Action Movie SUBGENRES
This is a huge, ongoing project that I live to work on :D
If a movie that you think
should be in a category is not there,
it's probably because I haven't gotten around to re-watching it to
be sure. Same thing, if you see any glaringly wrong placements
of films in categories, please email me:
For a list of movies, see my
These movies are all about the fighting. No matter what style,
fighting has to be the character(s)' central focus. There are
lots of movies with great fight scenes (like The Quiet Man,
They Live, etc.) but they are not "Fight Movies".
I included some fight movies featuring Martial Arts here because
they are either very mainstream or because it's more about Fighting
more than it is about what style of fighting they use.
EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE
THE KARATE KID
UNDISPUTED II: LAST MAN STANDING
NEVER BACK DOWN
BLOOD AND BONE
THE KARATE KID
UNDISPUTED III: REDEMPTION
NEVER BACK DOWN 2: THE BEATDOWN
THE RAID 2
One of the most inspiring characters ever created on film.
Technically not an Action Movie, but because it's Sylvester
Stallone, we don't care. It's still Action to Action Movie Freaks.
Like all really great movies, it has a great theme song.
Every Which Way But Loose (20
Clint Eastwood upped his coolness with this movie as he played a
brawler, "Philoe Beddoe", at an age that was a little older than we
would expect, and made it look good! It's a great comedy and Ruth
and an orangutan steal the show. "Poor, defenseless old woman . .
. " LOL
(15 Jun 1979)
Now that Rocky's a hometown hero, it makes him seem real that when
he runs, people just start following him. You know you would. It's
hard to think of any character more loved in American film than
Rocky Balboa. He had to come back and prove it wasn't a fluke.
It's a real knock-down, drag-out match and we hang on every second.
It says a lot for boxing movies and a whole
lot for Sylvester Stallone as a Writer/Director, Actor, and Fighter
that the images from the Rocky movies are so iconic.
The sequel to Every Which Way But Loose starred
William Smith (pictured at
right) and a really long fight scene, but I prefer the original.
Looking back the movie was funny but the music was mostly sappy.
Too sappy for a "fight" movie. Still, it was fun and we were hungry
for fight movies. (The big fight scene is a lot like The Quiet
Man where they go indoors and outdoors.)
(28 May 1982)
The Rocky/Apollo bromance and workout montage in this movie made it
all the more devastating when Apollo is killed in the next. People
make fun of this montage but they love and they eat it up. Two
words" Footwork and 'Tips' " (if you know what tips are, you must be
Carl Weathers was great as
Apollo Creed—add Mr. T. and Hulk Hogan and Holy
Eighties! It's amazing how each Rocky movie is great for its
So why wasn't Carl Weathers one of
. . . ?
ROCKY III TRAINING MONTAGE
I included the Karate Kid movies here (rather than under
Martial Arts) because they are all about learning to Fight. To me,
the style is not as important as the lessons. All fighting teaches
you something about yourself.
(27 Nov 1985)
I love this movie so much because of his workouts. They juxtapose
the high-tech robotic look of
Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago
against Rocky using rocks and logs to work out. It's so inspiring.
You don't need a gym and all that equipment to work out. Stallone
just kept upping the fitness level. One thing people remember
from this movie is the line "I must break you" which was in
the trailer but not in the movie (don't you hate when they do
that?). I never get tired of watching this movie.
An '80s Cannon International film—talk about Action Movie cred! Just
seeing the logo is enough for Action Movie Freaks.
Before there was the Undisputed
movies, there was Bloodsport. Variety was the spice. Our fascination
with the different fighting styles of different nationalities is
always a draw. This movie is without question, an Action Movie
a very young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who shines—his skills are
impressive. Bolo Yeung is a total Bad Ass as "Chong
Li". The fighting looks about as real as wrestling compared to
today's standards, but it was really exciting back then, even
brutal! The fight choreography and the drama of the matches
is excellent. Although we root for "Frank Dux" (Van Damme) because
we know his motivation, the movie is all the better because of the
cruelty of Bolo's character. We can't wait for our hero to
Bolo's impressive physique is part of
his mythology. His character really hams it up, so when he is
defeated, it's all the sweeter. The infamous finger point and
are next" must have been that threatening feeling
"Techo Viking" was going for (@
1:01—bet he's an Action Movie Freak). Yeah, it doesn't get much more
bad ass than that.
