Action has been a universally appealing genre for movie lovers everywhere. The best action films have the ability to engage audiences in mind-blowing scenes that are used to intensify a well-made plot. Amazingly, even foreign action films deliver the same amount of action, even if movie goers have to resort to reading subs to understand what is going on. This is evidenced by the success of 2000’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Luckily, there are a number of movies that continue to carry the legacy of action films that the past decade has blessed cinephiles with. While action is a famous genre that has paved way to a number of crossovers, this list excludes superhero action films such as The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises to give way to ones that rely on raw and hard-boiled action.
Enjoy the list compiled for you by ExploreTalent below.
1. Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
First on the list is the most underappreciated sci-fi action movie released back in 2014. Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt star as soldiers in the future who are tasked to take on an malicious alien force. The humans find themselves on the losing end, but Cruise’s character Maj. William Cage has an edge over others—he can reset the clock when he is killed. Think of the concept as Groundhog Day, only there are aliens and super soldiers fighting against them.
A lot of people may fear that the movie would end up being repetitive, but it never really gets dull. The producers even injected a bit of comedy by having Cage die in comical ways.
As for the action scenes, it is clear to see that the filmmaker’s efforts are not put in vain. There are a lot of CGI, but it never really comes off tacky or cheap. With a clear pacing and brilliant performances by Blunt and Cruise, Edge of Tomorrow was probably the best action film of the year.
2. 13 Assassins (2010)
Director Takashi Miike proved that he was one of the best filmmakers in the business with 13 Assassins. The movie’s plot is simple: thirteen assassins are hired to execute a corrupt lord who happens to be protected by the shogun. They later embark on this dangerous mission that comes at the cost of their own lives.
Filmmakers these days can take a cue from 13 Assassins on how to make a movie with multiple characters. We see the first act as an introduction of the said heroes and their sole mission. There is also an in-depth look at the villain as well as his motives. The final act is crazy violent and quite lengthy, but it is all worth the exhausting ride. Needless to say, no character in the whole film remains underdeveloped, making it one of the best samurai action films of the decade.
3. Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
Olympus Has Fallen may have been released to mixed reactions, but it is still an entertaining film that is a cut above the rest. Audiences may be a little bothered by the American propaganda theme, but once that is overlooked, you can learn to appreciate the film for all its glory.
Gerard Butler stars as former Army Ranger Mike Banning, who has manages to maintain a friendly relationship with the president of the United States and his family. But after a tragedy leaves the president’s wife dead, Banning is transferred to another department. He is later forced to gather his resources when the White House is attacked by a North Korean terror group who has the president under their wing. This lone gunman film truly makes up for its flaws, and the violence coupled with Butler’s believable acting makes it a fun ride altogether. The movie’s action sequences are even a nod to the style left by the Die Hard series.
4. The Equalizer (2014)
Fun fact: this is the second film by director Antoine Fuqua, the first being Olympus Has Fallen. Fuqua has truly shown audiences that he is a force to be reckoned with after releasing his next feature, The Equalizer. Both films have similar premises: a character that is looking to leave his troubled past behind.
Denzel Washington takes on the role of Robert McCall, a retired Black Ops agent that has chosen to live a quiet life. McCall’s life is turned around when he avenges a teenage prostitute who was beaten up by her pimp. He is later drawn into the operations led by a Russian mafia, whom he engages with in an epic face off that takes place in a hardware store.
The Equalizer quickly became both a commercial and critical success upon its release with a sequel that is currently in the works.
5. Mad Max Fury Road (2015)
There is no doubt that director George Miller is one of the finest out there. He returns to his franchise after thirty years with a strong cast, compelling plot, and captivating action scenes in tow. It was truly worth the wait as Mad Max: Fury Road did not only rise to be a great action film but it was also one of the best films of 2015.
Tom Hardy‘s take on the titular character was different from the one introduced to audiences by Mel Gibson years ago, but he was still a joy to watch onscreen. The real star of the movie though was Charlize Theron‘s Furiousa. Not only did she manage to break female stereotypes in action films, she also held her own and even inspired Miller to create a spin-off based on the character.