Action and adventure movies are perhaps the most popular to be watched on the big screen. So what is it exactly that makes a great action adventure movie? To a large extent the genre is defined (and redefined) by the movies themselves – the ones that are remembered the longest and most highly esteemed by movie-goers.
My selection below includes hoodpay movies as varied as pirate adventure and science fiction yet they all fall into the action adventure genre, and are in my opinion, some of the best movies ever made. Essential ingredients include a great story or at least one that can move along at a good pace. Add to this a hero we can identify with. If our hero is slightly disadvantaged in some way, by a character flaw or overwhelming odds, then even better.
For an action adventure movie to be truly memorable we have to share our hero’s experience as they face dangers and circumstances we never will (and probably wouldn’t want to). In reverse order here are my top ten…
10. The Long Kiss Goodnight
Samantha Caine, a happily married suburban Mom can’t remember anything before the birth of her daughter eight years ago. One night during a car accident she receives a blow to the head and redribbonlive her past slowly begins to come back to her. But it’s a race against time when a former enemy sees her on television and breaks out of jail to take revenge for stabbing him in the eye. This is a terrific action adventure movie, which never quite got the credit it deserved.
9. The Fugitive
Respected surgeon Dr. Richard Kimble is falsely accused and convicted of the brutal murder of his wife. A failed escape by other prisoners gives Kimble an opportunity to escape. Pursued by the relentless US Marshal, Samuel Gerard, Kimble’s only hope is to find those responsible for the murder of his wife. Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones make this one fantastic manhunt movie.
Discovered half a century later drifting through space in an escape shuttle – Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley is the lone survivor of the mining ship Nostromo. With no witnesses and no one to believe her story she is stripped of her flight officer’s license. She finds out that since her ordeal a human colony has been founded on the planet were the alien was first encountered and that all contact ristomanager has been lost. Recruited as advisor she joins a team of marines to return to the planet to face what turns into a living nightmare. Where Alien was scary because you hardly saw it, Aliens is scary because they are everywhere.
7. Star Wars: A New Hope
I saw Star Wars at the age of 10, after a long wait with my Mom outside the cinema. Even then I new I had seen something important – I just didn’t realize then that it was one of the greatest action and adventure movies of all time.
The Flash Gordon style text rolls back into the darkness of space, a gigantic Imperial space ship screeches past nearly filling the entire movie screen. Its prey… a hopelessly out-gunned MATRIX CRACK spaceship – on board… Princess Leia Organa (a member of the Imperial Senate) and two droids: R2-D2 and C3PO. Inside the R2-D2 droid are copies of the plans to the Death Star, a weapon of unspeakable power. Between these three and a handful of others the fate of the free universe hangs.
6. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
This movie managed to restore the pirate adventure to main stream cinema long after it had gone out of vogue but only just! Imagine for a moment the same film without Johny Depp and Geoffrey Rush – not quite the same is it?
Captain Jack Sparrow and Will Turner are brought together in an unlikely partnership and must face a band of cursed pirates led by the treacherous Captain Barbossa. Both have different goals: – for Will it is to rescue the love of his life Elizabeth Swann and for Jack to recover the Black Pearl.
5. Raiders of the Lost Ark
After outrunning a massive boulder we see our hero surviving a snake pit, escaping elaborate booby traps, and taking on evil Nazis in pursuit of the Ark of the Covenant. Against all odds Indiana Jones will stop at nothing to attain the prize. With more action than you could crack a bullwhip at, this film, with the help of Harrison Ford, redefined what an action adventure movie could be.
4. Terminator II: Judgment Day
Arnold IS back! Not to terminate Sarah Connor but to protect her son. In the sequel to The Terminator, two robots from the future are sent back in time – one to kill John Connor (the future leader of the human resistance against the machines) the other to protect him. Our now “nice guy” Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) well and truly meets his match in the form of the T-1000, an advanced prototype liquid metal terminator which can imitate anything of similar size that it comes into physical contact with. Some shaky stop-frame animation in the first film is replaced with some cutting edge special effects in this one.
3. The Matrix
This is the movie that raised the bar in cinema in terms of fight scenes and special effects. The makers of The Matrix invented completely new ways to use the camera (cameras even) creating something called “bullet time” which revolutionized the action sequence.
Mild mannered programmer by day – hacker by night, Thomas Anderson has always questioned his reality. His search for a legendary hacker named Morpheus attracts sinister attention from “government” agents. Thomas Anderson is about to have his question answered and find out the true nature of The Matrix.
Born to a mother dying from a vampire attack, Blade is the “day walker” – man with all the strengths of a vampire but none of their weaknesses. Blades’ mission is to hunt down the vampire as revenge for the death of his mother. This movie is a rollercoaster ride from beginning to end with some of the most spectacular sword-fighting scenes to be seen on the big screen.
1. The Bourne Identity
Found floating, half dead in the sea by the crew of an Italian fishing boat, Jason Bourne has nothing, not even his memory. The only clue to his identity is the Swiss bank account number embedded in his hip. In Zurich the discovery of passports, cash and a handgun in a safe-deposit box set alarm bells ringing, not only for Jason, but for those that want him dead.