It has an usual Chase Scene that
was lots of fun. Forest Whitaker
was great in it too.
Rocky V (16 Nov 1990)
I remember thinking: at last, a movie where Jean Claude Van Damme's
accent fits in, as he is a Legionnaire (French Foreign Legion). It's
Jean Claude doing what he does best kicking the shit out of someone.
He really takes a beating in the last fight but the he turns it
around and gives it back just as bad. This movie tugs at the
heartstrings and JCVD is a sentimental hero to his dead brother's
little girl. He was 30 at the time and in the best shape of his life
(although he's been in the best shape of his life his whole life).
They put him up against an assortment of fighters but they are not
match for him. JCVD fans will always enjoy re-watching this one.
A masterpiece, brilliantly written, acted, and directed. Also
not "Action" but we don't care!
Yes, these men are Soldiers, but I put this movie here under
Fight rather than
Super Soldier because there's a mix of men and
it's not so much about who they are as what they do. This movie is a
bridge between Conan The Barbarian and 300. After
Conan we wanted more warriors but we really didn't get satisfaction
until this movie, then 300 took it to another level. This movie is
always enjoyable for the fight scenes.
A kind of simple movie with a nice payoff. They introduce the
players. Peter "Columbo" Falk steals the show (of course) and
have a timeline (but it seems irrelevant). It's the story of 2
heavyweight fighters—one incarcerated and the other there
temporarily (he gets out). They give their back stories which
makes you root for the less-bad guy. The movie has some enjoyable
Action Movie Quotes like:
"Give Hitler's cousin his lunch."
"One round, Motherfucker."
"He's a full
"Champion Heavyweight, or any other kind they got."
"This is the fight for what's right. This is the brawl for it all.
This fight ain't about money, this is their heavyweight champion,
against our heavyweight champion. This fight is for respect.
And if I knew I had to go to jail to see a fight like this, I'd have
did a crime long time ago."
Wesley's first match shows him
delivering some missiles. The punches look really hard until
we see George "Iceman" Chambers. Ving Rhames play
Chambers like a real cocky asshole. You can't wait for
Wesley's charcter "Monroe Hutchen" to shut him up.
They mention the fight will be no gloves, no rounds, no referee like
London Prize Ring rules but
then they change the particulars. It has gloves, rounds, and a ref.
Of course, Wesley had to take a beating first so the comeback would
be more satisfying. Despite the fact that the movie's predictable,
that makes it enjoyable. The fight between them looks real most of
the the time. Sometimes the ducking seems obvious or the punching
held back. Other times, it seems Ving is really landing blows on
Wesley's head. Getting hit hard like that in the head several times
must make your head feel like a hornet's nest.
This closing quote sums the movie up:
"Two guys fighting to the
finish, but just one guy wins because he's the better man, and
that's what the god damned sport is about."
Rocky Balboa (20
Sylvester Stallone knows what Rocky fans wanted. This movie was the
only way it could end. It was heartfelt and meaningful. If there is
one thing Rocky was all about, it was heart. He embodied what
it means to be a fighter. "[I]t ain't about how hard ya hit. It's
about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward." The
theme song never fails to inspire. There's no question that Rocky
fans would go see Rocky XV or XX. Such great movies with great life
lessons and values. It's about what it means to be who you are, and
doing what it takes to be a Champion.
Last Man Standing (28
Back Down (14
and Bone (20
Michael Jai White tour de force
with a small but memorable performance by
Gina Carano. Michael Jai White
is so impressive you have that "is he real" feeling?!
This movie is fun and worth watching again and
again. When you watch, you can't help but wonder, how is
Michael Jai White not a huge star like
Sylvester Stallone or
Tom Cruise. He's so talented,
good looking, and capable! The movie also stars Julian Sands (whom I like)
and Kimbo Slice. Here's a great video where Michael
explains "telegraphing" to Kimbo.
TELEGRAPHING WITH KIMBO SLICE
Merantau (January 2010)
This movie is so compelling that it is a great movie, period. A
great movie! Movies that make you feel better about being alive
are already impressive, but when you see
Iko Uwais' SIlat fighting
skills, you know a star is born. There is still a bit of the
boy in him around the edges, by the time we see him in The Raid 2,
he's all grown up and is even better at fighting. Something you
wouldn't have thought possible after watching him in Merantau.
