Friday, July 25, 2008

Action!

The Brett Favre plot thickens. I found out today that he's going to show up to training camp in hopes of pushing Aaron Rodgers out. What a complete dick. Again...just go the fuck away Brett Favre. Dear god.

I saw the Dark Knight yesterday, and I gotta admit, the hype is well warranted. The film is fucking amazing. It's dark, action packed, smart, with just the right seasoning of funny. Yes, Heath Ledger is perfect, and it's a bummer what happened to him. I was seriously blown away by how great the movie was. I'm a batman fan to begin with, and even I think that each nuance of the movie was beautifully executed. Well done.

On that note, the Dark Knight left a lasting effect on me today as I sat in my office, and I began to ponder great action movies that simply have all the elements that make them re-watchable over and over; action movies that are pure entertainment and just a fucking good time to experience. Here's my little list.

The Die Hard Trilogy

Pretty obvious I know, but you have got to respect this quirky, shoot-em-up-and-explode-em trilogy. Disclaimer: I'm not including the fourth installment of Die Hard because although I thought it was well done and entertaining, it doesn't maintain the same sense of nostalgic qualities the original, authentic Die Hard Trilogy does. Therefore, no discussion of it will be made.

What makes this entire trilogy amazing is simple - the Gruber brothers. Not many people talk about Die Hard 2, and even though I feel like it is a massively underrated film, it strayed from the formula of the Grubers (similar to how Indiana Jones strayed from the Nazis in the Temple of Doom, but we'll get to that later). Plus, it's slightly political and complex, dealing with the forceful release of a highly controversial political prisoner by a gaggle of turncoats. This is just too much. The audience of an action movie doesn't want to have to think too much. That's why the geniuses behind Die Hard with a Vengeance made it simple. A man wants to kill John McClain and in the process makes him solve a bunch of riddles and puzzles. Brilliant. I love riddles. But Gruber's vendetta against our heroic protagonist makes the films. McClain is a vagabond who just happens to be a cop. He's the "every-man" the public loves, and he's a fucking funny, smart-ass who kills bad guys. Sounds simple, but damn that shit works. Plus, in Die Hard with a Vengeance, the brilliant minds of Hollywood decide to pair him up with Samuel L. Jackson. Perfect move.

Die Hard with a Vengeance formula: Renegade cop + Street wise black man + Hazardous but entertaining riddles and puzzles + A bunch of bad foreigners (I mean, who likes foreigners anyway right?) + Big explosions and gunfire = Picture perfect action film.

The Indiana Jones Trilogy

Again, I'm not going to mention the most recent installment. Mainly because it wasn't that great. Aliens at the end? Really? And also because Harrison Ford just could not maintain the same spry attitude that epitomizes Indiana Jones. Different movie all together. Not that impressed.

As was said before, Indiana Jones also fell out of the "what works every time formula" when it made Temple of Doom. I've had this conversation many a time with my friends, but Temple of Doom is too campy; it's too cheese-ball. And it gets away from what will always work in any movie - fucking Nazis. Indiana Jones has all ready got tons of shit going for it because it deals with archeology. I love archeology because it's about cryptic, mysterious shit that we can only imagine ever seeing. However, Indiana Jones is always out finding it. Again, I'm going to focus on the highlight of the three films, which is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Like Die Hard with a Vengeance, the makers of the films figured, "Hey we got it right the first time, we can experiment a little with the second film," only to get a firm slap on the wrist when they stray a little too far. Formula works with action films. That's why there's a formula. Gruber's = Die Hard and Nazis = Indiana Jones.

Also, in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Sean Connery is thrown into the cauldron as the dense, yet intelligent father to Indiana. Similar to Samuel L. Jackson, the addition is perfect and adds just the right amount of spice to the film. Plus, they're searching for the Holy Grail. You can't get much more archaeological than that. Did, I mention the Nazis are after it too? Beautiful.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade formula: Dashing, attractive professor by day and charming yet daring archaeologist by night + veteran Scottish actor with a beard + search for the Holy Grail (I mean come on, it's the Holy Grail) + Retro setting (for nostalgic factor) + fucking Nazis = Picture perfect action film.

