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Best Action Movies

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  21.9.2018
Mission: Impossible -- Fallout

As Tom Cruise's stardom has plateaued in recent years, with recent movies like The Mummy and American Made failing to connect on a broader cultural level, the celebration of the Mission: Impossible franchise has only intensified. It feels like audiences have collectively decided this is how they want their TC: jumping out a plane, running across the roof of a building, or hanging off the side of a cliff. Honestly, fair enough! While Mission: Impossible -- Fallout isn't the best entry in the super-spy series...

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  21.9.2018
Revenge

This French thriller has one of the most gruesome, unsettling scenes of self-surgery ever filmed, but it always feels like the director is in control of her scalpel. Shot with the bright colors of a 90s music video and the roving camera movements of a Michael Bay blockbuster, Coralie Fargeat's ultra-slick reinvention of the rape-revenge sub-genre follows Jen (Lutz) as her romantic getaway with a married man (Janssens) is interrupted by his two loathsome hunting buddies. One of the friends assaults Jen, violating...

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  21.9.2018
Den of Thieves

If there's one thing you've probably heard about this often ridiculous bank robbery epic, it's that it steals shamelessly from Michael Mann's crime saga Heat. The broad plot elements are similar: There's a team of highly-efficient criminals led by a former Marine (Schreiber) and they must contend with a obsessive, possibly unhinged cop (Butler) over the movie's lengthy 140 minute runtime. What makes Den of Thieves oddly fascinating is that it feels like a bootleg t-shirt you'd buy for a band outside the venue...

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  21.9.2018
Sicario

This is the type of famous movie that doesn’t feel like one. So if you haven’t yet seen it, avoid watching the trailer. Kate (Emily Blunt) is an FBI agent who is enlisted to aid in the war on drugs at the Mexican border. She is introduced to Alejandro (Benicio del Toro), a quiet and secretive agent working on the Mexican side. The reason you shouldn’t watch the trailer is that Sicario is much more than just another crime action movie, which its marketing will lead you to believe. It’s gorgeously made, with...

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  21.9.2018
Mad Max: Fury Road

Action movies often suffer from a problem of pacing. When the time comes for exposition things crawl to an ungodly halt, and then the action flares up rather inorganically, and the seams show like the sutures on Frankenstein’s monster. Mad Max: Fury Road solves this problem by being constant action, though – to use an apt metaphor – constantly running in different gears. Even the quiet moments are at first gear, rather than neutral, and the most action-packed moments are in sixth with a nitro-boost. The practical...

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  21.9.2018
Haywire

From the opening moments of Haywire — Steven Soderbergh’s slice of espionage action pulp — a couple things become crystal clear: It is deceptively well directed and has proverbial balls of steel. The viewer has mere moments to chew over their surroundings before the main course kicks in. Shot with an unblinking eye, the fight choreography is slick and brutal, standing as an audacious proclamation from Soderbergh of his evolving verve in the current cinematic climate. What follows is a sleek hour-and-a-half...

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  21.9.2018
The Raid: Redemption

It is difficult to understate the sheer intensity with which The Raid: Redemption hits. Jaw-dropping not in scale but in its frenetic choreography, Gareth Evans crafts an action picture that brought the fighting style of silat to the big screen, and simultaneously put Indonesian action cinema on the map. Originally slated to make what would become The Raid 2, Evans had to tighten his narrative lens for budgetary reasons. What emerged is lean, efficiently minimal storytelling that still manages to hint at the...

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  21.9.2018
The Dark Knight

What can be said about The Dark Knight that hasn’t already been? To paraphrase The Joker, this movie changed things forever. Although 2005’s Batman Begins resurrected the series from its unfortunate Joel Schumacher era, it was The Dark Knight where Christopher Nolan began to explore the idea of doing a genre piece that just happens to feature Batman. What we get as a result is a masterfully-executed crime thriller, with wonderful performances, sharp writing, and a sense of grounded scale simply missing from...

