate enemy ships crashing on the rocks. The Spartans celebrate in slow motion as throbbing music plays and as rain hammers down on them. But the celebrations are so homoerotic and the droplets look so thick and white that they almost resemble ejaculate – it’s like they’re at some Bukkake party and they’re having the time of their lives.

4. Troy

From one homoerotic sword and sandals epic to another. Troy could have been a great film but they decided to cast Brad Pitt as Achilles and Orlando Bloom as Paris. The latter casting decision is the most offensive, as at least Pitt is capable of turning in a good performance if he’s cast in the right sort of film. But to see the Trojan War started by this wet blanket is painful to watch. And then you have to endure Brian Cox hamming his brains out with the weirdest wig ever seen in cinema. The only highlight is the fight between Hector and Achilles. It’s an excellent sequence. The rest is dire nonsense.

3. Die Another Day

Possibly the worst Bond film since Diamonds Are Forever. Or at least since Moonraker. Die Another Day not only features the smarmiest, most annoying villain in Bond history, but it also has an invisible car, wretched CGI, and perhaps most heinously, a cameo from Madonna. Thank fuck for Daniel Craig.

2. Pearl Harbor

Part romance, part giant dump on history, at heart Pearl Harbor is a knuckleheaded action film. Sneaky Japs attack loudmouth Yanks and a man with a horseface manages to extract some small measure of revenge. And then we have the pointless addition of the Doolittle Raid, just to remind the rednecks that the Americans didn't just crawl into a hole after getting sneak attacked. Never before have I wished that the Japanese won the Pacific War, but here I was rooting for them all the way. Every American in this film is a wretched arsehole. And the scenes where Kate Beckinsale lolls about on a beach as she vomits some treacly bullshit about sunsets and kittens had me trying to eat myself feet first.

1. Driven

An attempt at Rocky on four wheels that backfires badly. The action is a CGI mess (the crashes are moronic flights of fancy that could never happen in real life) and the story is juvenile love triangle bullshit. But the most heinous thing is that there’s a scene where Stallone races his CART car through the streets without a crash helmet on. And yes, there’s a bit where he drives the car under a juggernaut’s trailer and doesn’t behead himself because the car is so close to the ground. Seriously, the creepy Stallone film with the arm wrestling was better than this. Sure that movie had a Lolita-esque paedo vibe about it, but at least it didn’t feature a racing car being propelled into the air before hurtling into a lake whilst in flames.

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  1. Just the photo you have of Jason Statham for Crank: High Voltage has made me want to see the movie...priceless. Cheers, Tom from Oz (PS still waiting for your thoughts on Sand Pebbles!)

  2. Among all James Bond movies, I love Die Another Day most! Cars in that movie are very futuristic and there are lots of car chase scenes. Maybe I'm a car enthusiast that's why I'm so amazed. I also love travelling in adventurous places. Like James Bond, I have a car which is very useful in everyday needs. My Liberty Jeep is my best friend in heading beautiful places at Edmonton, and by the way. Car dealers in this town are giving great deals for Chrysler and Dodge. If you want an affordable price for these models, try to visit this town.