The 10 greatest action films of all time!

Let’s just be real with one another, for once in our lives, and just admit it – DVD was made for action films. No doubt. The crisp picture, the surround sound, the special features letting you know just HOW they blew up that skyscraper. I mean let’s face it – they’re not rushing out The Painted Veil on Blu-ray before Top Gun, are they?

So in honour of our adrenaline-fuelled products, we’ve compiled a list of the greatest ever action films, of all time (ever)! Each is perfect to show off your state-of-the-art entertainment system. Or, if you are just looking for a guaranteed shot of adrenaline, you can’t go past these 10 films. So make sure you see them all, lest you be the shunned from those more awesome than you.

10. Crank

“I wonder how many steaks I could make out of you?”

Alright don’t hate me for saying this, but Crank is awesome. Possibly the most shameless movie ever made, it has every possible action sequence/sex scenario imaginable, all wrapped up in a tight, frenetic 80 minutes. Jason Statham’s back for the sequel too – I literally cannot imagine how they can top the business going down in the original.

“Stop trying to hit me and hit me.”

I was just a youngling when The Matrix arrived at cinemas, but I knew that I was lucky for living in an age where I would be able to see it on the big screen. I kept my (unripped!) tickets safely in a shoebox under the bed. By the time the sequels rolled around, I could barely contain my excitement. Even though I told everyone I loved Reloaded and Revolutions, my heart was breaking on the inside. Over the years I occasionally look back on the original fondly. After all, you never forget your first love.

“Those of you lucky enough to have your lives, take them with you. However, leave the limbs you’ve lost. They belong to me now.”

Quentin Tarantino’s tribute to Japanese cinema and spaghetti westerns (itself a tribute to the Japanese) goes beyond mimicry to provide a genuinely rollicking and emotionally engaging kung fu flick. Volume 2 might be better overall, but Volume 1 has the Crazy 88’s fight scene. Your choice really.

“She… uh, stabbed me in the knee cap with my pen a few weeks ago.”

Duh dun dun da dun. Duh dun dun da dun. Is there a better musical cue in the history of cinema? Probably. But are there any as butt-kickingly awesome? Now we’re talking. The second best James Cameron sequel ever, and Arnie’s finest moment in the sun (and yes, that includes becoming Governor of California).

“How long would you last as my enemy?”

Ang Lee’s majestic, haunting and spiritually buoyant love letter to martial arts films has some of the most memorable fight scenes in the history of cinema. Of course, wire-fu as the style came to be known is now the most tired, unbearable form of action in cinema today, but 10 years ago it was awesome. And Crouching Tiger still is. It really is.

“Your move, creep.”

Ah Robocop, the film so awesome even Kanye West had to write a song about it. Effortlessly mixing funky stop motion special effects with Christian imagery (Jesus as a robot – discuss!), Robocop is a landmark action flick, with blood and guts and wires to spare.

“Game over man! Game over!”

No one expected young buck James Cameron to out-Ridley Ridley Scott in the second installment of the Alien franchise. Aliens wasn’t as scary as its predecessor, but it still stands as one of the most relentless action films ever. And just when you think it’s all over, Ripley goes back down for one more battle! Ugh, I love this movie.

“Let’s be friends.”

I suppose it’s more of a social satire than an action film per se, but you’re unlikely to find a film as thoroughly distressing, exciting or violent as Battle Royale. I highly recommend it, but be warned – if you don’t like the sight of children slaughtering one another, maybe give this one a miss. Wuss.

“You sly dog! You got me monologuing!”

The infinitely talented folks at Pixar understood the greatest aspect of CGI animation – you can finally choreograph the perfect action sequence, you can put the camera anywhere, and you can finely hone the tension to a tee. And they did it, in the greatest superhero film of all time. Well played Pixar, well played.

“Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho.”

Yes, the greatest Christmas movie ever is also the greatest action film of all time. Die Hard takes its time to get started, introducing us to the flawed hero John McClane and his estranged wife Bonnie. Enter Eurotrash crims into Nakatomi plaza on Christmas Eve, and welcome to the world’s worst office party bar none. McClane is all alone, without shoes and with tears in his eyes. Does he give up? Never. I could go on, but let’s face it, you all love it. And if you haven’t seen it, well hopefully you’ve already stopped reading and added it to your queue. Yippi ki yay!

Alright, enough from us. What are YOUR favourite action films? What did we get right? What did we get wrong? Go nuts!

6 Responses to “The 10 greatest action films of all time!”

  1. I think you could have slotted The Dark Knight in there somewhere. A psychopath in drag blowing up hospitals, Bruce Wayne trashing his Lamborghini, flipping a truck, Imax action sequences. Other than that, you’ve put together a solid list. (I agree with you on the Matrix.)

  2. i promise you, TDK was number 11.

  3. I would like to give an honourable mention to Kung Fu Hustle. You can’t beat the Axe Gang and Five Point Palm move.

  4. I think Seven Samurai, Reservoir Dogs, True Romance, and Natural Born Killers should be in there somewhere.

  5. First off – Delete “Crouching Tiger HIdden Dragon” – hard core martial arts cinema doesn’t need CGI and wire harness rigs to make great action sequences. Suggested top ten, but in no particular order -FIST OF FURY ( or any other Bruce Lee movie )BEN-HURHARD TIMES aka THE STREETFIGHTERSEVEN SAMURAITHE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLYHARD BOILEDPOLICE STORY (as a matter of fact, count in most any jackie chan film)TERMINATOR 2ALIENSBLACKHAWK DOWN

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