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16 Action Films You Need To Watch Before You Die

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Thrills, spills, chills, and kills: this is why we go to the movies, to see big, amazing, improbable and/or impossible stuff happen on the big screen. It gets the blood pumping to see impressive feats of stunt work and death defiance—which is why tons of action movies come out every year. While many are certainly satisfying, only a few contain that elusive combination of a great story, unforgettable characters, and the unmatched technical mastery necessary to transcend genre thrills and achieve great cinema. Here are Looper's picks for the best action movies ever made…
Die Hard | 0:31
The Dark Knight | 1:18
The French Connection | 1:52
The Bourne Identity | 2:23
Raiders of the Lost Ark | 2:57
RoboCop | 3:29
The Matrix | 4:06
Speed | 4:36
Terminator 2: Judgment Day | 5:22
Bullitt | 6:01
Mad Max: Fury Road | 6:41
Gladiator | 7:22
Jurassic Park | 8:00
Lethal Weapon | 8:40
The Avengers | 9:15
Kill Bill | 9:59
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Thrills, spills, chills, and kills: this iswhy we go to the movies, to see big, amazing, improbable and/or impossible stuff happenon the big screen. It gets the blood pumping to see impressivefeats of stunt work and death defiance—which is why tons of action movies come out everyyear. While many are certainly satisfying, onlya few contain that elusive combination of a great story, unforgettable characters, andthe unmatched technical mastery necessary to transcend genre thrills and achieve greatcinema. Here are Looper's picks for the best actionmovies ever made. Die Hard Part of the reason 1988's Die Hard works sowell is its cinematic context..

Action movies at the time all tended to featurestoic dudes with huge muscles laying waste with boulder-sized fists and machine guns,never doubting their utter alpha maleness and barely cracking a smile. Contrast that with Die Hard, in which BruceWillis is a relatively normal-sized, normal looking guy who cracks wise and expressesfear and self-doubt as he almost single-handedly beats back terrorists to literally save Christmas. Die Hard also gave us a breakout performancefrom the beloved Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber, one of the all-time great movie villains … "Efficient, adult, cooperative — not a lotto ask. Alas, your Mr. Takagi did not see it thatway, so he won't be joining us for the rest.

Of his life." The Dark Knight Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogyis really more like one long movie, but the middle part is definitely the best chapter,showing the result of Bruce Wayne's training in Batman Begins, and the start of what willplay out in The Dark Knight Rises. 2008's The Dark Knight is arguably the best-madesuperhero movie of all time, with a tone that reflects the character and shows utter faithfulnessto the comics it's based on … "What would I do without you? Go back to ripping off mob dealers? No, no, no, no..

No, you...You — you complete me." The French Connection Gene Hackman's tough guy cop Jimmy "Popeye"Doyle just never stops running. Or driving. Or roughing up criminals in the pursuit ofjustice, even if he has to don a Santa suit while doing so … "All winter long I gotta listen to him gripeabout his bowling scores. Now I'm gonna bust your ass for those threebags and I'm going to nail you for picking your feet in Poughkeepsie!" Despite being so frenetic, so tough, so new,and so very violent, 1971's The French Connection.

Won Best Picture at the Academy Awards — thefirst R-rated flick ever to do so. The Bourne Identity In 2002, as the James Bond franchise was slumpingits way through an era of stale, lazily delivered clichés, The Bourne Identity hit theaters— a refreshingly modern, wholly American spy movie that reflected a more modern environmentof geopolitics. Matt Damon's ultra-trained super warrior doesn'tknow who he is…but he's definitely aware of his own incredible fighting abilities. Thanks to the paranoid, shaky camerawork andurgent pace, the audience rarely knows more than Jason Bourne does, and as a result theynever quite get to take a breath, either. Raiders of the Lost Ark.

It's supposed to be an homage to the action-adventureserials that director Steven Spielberg and producer George Lucas grew up watching inthe 1950s. But the thing is, those often weren't verygood movies—1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark, however, completely overshadows its sourcematerial and is nearly a perfect film. Every scene is crowd-pleasing, particularlythe iconic action sequences … Raiders is pure fun, beginning to end. RoboCop 1987's RoboCop is a violent, action-packed,futuristic cop movie…or is it a violent, action-packed, futuristic cop movie that satirizesviolent, action-packed movies from the '80s? "You have the right to remain silent.".

"F--- you!" Like any good work of satire, it works onboth levels. RoboCop has a lot to say about the value ofhuman life in the crime-ridden future world of New Detroit. After all, it's about a cop struck down bysome pretty intense violence…and then resurrected as a cyborg designed to execute as many criminalsas humanly possible. The Matrix A college-level philosophy class was neverso eye-popping. 1999's The Matrix kind of blew everybody'sminds with its central conceit: that there's no point to human life beyond their bodiesbeing bags of energy..

Neo gets to decide if he's cool with that,or if he wants to try to exist on a higher plane with his own free will. Pretty heady stuff for the multiplex, butThe Matrix features a lot of bells and whistles, such as the insane fight between Neo and AgentSmith, and that innovative "bullet time" effect, which seemed to bend time itself. Speed By the mid-'90s, action movies were dyingunder their own weight: huge budgets meant lots of explosions but not a lot of depthor character. Then came 1994's Speed, an all-killer-no-fillerthrill ride couched in a simple premise: If a Los Angeles city bus slows to under 50 milesper hour, a bomb planted on board explodes..

