action movie freak    

 

Action Movie SUBGENRES

ADVENTURE |  ALL FOR LOVE  |  ARNOLD MOVIES |  BOND  |  BUDDY  |  CHASE  |  FIGHT  |  GRRRL POWER  |  HEIST
MARTIAL ARTS  |  REVENGE  |  SUPER COP
|  SUPERHERO  |  SUPER SOLDIER

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:  ripley@actionmoviefreak.com. For a list of movies, see my Hit List.


FIGHT 
DING!  These movies are all about the fighting. No matter what style, fighting has to be the character(s)' central focus.  There are lots of movies with great fight scenes (like The Quiet Man, They Live, etc.) but they are not "Fight Movies". I included some fight movies featuring Martial Arts here because they are either very mainstream or because it's more about Fighting more than it is about what style of fighting they use. 

ACTION MOVIE
SUBGENRE

FIGHT

ROCKY (not "Action")

EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE

ROCKY II (not "Action")

ROCKY III (not "Action")

THE KARATE KID (1984)

ROCKY IV (not "Action")

BLOODSPORT

ROCKY V (not "Action")

LIONHEART

FIGHT CLUB (not "Action")

GLADIATOR

UNDISPUTED

ROCKY BALBOA (not "Action")

UNDISPUTED II: LAST MAN STANDING

NEVER BACK DOWN

BLOOD AND BONE

MERANTAU

THE KARATE KID (2010)

UNDISPUTED III: REDEMPTION
(see Buddy Movies)

NEVER BACK DOWN 2: THE BEATDOWN

WARRIOR (not "Action")

THE RAID

HOMEFRONT

THE RAID 2

 

 

Homefront movie poster

Rocky (3 Dec 1976)
One of the most inspiring characters ever created on film.  Technically not an Action Movie, but because it's Sylvester Stallone, we don't care. It's still Action to Action Movie Freaks. Like all really great movies, it has a great theme song.

Every Which Way But Loose (20 Dec 1978)
Clint Eastwood upped his coolness with this movie as he played a brawler, "Philoe Beddoe", at an age that was a little older than we would expect, and made it look good! It's a great comedy and Ruth Gordon and an orangutan steal the show. "Poor, defenseless old woman . . . " LOL

Rocky II  (15 Jun 1979)
Now that Rocky's a hometown hero, it makes him seem real that when he runs, people just start following him. You know you would. It's hard to think of any character more loved in American film than Rocky Balboa.  He had to come back and prove it wasn't a fluke. It's a real knock-down, drag-out match and we hang on every second.

It says a lot for boxing movies and a whole lot for Sylvester Stallone as a Writer/Director, Actor, and Fighter that the images from the Rocky movies are so iconic.

Any Which Way You Can  (17 Dec 1980)
The sequel to  Every Which Way But Loose starred William Smith (pictured at right) and a really long fight scene, but I prefer the original.  Looking back the movie was funny but the music was mostly sappy.  Too sappy for a "fight" movie. Still, it was fun and we were hungry for fight movies. (The big fight scene is a lot like The Quiet Man where they go indoors and outdoors.)

Rocky III  (28 May 1982)
The Rocky/Apollo bromance and workout montage in this movie made it all the more devastating when Apollo is killed in the next. People make fun of this montage but they love and they eat it up. Two words" Footwork and 'Tips' " (if you know what tips are, you must be my age). Carl Weathers was great as Apollo Creed—add Mr. T. and Hulk Hogan and Holy Eighties!  It's amazing how each Rocky movie is great for its own reasons. 

So why wasn't Carl Weathers one of The Expendables . . . ?

ROCKY III TRAINING MONTAGE
 

The Karate Kid (22 June 1984)
I included the Karate Kid movies here (rather than under Martial Arts) because they are all about learning to Fight. To me, the style is not as important as the lessons. All fighting teaches you something about yourself.

