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Chewer's 100 Best Action Movies of the 90's

post #1 of 155
Thread Starter 

The 90's is a fascinating decade for action cinema.   While it might not have yielded as many classics as the 80's, some important milestones happened during that decade that are still felt today.   Everything from special effects to how action films are edited to how fight scenes are choreographed underwent a major transformation during this decade so I think it will be a pretty interesting list.   While one can go alot of directions with how to pick a first entry, I decided to go with a movie that in some ways ended an era in blockbuster film making while heralding a new way to make blockbusters.   I give you.....

 

1. Jurrasic Park (1993)

Jurassic_Park_poster.jpg

 

Very few movies can lay claim to changing how movies are made but this is one of them.   This is the first movie where computer effects finally came of age and became photo realistic.   James Cameron came close with T2 and his achievements in CGI should be noted but this was the movie that finally heralded the end of the practical effects age and ushered us into the modern blockbuster.   What's most amazing about the technical achievements in this film is that nearly 20 years later, very few motion pictures can hold a candle to the effects work in JP.   A staggering achievement.

 

Aside from technical issues, the action scenes are some of the best in Spielberg's career.   One of which is the T-Rex attack scene which seamlessly marries practical with CGI.   Still one of the scariest sequences Spielberg has ever put together....

 

 

One of the classics of the 90's and sadly the last hurrah of the Spielberg Golden Age.

 

What are some of your picks?

post #2 of 155

2.

the_matrix_-_poster_1__1999_.jpg

dir. The Wachowskis, 1999

 

There is no spoon.

 

In the final summer of the 20th century, the world eagerly awaited the second coming of Star Wars. In a manner unanticipated, they got it.


Edited by Art Decade - 10/9/11 at 12:13pm
post #3 of 155

OK, let's get the obvious ones out of the way...

 

3. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) d. James Cameron

 

"Come with me if you want to live."


Edited by Mister Falcon - 10/9/11 at 10:06am
post #4 of 155

#4 TRUE LIES-Director James Cameron, Starring...ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER!  True Lies is...Easilly the greatest film the...King Of The World directed.  A fantastic Action/Spy comedy, with 2 lovely leading ladies...Jamie Lee Curtis and Tia Cararre!  Arnold and Tom Arnold (Never Better), vs...EEEEEEEEEEvil Terrorists, taking orders from the Nick Furyesque Head Honcho Charlton Heston's Spencer Trilby.  Arnold taking out Art Malik's...HARRIED Terrorist, Whilist flying a...Harrier Jump Jet, as Harry Tasker giving Malik into true...ARTistic death!

post #5 of 155

5.  'Speed' (De Bont)

 

Hell of a debut for director Jan De Bont, eh?

Turned Keanu Reeves into an action star

Turned Sandra Bullock into the gal that every male wanted to sleep with.

post #6 of 155

6. Desperado

 

  Short on plot; long on gun play.

post #7 of 155

7.

images.jpg

dir. Paul Verhoeven, 1990

 

Get your ass to Mars.

 

Brutal, smart, epic in scope. Verhoeven's worthy follow-up to Robocop.

post #8 of 155

8.  'Starship Troopers' (Verhoeven)

 

Would you like to know more?

post #9 of 155

9.

goldeneye2.jpg

dir. Martin Campbell, 1995

 

Shut the door, Alec! There's a draft!

 

The Bond franchise reemerges from the dead triumphant after spending half a decade teetering on the brink of collapse & cultural irrelevancy. 

post #10 of 155

10.  Face/Off  (1997)   dir. John Woo

 

Crazy and melodramatic madness from John Woo, the height of his Hollywood period.  Travolta and Cage look like their having a blast.  Contains my favorite speed boat chase ever, for what that's worth.  

post #11 of 155

11. Blade (1998) dir. Stephen Norrington

 

Doin' The Matrix thing the year before The Matrix came out.  It doesn't get enough credit for its part in showing that Batman and Superman weren't the only comic book characters that could successfully be brought to screen.  An amazing opening sequence.  Wesley Snipes having a blast.  "Some muthafuckas are always trying to ice-skate uphill..."

post #12 of 155

12. The Last Boy Scout (1991) d. Tony Scott

 

It may be heresy, but I think I actually enjoy this movie over Die Hard. Not that it's a better movie, mind you, but I just love Shane Black's script and all of the funny lines. The action is pretty good too.

