Some other sites or site runners may look down on lists, but those people are what are known as no-fun douche bags, because really, lists are awesome. They are short, easy to digest little morsels that you can wash down with a carbonated beverage, argue about, and take recommendations from. If you don’t like lists, you are worse than Hitler.
You know what’s better than Hitler? Lots of stuff, like peanut butter cookies with little peanut butter cups pressed into them. That, and also these ten action movies, which are my favorite for the year. Yeah, you’ll probably disagree, so comment below or get your own damn website.
Eric Bana is a secret action star with a few good turns in a couple of flicks, but in Hanna he really gets to shine as an ass kicking secret agent. That being said, it’s the young Saoirse Ronan who really brings home the bacon and drop kicks it through a door. There are several very good fight scenes in the movie, but it doesn’t rank higher because I don’t understand how Bana’s character never decides to just get a gun and kill these assholes. Still, the movie is worth a watch if just to see what happens when Hanna thinks she has her target within reach the first time.
10. Captain America: The First Avenger
This was by no means a perfect film, but the story really resonates. Chris Evans did a fantastic job as both Steve Rogers and Captain America, plus his transformation was kick-ass and inspiring. The middle of the movie was an action montage extravaganza that brought back fond memories of The Rocketeer and Indiana Jones flicks. The action is good, but it’s the heart that lands this film on the list.
9. Battle: Los Angeles
Sure, it might be kind of a silly film with some laughable dialog, but in terms of action, the film is on overdrive pretty much the whole way through. In a year absent the really guilty pleasures of shoot-em ups like The Expendables, this was the gun violence choice of the year, with thousands of rounds expended and plenty of explosions to be had by all.
8. Real Steel
Action just isn’t about killing people, it’s also about boxing robots. Real Steel had a charming performance from Hugh Jackman, an entertaining enough kid, great action pieces in the ring, and a surprising amount of heart delivered from the vacant stare of Atom. This film got to me for some reason, possibly because I get a boner for robots, but probably because it was just good action entertainment, especially when a robot fights a bull.
7. Kung Fu Panda 2
This movie was so good, it made me mad enough to write a boiling point asking why a children’s cartoon was the best action movie I’d seen thus far in the year. KFP is a lot of fun with a great cast and some excellent action. It’ll please the kids in your family and keep everyone else entertained. Thumbs up.
6. Drive Angry
It just wouldn’t be a Robert Fure list without some violence and nudity on it some where. Drive Angry could be a contender for horror lists thanks to its supernatural elements, but I think the film does better as an action movie. It has car chases that rival or exceed those in Fast Five and enough blood and guts to satisfy even my warped tastes. Plus Amber Heard. Amber Heard. Amber Heard. Ya heard?
5. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Is it an action movie or something smarter? Does it have to be one or the other? Rise was a surprise to many, a film that managed to be both smart and entertaining, intelligent without being overly preachy. Plus, once the monkeys decide it’s time to fuck shit up, things get exciting really fast.
4. 13 Assassins
There was nothing but praise for this Takashi Miike flick, so it was hard not to have high expectations going in. The film starts off by giving you all the plot and back story you can handle for about an hour. They just need to set you up so there are no more questions once the battle begins, because it rages and doesn’t stop for the last hour. The entire affair wasn’t overwhelming, with many undeveloped characters, but in the end when 13 guys with 50 swords slash and murder their way through 200 people, it gets a spot on any action list.
3. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
A worthy successor to the fun and exciting M:I:III or whatever they called it, Brad Bird’s first foray into live action brought plenty of action and a good bit of comedy along for the ride. With some truly breathtaking sequences in IMAX and lively action sequences, this film would have been at home opening up in the middle of Summer.
2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
We can argue all day over the merits of Michael Bay or the Transformers franchise, but to be honest with you, if you don’t at least acknowledge these films for the jaw-dropping action, you’re just being a stubborn dick. Transformers 3 overstays its welcome a little bit in length, but makes up for it by including some of the best CGI of the year and some of the most frenetic, ass-kicking action sequences of the year. With tons of military goodness and rampaging robots, this is an adrenaline fueled pre-teen wet dream of mashed up metal.
With a similar death toll to 13 Assassins, Ironclad decided to intersperse the violent action and story a bit more and ultimately created a more satisfying experience. The film follows a troubled Templar Knight, a Magna Carta loving Baron and his men as they defend the Castle of Rochester against King John, the King of England who decided to give up considerable power to stop a rebellion only to not actually give up said power. King John recruits an army of Danes and lays siege to Rochester, but few hold out against many for an absurdly long time resulting in an absurdly high number of deaths. Ironclad is extremely violent, with dozens of gruesome injuries, fractured faces, and removed limbs, but it never dwells too obsessively long on the gore. It is most likely the most accurate portrayal of the brutality of medieval warfare ever recorded.
Honorable Mentions: Fast Five almost made the list, but a lackluster fight between Vin Diesel and The Rock coupled with stale car chases leave it off. Warrior was also a strong contender, but ultimately this sports movie suffered just a few too many cliches to make the final list.
We’re just getting started with our 2011 Year in Review.