Rocky IV  (27 Nov 1985)
I love this movie so much because of his workouts. They juxtapose the high-tech robotic look of Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago against Rocky using rocks and logs to work out. It's so inspiring. You don't need a gym and all that equipment to work out. Stallone just kept upping the fitness level.  One thing people remember from this movie is the line "I must break you" which was in the trailer but not in the movie (don't you hate when they do that?). I never get tired of watching this  movie.

Cannon International films logoBloodsport (26 Feb 1988)
An '80s Cannon International film—talk about Action Movie cred! Just seeing the logo is enough for Action Movie Freaks. 

Before there was the Undisputed movies, there was Bloodsport. Variety was the spice. Our fascination with the different fighting styles of different nationalities is always a draw.  This movie is without question, an Action Movie classic.  "Maaa-te!"

 

Jean-Claude Van Damme in Bloodsport after he is temporarily blindedStarring a very young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who shines—his skills are impressive. Bolo Yeung is a total Bad Ass as "Chong Li".  The fighting looks about as real as wrestling compared to today's standards, but it was really exciting back then, even brutal!  The fight choreography and the drama of the matches is excellent. Although we root for "Frank Dux" (Van Damme) because we know his motivation, the movie is all the better because of the cruelty of Bolo's character. We can't wait for our hero to beat him. Bolo's impressive physique is part of his mythology.  His character really hams it up, so when he is defeated, it's all the sweeter.  The infamous finger point and line: "You are next" must have been that threatening feeling "Techo Viking" was going for (@ 1:01—bet he's an Action Movie Freak). Yeah, it doesn't get much more bad ass than that.

It has an usual Chase Scene that was lots of fun. Forest Whitaker was great in it too.

 

Rocky V  (16 Nov 1990)
blurb.

Lionheart (11 Jan 1991)
I remember thinking: at last, a movie where Jean Claude Van Damme's accent fits in, as he is a Legionnaire (French Foreign Legion). It's Jean Claude doing what he does best kicking the shit out of someone. He really takes a beating in the last fight but the he turns it around and gives it back just as bad. This movie tugs at the heartstrings and JCVD is a sentimental hero to his dead brother's little girl. He was 30 at the time and in the best shape of his life (although he's been in the best shape of his life his whole life). They put him up against an assortment of fighters but they are not match for him. JCVD fans will always enjoy re-watching this one.

Fight Club (11 Jan 1999)
A masterpiece, brilliantly written, acted, and directed.  Also not "Action" but we don't care!

Gladiator (5 May 2000)
Yes, these men are Soldiers, but I put this movie here under Fight rather than Super Soldier because there's a mix of men and it's not so much about who they are as what they do. This movie is a bridge between Conan The Barbarian and 300. After Conan we wanted more warriors but we really didn't get satisfaction until this movie, then 300 took it to another level. This movie is always enjoyable for the fight scenes.

Undisputed (23 Aug 2002)
A kind of simple movie with a nice payoff. They introduce the players.  Peter "Columbo" Falk steals the show (of course) and have a timeline (but it seems irrelevant). It's the story of 2 heavyweight fighters—one incarcerated and the other there temporarily (he gets out).  They give their back stories which makes you root for the less-bad guy. The movie has some enjoyable Action Movie Quotes like:

"Give Hitler's cousin his lunch."
"One round, Motherfucker."
"He's a full load."
"Champion Heavyweight, or any other kind they got."
"This is the fight for what's right. This is the brawl for it all. This fight ain't about money, this is their heavyweight champion, against our heavyweight champion. This fight is for respect. R-e-s-p-e-c-k. Respect."
And if I knew I had to go to jail to see a fight like this, I'd have did a crime long time ago."

Wesley's first match shows him delivering some missiles.  The punches look really hard until we see George "Iceman" Chambers.  Ving Rhames play Chambers like a real cocky asshole.  You can't wait for Wesley's charcter "Monroe Hutchen" to shut him up.

