Off Topic: Best Action Movies Of All Time

So I managed to see Mad Max: Fury Road over the weekend. Holy crap. It got me wondering — where does it rank in terms of the greatest action movies ever made?

For me personally, it's up there. Just in terms of its ability to make the action tell a story. These aren't action 'sequences' or 'set-pieces', the action is the story. Everything is communicated through the action, and it's seamless.

I loved it. Zero exposition. Just this is what is happening, right now. You fill in the blanks. Loved it.

Other action movies I loved? Terminator 2, Aliens, Predator, Die Hard, Mad Max 2. I truly believe Fury Road is up there with that group. Your thoughts?


    As an underrated/left field nomination. Welcome to the Jungle with the Rock and Sean William-Scott. So reminiscent of the awesome 90's buddy action flicks like Tango and Cash.

      Called The Takedown in some markets.

        But in OUR market, it's Welcome To The Jungle. Not fussed that it's called the Rundown in the US. Both titles are quoted in the movie either way. Welcome To The Jungle is a better name.

      I loved this movie 10 years ago as a teenager... Watched it recently and couldn't freaking stand it... I'm getting old...

      Last edited 19/05/15 2:26 pm

    Shooter, Taken 1, Bourne Trilogy.
    The Equaliser was pretty good too

    You've pretty much nailed them with terminator 2, aliens, die hard, predator and mad max 2. That's a very solid list. I'd add the first Rambo film to it as well. I think most action movies these days are too silly and some how end up boring for me.

    Last edited 19/05/15 12:52 pm

    Aliens is the best action movie ever.

      The best action movie not called Die Hard.

        BZZZZ Nope.... Correct answer is The Goonies

          But is that an action movie, or an adventure movie?

            It's a movie that was robbed at the Oscars thats for damn sure!

        You are correct sir, it also happens to be the best christmas movie!

      No. Nothing beats City Hunter

        City Hunter is an awesome movie. It's so funny in a weird way and has some cool fight scenes.

        This guy...
        and this fight scene...

        See you later I am off to have a smoke and re-watch.

    Outside of the already mentioned 80s-90s staples
    The Rock
    The LEGO Movie
    MI: Ghost Protocol
    The Dark Knight

      I'd agree with The Rock...

      The rest I would include in action movie categories... maybe Mission Impossible.

    My top 3 are Terminator 2, Die Hard, and Die Hard: With a Vengeance.

    Can't wait to see Fury Road!


    The new James Bonds, particularly Casino Royale.


      Still trying to decide if I love Casino Royale or Skyfall more...

      Daniel Craig's Bond feels so much more grounded and personal than the Brosnan flicks.

        I think Casino Royale was probably more exhilarating, and hence a better action movie, but damn Skyfall was beautiful. Might have to watch them back-to-back to decide!

    The Expendables for fun.
    Total Recall is a classic.
    Commando, Universal solider and Under Siege,

    True Lies, Total Recall, The Raid 2.

    Also,I have a very large soft spot for Unleashed/Danny the Dog.

      Ah, I love the Raid series. They're both so impressive and fun to watch.

      Also Merantau, the first film by Iko Uwais, is also worth a watch.

        The Raid films are troublesome for me.

        They're a great action movies, and some of the best martial arts films of the decade, but a lot of that is due to the fact that martial arts movies have generally sucked this decade (actually, for almost 2 decades).

        The fighting in The Raid is average. Everyone fights like a stuntman without the necessary intent and emotion. Enemies are lining up to take their hits, injuries and exhaustion play no part in the narrative of the fights, it's kind of a mess.

        But they have great direction, really creative camera work, and the stories are absolutely perfect for an action film.

        Edit: "Marital arts" made it sound like a fancy porno

        Last edited 19/05/15 4:19 pm

          But that's the thing. For me, the fighting feels very weighty, which I enjoyed.

          Check out Daredevil on NetFlix if you want more from you fight scenes. VERY weighty.