I recommend this movie as highly as I possibly can.
As great as the
movie and Iko are, hats off to Mads Koudal who played the bad
guy, for holding his own, stealing the show, and making us hate him.
The Karate Kid (11
Twenty six years apart, the Karate Kid movies are responsible for
millions of kids wanting to learn how to fight, learn self defense. It's
all about identifying with the
underdog and rooting for him to be triumphant. You can't beat that
formula. We can all relate to wanting to be better, self-reliant, a
winner. If only we had Jackie Chan to teach us how.
This time around it's Kung Fu. They should
have just called it The Kung Fun Kid
because there's no karate in
it. Audiences would have understood. We're not that
"Everything is kung fu."
This movie is about fighting but I think we enjoy the Buddy
relationship most, so I put it under
Buddy Movies, too. It's more
about their camaraderie and how their friendship grows. By the end
of the movie, you care about them, and the fact that they are
fighters is only important as what they went through together.
It's a Bromance in the best way, and you just want to see what
adventure the two of them would have next (except we can't because
one of them has a family to go home to). If you've never seen this,
what are you waiting for? I highly recommend it for all the
things you hope an Action Movie will be. It satisfies.
The fight scenes just keep on coming. So many talented
players. By the time you get to
Scott Adkins vs.
Marko Zaror, it's all gravy! If
this shot below isn't all you need to make you want to watch, you
are not an Action Movie Freak. It's okay, maybe you will be after
Back Down 2: The Beatdown
This was Michael Jai White's directorial debut. I got to see
ActionFest 2011 as
Michael Jai White nervously
presented it as a "little rough" and that he was still tweaking it.
I think he was being modest as it seemed professional and no flaws
were obvious. It's enjoyable for the fight scenes. A bit too much
sex for me, but guys won't complain about that. Michael Jai White is
as impressive as ever and schools (literally and figuratively) some
younger men who are more than impressive themselves. I think
anyone who doesn't like the movie is being unnecessarily harsh.
Larnell Stovall is the fight choreographer and the fight scenes
deliver! It's a little like a Fast and Furious movie, set in a
gym and a club. If that appeals to you, you'll like it. Someone
(9 Sept 2011)
Insert blurb . . .
The Raid: Redemption
aka The Raid (13 April 2012)
This movie changed Fight Movies forever. We didn't think anything
could top the final scene until The Raid 2. The Raid: Redemption had
so much hype, but then the Action shut everyone up. It's
carnage! A bone-breaking, blood-letting, boom-shaka-laka throwdown
to grimace at and groan in appreciation. Just what every
Action Movie Freak craves . . . Iko Uwais is incredible in this,
over and over again as he goes through a seemingly never ending
procession of enemies to fight. And then there's "Mad Dog". Hooray
for the little guy. Nothing little about the fighting power of
Yayan Ruhian. He takes on two people and holds his own. It's
exhausting just watching it! To see it is to love it.
You have to see it. No question: an Action Movie Classic!
Kudos to Director/Action
Choreographer Gareth Evans, and everyone involved: Stunt
Eka 'Piranha' Rahmadia,
Esa W. Sie, and
Yandi 'Piranha' Sutsina, and
Rama Ramadhan, Action
Choreographers Yayan Ruhian and Iko Uwais.
(27 Nov 2013)
story of Homefront is painted
in broad strokes, and the
Action stands out in bold color. It delivers the fight
scenes you are hoping for, and
by that I mean
beats the shit out of everybody.
Jason Statham's character and
his daughter have to defend
themselves against is a
family of set-in-their-ways,
backwater, drug-addled white
trash, with a biker gang bent on
in. Sure, there are cliches but, like I
said, broad strokes; it gets you
The bad guys
here are way out of their depth. We have Moron #1 and Moron #2, #3, 4, and 5, etc.
That's what we came for. To see
Jason Statham shut everybody
Read more . . .
The Raid 2
aka The Raid 2: Berandal (11 April 2014)
The Greatest Action Movie . . . ever?! And then some.
