Actually Good Action Movies

by hypervodka | created - 18 Jun 2012 | updated - 18 Jun 2012 | Public

I am into painfully indie romances and British period dramas. So, when I actually like an action movie, it means something.

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1. Die Hard (1988)

R | 132 min | Action, Thriller

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
70 Metascore

John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save his wife Holly Gennaro and several others that were taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

Director: John McTiernan | Stars: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson

Votes: 655,249 | Gross: $83.01M

Features stellar performances by all of the principal cast (most notably, Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman), as well as some of the most engrossing fight choreography I've ever seen. The film is, at times, clever--Bruce Willis is the rightful king of the throwaway one-liner--and executes its straightforward premise (terrorist plot yada yada yada) brilliantly and (and this part is hard to do in an action film) surprisingly.

2. The Dark Knight (2008)

PG-13 | 152 min | Action, Crime, Drama

9.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9/10 X  
82 Metascore

When the menace known as the Joker emerges from his mysterious past, he wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, the Dark Knight must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine

Votes: 1,863,432 | Gross: $534.86M

Impressive performances. Impressive writing. Impressive plot. Impressive costuming and art direction. (I am impressed.) The best superhero film ever made, and you can quote me on that.

3. Aliens (1986)

R | 137 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
86 Metascore

57 years later, Ellen Ripley is rescued by a deep salvage team during her hypersleep. The moon from the original movie has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, colonial marines have impressive firepower, but will that be enough?

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn, Paul Reiser

Votes: 547,262 | Gross: $85.16M

Legitimately terrifying.

4. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

PG-13 | 178 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

8.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
92 Metascore

A meek Hobbit from the Shire and eight companions set out on a journey to destroy the powerful One Ring and save Middle Earth from the Dark Lord Sauron.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean

Votes: 1,369,041 | Gross: $315.54M

5. The Matrix (1999)

R | 136 min | Action, Sci-Fi

8.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
73 Metascore

A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.

Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving

Votes: 1,357,965 | Gross: $171.48M

6. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)

R | 111 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
69 Metascore

The Bride wakens from a four-year coma. The child she carried in her womb is gone. Now she must wreak vengeance on the team of assassins who betrayed her - a team she was once part of.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen

Votes: 818,322 | Gross: $70.10M

7. The Avengers (2012)

PG-13 | 143 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
69 Metascore

Earth's mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are going to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity.

Director: Joss Whedon | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner

Votes: 1,075,878 | Gross: $623.36M

8. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

PG-13 | 112 min | Action, Comedy, Romance

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
69 Metascore

Scott Pilgrim must defeat his new girlfriend's seven evil exes in order to win her heart.

Director: Edgar Wright | Stars: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Alison Pill

Votes: 306,040 | Gross: $31.49M

9. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)

PG-13 | 132 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
73 Metascore

The IMF is shut down when it's implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, causing Ethan Hunt and his new team to go rogue to clear their organization's name.

Director: Brad Bird | Stars: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton

Votes: 391,873 | Gross: $209.40M

10. 21 Jump Street (2012)

R | 109 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
69 Metascore

A pair of underachieving cops are sent back to a local high school to blend in and bring down a synthetic drug ring.

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller | Stars: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Brie Larson

Votes: 446,371 | Gross: $138.45M

This film does what it can with a shaky premise (Tatum and Hill as high schoolers? really?), and delivers well on both the action and the comedy. It is cleverly done, if only because it does what the original TV show should have: it doesn't take itself seriously. Well-performed by its cast, though some actors struggled under painfully unfunny or unclever lines.

11. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

R | 169 min | Drama, War

8.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
90 Metascore

Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns

Votes: 993,390 | Gross: $216.54M

12. Batman Begins (2005)

PG-13 | 140 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
70 Metascore

After training with his mentor, Batman begins his fight to free crime-ridden Gotham City from the corruption that Scarecrow and the League of Shadows have cast upon it.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Ken Watanabe, Liam Neeson

Votes: 1,089,329 | Gross: $206.85M

13. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

PG-13 | 105 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
68 Metascore

A substance designed to help the brain repair itself gives rise to a super-intelligent chimpanzee who leads an ape uprising.

Director: Rupert Wyatt | Stars: James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto, Karin Konoval

Votes: 445,717 | Gross: $176.76M

14. Taken (I) (2008)

PG-13 | 93 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
50 Metascore

A retired CIA agent travels across Europe and relies on his old skills to save his estranged daughter, who has been kidnapped while on a trip to Paris.

Director: Pierre Morel | Stars: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Leland Orser

Votes: 513,389 | Gross: $145.00M

15. Yip Man (2008)

R | 106 min | Action, Biography, Drama

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
59 Metascore

During the Japanese invasion of 1937, when a wealthy martial artist is forced to leave his home and work to support his family, he reluctantly agrees to train others in the art of Wing Chun for self-defense.

