Brian January, Thriller Author

Monday, November 11, 2013

More Favorite Action Movies!

Another 48 Hours (1990)—Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte reunite to reprise their 48 Hours roles. This time, Jack Cates (Nolte) seeks out Reggie Hammond (Murphy), about to be released from jail, to help him track down “The Iceman”, an elusive drug dealer who has hired some very nasty bikers to kill him (Cates). Exceedingly violent and disturbing at times, but the action comes fast and furious, with Nolte at his grumpy best and Murphy giving his usual stand-out performance.

Die Hard 2 (1990)—Bruce is back as John McClane! When terrorists take over the air traffic control system at Washington Dulles International Airport, McClane goes into action to thwart the Bad Guys’ plan to rescue a South American drug lord who is being transported to the States to stand trial. None of the series can possibly stand up to the original, but this one doesn’t suffer badly by comparison. A cable TV staple.

Judge Dredd (1995)—in the dystopian future of the third millennium, overcrowded Mega-City One is policed by law officers called “Judges”, who serve as judge, jury, and executioner (“ I am the law!” snarls Dredd). But when former Judge and psychopathic villain Rico (Armand Assante) escapes from prison and frames Dredd for murder, Dredd is sent to prison. Escaping, he sets out to stop Rico’s pogrom of assassinating the tribunal of Judges and taking over the city. For some reason, filmmakers always feel the need to temper an uber-violent lead character with a comic foil and it’s no different here: Rob Schneider plays Fergee as Dredd’s goofy, unwilling sidekick. From the British comic anthology 2000 AD.

Passenger 57 (1992)—former police officer John Cutter (Wesley Snipes) is the fifty-seventh passenger to board a flight to L.A., on which two FBI agents are transporting the international terrorist Charles Rane (Bruce Payne) to stand trial. Unbeknownst to Cutter, Rane has confederates on board to effect his escape. It’s Die Hard on a plane!

Road House (1989)—mullets abound in this small-town actioner starring Patrick Swayze and Ben Gazzara. James Dalton (Swayze) is a professional “cooler” (bouncer) hired by a local Missouri bar owner to shore up his security force. It isn’t long before he butts heads with local power broker Brad Wesley (Gazzara), who wants to usurp ownership of the bar. Sam Elliott shows up as Dalton’s aging ally and local nurse Kelly Lynch is the love interest. Good movie—it holds up well!

Runaway (1984)—Tom Selleck was still Magnum, P.I. when he starred in this sci-fi action flick. In the future, robots are as common as toasters, but occasionally one malfunctions as a “runaway”. When a runaway robot commits murder, police sergeant Jack Ramsay (Selleck) and his new partner Karen Thompson (Cynthia Rhodes) investigate, uncovering an evil plot spawned by the villainous Gene Simmons of Kiss. Look for Kirstie Alley in one of her early roles.

Soldier (1998)—in the not-too-distant future, Kurt Russell is Sergeant Todd, trained from birth to be a ruthless, conscienceless soldier and now old enough to be considered useless. When he loses a combat trial with a younger, new breed of genetically-engineered soldiers, he is presumed dead and shipped to a waste disposal planet, where a group of survivors from a crashed spacecraft have managed to eke out a primitive existence. But when a squadron of genetically-engineered soldiers arrives on the planet to wipe out the colonists, Todd, newly connected to his emotions, unleashes his rage in a one-man war to save the day. The tone is generally grim, but it’s well worth seeking out.

The A-Team (2010)—a big-budget adaptation of Stephen J, Cannell’s iconic 1980’s TV show of the same of name in which a team of ex-Special Forces soldiers, having escaped from an Army prison for a “crime they didn’t commit”, take on mercenary assignments while on the run. Liam Neeson stars as their leader, John “Hannibal” Smith, with Bradley Cooper as Templeton “Faceman” Peck, Quinton Jackson as B.A. Baracus, and Sharlto Copley as “Howling Mad” Murdock. It’s a bit uneven in spots, clever in others, and doesn’t really resemble the TV show (bad guys actually get killed!), but overall it’s a fun ride! Look for cameos by Dwight Schultz (the original “Murdock”) and Dirk Benedict (the original “Faceman”) and Simon and Simon’s Gerald McRaney shows up as General Morrison.

The Expendables (2010)—Sylvester Stallone stars as Barney Ross, leader of a band of mercenaries on a mission to overthrow a Latin American dictator who turns out to be a puppet of profiteering CIA operatives. Plenty of action and quality kills and you can’t do wrong with the legendary co-starring cast: Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lungren, Eric Roberts, Steve Austin, and Mickey Rourke. Stallone co-wrote and directed.

The Punisher (1989)—when the mafia murders ex-cop Frank Castle’s family, he goes to ground, waging a one-man vigilante war against organized crime. Starring Dolph Lungren as the stone-faced Punisher.

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