 

"Nobody likes you. Everybody hates you. You're gonna lose. Smile, you fuck."

 

"This is the '90s. You can't just walk up and slap a guy, you have to say something cool first."

post #13 of 155

13. Hard Boiled ('92, dir. John Woo):

 

HardBoiledPoster.jpg

 

I'm assuming there's no need to explain why this is here.

post #14 of 155

14.  'Hard Target' (Woo) 1993

 

Wilford Brimley stars as Uncle Douvee, a kick ass old Cajun.  His action scenes with Lance Henriksen and Arnold Vosloo are second to none.  Great fucking movie.  Also starring Jean-Claude Van Damme in a minor role.

post #15 of 155

Gotta love Brimley's tough guy line in that movie: ""I'm gonna DIE-a-BEAT YOU to death with my bare hands!".

post #16 of 155

15.   Die Hard With a Vengence

 

Great show, it's not perfect. I still hate the way some of the action was shot(mainly disapointed in the mercedes jump off the overpass and that the best angle shot from the taxi jump exiting the park didn't make the final cut), but a fun film with some great stuff.

 

I really think the 90's kinda sucked though for action films and curious to see what this list will look like in 50 entries. 

post #17 of 155

McIrish, Die Hard: With A Vengeance over...Die Hard 2?

 

16) Die Hard 2: Die Harder, is the...Best Die Hard Film.  I find it is just...Plane Awesome!

 

post #18 of 155

17. The Rock (1996) dir. Michael Bay

 

"COCKSUCKER!  If I had my way, you'd be shipped back to Wolfburg in leg irons and caged like an animal for the rest of your natural fucking life!!!  You wrecked half the city!!!"

 

(movie goes on as if it never happened)

 

Best Bay movie.

post #19 of 155

18.

t.jpg

dir. George P. Cosmatos (w/Kurt Russell?), 1993

 

Are you gonna do something, or just stand there and bleed?

post #20 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by McIrish View Post

15.   Die Hard With a Vengence

 

Great show, it's not perfect. I still hate the way some of the action was shot(mainly disapointed in the mercedes jump off the overpass and that the best angle shot from the taxi jump exiting the park didn't make the final cut), but a fun film with some great stuff.

 

I really think the 90's kinda sucked though for action films and curious to see what this list will look like in 50 entries. 

 

I like the first 95% of it, but the final 10 minutes of the film is so incredibly poor that it kinda destroys any good will that I had.  If I turn it off before all of that stupid shit happens and pretend that Simon got away, I love it.
 

 

post #21 of 155

19.  'Demolition Man' (Brambilla)

 

Just a damned fun action film.  It expertly maintains a perfect comic tone while delivering some genuinely well-done action set pieces.

 

Also, Bullock's ass is a marvel to look at.

post #22 of 155

20.  'Sudden Death' (Hyams) 1995

 

aka 'Die Hard 14: This Time it's a Hockey Arena'.  

 

Powers Boothe owns the movie as Joshua Foss, a man who leads a group of terrorists in taking over a hockey arena (where the Vice President is in attendance) during the playoffs.  Many satisfying action sequences.  Again, Jean-Claude Van Damme appears in a minor role.

post #23 of 155

21. Point Break (1991) d. Kathryn Bigelow

 

I AM AN F... B... I AGENT!

 

Bigelow's invention of Keanu Reeves as an Action hero was kind of radical at the time(the anti-Sly and Arnold), and the style of the film was very influencial on 90's Action cinema(rivaled only by Woo). Swayze is brilliant, and the love/hate relationship with Reeves is fun. Great chemistry. Also, great, of course, is BIG WEDNESDAY alum Busey. The tagline promises 100 Percent Pure Adrenaline and more than delivers.

post #24 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

17. The Rock (1996) dir. Michael Bay

 

"COCKSUCKER!  If I had my way, you'd be shipped back to Wolfburg in leg irons and caged like an animal for the rest of your natural fucking life!!!  You wrecked half the city!!!"

