In many ways, the end of the year is just like every other part of the year: we want to make lists. So we come up with lots of list ideas. One idea this year, like almost every year, is a list of the best action films. But this year, 2010, is special. This article is special. Why? Because this Year in Review article is going to kick off a brand new column that you’ll be able to rock and roll with every Wednesday in 2011: Bullet Points.
Like The Coroner’s Report, Bullet Points will focus on a particular genre. I’m not talking down to you when I say that it’s action films, though you probably guessed that pretty quickly. To kick off this column right and make 2010 just explode all over itself, we’re counting down our ten favorite action films.
When I first saw trailers for Unstoppable I had two thoughts: I could stop that train and Tony Scott fucking loves trains. A runaway train movie with a pedigree (Scott, Washington, Pine), this film generated a lot of attention and as our own Jim Rohner said it best: That movie was a lot better than it had any business being.
I hesitate to put Christopher Nolan’s Inception on the list because I don’t think it’s primarily an action film, but with a lot of gun play, a bunch of explosions, and the innovative and beautifully fantastic hallway fight, this mind bender might just be average on every level but action.
2010 was perhaps the year in action defined by team movies. While I had very high hopes that Joe Carnahan’s vision would take The A-Team to a more realistic and violent place, he went the other way and created the years silliest action film. While it’s not hardcore enough to satisfy my blood lust, there is no denying that the outrageous action sequences will keep your attention long enough to make it worth it.
No year in end action list is complete without at least one pair of sandles and a whole bunch of swords. If after seeing Inglorious Basterds you thought “Hey, Michael Fassbender should be in more stuff” Centurion is one you should look up. From the always entertaining director Neil Marshall, this is one of the bloodiest and most violent films of the year, so of course we Rejects love it.
When compiling this list I consulted our Master of Asian Cinema Studies (Rob Hunter) knowing that he would have the inside line on the best martial arts film of the year. Amongst his suggestions was Ip Man 2 which features enough ass kicking from star Donnie Yen that it might just change your life.