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  21.9.2018
Black Panther

Coogler's deft balancing of a high-tech spy gadgetry, ceremonial palace intrigue, fantasy action mayhem, and subversive political critique is unparalleled in the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe that Black Panther springs from. In the same way Creed, his propulsive and knowing reboot of the Rocky franchise, paid tribute to and upended boxing iconography, Coogler's take on superhero-dom is both pleasing and probing. Basically, he's got Soundcloud jokes, rhino battles, and takes on imperialism. The larger ideological...

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  21.9.2018
Ant-Man and the Wasp

The first Ant-Man was a rambunctious and clever take on the familiar Marvel origin story, introducing audiences to shrinking superhero dad Scott Lang (Rudd) and his extended family of friends and reluctant crime-fighters. The sequel is an even funnier and sillier refinement of the first chapter, ditching some of the heavier elements and going all-in on the gags. Though other entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been filled with sitcom-ish banter -- and Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok was happy to deflate...

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  21.9.2018
Deadpool 2

There's an obnoxious aside in Deadpool 2, the latest chapter in the ultra-violent (and ultra-smarmy) X-Men spin-off series, where Ryan Reynolds's red suit-wearing anti-hero turns to the audience and says there's a "big CGI fight scene coming up." He's not kidding -- the Russian tin man Colossus brawls for a while with an animated villain I won't reveal here -- and that's the irritating part of the gag: The filmmakers are just acknowledging a cliché instead of upending it! In the first Deadpool movie, the comedic...

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  21.9.2018
Miami Vice

I dare you to find a movie that is more self-assuredly cool than Miami Vice. I dare you to find a film that is more in love with itself than Miami Vice. I dare you to find two characters more cool-infused than Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell as Ricardo Tubbs and Sonny Crocket (respectively) in Miami Vice. This movie burns with the fire that only the truly un-self-conscious can embrace, and every scene drips with style and grace. The violence is sudden and real while still managing to be thrilling and electrifying...

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  21.9.2018
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol 

I’m still waiting for a better action experience in cinemas than the feeling of vertigo I experienced as Brad Bird‘s camera peered over the window’s ledge in the Burj Khalifa setpiece of Ghost Protocol. It certainly helped that I was at one of the largest IMAX screens in the world, but revisiting the film numerous time in the comfort of my comparatively minuscule own home proves that Brad Bird‘s live-action debut is an endlessly rewatchable. Yes, the villain is a far cry from its immediate predecessor, but...

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  21.9.2018
John Wick

In so many ways, John Wick is the ideal modern action film. First, the setup is simple: a retired gunman loses his wife. Then, a couple thugs with ties to his past steal his car…and kill his dog. Now, John Wick (a pitch-perfect Keanu Reeves) must don the suit he swore off to his past for the most personal job of all, revenge. Within a razor-sharp economy of moments, John Wick offers genuine emotional weight behind all the mayhem. And what slick, beautiful mayhem it is. Ferociously paced and backed by a roaring...

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  21.9.2018
Minority Report

Steven Spielberg was in top form when he helmed Minority Report, a high-concept, high-wire neo-noir that remains one of the new millennium’s snazziest blockbusters. Playing yet another version of his improbably athletic onscreen self, Tom Cruise is a police chief on the run after his “Pre-Crime” law enforcement program implicates him in the future murder of someone he’s never met. This doozy of a premise asks us to ponder the ethicality of jailing would-be criminals based on not-yet-perpetrated crimes and...

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  21.9.2018
Hot Fuzz

Few filmmakers have brought as much fresh air to the buddy cop genre as Edgar Wright with Hot Fuzz, masterfully executing his and co-writer Simon Pegg’s gracefully British addition to the cop movie brand. After super cop Nicolas Angel is transplanted from the mean streets of London to the wee village of Sandford, he finds the locals aren’t as welcoming as the appear on the surface as bodies quickly begin piling up. Seasoning the buddy cop formula with a slasher film antagonist and an encyclopedically cine-literate...