They mention the fight will be no gloves, no rounds, no referee like the The London Prize Ring rules but then they change the particulars. It has gloves, rounds, and a ref. Of course, Wesley had to take a beating first so the comeback would be more satisfying. Despite the fact that the movie's predictable, that makes it enjoyable. The fight between them looks real most of the the time. Sometimes the ducking seems obvious or the punching held back. Other times, it seems Ving is really landing blows on Wesley's head. Getting hit hard like that in the head several times must make your head feel like a hornet's nest.

This closing quote sums the movie up: "Two guys fighting to the finish, but just one guy wins because he's the better man, and that's what the god damned sport is about."

Wesley Snipes victorious in Undisputed
 

Rocky Balboa  (20 Dec 2006)
Sylvester Stallone knows what Rocky fans wanted. This movie was the only way it could end. It was heartfelt and meaningful. If there is one thing Rocky was all about, it was heart.  He embodied what it means to be a fighter. "[I]t ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward." The theme song never fails to inspire. There's no question that Rocky fans would go see Rocky XV or XX. Such great movies with great life lessons and values. It's about what it means to be who you are, and doing what it takes to be a Champion.

Undisputed II: Last Man Standing (28 Feb 2007)
blurb

Never Back Down (14 Mar 2008)
blurb

Blood and Bone (20 Sept 2009)
A Michael Jai White tour de force with a small but memorable performance by Gina Carano. Michael Jai White is so impressive you have that "is he real" feeling?!

"Call me."

This movie is fun and worth watching again and again. When you watch, you can't help but wonder, how is Michael Jai White not a huge star like Sylvester Stallone or Tom Cruise. He's so talented, good looking, and capable! The movie also stars Julian Sands (whom I like) and Kimbo Slice.  Here's a great video where Michael explains "telegraphing" to Kimbo.

 

TELEGRAPHING WITH KIMBO SLICE
 

merantau-sceneMerantau (January 2010)
This movie is so compelling that it is a great movie, period. A great movie! Movies that make you feel better about being alive are already impressive, but when you see Iko Uwais' SIlat fighting skills, you know a star is born.  There is still a bit of the boy in him around the edges, by the time we see him in The Raid 2, he's all grown up and is even better at fighting. Something you wouldn't have thought possible after watching him in Merantau.  I recommend this movie as highly as I possibly can.

As great as the movie and Iko are, hats off to Mads Koudal who played the bad guy, for holding his own, stealing the show, and making us hate him.

The Karate Kid (11 June 2010)
Twenty six years apart, the Karate Kid movies are responsible for millions of kids wanting to learn how to fight, learn self defense. It's all about identifying with the underdog and rooting for him to be triumphant. You can't beat that formula. We can all relate to wanting to be better, self-reliant, a winner. If only we had Jackie Chan to teach us how.

This time around it's Kung Fu. They should have just called it The Kung Fun Kid because there's no karate in it. Audiences would have  understood. We're not that dumb.

"Everything is kung fu."

Undisputed III: Redemption (17 Jun 2010)
This movie is about fighting but I think we enjoy the Buddy relationship most, so I put it under  Buddy Movies, too.  It's more about their camaraderie and how their friendship grows. By the end of the movie, you care about them, and the fact that they are fighters is only important as what they went through together.  It's a Bromance in the best way, and you just want to see what adventure the two of them would have next (except we can't because one of them has a family to go home to). If you've never seen this, what are you waiting for?  I highly recommend it for all the things you hope an Action Movie will be.  It satisfies.  The fight scenes just keep on coming.  So many talented players. By the time you get to Scott Adkins vs. Marko Zaror, it's all gravy! If this shot below isn't all you need to make you want to watch, you are not an Action Movie Freak. It's okay, maybe you will be after this movie.