In every way the Action is
sick. So many
fight scenes. They do the close quarters fight, myriad weapons, a
hallway axe fight, and the many-against-one so
well that it brought me back to the old TV Show The Wild Wild
West and Jim West (the king of kicking multiple ass). There is NO WAY you will be
disappointed. You will want to see it again ASAP. You might be thinking there won't be (can't be) a better fight than the
knock-down, drag-out match in the first movie. You'd be wrong.
The bar is set so high . . . funny I thought that with Merantau, and
then with The Raid: Redemption, and now what's left? I think they
should dub it and it will sell like hotcakes. It will sell anyway
but Action Movies should be dubbed. They are not 'films'. How
about some trash talking next time? :D So good the audience
claps in appreciation of the violence. That's how you know who the
Action Movie Freaks are! ;)
(19 March 2019)
Triple Threat made Action Movie history—so many great action
stars it felt like "Avengers assemble!" Admit it, when you first saw
this image, you thought these were the 'good guys'. Loved that they
MUST-OWN Action Movie, it delivered on
you want in an Action Movie. It would really drive home
the non-stop Action if I listed all the fights except I
didn't think of that until right now. But seriously, non-stop to
the point where it's almost exhausting to watch, and it moves
fast! First, there's
Tony Jaa, which sets the tone for all the epic shit
that's about to go down. Then Iko Uwais fights Tiger
Chen. Man, is Tiger Chen fluid. The whole time,
you're kind of pinching yourself that you get to watch these
amazingly talented people fight for your entertainment all in
one movie. The fight choreography (by
Tim Man) is nearly flawlessly executed. The speed looks
real and the hits look real and painful. What I particularly
enjoyed is anytime one of the Triple Threat fought a villain
because there's a mismatch on their physicality. This made me
wonder if the speed you lose being bigger is worth it because
when you connect it's harder or if it's better to be smaller and
faster, then you can get more hits in and get out of the way
Don't even imagine the movie starts out slow. They literally
blow shit up, and before long
the Killcount is HIGH! The guy in the seat next to me (I
was pleased that the theater was filled) said, at one point
"'U' chained up and shit!" If they call Iko Uwais "U"
that's awesome. I had never heard that before. Anytime I was
thinking the plot was a little thin, they brought us back in
with a twist to make it solid again. I like that they told the
story the way they wanted to (not in service to the audience).
Even though he is the main character, "U" isn't presented as the
star of this movie—everybody shines. (I was writing
furiously which makes my handwriting bad, so I may not have
gotten this dialogue 100% right, but as comic relief, it was
COLLINS Who are these guys?
COLLINS Yeah, from the Village of
Fucking Ninja Warrior Land.
It's so enjoyable to see the three get under the skin of the bad
guys. They break a lot of desks in this movie. LOL And the gun
play is out of hand! Not even counting all the intro fights, you
get to see
Michael Jai White versus
Tony Jaa, Michael Bisping
versus Tiger Chen, then Iko and Tony versus Scott.
Gnarly Kills enough to make the audience groan and laugh
out loud. Love that. Tony Jaa does one kind of
corkscrew/windmill move that is an I-can't-believe-my-eyes moment;
Marko Zaror's signature move.
was too busy enjoying the hell out of the movie to take as many
notes as I usually do, but there are some things said in the
post-credits scenes that were great and I wanted to share. A
ringing endorsement from Michael Jai White was that it was the most epic
Martial Arts Action Movie
Deadly Venoms. No lie! Scott Adkins
fanboyed over Tony Jaa and said he is the best martial artist in the
world, and praised his speed and power. Seeing that was
worth the ticket price alone. I had to laugh when Scott said
"It's supposed to be painful if you're doing it right."
While there are tons of weapons in this movie, Iko's character
Jaka wants to kill the bad guys with his bare hands. LOVE that.
Seriously, anyone can fire a gun, but if someone's really worth
killing, don't you want to beat the crap out of them first?
Besides the incredible fights, there were lots of funny moments,
and seeing the three stars (from China, Thailand, and Indonesia)
speak English made them seem like the big Action stars they
should be in the States. Would have loved to see the movie again
in a theater. Wish it wasn't a limited release.
The Action Elite called it "A near perfect blend of
fistfights and firepower."
And Action Movie Stars
. . .