Action Movie SUBGENRES
This is a huge, ongoing project that I live to work on :D
If a movie that you think
should be in a category is not there,
it's probably because I haven't gotten around to re-watching it to
be sure. Same thing, if you see any glaringly wrong placements
of films in categories, please email me:
For a list of movies, see my
PUMP YOU UP!
Blame Hans and Franz for this
but they only pointed out what every Action Movie
was thinking: There are two kinds of movies: Arnold
movies and non-Arnold movies.
Arnold was so big that just having him in a movie made it a hit.
It didn't even have to be Action (Kindergarten Cop, Junior, Twins).
Action Movie Freaks
because to this day all we want is a hero, a really big hero.
Hollywood doesn't seem to get this. Unless you've got the screen
presence of Robert Downey, Jr., you better have the physique of
Arnold. What do we want? BIG MEN, the bigger the better.
Who's bigger than Arnold?
WE WANT THE ROCK! I love that Arnold seemed to pass the torch to The
Rock at the beginning of The Rundown. Let's run down my
favorite Arnold movies.
CONAN THE BARBARIAN
THE RUNNING MAN
Terminator 2: JUDGMENT DAY
END OF DAYS
THE 6TH DAY
RISE OF THE MACHINES
The Barbarian (14
this movie came out, it was definitely much talked about. It gave us
big Action, and big men in small outfits! They really used Arnold's
assets to best advantage. It seemed tongue-in-cheek but it wasn't.
Watching it now I see the straight-to-cult-classic element of it
more than I did when it was released. At the time,
wondered if there was going to be a lot more barbarian movies, but
it petered out after 1985's Red Sonja. Maybe this movie
benefited from the novelty of being first, because Conan The
Destroyer was not as good. Still can't believe when I
watch it now, that there is so much sex.
It satisfies our blood lust like
Ironclad. A must-see, must-own for
Action Movie Freak.
(Pictured at right Arnold with co-star and basketball legend Wilt
Chamberlain and wrestling legend Andre The Giant; a photo
that really drives home the freak-show appeal of the movie.)
The Terminator (26
Arnold was born to play this role. It launched his career
into the stratosphere and re-defined Bad Ass. Overkill never looked
so lethal (until T2). Our fascination with robots and weapons
and apocalyptic scenarios all rolled into a Chase movie with a
relentless villain. It's probably in everyone's top 5
Action Movie series. Little did we know at the time how
incredibly good the sequels would be.
As the unstoppable killing machine, Arnold
owned the lethality with intensity. The VHS extras at the time gave
Arnold credit for the scene where the Terminator is in the patrol
car searching for Sarah Connor—He looks around with just his eyes,
keeping his head movements to a minimum (robotic economy of
movement). This was Arnold's idea and it was effective in making the
character even scarier. It was just creepy enough to make it
seem like the Arnold exterior was fake and there really was a robot
underneath. It was pretty much everyone's worst nightmare come
true. If you were being chased by a psychotic killing machine, hard
to imagine anyone more frightening for it to look like than super
strong and intimidating Arnold.
Such an Arnold vehicle.
This movie gave audiences what they were clamoring for:
Arnold, Arnold, and more Arnold. The one-man army.
When he takes off to rescue his daughter from a guerilla camp, his
determination knows no bounds. From how he boards the plane to scene
where they rob the store for weapons (and subsequent rescue) to the
beach assault where he takes on the entire camp by himself.
This should be a superhero movie because G. I. Joe was never so
well built or well armed. Arnold's walk-and-shoot borders
on hilarious (but in a good way). Audiences ate it up, still
do. Cheesy one-liners abound. The final gun battle is epic.
Alyssa Milano is good as Arnold's resourceful daughter.
Audiences loved that too: the idea of Arnold as their Dad. The
movie also stars
Bill Duke who appeared next on
the big screen with Arnold in . . .
One of my Top 5 Action Movies. The more I watched this movie, the
more I loved it.
Stan Winston has to be credited
for making a creature that was way
beyond Bad Ass for 1987, and for
all the Bad Ass Big Men who starred in Predator, what really made
the movie was the creature itself. Our fear of being hunted
carried the series all the way to a fifth movie with multiple
predators, aptly titled
This movie also stands out because of it's treatment of the
characters. Each of them was so cool and had their own
personalities—it set up the idea of playing a character in a game
and then being dropped into a scenario where you have to fight. This
is the experience video games were created to emulate.
more . . .
The movie that, sadly, will forever be associated with
September 11, 2001. Loosely based on a Stephen King
novel written under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, the
novel's ending featured a suicide run with a hijacked airplane
crashing into a high-rise. They changed the ending for the movie but
you can't help but wonder if making the movie contributed to the
knowledge of the ending of the book (in other words promoted it as
much by leaving it out). The film ending is considerably more
upbeat, even fun (!). There is plenty of action, and nothing
mainstream came as close to the death-as-primetime-entertainment
format until Death Race (2008) (unless you count Battle
Royale 2000 which,
according to Wikipedia, was
never released in the U.S.). It was a physically demanding
role even for Arnold. Joined by Predator buddy Jesse Ventura
as Captain Freedom, the movie also starred football legend Jim
Brown, as well as one of my favorite character actors,
(who also appeared in Live and Let Die, Alien, and
Midnight Run) While it was great fun, the movie was also a
little too cheesy/campy (it was the 80s). It's fun to watch but the
look of it seems more made-for-TV.
Total Recall (1
This movie was huge at the time. Full of original and funny
elements, it's even easier to appreciate in retrospect. When they
made the 2012 remake with Colin Farrell, they didn't have that
quirky, creative feel. X-rays at the airport: How we laughed
at the idea that security would ever be that bad.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (3
True Lies (15
End of Days (24
The 6th Day (17
Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines (2
You know you went in thinking it can't be better than T2, but it