The 411 Movies Top 5: The Top 5 Groundbreaking Action Movies
The 411 Movies Top 5: Hello everyone and welcome to 411 Movies Top 5 List. We take a topic each week and all the writers here on 411 wrestling will have the ability to participate and give us their Top 5 on said topic. So, onto this week’s topic…
The Top 5 Groundbreaking Action Movies
5. NEMESIS – This low budget sci-fi action flick directed by the great Albert Pyun and starring Olivier Gruner is freaking insane. When you watch the opening sequence you can’t help but be amazed by what everyone involved managed to do with so little money as compared to bigger budgeted action movies. And every action sequence after that is just as insane. Brutal, even. Watch Gruner’s Alex Rain shoot through the floor to get out of a bad situation and it makes a similar scene in The Matrix look like the work of rank amateurs. The fights in the wasteland between Gruner and Thom Mathews are executed brilliantly, and the final cyborg fight is chock full of ingenuity and imagination. Yes, it looks like it cost very little money but it still rocks. I’m still amazed that this movie exists and that it’s as exciting as it is.
4. BLADE – I can remember going to see this movie with my brother back in the summer of 1998 and not really knowing what to expect. Wesley Snipes was in it, it was based on a comic book about vampires, and that was about all I knew. After watching the opening vampire club scene and seeing Snipes as Blade fly around the screen, jumping and slicing and killing vampires I was in awe. My mouth was literally open the whole time. Even though, at that time, I knew that the special effects and fights and whatnot were inspired by kung fu movies I still couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Watching Blade now, it loses some of its kinetic power on a small screen but is still thrilling to watch. Blade II may be a better movie, but that movie couldn’t exist without director Stephen Norrington’s vision. Cool stuff indeed.
3. THE KILLER – The Killer is the first John Woo movie I ever saw and is the movie that I tend to think of first when someone says “Let’s talk about John Woo movies” (it comes up more often than you’d think it would). The gunplay is the first thing everyone talks about, and for good reason as it’s fast, brutal, and ridiculous. But when you talk about the gunplay you also have to talk about the badass attitude that Woo melded with the gunplay. There’s something still cool and smooth about the choreography, Chow Yun Fat’s performance as the assassin taking one last job, and the whole “suit” thing. Luc Besson’s La Femme Nikita is probably just as influential in terms of coolness and gunplay when it comes to inspiring modern action movies, but Woo’s The Killer has that extra zest that makes it more interesting. Very few action flicks have been able to match that attitude.
2. FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH – Also known as King Boxer, Five Fingers of Death is the movie that started the kung fu movie thing in the United States in the 1970’s and is considered to the template for every kung fu movie that has followed. Basically, it’s a movie about a martial arts student who trains under a badass master so he can fight in a big tournament and prevent a gang of criminals from winning the contest. It plods a bit by modern standards but has enough kung fu awesomeness in it to get you through the slow spots. This movie also features glowing hands, something that The Last Dragon sort of parodied in the 1980’s. So if you’re going to make a kung fu movie you really should see Five Fingers of Death, just to see what you’re getting into. If you can’t do what it did then you probably shouldn’t even bother.
1. THE WILD BUNCH – When it comes to Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch you’re most likely going to end up discussing the copious amounts of blood that gets shed in the big shootouts at the beginning of the movie, the middle part, and the end. But what’s more fascinating to me is how Peckinpah cut each bloodbath together. They’re mesmerizing. You can’t take your eyes off of them. And it’s because you get to see some stuff for long stretches (a few seconds) but then there’s other stuff you see for like half a second. And it all melds together into this mess that, again, you can’t take your eyes off of. The only other movie I can think of that does something similar is Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. You see stuff, there’s stuff that you don’t actually see but you think you do, and you can’t stop watching. Just amazing stuff.
Shawn S. Lealos
5. Run Lola Run – For those who have not seen this movie, Run Lola Run is a German movie starring Franka Potente (Bourne Identity) as Lola, a woman who needs to raise 100,000 Deutsche Mark in just 20 minutes or her boyfriend will die. Here is where this movie is amazing. The entire 20 minute run is shown in three different runs, each with small things changing the course of her fate. Each of the stories end with two tragic endings and one happy ending, while showing that the smallest thing could change our fate dramatically.
4. Crank – Jason Statham is one of the best action stars of our generation and is one of the only ones who can still get regular action movies still made. Crank might be his most bat-shit crazy action movie. The movie starts off with hitman Chev Chellos waking up with the news that he can’t let his heartbeat drop below a certain rate or he will die. This causes him to run almost non-stop through the movie, and when he isn’t running, he is electrocuting himself and having sex in front of Japanese school girls. It is like Speed, if the bus was a body and the entire thing was on crack.
3. Sin City – Robert Rodriguez made an interesting decision when he brought Frank Miller’s amazing Sin City comics to the big screen. Instead of just adapting it to film, Rodriguez shot the entire movie in front of a green screen and made the movie look just like pages from the comics. Honestly, you could hold the comic up to a frozen shot in the movie and they would be duplicates. Add in the fact that the movie was great and it looked and sounded amazing, and this was a huge success. Zack Snyder tried to do the same with 300, but Sin City was just perfect.
2. Scott Pilgrim vs The World – I used to say that the best video game movie wasn’t based on a video game but on a comic. I might have changed that somewhat with the release of Wreck-It Ralph, but damn if Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World isn’t just a damn perfect video game movie that isn’t even about video games. Basically, Wright took the story from the comics and then made it look like Pilgrim was involved in a giant real-life video game, with extra lives, bonus tokens, and more. Sure, that was taken from the comics, but Wright just crafted a perfect movie.
1. The Matrix – When it comes to revolutionary action movies, there is nothing that compares to The Matrix. While Bullet Time is not anything new anymore and bad movies have made it a slight joke, it was brand new here and really changed how action movies were made. Honestly, this is still one of the best action movies ever made.
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