This is a huge, ongoing project :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
PASS THE POPCORN! Action Adventure Movies are our feel-good
Saturday-matinee favorites. The Action is mixed with a
journey to someplace exotic with dangers unknown: Maybe
an island shaped like a skull, the desert, or a journey
backward or forward in time. Whether set in the
past, present, or future, Action Adventure movies
take us to places we've only imagined—The trick is
getting back alive.
My favorite part
about Action Adventure is that it usually happens
to ordinary people like you and me, and gives us that
what-would-you-do element? . . . Run!
Jason and The Argonauts
I saw this movie on TV as a child and it impressed me as much as
Enter The Dragon
would later. The skeletons were sooo cool. Even if the special
effects seem a little cheesy now, there is still SO MUCH in this
movie to wow you. If you consider yourself an
Action Movie Freak, but you've
never seen this, it's required watching. Here are some of the
Raiders of the Lost Ark
(12 Jun 1981)
I go back and forth on whether this or
Aliens is my favorite movie.
I paid to see this movie 11 times when it was in theaters.
The first 8 times I got there late and didn't know there were
spiders! (What can I say? I had to take the bus.)
This is the first
movie I recorded just the sound of and tried to memorize all the
dialog. I still look for ways to bring
"Asps, very dangerous—you
into conversation. Judging by YouTube, the scene where
Indy uses a gun against the guy with the big knife is many people's
all-time favorite Action Movie moment.
Still can't believe it didn't win Best Picture! [Chariots
of Fire did. When was the last time you watched Chariots of
Fire? (All anyone remembers from that movie is, as Bruce Almighty
put it, "cue the cheesy inspirational music.") And Warren Beatty
won Best Director for Reds. The next year Spielberg
didn't win for E.T. The Extraterrestrial in either category
again. Gandhi won. (Are you under 45? Never saw Gandhi,
right?) The Academy seems to use movies to endorse socio-political
ideals like with Kevin Coster's"Indians Are People Too", I mean Dances With Wolves
Pauline Kael called it "Plays With Camera") and ignores
Action Movies altogether. But, I'm ranting.]
movie is crazy fun and I will never get tired of it. The
pacing is perfect. Everyone in it is really good, but Ronald
Lacey stole the show as "Herr Mac" aka Major Arnold
Toht. He even
"[chortling] Frauline Ravenwood, let me show you. . .
what I am used to."
YES!(open the fridge) For the release
of the Blu-ray set they brought back
Raiders in IMAX Friday, Sept.
7th, 2012, and all 4 movies—movie marathon—on Saturday, Sept.
15th. Both were awesome and I got to see Raiders twice!
(Everyone got this free cool idol badge from AMC
There are movies that are
so different, they stand out in time and mark a transition. When
TRON came out, video game arcades were just springing up everywhere,
but California (as usual) was way ahead. Most people didn't use
computers in their jobs or everyday lives yet, let alone know what a
hacker was. It was beyond cool at the time. The look of the movie
and the idea was so different, it's hard to compare to something. It
marked a new age we knew was just ahead—A better, more technological
future. So off we all went to the local video game arcade to blow
our paychecks in quarters or tokens and develop "pac wrist" or "pac
elbow". But who cared about pain or money?! All that mattered was
getting to the next level and beating the high score. Tron's look
was unique and seemed to stand alone until
(11 June 1983) DINOSAURS! At last! How long did we wait
for this movie and how much did we want it?! Kudos to Steven
Spielberg for making our childhood movie wish list come to life.
When the brontosauruses came on screen, we were right there in
the field with the actors, mouths agape.
The T-Rex banner-drop
scene is perfection. I shake my head in admiration every time I
watch. This movie is one of the best reasons to own surround
sound. When the vibration shakes the water in the cup, you feel
the bass, and the T-Rex breathing down your neck.
Indiana Jones And The Temple of Doom
(23 May 1984)
fun with Indy. I really didn't think he needed a kid's help but I am
sure kids ate it up. The beauty and the genius of the opening
sequence impresses me every time I watch it. I loved the ingenuity
of the inflated raft escape.
It was pretty intense when they sacrificed that poor slob (his
flaming heart at right) and OMG Indy, snap out of it! Near the
end I was thinking how people would love this move to be a theme
park ride where they take that railway car through the mine.
Steven Spielberg detractors can say whatever they want, I think
he's got an overdeveloped sense of fun and I'm just glad he shared
it with the world. How loved is this movie? Toy rule: they
don't make toys for the movies no one likes. Aw, cute little baby
Mola Ram (Amrish Puri) LOL so sick!
The Lost World: Jurassic Park
(23 May 1987)
I could watch this anytime just for the cliff scene, but there are
so many great scenes! I went to see it 3 times in theaters and
even though I knew how it would turn out, the vehicles hanging off
the cliff, the bird's eye view of sure death below, the cracking
glass, and the vehicles falling down around them kept me on the edge
of my seat. Jeff Goldblum is so awesome with his reluctance,
sarcasm, and understandably horrified perspective. I like the
angle that it's now a rescue mission—Just put it right up
front that this is going to end badly. It started and ended a little
like King Kong (1976) which I liked: The idea of going on an
and all the preparation that goes into that, and then bringing the
giant animal back on a ship to wreak havoc on the streets. The scene
where the T-Rex lumbers around the town is so well done, I love that
people got eaten (without that, the animal is just an amusement. It
'brings the mistake home'.) There are moments sometime in a movie
where it's just so good you're in disbelief, loving every second of
it. The T-Rex in the town in one of those scenes. (Spielberg seems
to always deliver amazement.)
Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade
(24 May 1989) Harrison
Ford and Sean Connery. Who else could play Indiana Jones'
Dad if not James Bond? I thought it was kind of gross they both
slept with the same girl though. Doesn't seem to bother the male
fans. (This seems to be most fans' favorite Indy movie, but
Raiders is mine). The banter between father and son is enjoyable
Sean Connery seems to
be having a great time with it.
Watching it again at the
Movie Marathon in Sept. 2012, I thought the tank chase scene with
Indiana on horseback was about as good as it gets. When they
blow up a troop transport full of Nazi soldiers at close range with
the tank gun, it was Rambo-esque!
The best part of these
movies is message. This one in particular is poignant because he's a
treasure hunter and it's a lesson about greed. Loved the mix of eras
(World War II and The Crusades). As always, it delivers in exotic
locations as well.
May 1999) Brendan Fraser on his seeming signature fine line between
handsome leading man and big goof. In this movie, he teetered into
leading man status. He was beautiful to look at [á la George of
the Jungle but at some point between Bedazzled and The
Mummy Returns (was it
Monkey Bone?!) he seemed to get sillier]. In this, I really
liked him. The special effects are visually creative and a huge
part of the movie, and with Oded Fehr and Arnold Vosloo
as man candy, it's over the top. For the guys, Patricia Velasquez
and Rachel Weisz are gorgeous in costume. Ancient Egypt
and archaeology movies are fascinating to many of us. The opening
sequence of ancient Egypt is beautifully brought to life with a
pyramid in the background* and the sphinx in the foreground.
As only video can do this justice, here is the opening of the movie
next to the real-life, present-day site.
intro., they show a stripped-surface present-day Giza pyramid with
the tip being the only part with the original facing. Back then, the
entire surface would have have been covered with a smooth surface of
that polished white limestone and gleamed like ice.
The city is referred to as Thebes, but Thebes is not where the
pyramids are, this looks like Luxor. However, Thebes was the capital
city back then, and all that really matters is it's breathtaking.
[IMDB has a
crazy-huge list of 'errors'that do not detract from the enjoyment of the movie. It's
mostly stuff that you don't notice the first time you watch because
you're caught up in the action, however, if and when you do notice,
it breaks the spell and brings you back to reality, and that's never
good. Still, artistic license, and . . . WOW!]
The Mummy Returns
(4 May 2001)
So take the first movie and add
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
Please sir, can I have some more? It worked so well, they made
The Scorpion King as a spin off. So, all I'm talking about is
who is in it. And that's why we enjoyed it so much! Loved the
catfight, but while the women moved with practice, they did not move
with intent. Still , always enjoyable.
Jurassic Park III
(18 July 2001)
This movie is still entertaining every time I watch it for the
dynamic of the characters if not everything else. It reminds me of
why everyone liked the TV show "Lost". They wander around in
the jungle and are incredibly stupid. This movie appeals to our
interests in archaeology, paleontology, exploration, genetics, and
you know you were just waiting for it, it has . . .
"What was that?"
"It's a Tyrannosaurus?"
"I don't think so."
"It sounds bigger."
The movie is a study in
persistence and bravery. While the special effects seem a bit unreal
at times, most times they are flawless. Nothing detracts from your
enjoyment of the events happening onscreen. You still squirm
in your seat and root for the characters to hurry up and not get
eaten! The scene at right is movie magic, and I'm happy that I
still marvel at what it must take to create a scene like this and
make it look so real. I'm also grateful for the creative imagination
that knows this is one of our deepest, primal fears (the "moveable
feast")—Like I said in the Adventure subgenre intro: "Run!"
The Lord Of The Rings:
The Fellowship Of The
(19 Dec 2001)
The Walkabout movies aka Gorgeous Men with Long Hair movies. I
liked parts of these movies, but I wanted more Action more often. It's like nitpicking an
incredible meal just because you want more!
The Scorpion King
All Hail The Scorpion King! It's more than a
little bit fairy-tale cheesy but it delivers for an
Action Movie Freak,
WAY BETTER than I had any reason to expect. It's just a Rock
vehicle, right? No, it's so much more. The fight scenes
are awesome, especially the one in the tent! From the
even-a-girl-has-to-say-"Good-God!"-HOT Kelly Hu as The
Sorceress, to the underappreciated scenes with the incredible wall
of strength Michael Clarke Duncan, this movie is very
entertaining, is always great to watch, and has a great ending :)
It's like a really great brownie. It's not trying to be chocolate
mousse. Eat your awesome!
