There were some fantastically great action films released in 2014, but 2014 was not a great year for action films. The horror genre had no such shortage (as evidenced by the greatness occupying our list of the year’s best) and you can probably name several comedies that had you busting a gut in 2014, but action films? There weren’t very many, and what there was rarely impressed. But sometimes you find great action in less than great movies, and with that understanding I was able to find 14 movies that fit the bill as the Best Action Films of 2014. Well, almost.


20th Century Fox

Let me just say this right up front before you declare us legally insane and/or possessing of piss-poor taste in films — inclusion on this list doesn’t necessarily mean we think the movie is bad. Sure, that’s true of some of them (I’m looking at you Horns), but in most cases these are simply films we had reason to expect so much more from only to be let down — sometimes dramatically — in the end. 2014 was a spectacular year filled with great cinema, and there’s a lot that we absolutely loved (as evidenced by many of our other year-end lists posting this week), but these are the films that fell short. We walk into every movie hoping for the best, but sometimes our expectations get the best of us whether due to the talent involved or the power of a great trailer. We’re only human after all. So here are fourteen movies we had good reason to suspect we’d like more than we did.



Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Blue Ruin Dwight (Macon Blair) is a bit of a loner. He lives in his car, parked on the side of a road near a Delaware beach, and spends his days scrounging for food, collecting cans and reading. A gentle wake-up knock on his car window precedes a disturbing piece of news. The man who killed Dwight’s parents is being released from prison. Single-minded but far from focused, Dwight fills the gas tank, pops the car battery into place and makes a beeline straight into hell. The setup here is economical, and the rest of the film follows suit, but rather than be a negative that simplicity actually elevates the film above its bigger budgeted, higher profile cousins. A Hollywood version of this tale would complicate things with unnecessary subplots, excessive exposition and time spent highlighting just how bad the bad guy and his henchmen really are. Here we stick with Dwight throughout, and the result is one of the most intimate and affecting revenge films in years. My full review. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, making of, deleted scenes, camera test]


Arnold Schwarzenegger and friends in SABOTAGE

Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s post-Governor career is an interesting, if not wholly successful, mix of a little bit of new and a whole lot of desperate clinging to the past. The former will be on display in the upcoming Maggie where he plays father to a daughter infected with a zombie virus, and the latter has been evident in The Last Stand, Escape Plan, his appearances in The Expendables franchise, and upcoming sequels to past triumphs. His action films have been cartoonishly unrealistic and as interested in being “fun” as they’ve been in being exciting. His latest film though is a far more serious affair. Deadly violent, incredibly gory, and saturated with themes that echo both Schwarzenegger’s past as an action hero and the real life cost of fighting evil. Unfortunately, David Ayer‘s Sabotage also wants to be fun, and therein exists just one of its missteps. John ‘Breacher’ Wharton (Schwarzenegger) is head of an elite DEA assault team populated by the manliest of men and one gung-ho woman. Their latest bust involves infiltrating a known drug dealer dwelling, and it ends with numerous dead bad guys, one of their own down, and $10 million in dirty money missing. The team brazenly steals and hides the cash during the bust, but when they return for their payout the cash is gone. An investigation and suspensions follow, but when the team returns to work they find themselves prey to a violent predator with a taste for the grotesque. It’s the end of days and […]


arnold schwarzenegger in sabotage 4

Most aging movie stars today seem content on doing sequels to their long ago hits. Sylvester Stallone with further installments of Rocky and Rambo, Bruce Willis with Die Hard, Harrison Ford with Indiana Jones (especially now that certain rumors have been denied), everyone who’ll be returning for the next Star Wars installment. And Arnold Schwarzenegger might be joining them, given that there’s talk of him returning to the Terminator, Conan and Twins properties. But aside from the Terminator franchise, he has never been one for sequels (I don’t count his Expendables work yet, as they’re not really his movies), and even with that series he basically opted out of the last one, although part of the reason was because he was busy with his new career as Governor of California. Now that he’s back in the action, there’s been an easy inclination to compare his new movies to his old. It’s understandable, as we’re curious if he’s still got what he had in those ’80s blockbusters we love. It’s not that different than what we do with his peers, comparing those guys’ new sequels to the start of the franchise and other prior installments. Our associative minds may want to to align the tendencies and look for heyday Schwarzenegger movies that most relate to the current releases, as if these new movies are sequels, too. I did it with his first real starring vehicle since leaving office, noting in my review a link between his characters in The Last Stand […]



Arnold Schwarzenegger continues the post-gubernatorial Hollywood comeback that started with 2012’s The Expendables 2, with the one-liner laden Sabotage, which appears not to be content until it has checked the box of damn near every action flick standard. I have zero problem with this. Co-written with screenwriter Skip Woods (Hitman, The A-Team) and directed by David Ayers (Training Day, End of Watch) the film features Schwarzenegger as John “Breacher” Wharton, the hard-ass leader of an equally hard-ass crew of elite DEA operatives. When Breacher and his team stash a 10 million dollar haul after being sent to take down the safe house of a drug cartel, they’re slowly picked off one by one for their dirty deed. The premise is interesting, because they’re definitely not straight up good folks. Still, audiences will be rooting for them plenty all the same. Hardcore bros and hot ladies with guns slinging awesome zingers and fist bumping between battles with baddies is almost always fun times, right? Check out the red band trailer (courtesy of IGN) for Sabotage below, and being that it’s the weekend, feel free to make a drinking game of the liberally used f@#ks scattered throughout.



“Here’s a trailer for the latest Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.” These are words we’ll continue to hear for decades. Schwarzenegger’s physical and mental abilities may fade, and eventually, like the rest of us, he will shuffle off this mortal coil. But centuries from now, citizens of our expanding space empire will still find Arnie at the local space-multiplex, composed of stock footage and CGI and still performing the same basic action shtick in movies that are just OK. So allow me to continue a grand, cultural tradition that will echo on through the years: “Here’s a trailer for the latest Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.”


He may be hard at work on Transformers: Age of Extinction and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but we still stay awake through the night, eagerly anticipating what upcoming projects Michael Bay might infuse with his fireballs-and-toilet-humor style. Now we know: the next film from Bay will be Sabotage, a World War II thriller (and a true story) about nine Norwegian commandos who fought their way through Nazi-occupied Norway to keep Hitler from unlocking the secrets of the nuclear bomb. Based off a book proposal from author Neal Bascomb entitled “Sabotage: A Genius Scientist, His Band of Young Commandos, and the Mission to Kill Hitler’s Super Bomb” (in seeing the title in its entirety, it’s now readily apparent why the man behind Transformers signed on), Bay’s only attached as a producer for now. But according to The Wrap, he may “develop the project as a potential directing vehicle.”



To movie critics (including myself): yer doin’ it wrong.

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published: 01.29.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015

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