Another action movie list! Here are ten unknown, overlooked, or forgotten favorites from the past!
Black Dog (1998)—starring Patrick Swayze, Randy Travis, and Meat Loaf. Truck driver Jack Crews (Swayze) reluctantly ferries a truckload of illegal arms from Atlanta to New jersey, pursued by a scene-chewing Meat Loaf, who wants to hijack the guns and kill him. But Jack decides to turn the load over to the FBI instead...
Chain Reaction (1996)—at a University of Chicago-run lab, Eddie Kasalivich (Keanu Reeves) and physicist Dr. Lily Sinclair (Rachel Weisz) discover a new form of energy derived from splitting water molecules. When the building explodes, Eddie and Lily are framed for murder and treason and forced to go on the run. This is an excellent movie with a tight script. With Morgan Freeman as the duplicitous Paul Shannon.
Deep Rising (1998)—a much overlooked and underappreciated action monster flick with Treat Williams as crusty boat captain John Finnegan, hired to transport a group of mercenaries to an undisclosed location in the South China Sea. The location turns out to be the luxury cruise ship Argonautica, which also happens to be the target of one of the coolest monsters ever put on film. Don’t miss this one! It’s a bit campy, but a great ride!
Demolition Man (1993)—cryogenically frozen in the year 1996, police officer John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone) is reawakened in 2032 to stop the psychopathic Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes)—also frozen in 1996 and now revived—from his current crime spree. Some tongue-in-cheek laughs with Sly as a fish out of water next to a pre-Speed Sandra Bullock, but plenty of fast-paced shootouts and explosions. Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal both turned down the Spartan role and Jackie Chan said no to Phoenix.
Malone (1987)—make sure to catch this when it shows up on cable. Burt Reynolds is the title character, an ex-CIA assassin whose car breaks down in rural Oregon, where he goes head-to-head with local powerbroker Charles Delaney (Cliff Robertson). Lauren Hutton has a small role. Good movie!
Money Talks (1997)—when small-time hustler Franklin Hatchett (Chris Tucker) learns about a cache of stolen diamonds, he teams up with investigative TV news reporter James Russell (Charlie Sheen) to find the stones before European criminals can grab them. Chris Tucker, of course, plays it for laughs, but action abounds. The big shootout at the L.A. Colosseum is worth the price of admission.
Narrow Margin (1990)—after witnessing a mafia hit, Carol Hunnicut (Anne Archer) flees to a cabin in the remote Canadian wilderness. But Deputy District Attorney Robert Caulfield (Gene Hackman) tracks her down and persuades her return to the U.S. to testify. She agrees and they board a train for Vancouver, unaware that Mafia assassins are on their trail. The cat-and-mouse tension never lets up.
Running Scared (1986)—a facile-scripted action comedy starring the unlikely team of Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines as Starsky-and-Hutch-like Chicago undercover cops who barely escape death at the hands of drug dealer Julio Gonzales (Jimmy Smits) and decide to open a bar in Key West. But Gonzales is released from jail and the two vow to recapture him first. Lots of action, worth watching!
The Killer Elite (1975)—from Robert Rostand’s (Robert Syd Hopkins) novel Monkey in the Middle. Wounded and forced to retire by his rogue partner, ex-CIA operative Mike Locken rehabilitates himself and seeks vengeance, recruiting a show-stealing Burt Young and crazed weapons expert Bo Hopkins to help him. Directed by the uber-violent Sam Peckinpah, the bloodshed is not up to the over-the-top The Wild Bunch levels and the movie seems to run out of steam about halfway through. But still very watchable!
The Running Man (1987)—based (very loosely) on Stephen King’s (as Richard Bachman) book of the same title. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as falsely-convicted cop Ben Richards who is forced to participate in a futuristic television game show in which convicted criminals go on the run from professional executioners. Maria Conchita Alonso is very hot and Richard Dawson is at his end-of-the-Match Game nastiest as show host Damon Killian.