action movie freak    

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 Hit List.

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. 



ROCKY (not "Action")


ROCKY II (not "Action")

ROCKY III (not "Action")


ROCKY IV (not "Action")


ROCKY V (not "Action")


FIGHT CLUB (not "Action")



ROCKY BALBOA (not "Action")






(see Buddy Movies)


WARRIOR (not "Action")







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 . . . ?


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)

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)

Never Back Down (14 Mar 2008)

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.



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! ;)

Triple Threat  (19 March 2019)
Triple Threat made Action Movie history—so many great action stars it felt like "Avengers assemble!" Admit it, when you first saw this image, you thought these were the 'good guys'. Loved that they weren't!

Triple Threat bad guys

A MUST-OWN Action Movie, it delivered on everything you want in an Action Movie. It would really drive home the non-stop Action if I listed all the fights except I didn't think of that until right now. But seriously, non-stop to the point where it's almost exhausting to watch, and it moves fast! First, there's Iko Uwais versus Tony Jaa, which sets the tone for all the epic shit that's about to go down. Then Iko Uwais fights Tiger Chen. Man, is Tiger Chen fluid. The whole time, you're kind of pinching yourself that you get to watch these amazingly talented people fight for your entertainment all in one movie. The fight choreography (by Tim Man) is nearly flawlessly executed. The speed looks real and the hits look real and painful. What I particularly enjoyed is anytime one of the Triple Threat fought a villain because there's a mismatch on their physicality. This made me wonder if the speed you lose being bigger is worth it because when you connect it's harder or if it's better to be smaller and faster, then you can get more hits in and get out of the way easier.

Don't even imagine the movie starts out slow. They literally blow shit up, and before long the Killcount is HIGH! The guy in the seat next to me (I was pleased that the theater was filled) said, at one point "'U' chained up and shit!" If they call Iko Uwais "U" that's awesome. I had never heard that before. Anytime I was thinking the plot was a little thin, they brought us back in with a twist to make it solid again. I like that they told the story the way they wanted to (not in service to the audience). Even though he is the main character, "U" isn't presented as the star of this movie—everybody shines.  (I was writing furiously which makes my handwriting bad, so I may not have gotten this dialogue 100% right, but as comic relief, it was great:)

COLLINS     Who are these guys?

JOEY            Villagers.

COLLINS      Yeah, from the Village of Fucking Ninja Warrior Land.

It's so enjoyable to see the three get under the skin of the bad guys. They break a lot of desks in this movie. LOL And the gun play is out of hand! Not even counting all the intro fights, you get to see Michael Jai White versus Iko Uwais, Scott Adkins versus Tony Jaa, Michael Bisping versus Tiger Chen, then Iko and Tony versus Scott. There are Gnarly Kills enough to make the audience groan and laugh out loud. Love that. Tony Jaa does one kind of corkscrew/windmill move that is an I-can't-believe-my-eyes moment; even beyond Marko Zaror's signature move.

Five Deadly Venoms movie posterI was too busy enjoying the hell out of the movie to take as many notes as I usually do, but there are some things said in the post-credits scenes that were great and I wanted to share. A ringing endorsement from Michael Jai White was that it was the most epic Martial Arts Action Movie since the Five Deadly Venoms.  No lie!  Scott Adkins fanboyed over Tony Jaa and said he is the best martial artist in the world, and praised his speed and power. Seeing that was worth the ticket price alone. I had to laugh when Scott said "It's supposed to be painful if you're doing it right."

While there are tons of weapons in this movie, Iko's character Jaka wants to kill the bad guys with his bare hands. LOVE that. Seriously, anyone can fire a gun, but if someone's really worth killing, don't you want to beat the crap out of them first? Besides the incredible fights, there were lots of funny moments, and seeing the three stars (from China, Thailand, and Indonesia) speak English made them seem like the big Action stars they should be in the States. Would have loved to see the movie again in a theater. Wish it wasn't a limited release.

The Action Elite called it "A near perfect blend of fistfights and firepower."

And Action Movie Stars . . . 

Triple Threat good guys


Action Movie SUBGENRES

Fellow Freaks 

87Eleven Action Design | Chad Stahelski + David Leitch
The Action Elite  Eoin Friel
Action Fanatix
ActionFest  (please bring it back . . . ) | Aaron Norris, Bill Banowsky, Dennis Berman
Action Reloaded  | Jeff Turner
Alex in Wonderland | Female Action Films/Girls WIth Guns list
AvP Central
AllOuttaBubbleGum  | Brenton Haysom + Tyler Hanson
  Artemis Women in Action Film Festival
Black Ops | Toys
  City on Fire
Exploding Helicopter
Explosive Action
Headquarters 10 | Matthew Kiernan
  Herve Attia
IMCDb Internet Movie Cars Database
IMFDb Internet Movie Firearms Database
IMPDb Internet Movie Plane Database
Iron Dragon TV Action Fest
John J. Rambo
Kain's Korner/Kain's Quest | Brenton Haysom
The London Action Festival  Year 2: June 21-25, 2023
Magnolia Pictures
Man In Hat  | Peter Kaplowski
Fandango Movie Clips
Outlaw Vern
Poisonous Monkeys
Predator The Hunted
Rantbo's Repository Ty Guy on Letterboxd | Ty Hanson
Ric Meyers
The Riddick Archive
Screen Junkies
Stallone Zone
The Stunt Pod

Xombie Dirge
Star Store
zeroplate at CHUD


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