The Lord Of The Rings:
The Two Towers
(18 Dec 2002)
was my and a lot of other people's favorite book growing up, so,
of course, I loved these movies. They are such big productions with
great special effects, not to mention a great cast of gorgeous men,
but keeping it true to the
material made the structure a little dull. It was a "massive
achievement" but I wanted more fight scenes and less hobbits
walking. You know you were laughing when you watched
scene in Clerks II.
The opening action scene
ship discovery under the ice is very 'Clive
Cussler' (it beats me why more of those novels
haven't been made into movies). This is the stuff we love
Action Adventure for!
Twenty minutes in there's a huge explosion
and we know the set up: They have to stop 'the bad guy' from
stealing The Declaration of Independence.
(14 Dec 2005)
It satisfied! And Adrien Brody and Jack Black didn't
ruin it by being over the top. In fact, Jack Black was perfect
in this role! It had that element of
excitement about going on an adventure that the 1976 version had.
I didn't mind the implausibility of the Action either, it was just
THAT much fun! The kind of movie you want for a Saturday
afternoon matinee; that makes you feel like a kid again.
Indiana Jones And
The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (22 May 2008)
Such anticipation for this movie. I thought they handled him aging
very well. I liked Shia LeBeouf. It was very Saturday matinee in the
way that King Kong was. Not believable at all in parts (the
Jeep sword fight) but
(9 July 2010)
Hats off to Roberto/Robert Rodriguez (and to Alex Litvak, Michael
Finch, Jim Thomas, and John Thomas) for even trying to do this. It
had to be a daunting experience knowing
expectations would be super high
because the first movie is cult-classic popular. So, can you leave
your love ofPredatorat
the door, and still enjoy this movie? Yes you can!Adrien
and yet he does do a good job. Can't believe I'm saying that, but I
didn't hate him in this, and he held the movie through until the
end. And, no, they did not kill him first, like I jokingly hoped (sort
So what did Predators deliver on like the first movie? For starters,
The Simple Setup: Let's
"jump in" . . .
Dark of the Moon
The first Transformers was great, but the popular opinion of
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was not favorable. This
third installment makes up for it. I don't think anyone (well, any
will gave a damn about the plot. There was so much 3-D action, my
eyelids were fluttering like Nicolas Cage in Lord of War
watching the ammo fly and hearing the sound of money!
Cha-Ching! Cha-Ching! Cha-Ching! If you didn't go see it
in IMAX, you missed out on probably the most amazing Action Movie
sequence to date. Thanks to Michael Bay, the 3-D
I enjoyed it so much more than
Avatar. It was fun to watch all the way through. I forgot
there were special effects—when I wasn't being amazed by the whole
the look of it! I wasn't pulled out of the fantasy even once.
It's the kind of feel-good Saturday-afternoon Adventure film you
hope to see. Loved Willem Dafoe in it! Taylor Kitsch
was great too (love the 70s hair). In fact, everyone was really
good. I liked the character of the Princess, but the 'dog' "Woola"
stole our hearts.
The costumes and sets were beautifully designed and creatively
detailed. The ships, the weapons, and the planet . . . the whole
thing gave me an original Star Trek TV series feel, like
Capt. Kirk had been beamed down on a planet to fight strange
creatures until the ship figured out how to get him back, but in the
meantime he shows them how wise he is and saves everyone. That
kind of good-feeling/fun.
Star Trek Into Darkness
May 2013) "You don't
respect the Chair, and you know
Because you're not ready
Owch! Star Trek Into Darkness
starts out with the same
relational conflict and
performance angst that the first
movie did. And this movie, like
the last one, does a stellar job
of capturing the dynamic of the
crew from the original TV
Series. This is what we
crave in Star Trek. The various
characters are all brought to
life in the same quirky ways:
The supremely confident Captain,
the infuriatingly logical and
belligerent Science Officer, the
mother-hen cantankerous Medical
Officer, and the drama queen
Engineer. They have their ways
that get on each other's nerves,
but they have mutual respect
because are all incredibly good
at what they do. Getting
this right is essential because
it's not Star Trek without it.
World War Z
ln a word, World War Z is an intense
zombie movie. Not your typical zombie movie in the traditional
vein in terms of an all-out gross-fest of gore (although the zombies are truly disgusting and
terrifyingly fast and vicious), but more of an taut, emotional
journey of the lead character to save the world. The movie
opens with a surprisingly powerful video montage of various recent events,
interspersed with images of animal and insect attacks and swarm
behavior. It's a comment on the current human condition world wide. Being in Miami, I couldn't help but
catch the attack on
Ronald Poppo, sadly
and tellingly listed on Wikipedia as the "Miami Cannibal Attack".
The credits perfectly set the stage for the carnage to
follow . . .
Planet of the Apes
(27 July 2001)
Much of this movie hinges on the
unrelenting viciousness of Tim Roth's character, "Thade".
How much of being a glorified hero is the other side of the
coin from a really 'good' villain . . . This movie builds and builds
until that epic moment when the two groups face off, then, suddenly,
the apes begin to run on all fours, fast. Surprisingly fast.
Keeping ahead of horses fast. And the battle rages until . .
.. . .