Scott Adkins as Yuri Boyka upside down, blood flying, in the ring in Undisputed III: Redemption fighting Marko Zaror as Raul 'Dolor' Quinones

Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown  (2011)
This was Michael Jai White's directorial debut. I got to see it at ActionFest 2011 as Michael Jai White nervously presented it as a "little rough" and that he was still tweaking it. I think he was being modest as it seemed professional and no flaws were obvious. It's enjoyable for the fight scenes. A bit too much sex for me, but guys won't complain about that. Michael Jai White is as impressive as ever and schools (literally and figuratively) some younger men who are more than impressive themselves.  I think anyone who doesn't like the movie is being unnecessarily harsh. Larnell Stovall is the fight choreographer and the fight scenes deliver!  It's a little like a Fast and Furious movie, set in a gym and a club. If that appeals to you, you'll like it. Someone order Beefcake?

Warrior  (9 Sept 2011)
Insert blurb . . . 

The Raid: Redemption aka The Raid (13 April 2012)
This movie changed Fight Movies forever. We didn't think anything could top the final scene until The Raid 2. The Raid: Redemption had so much hype, but then the Action shut everyone up.  It's carnage! A bone-breaking, blood-letting, boom-shaka-laka throwdown to grimace at and groan in appreciation.  Just what every Action Movie Freak craves . . . Iko Uwais is incredible in this, over and over again as he goes through a seemingly never ending procession of enemies to fight. And then there's "Mad Dog". Hooray for the little guy. Nothing little about the fighting power of Yayan Ruhian. He takes on two people and holds his own. It's exhausting just watching it!  To see it is to love it.  You have to see it. No question: an Action Movie Classic!

Kudos to Director/Action Choreographer Gareth Evans, and everyone involved: Stunt Coordinators Eka 'Piranha' Rahmadia, Esa W. Sie, and Yandi 'Piranha' Sutsina, and  Stunt Performer Rama Ramadhan, Action Choreographers Yayan Ruhian and Iko Uwais.

jason Statham in HomefrontHomefront  (27 Nov 2013)
The story of Homefront is painted in broad strokes, and the Action stands out in bold color. It delivers the fight scenes you are hoping for, and by that I mean Jason Statham beats the shit out of everybody.  What Jason Statham's character and his daughter have to defend themselves against is a family of set-in-their-ways, backwater, drug-addled white trash, with a biker gang bent on revenge thrown in. Sure, there are cliches but, like I said, broad strokes; it gets you there faster.

The bad guys here are way out of their depth. We have Moron #1 and Moron #2, #3, 4, and 5, etc. That's what we came for. To see Jason Statham shut everybody down. 

Read more . . .

 

The Raid 2  aka The Raid 2: Berandal (11 April 2014)
The Greatest Action Movie . . . ever?!  And then some
. In every way the Action is sick. So many fight scenes. They do the close quarters fight, myriad weapons, a scene like The Transporter hallway axe fight, and the many-against-one so well that it brought me back to the old TV Show The Wild Wild West and Jim West (the king of kicking multiple ass). There is NO WAY you will be disappointed. You will want to see it again ASAP. You might be thinking there won't be (can't be) a better fight than the knock-down, drag-out match in the first movie. You'd be wrong.  The bar is set so high . . . funny I thought that with Merantau, and then with The Raid: Redemption, and now what's left? I think they should dub it and it will sell like hotcakes. It will sell anyway but Action Movies should be dubbed. They are not 'films'.  How about some trash talking next time? :D  So good the audience claps in appreciation of the violence. That's how you know who the Action Movie Freaks are! ;)


Action Movie SUBGENRES
ADVENTURE |  ALL FOR LOVE  |  ARNOLD MOVIES |  BOND  |  BUDDY  |  CHASE  |  FIGHT  |  GRRRL POWER  |  HEIST
MARTIAL ARTS  |  REVENGE  |  SUPER COP
|  SUPERHERO  |  SUPER SOLDIER




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2017
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Artemis Year 3: April 20-23, 2017

 




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