This month we’ve hiked-up the body counts and high-octane chase scenes, dodged gunfire and battled with crime lords, sleepy English towns, Nazis, aliens and more… all on our TV screens. That’s right: this month’s film picks are all about our favourite action films. Prepare to have your socks blown-off.
I’ve been a fan of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright since the days of Spaced. As far as I’m concerned, they’ve never put a foot wrong – I even loved Paul (the film, not the staff members here…). I also loved Scott Pilgrim Versus The World. But when it comes to action films, there’s one that flat out is amazing.
Hot Fuzz. Unlike most of Pegg’s previous characters, Nicholas Angel is an overachieving police officer, rather than a slacker in a dead end job. But what really works is the character in the setting of Sandford. The mix of accomplished, determined, one-man force of nature and the sleepy town where seemingly the most serious of crimes is usually under-age drinking.
And its this scenario which creates the literally laugh out loud scenes where a brutal Sgt. Angel kicks an old woman in the face (don’t worry, she deserved it). And what’s most brilliant, is that it’s done in a way that is fairly realistic, if a little far-fetched.
Oh, and don’t forget the supporting cast are all characters – in both senses of the word – in their own right. There is not one character that hogs the spotlight, and there’s not one character that doesn’t have a humourous one-liner – at the very least.
But what really sets Hot Fuzz apart is that it plays with the big boys. I cannot think of a single British “action” film that can compete with Hollywood, except this film. It is bloody, it is brutal and it is British – something that doesn’t happen virtual at all outside of gangster films.
Argh, I hate choosing favourites of any genre!
Top 5s, top 10s are never static for me.
Hmm…. favourite action film? One I could wholeheartedly recommend, out of a select handful.
There we go. What’s not to like? An imperfect good guy who you’re rooting for, Nazis, ancient treasures, crypts, traps which quickly became movie legend. Quotable lines. This film is absolutely packed with them.
I still kind of want to be Indy. (Just don’t beat me up as much as him.)
Michael Bay’s Transformers films are unquestionably some of the dumbest, ugliest, worst written, most offensive movies ever made… and I love them to bits.
There is a lot wrong with them. The stories are incoherent, they’re a horrible mess of orange and teal, they’re full of immature and offensive jokes, they have zero respect for the source-material, there are too many characters, barely any of which have personalities, and Optimus Prime, the hero, is a deranged psychopath (“GIVE ME YOUR FACE!!“).
Actually the first one, just called Transformers, has almost none of these problems – it’s a legitimately good film. Dark of the Moon, the third one, suffers from most of them but at least functions as a movie. The second film meanwhile, Revenge of the Fallen, is an affront to nature.
But there is one thing all three have in common: we were asked to write about our favourite action movies, and the action in these films is incredible. Huge, monumental set-pieces brimming with stand-out moments and surprising tension. Each scene is unique and inventive, with action that changes and escalates as it rushes along. Humans and robots punch and shoot and chase and fly and explode and it doesn’t let up! Dark of the Moon ends with forty-five minutes of uninterrupted carnage, and it never repeats itself or runs out of steam. There is nothing else like it on Earth.
It’s pretty clear that, after the first one, the action was all anyone involved cared about, and the scripts are just an excuse to get to the next fight-scene. They randomly teleport to Egypt, because action! One character has a giant robot kraken for a pet, because action! Characters pop in and out of existence, because action! But I can forgive all that – I can forgive everything – because that action is so worth getting to.
Seriously, there’s something wonderful going on amid all the lensflares and sexism – hiding away in here are some of the best action-movies ever made. Please, give them a chance. Give them another watch. Give them your face.
When I heard a couple of my favourite directors were going to adapt the charming comics of Herge, I was excited that The Adventures of Tintin would be coming to the big screen.
The audience is plummeted into a bright and exciting world of Tin Tin and his wacky life. It all starts with Tin Tin at a local street market, and he sees a figure of a ship – The Unicorn. He takes it home and does not expect that one small object will bring him so much trouble.
This is a brilliant action and adventure film. There is so much that the medium of animation can present to us and you can clearly see the influences of India Jones among other famous films in here. In fact, the animation is why this film is wonderful. Using motion-capture technology, it allows the actors (who by themselves are brilliant enough) to be thrown into crazy situations whilst presenting the characters we all know and love from the books. Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis are truly superb in this film and they contribute to the heart-racing tension in a world that looks beautiful.
Another good reason for watching this film is the writers. Steven Moffat helped pen the first film and Anthony Horrowitz is involved with the next one. They have written their fair share of action plots.
“I want them all. I want ALL the Warriors. I want them alive if possible. If not, wasted! …But I want them. Send the word.”
A train stops at the Coney Island station in New York. Nine men wearing red vests inscribed with gang insignia climb aboard. These are the Warriors, and this is their turf. A ferris wheel spins brightly in the night sky and the soundtrack jingles eerily with amusement park music. Then the electronic beat kicks in and the film cuts back and forth to an array of colourful characters boarding trains all over New York; the Savage Huns, Hi-Hats, Electric Eliminators, Moonrunners, Boppers, Panzers… These are the Armies of the Night.
Few opening sequences give me goosebumps like The Warriors. Directed by Walter Hill (Southern Comfort), the film epitomises 1970s gang culture and urban decay with a story set in the near future, following New York gang “The Warriors” in a fast-paced race through “enemy territory” back to Coney Island.
Survival action with stylised violence, a superb soundtrack, shining moments of clever characterisation and an unforgettable performance from David Patrick Kelly as the erratic antagonist Luther. Most memorable is the chilling scene in which Luther taunts the Warriors by clinking empty glass bottles together on his fingers and chanting “Warriors, come out to pla-ay”. This is a piece of cult cinema not to be missed. Can you dig it?
The Warriors: Ultimate Director’s Cut is currently available on DVD and Blu-ray, but, while the sound and picture quality is dramatically improved from its previous DVD release, this cut is spoiled by a long introduction from Walter Hill that explains the reference to Anabasis and a number of jarring comic book style transitions that slow the momentum. That said, it’s still a great film whatever the version.
On page 2: more Indy, space travels, time travel and dodgy gunfights.