Okay, okay, I kind of went off on several tangents with those trilogies because number one, they're trilogies and number two, they're six of my favorite action movies of all time. i do think it's fantastic that the third installment in each series is my favorite. Everyone wants to laud the original, but that's just because they feel like they have to. It's like giving every movie from the 1930's four stars or saying that the 72' Dolphins team is the best team of all-time. Trust me, have them play the 2007 Dolphins (uhhh...1-15) and they'd get fucking smoked. People feel like they have to say the 72' team is the best because they went undefeated. Whatever, they played like 4 teams with winning records. Whoa, whoa, whoa...sorry, the sports sidebars just sneak up on me.

Anyway, the formula was tweaked and perfected with each installment, thus resulting in two amazing action films: Die Hard with a Vengeance and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Here are some other amazing action films and the reasons why. Disclaimer #2: I'm going to try and stay away from sports movies at all costs. They belong in their own category. Okay then...I'm gonna try to sum the rest of these up in two sentences or less.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

The special effects still hold up and Arnold is in his motherfucking prime. Plus, you can't beat those creepy sound effects maintained throughout the movie

Speed

Keanu Reeves' crowning moment. Three-quarters of the film takes place on a goddamn raging bus. Pieces of highway are missing, Sandra Bullock actually kind of looks okay, and Dennis Hopper is a creepy bastard. Plus, it's the first rated-R movie I ever saw in the theaters.

Cliffhanger

Sylvester Stallone vs. John Lithgow

First Blood

Just Sylvester Stallone. The film really has no plot, and that makes it all the better. Oh, and there's a big ass fucking knife.

Predator

I realize I'm really just promoting Sly and Arnold films here but is that such a bad thing? The Predator's a frightening beast, and the geniuses of Hollywood figured out a perfect formula: Don't Let Arnold talk, and cover him in mud.

Any Steven Seagal Movie

It's simple. Seagal has one signature move. He grabs a body part and forces it the way the joint doesn't want to go, thus popping a bone out into open air. I could watch this over and over again, and thankfully there are many Seagal gems that allow me to do so.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

These movies finally made me into a verifiable dork (I had been avoiding Star Wars mania for years). Epic, and I mean epic, action scenes, Liv Tyler looking amazing, and talking trees. Done and done.

Braveheart

I know Mel Gibson is a jackass, but this movie spurned a series of forgettable "epics." William Wallace has his limbs ripped from his body and his innards strewn about at the end...absolutely vicious. When he yells "Freedom!" I wanted to lose it. There's no shame in that right? This movie made me want to buy a sword and take more pride in my Scottish roots.

The Dark Knight

Go see it.

Okay, there's definitely more, but I'm done for now.

3 comments:

edwardallen said...

well done, sir. a marvelous list. if i may offer a few additions:

1) jean claude van damme (see steven segal section in your post for reasons of inclusion in the list). i believe k bill said it best when he said, "van damme kicks ass and then slams ass."

2) lethal weapon. i don't know how many there are, and i probably can't distinguish between each one. but the gibson-glover tandem is marvelous.

3) kill bill vol I and II. uma thurman running around in a yellow body suit and slicing people up with a samura... great fight scenes. lots of blood.

4) robocop. it's been awhile, but i will never forget robocop. it's frankenstein meets terminator. sweet.

5) gladiator. if braveheart is on the list, shouldn't this one be there too?

6) the matrix. come on! don't tell me this one didn't blow your mind the first time you ever saw it. i still think about it sometimes.

7) jurassic park. dinosaurs make for great action and adventure.

8) the incredibles. i love this movie. it's got superheroes (always a stellar move in movies), lots of action and samuel l. jackson (he might be the key to success - it doesn't warrant it's own number, but snakes on a plane... anyone?)

that's it for now.

screw you brett favre.

classic ohio said...

In response to Justin:

-I considered Kill Bill but didn't put it on. I don't know why either.

-I feel like Gladiator was in the string of epic movies spawned by Gladiator; therefore, it does not qualify. It's good though.

-Never really saw the Robocop movies. I know, I know...shame on me.

-Jurassic Park belongs on the list. That was my mistake.

-Cartoons don't qualify...at least, not to me.

Heidi Lynn Bragg said...

I am delighted by this post for a myriad of reasons, first and foremost being, it is not about bret farve.





"Don't Let Arnold talk, and cover him in mud."

hahahahhahaha



and i was going to say jurassic park too. bc i haven't seen most of the rest of this nonsense.