Brian January, Thriller Author

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Ten More Must-See Action Movies!

Another list of not-to-be-missed action flicks!

For a Few Dollars More (1965)—classic Clint in the second outing of the spaghetti western Dollars Trilogy (although it was filmed in Spain). Bounty hunter Manco (Clint) forms an uneasy alliance with Colonel Douglas Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef), also a bounty hunter, in a scheme to rob a bank of a million dollars in gold while thwarting the ruthless, psychopathic bandit Indio. Charles Bronson turned down Van Cleef’s role.

Above the Law (1988)—a very svelte Steven Seagal in his film debut as ex-CIA operative, now Chicago cop, up against corrupt police, politicians, and CIA types in the Windy City. Lots of first-class Seagal martial arts action. Henry Silva is a stand-out as the head Bad Guy.

Broken Arrow (1996)—during a top-secret mission on a Stealth Bomber, U.S. Air Force Major “Deak” Deakins (John Travolta) shoots his co-pilot Captain Riley Hale (Christian Slater) and steals the two B-83 nuclear bombs on board. Hale, still alive, manages to punch out over the Utah Canyonlands, teaming up with ultra-cute Park Ranger Terry Carmichael (Samantha Mathis) to stop Deakins from selling the nukes to terrorists. (Thankfully) unobtrusively directed by John Woo and written by Graham Yost, the penner of Speed.

Enemy of the State (1998)—starring Will Smith and Gene Hackman in a tensely-written, gripping thriller about a cadre of NSA agents who murder a United States congressman and frame an innocent lawyer for the killing, forcing him to go on the run while pursued by high-tech intelligence operatives. Gene Hackman as a retired NSA communications expert is riveting and Will Smith shines at his charismatic best. Watch for Regina King, who lights up the screen.

Most Wanted (1997)—while Keenen Ivory Wayans as U.S. Marine James Dunn languishes on death row, wrongly accused of killing his commanding officer during the Gulf War, he is recruited by a clandestine ops team commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Grant Casey (Jon Voight). But when the First Lady is assassinated, Dunn is framed as the trigger man and has to hit the streets to uncover the truth. Robert Culp is at his most Culp-iness as corrupt industrialist Donald Bickhart.

Predator (1987)—from the glory days of Ah-nuld’s career, a true classic about a team of Special Forces commandos dispatched to rescue hostages held by guerillas in the Central American jungle, but who are stalked and systematically—and gruesomely—killed off by an alien trophy hunter. Lots of quality kills and very cool creature makeup.

Silverado (1985)—with an ensemble cast of big stars (Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Danny Glover, Kevin Costner, Brian Dennehy, Jeff Goldblum, John Cleese, and Linda Hunt), this movie is a throwback to the great westerns of the past, pitting a group of misfit gunslingers against a corrupt sheriff. It’s an old story re-told refreshingly well, mostly due to the engaging cast and numerous subplots. This was Kevin Costner’s breakout role.

Tango and Cash (1989)—playing incessantly on cable TV, this formulaic buddy cop film somehow manages to be riveting, due in large part to its stars, Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell. Los Angeles narcotics detectives Ray Tango (Stallone) and Gabriel Cash (Russell) are framed and sent to a maximum-security prison by the criminal kingpin Yves Perret (Jack Palance). Managing to escape, they set out of stop Perret. Jack Palance is hyperbolically (and often hilariously) over-the-top and the big-wheeled assault vehicle at the end is pure 1980’s. The prison sequences are the best part of the movie.

The Package (1989)—a riveting political thriller starring Gene Hackman, Joanna Cassidy, and Tommy Lee Jones. During the Cold War, Master Sergeant Johnny Gallagher (Hackman) is assigned to escort Army deserter Thomas Boyette (Jones, the “package”) from West Berlin to the United States to stand trial in a military court martial. But when Boyette escapes, Gallagher discovers that the deserter is actually a professional assassin assigned to kill the world leaders at a nuclear arms summit meeting in Chicago.

Three Days of the Condor (1975)—when low-level CIA researcher Joe Turner (Robert Redford) returns to his office after a lunch run, he finds his co-workers assassinated and soon he’s on the run in the streets of New York City with the killers hot on his trail. With no one he can trust, Turner tries to unravel what happened as he outwits his pursuers. Although it’s a bit slow in spots, it’s still a gripping tale of 1970’s-era political paranoia.