          The almost-endless montage of hyper-realistic fighting should be dull, but exercising discipline in choreography, framing and editing The Raid spins a far more engaging fight movie than Hollywood ever has.

          Last edited 19/05/15 6:05 pm

      I thought The Raid would be unbeatable as the best action movie of the last decade...

      ... and then I saw The Raid 2. I was mistaken.

        After you saw The Raid 2, what were you mistaken about?

        To call it a better action movie than the first one is a stretch - its a better drama and better thriller, but not a better action movie

        Going along the whole Raid inspiration - Dredd with Karl Urban is pretty cool. Yes, the similarities are close, but more coincidence than anything else

          The entire premise of Dredd was too similar to The Raid to be coincidence - Mama talking to the residents of the block and the judges is almost identical to Tama's speech to the residents and the cops in The Raid.

          The Raid 2 was a better movie than the original, IMHO. They are both action movies. So I stand by my point - the action in The Raid might have been better, but TR2 is still the best movie in the action genre in the last decade.

            It seems that it was pure coincidence. Dredd was apparently written first, but took longer in development. Gareth Evans has said he hadn't heard anything about Dredd until a friend told him about it while he was in the middle of editing The Raid.

              Exactly, they are coincidence. Its not exactly an original story

              I stand corrected! I saw The Raid well before Dredd, so just assumed that it was a classic case of Hollywood seeing something cool come out of foreign cinema and jumping on the remake/adaptation bandwagon (a la Death at a Funeral).

                Well... They're doing that too. I believe that the remake is scheduled for next year. Last I heard they were eyeing the Hemsworth brothers as the opposing leads.

            You said it was a better movie than the original, but the action in The Raid was better. Then you say The Raid 2 is the best action movie in the last decade... confusing...

              Well, there are more factors that make an action movie good than just the action sequences. I think TR2 was a better movie overall, despite the action being better in the original, and since they both fall into the action genre, that makes TR2 the best action movie.

              If you are talking about the best action IN a movie, then The Raid wins.

    They Live.
    Escape from New York.
    Enter the Dragon or The way of the dragon.
    Sword of doom.

    To me, these are the quintessential action movies:

    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Die Hard
    Terminator 2
    The Matrix
    The Dark Knight
    The Raid series
    Mad Max: Fury Road

    Did everyone forget about The Raid?

      Not at all - just trying to desperately forget the second film!

        Really! Everybody else that's seen it raves about it.

          Just my opinion though, but some of the things I didnt like:

          * Slow build ups to a lot of scenes - its not wham-bam like the first movie
          * Very plot driven story with the whole double cross and infiltration angle
          * Since when does it snow in Indonesia
          * I like that we see some of the same actors, but if you remember the first film where at the end the two brothers have that 10-15 minute fight scene with that awesome dude - Awesome dude is in this film in a completely different role. This was a little confusing
          * Too much Hollywood in the set-up of the action scenes. They dont seem natural and plausible like the first film, its more about setting up big things, which I feel is against the grain of the first film. There is nothing cool like the fridge explosion from the first film
          * Not convinced the main character is a good actor. He is an awesome action star, but not the best actor. He didnt say much in the first film, but 2 is different

          If it was called anything other than "The Raid 2" then I would have thought more highly of it

      What about Le Raid?

      (It was mediocre)

    Loved Mad Max Fury Road. Was nothing short of amazeballz.

    I wouldn't really call it an action film as it was off a real life incident. But I really do love Black Hawk Down. From start to finish it's just one big cluster f*k.

    As for normal action, Aliens and Terminator 2, would be right on the money for me as well.

    True Lies > every other action movie ever made..... Die Hard 1 & 3 are a close second.... Oh, and Terminator 2

    Leon: The Professional is up there as one of my fav's.

      Everyone loves that movie.

      "What do you mean, everyone?"


      Came here to say this, basically the only action flick I actually like.

