Cinema’s Top Five: Action Films

By Justin Meinken, Staff Writer

#5: Die Hard, the original trilogy

Director: John McTiernan and Renny Harlin

Most 1980’s action films focused on being high energy and high budgeted films to the point of becoming so over the top that they became almost comical. Die Hard and the following two sequels take a different approach by maintaining a serious tone and creating realistic situations that few action films can match. Bruce Willis stars as John McClane, a charismatic New York City police officer who always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Over the course of the trilogy, John has to face everything from common thugs, to highly organized criminal mercenaries. Though the action sequences are impressive and sometimes lengthy, they never take away from the iconic characters in the series.

#4: Inception

Director: Christopher Nolan

Easily the most complex film on this list, Inception focuses on a man named Dominic Cobb played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Cobb is a highly skilled Extractor (people who can steal information directly from a person’s mind) and Cobb is even able to perform the near impossible task of creating Inception within his desired targets. Inception is the process of implanting a new idea in someone else’s mind and allowing that idea to grow to the point of defining that person. When these skills put Cobb’s future in jeopardy, he reassembles his team for one last job to clear his name. However, it turns out to be the most difficult task the team has ever undertaken. This sci-fi thriller mixes with stunning action to produce a film so rich with content that it will take multiple viewings to truly appreciate it.

#3: Mad Max: Fury Road

Director: George Miller

George Miller returns to the Mad Max series to direct one of the greatest Hollywood sequels ever made. Set in the post-apocalyptic wastelands of the Australian deserts, Max (played by Tom Hardy) must team up with his new found ally, Furiosa (played by Charlize Theron) as they cross the desert to free several women slaves. Hundreds of ever-growing threats await them in the wastelands and hope becomes a bleak memory. In addition to winning six Academy Awards and receiving a Best Picture nomination, Mad Max: Fury Road boasts the best stunt work of any film to date.

#2: The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Director: James Cameron

Arguably James Cameron’s best films, The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day are two of the greatest action movies of all time. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays his most infamous role as the Terminator, a robotic assassin created by the advanced defense program called Skynet. After Skynet brings humanity to the brink of extinction, Terminators are sent back in time to destroy the human rebellion before it has a chance to begin. Though computer animation is present in the films, the animation is only used in a few select scenes. The majority of the scenes utilize frighteningly realistic animatronics to create two films that are breathtaking in every sense of the word.

#1: The Indiana Jones Trilogy

Director: Stephen King

The original Indiana Jones films are not only regarded by many critiques as the greatest action films ever made, but many critiques have placed the series on their top one hundred films of all time. The series follows famous archaeologist, Indiana Jones (played by Harrison Ford) as he travels the world in pursuit of legendary artifacts like the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail. Indiana Jones encounters a massive array of foes and comes face to face with the supernatural on his journey. With the iconic score by John Williams, amazing set designs, action sequences that have to be seen to be believed, a great story and excellent characters, these form the backbone of one of the greatest film series of all time.