Renegade Staff Picks: Best Over-the-Top Action Movies

Action Movies
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Best Over-the-Top Action Movies

 

Action Movies

Commando

Caliber Winfield: This is the blueprint, the gold standard, the GOAT of over-the-top, one-man-army, 80’s action films. It’s a film that I not only never tire of watching, but seem to have more fun with each screening. Arnold plays Matrix, a former captain of a Special Forces team who’s daughter has been taken in order for him to execute a mission that only he could do.

What ensues is Arnold ripping phone booths & car seats out of their place, killing people left & right which are always punctuated by the greatest one liners of all time, and then literally taking on an army all by himself. To cap off the greatness, Arnold’s nemesis is Bennet. While Arnold himself is 6’2, 255lbs of chiseled granite, Bennet is a guy with small arms, a porno mustache and a chainmail tank-top. He’s the complete opposite of Arnold, and someone who should never stand a chance, yet makes the movie even better.

Commando contains arugably the greatest one-liner in action movie history. Arnold’s on a plane on the way to his destination, and has chaperone with him in order to make sure things go as planned. Well, Arnold kills the guy by breaking his neck, puts a hat over his face, and a blanket over his body. He then kindly asks the flight attendant to not bother his friend, because “he’s dead tired”. Unbelievably awesome.

Action Movies

Ninja: Shadow Of A Tear

Mike Luxemburg: Last year at Fantastic Fest, I covered a movie called Ninja: Shadow Of A Tear, and it was amazing. It was everything a B action movie wants. It had the corny dialogue, the slightly off cuts, the violence, the plot that doesn’t quite make sense, everything. It was a new film, but it called back to the classics of the genre. Scott Adkins is this decade’s answer to JCVD, Seagal, and Arnold. If you don’t believe me, see this movie. If you still don’t, check out dude’s work in Metal Hurlant, another B-action achievement.

Action Movies

Speed

Derek Johns: Is this film the most intelligent thing to ever hit theaters? Heck no. Despite that Speed is still incredibly fun to watch thanks to a ridiculously awesome premise, a fantastic scenery chewing performance from Dennis Hopper, and some bending of the laws of physics (I bet you didn’t know a crowded city bus could jump a 50 foot gap with no ramp). Oh and who could forget the uncredited screenwriting from Joss Whedon?

Action Movies

Flash Gordon

Ruby Le Rouge: Flash AAAAAAaahaaaaaaaAAAAH! He’s save every one of us! Flash Gordon 1980, starring Sam Jones and Melody Anderson, with an appearance by Timothy Dalton. Both action and sci-fi, this is one of may favorite B- flicks of all time. When I was little, I wanted to grow up and dress like one of Ming’s slave girls (but sadly the only women in the real world that get to dress like that are strippers and Vegas showgirls). No matter how old I get, it never losses it’s awesomeness.

Action Movies

Shoot ‘Em Up

Bethany Lewis: Shoot ‘Em Up is one of a newer genre of movies that are cheesy, over-the-top, and cliche ridden on purpose. The end result is a less campy parody, often filled with dark humor and overly gratuitous violence with higher production values and greater talent than you might expect from more serious action endeavors. Shoot ‘Em Up is one of my favorites in this genre, with a blazingly funny yet understated performance by Clive Owen as the carrot eating, philosophizing bystander who gets mixed up in a plot involving a gang lead by Paul Giamatti who are after the newborn baby Owen delivers during a shootout. Its as ridiculous as it sounds, and only gets better once Owen seeks out the help of a specialty sex worker and old flame played by Monica Bellucci to help him care for the child. Sex, violence, and outrageous action scenes reign in this awesomely funny nonstop action extravaganza.

Action Movies

They Live

Shawn S. Lealos: I came here to chew bubblegum and kick ass and I just ran out of gum. God, there is so much about this movie to love. The film is a science fiction movie where former WWE star Rowdy Roddy Piper gets a pair of sunglasses where, when he puts them on, he can see aliens that have infiltrated Earth under the disguise as humans and he has to fight to free us from their control. Then, there is that fight scene between Roddy Piper and Keith David that lasted over five minutes. To show how memorable this is, South Park actually remade the entire fight shot-for-shot in its entirety.

Action Movies

Out for Justice

Eric Norcross:  Well I don’t particularly like the term B grade, but there is one “over the top” / “low budget” movie called OUT FOR JUSTICE with Steven Seagal which is so funny. I guess if I had to choose, that would be the movie.

 

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About the Author

Shawn S. Lealos
Shawn is a film critic with over 25 years of experience in print and online media. He is a member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle and loves everything from critically acclaimed movies to B-level action flicks.
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