    For me, besides many of those mentioned here already, "Lethal Weapon", "Hard Boiled", "Flashpoint" (Donnie Yen), and "The Matrix" all deserve a mention.

      Yeah, early John Woo + Chou Yun Fat from the 90s, unbeatable. Don't make em like that any more.

    I always liked Cellular (starring a young Chris Evans), thought it was very underrated.
    District 9, Paul Verhoeven sci-fi (Total Recall, Robocop, Starship Troopers), Terminator 2, Die Hard, Predator, The Raid, Aliens..... all good stuff.

      Oh shittttt, how did I forget Total Recall! What a cracker :D

      I have a soft spot for starship troopers. Just so good and simple

    How has nobody expressed their undying love for Commando? What a ridiculous movie hahaha. Otherwise...

    Die Hard (Best Christmas movie ever)
    Die Hard with a Vengeance
    Terminator 2
    True Lies (one of my top 3 films of all time)
    Mad Max 2
    Mad Max Fury Road (you're right @markserrels, it is that good)
    The Matrix
    Raiders of the lost Ark
    The Bourne Identity (just the first one, don't get me wrong the others are great but it stands above).
    Lethal Weapon 2 (I've got diplomatic immunity! It's just been revoked...)

    Yeah. I love my brainless action flicks.

      You've just listed the movie playlist of my life. I tip my hat to you.

      lob The Raid in instead of RED (which I am not aware of) and you have yourself a list of the greatest movies ever.

        I've never heard of The Raid. It seems like we've just suggested what to watch next for each other :D

    Terminator 2, Aliens, ... Die Hard
    We were just discussing this at lunch (prompted, as seems common, by someone having seen Fury Road) and agreed on these being fantastic. I'm happy to add Predator and True Lies to the list too. I haven't seen any Mad Max movies, but have the trilogy at home to correct this ASAP.

    Last edited 19/05/15 1:54 pm

      I watched them all recently. I'd seen the first one and parts of the second one before, but it was my first viewing of Beyond Thunderdome (3). The first half of it is alright, but then it just nosedived and it was just awful.

    Looks like all the usual suspects have been picked already but nobody has mentioned 'John Wick' which I thought was an excellent action flick. Also, how about 'The Raid' from Indonesia? And Dredd with Karl Urban and Cersei Lannister, a heap of fun right there...

    Last edited 19/05/15 1:55 pm

    No love for the Muscles from Brussels? Universal Soldier is a pretty great action movie though the sequels stink. Face/Off for some Nic Cage/John Travolta/John Woo action and Under Siege for some Steven Seagal.

    Not sure if you'd call it an action movie but Jarhead with Jake Gyllenhall ranks pretty highly in my list. Oh and Full Metal Jacket and Apocalypse Now if only for the eminently quotable lines and subverted approach to action.

      Oh yeah... Under Siege. That movie gets forgotten a lot because it's Seagal, but it really was a good film. Definitely him at his fullest potential.

        Seagal is the biz! Who else can pull off doing full neck snapping aikido with hair transplants and a paunch in a kaftan?!

      Face/Off and Under Siege are both great.
      Good call.

      I wouldnt go as far as to say ALL of the sequels stink. I quite liked Day of Reckoning.

    Yeah, Mad Max: Fury Road was freakin' awesome.

    Don't know why nobody's mentioned Kingsman: The Secret Service.

    Also, I haven't watched it for a very long time, but I remember Last Action Hero being pretty good. Think I might have to watch it again.

      I watched Kingsmen recently. I thought it was super weird! I mean, i get that they're trying to do their version of a spy movie, but the stylised violence, realism (with the domestic violence stuff), and the overt sex (the Swede at the end...), it just seemed odd. Like, all this suave smooth stuff and then, out of no-where, brutal killing, domestic abuse, and sexy times. It was like the film was flip flopping between child-like comic book and R-rated stuff...

      That's a good point, but maybe that just shows even though Kingsman was absolutely awesome to watch, that it doesn't have a lasting impact? You have made me want to watch it again though :D

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