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All of us think it was Jean-Luc Godard who once said “the purest form of cinema is Tom Sail dangling off something extremely high. ” Well, maybe it was Bresson. Regardless, immediately sees the release of “Mission Impossible — Fake Nation, ” the 6th in the long-running criminal series that over the last twenty years has presented some of the most spectacular set bits for the screen in modern times, and in a year when action cinema has been thrillingly revived, it marks a high point.
The action movies list has been around since 1903’s “The Great Train Robbery, ” and when done right, really a form of genuine cinema injected straight into the veins. It’s a very particular set of skills, one that’s foiled many great directors, but in able hands competent of precisely choreographing a fight, battle, chase or showdown, to shoot them in inventive and fascinating ways, and cut those to maximize tension and vehemente qualities, the form can reach a level of transcendence.
With Ethan Quest smashing up motorbikes and hanging off planes again, it appeared like the perfect time to switch the spotlight of our Best Of The 100 years So Far series (see Comedies, Sci-Fi, Music Documentaries, Animations and Horror) to the action movie. We all attempted to exclude videos in slightly adjacent but different genres –war, thriller, superhero– and the ones that acquired already appeared in one of our lists, but otherwise, any theatrically-released action fare was game. Take a peek below and let all of us know your favorites in the comments.
Bad Males II Martin Lawrence Might Smith25. “Bad Boys II” (2003)
Love him or hate him (and is actually increasingly difficult to love him), few would refuse that Michael Bay is a master of action. Perhaps Bay-Max’s finest hour, at least in this century and before this individual entered the ‘indistinguishable items of colliding metal’ phase of his career, is “Bad Boys II. ” A thoroughly reprehensible, morally terrible, deeply queasy piece of entertainment, the film principles excess to the different coming from all else, like almost all of Bay’s work. But this cop flick, which starts Will Smith and Charlie Lawrence against Cuban Fervor dealers (not that it matters), is also filled with thunderingly good action sequences, from shootouts to not one but about five freeway chase sequences, including one where the villains literally throw automobiles at our heroes, and a metaphorically insane fun of the opening of Jackie Chan’s “Police Story” as a humvee demolishes a shanty town. In other words, shit just got real.
twenty-four. “Unstoppable” (2010)
He was unquestionably one of the modern-day action masters, but the particular most insistently vulgar auteurists would suggest that much of the late, great Tony Scott’s 21st century output was up to his best. Fortunately, the filmmaker gone out over a high with “Unstoppable, ” a fashion back disaster movie that combined old-school genre tropes with his own hyperactive style to surprisingly effective impact. The premise couldn’t be simpler: a high-speed coach (“a missile the size of the Chrysler building”) is out of control, and only engineers Denzel Washington and Chris Pinus radiata can end it. But Martin gets a surprising amount of variety and anxiety out of any film that is literally on the track –it looks spectacular, and it’s packed with fun little performances from Rosario Dawson and Kevin Corrigan. That might be a cliched journey, but it’s the one that leaves your knuckles white in the best sense, and a reminder of how much we’ll miss Scott.
23. “Lucy” (2014)
In the early on ’90s, after “Nikita” and “The Professional, ” Luc Besson looked like this individual might be the next big action director, but he produced a thread of misfires, even though he was more successful than ever as the producer of the “Taken” series, he had relatively stepped away from pointing. After which came “Lucy, very well a $500 million individual hit that must amount among the strangest blockbusters ever. Scarlett Johansson takes on the title character, a naive ex-pat who’s compelled into being a medicine mule, only for the drug to, essentially, convert her into a god. Careening into increasingly trippy territory until a third act that’s probably best experienced on some form of hallucinogen, Besson makes the event look great on a relatively slim budget, and more impressively, pulls off the trick of making the action thrilling even when there are little stakes involved.
twenty-two. “Blackhat” (2015)
The biggest flop of 2015 so far is also one of the better action movies in a while. Michael Mann’s divisive techno-thriller just edged out “Miami Vice” for a slot machine game on this list (“Collateral” and “Public Enemies” also have some stunning sequences, but we wouldn’t sort out them as ‘action’ in the same manner), but really the two motion pictures are something of any part: both are propulsive actioners shot almost totally in stunning nighttime, where the romance is merely as important as the bullets soaring. For our money, “Blackhat, ” in which Frank Hemsworth famously plays a blackhat hacker named Hathaway who teams with the Chinese to take down a mysterious figure having caused a nuclear disaster and might have worse designed, takes the honors. Mann pushes further into a kind of action-movie expressionism than ever before, motivated by mood, atmosphere and sound, and the results are glorious. The Very good The Bad & The Weird21. “The Good, Detrimental, The Weird” (2008)
Almost all Is Lost
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