It breaks with form to make for lots of surprises,and the plot necessitates absolutely non-stop action. "We just got a ransom demand from your deadterrorist. Says he's rigged a city bus. Where's Jack?" "Where do you think?" "I gotta get on that bus." "You gotta get on … Yeah. Yeah! You get on the bus.".

But there's also a lot of humanity in Speed:Everyday people from many different walks of life are thrust together onto the citybus, and they come together as a team to rise up and meet the challenge. Terminator 2: Judgment Day The original Terminator from 1984 is prettyfantastic in its own right—dark, gritty, weird, and menacing, all with a charming,low-budget air. The 1992 follow-up Terminator 2 was one ofthe most expensive movies of all time—but the money is all up there on the screen. Especially well executed is the iconic motorcyclesvs. semi-truck chase scene … And every time a puddle of liquid metal reshapeditself into that evil Terminator?.

Still cool, and still looking state of theart after more than 25 years. Bullitt Steve McQueen was one of the first actionstars, and a pioneer of the form. He even did as many of his own stunts as filmstudios would let him—for example, he did some of the driving for the landmark, on-locationcar chase scene in 1968's Bullitt. The plot is loaded with twists and intrigue,and it all culminates as Lt. Frank Bullitt chases the bad guys in their 1968 Dodge Chargerthrough the very real, very hilly streets of San Francisco. No standard issue police cruiser for Bullitt—he'sgot a sweet 1968 Ford Mustang GT. The high-speed pursuit ends in the best possibleway:.

Mad Max: Fury Road Reboots generally don't work—and even ifthey do, they're still doomed to pale in comparison to the original thing. Not so with Mad Max: Fury Road, which expandsand improves on the Mad Max universe with a nonstop ride through the familiar, harrowing,post-apocalyptic wasteland on modified cars piloted by crazed, survival-driven nomadicwarriors. Mad Max creator George Miller returned todirect Fury Road, and his 35-plus years of experience as a filmmaker are up there onthe screen with an action movie that's both endlessly thrilling and emotionally compelling. Plus there's a character called "Doof Warrior"who plays a fire-spewing electric guitar,.

If you're still not convinced. Gladiator "Swords and sandals" movies hadn't been popularfor decades when director Ridley Scott and star Russell Crowe brought them back in abig way with 2000's Gladiator. The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture,and Crowe won Best Actor for his performance as Roman general-turned-slave Maximus ... "Father to a murdered son, husband to a murderedwife. And I will have my vengeance." Against a classical Roman backdrop, audiencesroot for Maximus's quest to avenge the misdeeds of the evil emperor, win his freedom, andsurvive the brutal arena — and Scott stages.

Some of the most thrilling action sequencesever put to film. Jurassic Park The original Jurassic Park was a revelationin 1993, popularizing a subgenre known as the "techno-thriller." Pioneered by author Michael Crichton, thesefables inevitably involve technology run amok to the shock and horror of the humans thatcreated it. "Before you even knew what you had, you patentedit, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunch box, and now (*pounds table*) you'reselling it." But of course, that's all a lot of fun towatch, especially when the technology is realistic dinosaurs hunting humans under a majestic,unforgettable score by John Williams, all.

Brought to life with masterful direction bySteven Spielberg. Add it all up, and you've got a modern masterpieceof popcorn cinema. Lethal Weapon Detectives Riggs and Murtaugh are mismatchedcops — one a loose cannon who doesn't play by the rules, and the other a by-the-booksguy who is ... "I'm too old for this s---." 1987's Lethal Weapon makes this formula workbecause the chemistry between Mel Gibson and Danny Glover is so charming. That, and the plot—largely couched in darkcomedy—never goes where the audience thinks it will..

"You wanna see crazy? I'll tell ya." "Now that's a real badge, I'm a real cop,and this is a real f------ gun." Even thirty years later, this s--- never getsold. The Avengers The superhero genre really got going whenMarvel Studios started laying the groundwork for its vast cinematic universe, setting thestage for arguably the single greatest superhero team-up possible. For the Avengers' long-awaited big-screendebut, Marvel hired a director who really understood comic books—Joss Whedon—andassembled a cast of acclaimed actors who really.

Understood how to deliver Whedon's witty dialogue... "Alright, yay. Alright, good job, guys. Let's just not come in tomorrow. Let's just take a day." No expense was spared making a movie thatwas limitless in terms of superpowers, earth-shattering fights, things from space—like a comic bookcome to life. The Avengers is now the standard by whichall other big, fun superhero movies are judged. Kill Bill Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill is an epic taleof revenge, centered on a hero of near-superhuman.

Abilities and unrelenting focus, but withenough vulnerabilities and human motivation to make audiences root for her. Uma Thurman's Bride goes on a quest to locateand murder every member of the squad that left her for dead years earlier—and findthe baby she was pregnant with at the time of the attack. The trail ultimately leads to the gang's leader,and her baby's father, David Carradine's Bill, but along the way, the Bride must subdue eachof her enemies in insanely choreographed fight sequences, any number of which would be thecenterpiece of any semi-decent action movie. Thanks for watching! Click the Looper icon to subscribe to ourYouTube channel..

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