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  21.9.2018
The Commuter

 The last thriller from the team of Neeson and Collet-Serra was Non-Stop, a bracing and clever whodunit on an airplane. The pair are back in high-octane Agatha Christie mode with The Commuter, a mystery that begins with Farmiga's chatty passenger Joanna presenting Neeson's haggard ex-cop (and loyal transit-enthusiast of the title) Michael MacCauley with a bizarre hypothetical: If you could perform a seemingly insignificant task that would have disastrous consequences for another commuter in exchange for...

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  21.9.2018
Upgrade

As the writer behind first Saw movie and the Insidious series, Whannell has proven he knows how to dish out gruesome twists and find tension in spooky places. Upgrade, a thriller about a mechanic (Marshall-Green) implanted with a chatty microchip in his brain following a tragic accident, finds the filmmaker adding a bit of John Carpenter-esque social commentary to the mix, along with a healthy dose of Terminator-style action mayhem. The revenge aspect of the story is one-note and familiar -- Death Wish and...

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  21.9.2018
Serenity

Serenity is a futuristic sci-fi film that serves as a feature-length continuation of the story-line from the TV program Firefly (2002-2003). The story revolves around the captain (Nathan Fillion) and crew of the titular space vessel that operate as space outlaws, running cargo and smuggling missions throughout the galaxy. They take on a mysterious young psychic girl and her brother, the girl carrying secrets detrimental to the intergalactic government, and soon find themselves being hunted by a nefarious assassin...

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  21.9.2018
Kill Bill

Kung fu, wuxia, western, classic revenge tale, and maybe, ultimately, a synthesis of these forming a genre that’s yet to be given a proper name — so’s the makeup of what may in fact be Quentin Tarantino‘s masterpiece. (Sorry, Aldo Raine.) For all its thrills — and there is not a single dull action sequence within the four-hour runtime, to say nothing of the fact that all are distinct from one another — Kill Bill is about as deeply felt as movies get: a bloody bacchanal that gradually reveals itself as a tale...

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  21.9.2018
The Bourne Ultimatum

The Bourne Ultimatum possesses a visual and narrative urgency that is as much a worldview as a device of suspense; as action cinema, this film hits an entirely different level of mastery. A defining draw of the series thus far has been the unity of brains and brawn in the titular hero, and both get a workout via several spellbinding set pieces. The pleasures of watching Bourne run the game at a distance are plentiful, but it is when he gets rough and running that Ultimatum truly hits its stride. A car chase...

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  21.9.2018
Collateral

Most nightmares would make great action movies. They’re filled with bizarre scenarios from which there is no escape and the only victory that can be found is earned through insane risk. Collateral plays like the nightmare of a Los Angeles taxi driver come to life, and the story is just the beginning of the simply and brutally efficient quality of this film. Jamie Foxx and a grey-dyed Tom Cruise are an amazingly mismatched pair, and each brings so much depth and consideration to their character that you can...

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  21.9.2018
Apocalypto

When Mel Gibson’s directorial work is discussed, it is usually about The Passion of the Christ, Braveheart, or his now Oscar-nominated comeback Hacksaw Ridge. But for some odd reason, Apocalypto, his nail-biting epic of survival in Mayan-era Mexico, is left out. This is a shame, because it is an incredibly well-directed, relentless journey packed with such uncompromising energy that its two-plus hours soar by. Yet the audience feels every minute of tension as protagonist Jaguar Paw — a Mesoamerican tribesman...

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  21.9.2018
Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man was the ideal cinematic introduction to the character, but Spider-Man 2 was where the series matured into genuinely great popcorn entertainment. Bolstered by Alfred Molina’s tragic villain Doc Ock, and Tobey Maguire’s best work as Peter Parker, Sam Raimi‘s sequel has an emotional core that makes us care about the characters beyond the action set pieces. (Even if some of those set pieces, like the one on the train, still rank as some of the best in comic book movie history.) In the years since its...

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