Director: Wilson Yip | Stars: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Siu-Wong Fan, Ka Tung Lam

Votes: 186,139

16. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

PG-13 | 201 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

8.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
94 Metascore

Gandalf and Aragorn lead the World of Men against Sauron's army to draw his gaze from Frodo and Sam as they approach Mount Doom with the One Ring.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom

Votes: 1,348,846 | Gross: $377.85M

17. Zombieland (2009)

R | 88 min | Adventure, Comedy, Horror

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
73 Metascore

A shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, a gun-toting tough guy trying to find the last Twinkie, and a pair of sisters trying to get to an amusement park join forces to travel across a zombie-filled America.

Director: Ruben Fleischer | Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin

Votes: 423,816 | Gross: $75.59M

18. Iron Man (2008)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
79 Metascore

After being held captive in an Afghan cave, billionaire engineer Tony Stark creates a unique weaponized suit of armor to fight evil.

Director: Jon Favreau | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges

Votes: 765,230 | Gross: $318.41M

19. Braveheart (1995)

R | 178 min | Biography, Drama, History

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
68 Metascore

When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, Sir William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England.

Director: Mel Gibson | Stars: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Angus Macfadyen

Votes: 817,624 | Gross: $75.60M

20. 300 (2006)

R | 117 min | Action, Fantasy

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
52 Metascore

King Leonidas of Sparta and a force of 300 men fight the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 B.C.

Director: Zack Snyder | Stars: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Dominic West

Votes: 654,225 | Gross: $210.61M

21. Predator (1987)

R | 107 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
42 Metascore

A team of commandos on a mission in a Central American jungle find themselves hunted by an extraterrestrial warrior.

Director: John McTiernan | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Kevin Peter Hall, Elpidia Carrillo

Votes: 316,437 | Gross: $59.74M

22. Terminator 2 (1991)

R | 137 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
75 Metascore

A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her ten year old son, John Connor, from a more advanced cyborg.

Director: James Cameron | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick

Votes: 824,012 | Gross: $204.84M

23. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

PG | 115 min | Action, Adventure

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
85 Metascore

Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies

Votes: 732,680 | Gross: $248.16M

24. Serenity (2005)

PG-13 | 119 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
74 Metascore

The crew of the ship Serenity try to evade an assassin sent to recapture one of their members who is telepathic.

Director: Joss Whedon | Stars: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alan Tudyk

Votes: 256,825 | Gross: $25.51M

25. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

PG-13 | 115 min | Action, Mystery, Thriller

8.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
85 Metascore

Jason Bourne dodges a ruthless CIA official and his agents from a new assassination program while searching for the origins of his life as a trained killer.

Director: Paul Greengrass | Stars: Matt Damon, Edgar Ramírez, Joan Allen, Julia Stiles

Votes: 543,161 | Gross: $227.47M

26. Jûsan-nin no shikaku (2010)

R | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
84 Metascore

A group of assassins come together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord.

Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Kôji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, Yûsuke Iseya, Ikki Sawamura

Votes: 54,793 | Gross: $0.80M

27. Chocolate (2008)

R | 110 min | Action, Drama

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An autistic girl with powerful martial art skills looks to settle her ailing mother's debts by seeking out the ruthless gangs that owe her family money.

Director: Prachya Pinkaew | Stars: JeeJa Yanin, Hiroshi Abe, Pongpat Wachirabunjong, Taphon Phopwandee

Votes: 15,889 | Gross: $0.01M

28. Pineapple Express (2008)

R | 111 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
64 Metascore

A process server and his marijuana dealer wind up on the run from hitmen and a corrupt police officer after he witnesses his dealer's boss murder a competitor while trying to serve papers on him.

Director: David Gordon Green | Stars: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Gary Cole, Danny McBride

Votes: 275,488 | Gross: $87.34M

29. Minority Report (2002)

PG-13 | 145 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
80 Metascore

In a future where a special police unit is able to arrest murderers before they commit their crimes, an officer from that unit is himself accused of a future murder.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Max von Sydow

Votes: 435,212 | Gross: $132.07M

30. Attack the Block (2011)

R | 88 min | Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
75 Metascore

A teen gang in South London defend their block from an alien invasion.

Director: Joe Cornish | Stars: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail, Leeon Jones

Votes: 88,457 | Gross: $1.02M

31. Apocalypto (2006)

R | 139 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
68 Metascore

As the Mayan kingdom faces its decline, a young man is taken on a perilous journey to a world ruled by fear and oppression.

Director: Mel Gibson | Stars: Gerardo Taracena, Raoul Max Trujillo, Dalia Hernández, Rudy Youngblood

Votes: 254,738 | Gross: $50.87M