Brian January, Thriller Author

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Another Ten of the Greatest Action Movies!

Here are another ten great action movies you might have missed, forgotten about, or never heard of!

Our Man Flint (1966)—the charismatic James Coburn as super-genius super-spy Derek Flint in a broadly-drawn spoof of the James Bond films. When a trio of bad-guy scientists threaten the planet with a weather-control machine, Flint is called out of retirement to save the day. Far-fetched but fun to watch!

Cobra (1986)—rewritten by Sylvester Stallone from the original script of Beverly Hills Cop (in which he was slated to star before Eddie Murphy). Los Angeles police officer Marion Cobretti (Stallone), a.k.a. “Cobra”, does violent—very violent--battle with a neo-Fascist killers. Crime is the disease and Cobra is the cure!

Knight and Day (2010)—starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in a high-octane action comedy about an innocent woman who is inadvertently swept up in a globe-trotting chase with maybe-good-guy, maybe-bad-guy spy Tom Cruise. The pace is non-stop and the roller coaster ride is pure fun!

Firefox (1982)—from the novel of the same title by Craig Thomas, this Cold War thriller pits Clint Eastwood against the KGB as he tries to steal a high-tech, radar-invisible Soviet fighter plane from a Russian air base. Although the movie seems a bit disjointed at times, it’s still very suspenseful, especially the air chase at the end.

The Land That Time Forgot (1975)—during World War I, Bowen Tyler (Doug McClure) and other survivors of a torpedoed merchant ship seize the U-Boat that sunk them, piloting the submarine to an uncharted sub-continent in the South Atlantic where they encounter living dinosaurs and primitive humans. Good story coupled with superior special effects for the time.

Open Range (2003)—when Boss Spearman (Robert Duvall) and Charley Waite (Kevin Costner) drive their open-range cattle through pastures controlled by local land baron Denton Baxter (Michael Gambon), hostilities break out, resulting in a shoot-out between Baxter and his men and the open rangers. Annette Bening provides the love interest for Charley. When I first watched this movie, I dismissed it as a romance novel set in the Old West, but now that I’ve viewed it several more times, I’ve come to appreciate it and it’s become one of my favorite movies.

Pale Rider (1985)—Clint Eastwood as “The Preacher”, a mysterious stranger who protects a community of gold panners from violence at the hands of rich and powerful hydraulic miners. The last act is classic Clint wiping out the Bad Guys one-by-one.

The Peacemaker (1997)—George Clooney as Army Special Forces Lieutenant Thomas Devoe and Nicole Kidman (with a good American accent) as nuclear expert Dr. Julia Kelly. When a Russian general steals a trainload of nuclear warheads, detonating one, Devoe and Kelly are assigned to retrieve those remaining. Finally succeeding, they learn that one of the warheads is still missing and set to explode in New York City. The first half of the movie is first-rate (with a truly superb car chase/shoot-out sequence), but the second half oddly runs out of steam and seems like a let-down.

Force 10 From Navarone (1978)—loosely based on Alistair MacLean’s 1968 sequel to The Guns of Navarone, this World War II actioner stars a post-Star Wars Harrison Ford as leader of Force 10, a sabotage unit sent into Yugoslavia to blow up a German dam. Not as good as the first Navarone movie, but well worth watching.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)—Australian actor and model George Lazenby was the first to take over the Bond reins from Sean Connery (after this one film he refused to play the role again), going head-to-head with arch-foe Ernst Stavro Blofeld (played by a somehow-less-than-menacing Telly Savalas). Lazenby’s depiction of Bond’s cruel nature is perhaps closest to the character of the books (although I maintain that Pierce Brosnan has earned this honor overall). Diana Rigg plays Bond’s love interest with an icy coolness.