Friday, July 21, 2006

Testosterone Massacre - Vol. 1

Well, I'm sitting here listening to Joe and Jerry (3-0, bottom of 3rd - Manny and A-Gon. both going deep) and decided that i'd try to race my dial-up and throw a couple of revised entries of some cool action flicks your way.
The other night I somehow coerced the Megster to sit through "The Rock", which she actually liked. It got me to thinking about action movies in general and tried to come up with some of my favorites. These taht I chose are all here because I think they offer a combination of good, solid ass-kicking (a necessary ingredient of all great action flicks) and sturdy, stylish filmmaking (equally important if far less common). While this is by no means definitive - I may come up with completely different examples if you ask me tomorrow - these were the ones that first came to mind. I think all exemplify the criteria that I mentioned. In no particular order:

The Guns of Navarone (D. J. Lee Thompson, 1961) - Easily the most white-knuckled WWII flick ever made, and possibly the best (along with "Patton"). This nearly three-hour excursion into the complete development of a secret mission to disable a fortress housing a pair of strategically place guns is taut, gripping filmmaking. Riveting from start to finish, this Oscar nominated film boasts an uncommonly good screenplay, excellent special effects, and stellar performances by such luminaries as Gregory Peck, Anthony Quinn, and David Niven. Brisk, fun stuff.

Aliens (D. James Cameron, 1986) - Possibly the most bad-ass action flick ever. Starting with the heroine from the straight sci-fi/horror film "Alien" from 8 years prior, Cameron took the initial concept and amplified it, ratcheting up the tension to an unprecedented level. The first portion of the film establishes the set-up and the new characters (many of whom you will recognize) but once the alien ass-stomping kicks in... hold on. Despite having seen this several times, a recent viewing reminded me what an effective (and exhausting) film this is. Cameron's best work by a mile... and I love "The Terminator".

To be continued...

BTW, Varitek and Youk. have also both tagged dingers. 6-0!

14 comments:

Zebster said...

Well written as always, AA. I can't wait to see what is and isn't on the list. Guns of Navarone, no doubt. I'm not sure I've seen Alien. I saw the first one and it's great.

Karen said...

Jack totally agreed with Guns of Navaron..and added Red Dawn..then he started in about John Wayne so.....

AA said...

Well, Jack (who i'm very eager to meet, by the way) is spot on about the Duke but that would constitute another topic entirely. There's frankly too much to talk about there but in the interest of brevity, I would immediately suggest "Stagecoach" and "Red River" as the places to start for the quintessential JW.
(I can't say that I completely agree with "Red Dawn", although I am familiar with - and rather like - John Milius's work. It's certainly interesting and thought provoking but I never thought of it as all that very good. Just my opinion.)
Zeb - you have to make it a point to see "Aliens". It's fantastic - a legitimate nail-biter.

Karen said...

My fav is Rooster Cogburn..I know not ass kicking but...

Zebster said...

So the first one with Sigourney Weaver was called Alien and then came Aliens? Or are talking about the same movie?

AA said...

The first one was more-or-less a straight sci-fi/monster movie with a bit of "Ten Little Indians" thrown in as the crew gets picked off one by one. Sigourney Weaver was the sole survivor. "Aliens" picks up several years later when a new crew is assembled to investigate a remote colony that has suddenly dropped out of communication. With the fear that aliens are responsible, a reluctant Weaver is once again commissioned.
The difference this time is that instead of one alien against a small crew, there are dozens of them to contend with. Where the first film utilized the classic "what's around the corner" approach, the sequel is mostly a straight action picture that happens to have the familiar sci-fi elements. Once the story is established and the ammo starts flying, it turns into one of the most ballsy action flicks you'll ever see, with barely a moment's let-up to the very end.

TrotRocks said...

hmmm I just wrote a comment, but the puter spazed! ugh.

rewrite...

Stylish and butt kickin.. Like Squating Tiger Hidden Lizard? I like the word "smart" vs stylish, or maybe witty. Whatever... Road Warrior, smart and stylish; T-1 and Alien of course, witty and stylish, Die Hard, witty; I like the Rock. I like Cage for some reason and of Ed Harris rules.

hmmmm Red Dawn, fun stuff. In the witty group, I like The Transporter and Payback. the Bourne Indentity kicks butt is good for my geek side.

Does Braveheart count as action? probably not; but good butt-kicking.

What is that movie with Travolta and Cage? Face Off? I thought that kicked butt and had the Wu-factor right?

anyway, I am just a movie wannabe, I will sit back read the Mr. Movies comments and analysis. Wait wait... I forgot... RoboCop! wicked good. I am sure I will learn that all my action movies were deriviative of 3 asian made movies from the 40's or something...

AA said...

I'll have to offer a couple more tonight. None of those you mentioned are on the list that I put together but they are almost all valid. (Especially Road Warrior and Robocop - two of my favorites which certainly rank with the ones I did include. Maybe i'll add them...)
Payback is cool but is a direct remake of Point Blank, in which Lee Marvin outdoes even Mel in the bad-ass department. I agree that The Rock is fun - that's what prompted the list in the first place - but while it's heavy on action and attitude, it's too flashy and irritatingly shot to rise to the others. My opinion, of course.
As for Face/Off, I chose two other John Woo movies in it's place.

Zebster said...

You know, maybe I've seen the 2nd one and it's just been too long. I too like DieHard. It is what it is...48 Hours...brain cramp, the first Gibson/Glover of which they made about 4?
I'm gonna be disappointed if there's no Steve McQueen movies in there. You might want to define what you're using as action, as opposed to war, western, etc.
I'm afraid I've never been a JW fan...might be generational. Gimme Clint any day.
I know "Every Which Way But Loose" is in that list? (it's a joke, son. I say, I say it's a joke, son!)

LittleCuz said...

Leathal Weapon are the movies your thinking of Zeb.....

I don't have lots of movies I watch more than once, I don't count the animated movies I've seen a thousand times due to the eight year old. But they are Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, The Usual Suspects and Swing Kids. I can watch the Harry Potter movies with some one that's not seen them, or just before a new one comes out.

Hey I know I'm no AA.....

AA said...

I'm kind of silly - I've been known to watch movies I don't even think I like very much just to see if there's something I've missed. Second chance and all of that. I do that with albums too.) As for films I know I like, the sky's the limit. I've seen many films - certainly my all time favorites - multiple times. Much like a killer LP (to repeat the album connection), the greatest films offer many reasons to sit through them again.

Zebster said...

I own probably 3 dozen but many of those are because of my kids and marrying into a movie watching family, while I'm incredibly picky. Probably a dozen of those are mine, either classic comedies or Oscar Best Pics. There's very few movies I've seen more than one, and can probably count on my hands the number seen more than twice.

Karen said...

What about Charles Bronson flicks like Death Wish? Wrong type? I am no movie buff. Haven't watch many more than once but I really like "Cool Hand Luke" and (hanging my head) Back to the Future flicks

BGAN said...

What about Charles Bronson flicks like Death Wish? Wrong type? I am no movie buff. Haven't watch many more than once but I really like "Cool Hand Luke" and (hanging my head) Back to the Future flicks Future flicks