 

(movie goes on as if it never happened)

 

Best Bay movie.




"Losers always say they did their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen."  An old Connery is still a bad ass Connery!

post #25 of 155

22. Con Air (1997) dir. Simon West

 

Actually, this isn't all that great as a straight-up action movie.  But as an action comedy!?  Fuggedaboutit and put the bunny back in the box!  It never quite openly declares itself a parody of excessive action films (even though it totally is), but that's what I love about it.  A fantastic cast that's just having a ball.  The goofy concept is enough to get me past the mediocre execution of the action sequences.  Plus, John Malkovich's death just kinda goes on and on and on.

 

It's a movie that shows me that God does exist.  Celebrate the love in this old thread:

http://www.chud.com/community/t/116296/con-air-nicholas-cage

 

I mean... c'mon!

post #26 of 155

23. Cliffhanger (1993) d. Renny Harlin

 

"Die Hard on a mountain" that moves at a lightning pace thanks to crisp direction from the crazy Finn. Good stunts and a great turn by John Lithgow as the eeeevil villian make this one a fun watch.

 

Hang on!

post #27 of 155
Thread Starter 

24. Under Siege (1992)

under_siege.jpg

 

It seems every action movie in the 90's was a "Die Hard on a ______".   In this case, "Die Hard on a Ship".   Still it is one of the best Steven Seagal movies and improbably one of the best action films of the 90's.   Worth checking out.

post #28 of 155

Erika Eleniak gave me a battleship in my pants.

post #29 of 155
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

22. Con Air (1997) dir. Simon West

 

Actually, this isn't all that great as a straight-up action movie.  But as an action comedy!?  Fuggedaboutit and put the bunny back in the box!  It never quite openly declares itself a parody of excessive action films (even though it totally is), but that's what I love about it.  A fantastic cast that's just having a ball.  The goofy concept is enough to get me past the mediocre execution of the action sequences.  Plus, John Malkovich's death just kinda goes on and on and on.

 

It's a movie that shows me that God does exist.  Celebrate the love in this old thread:

http://www.chud.com/community/t/116296/con-air-nicholas-cage

 

I mean... c'mon!


Our next list should be the 'wildest fucking death scenes in an action film' or something.  Malkovich's WAAAY over the top Wile E Coyote death scene in here would have to be number one.

 

post #30 of 155

25.

longkissgoodnight.jpg

dir. Renny Harlin, 1996


Die screaming, motherfucker!

Screenwriter Shane Black's whip-smart, comic book action neo-noir starring Geena Davis in her greatest role.

post #31 of 155

26. Surviving the Game (1994)

 

Con Air might have the best collection of character actors in a 90's action movie, but I feel that Surviving the Game comes in a close second. Ice-T, Rutger Hauer, F. Murray Abraham, Charles S. Dutton, John McGinley, Gary Freakin' Busey! Directed by the underrated Ernest Dickerson, this is another variation on "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell, but it still manages to pack in plenty of nasty fun. Worth watching just for this scene with Busey.

post #32 of 155

27.

fugitive_lg.jpg

dir. Andrew Davis, 1993

 

I didn't kill my wife!

 

I don't care.

 

An action film so smart, so electric, & so perfectly executed that, in 1994, it received a nomination for Best Picture (losing to Schindler's List in the final stretch).


Edited by Art Decade - 10/9/11 at 8:03pm
post #33 of 155

28. Air Force One (1997) d. Wolfgang Petersen

 

The last classic Ford, I think this holds up as one of the best big studio Action movies of the decade. Coming amidst a bit of disillusionment on both the Left and Right towards Clinton, Ford's Pres. Marshall is kind of the idealized Boomer President, A Veteran, progressive, yet a Hawk on foreign policy. He's what we wanted, but never got. The movie is rah-rah, without ever getting corny, that's one of the great things about it. And when Fords snarls "Get off my plane!" at the terrorist hijacker(a brilliant Gary Oldman), you stand up and cheer. (A ROCKY IV moment for the 90's)

post #34 of 155

29. Universal Soldier (1992) d. Roland Emmerich

 

Dolph Lundgren and Jean-Claude Van Damme get to kick a lot of ass in this sci-fi actioner. Emmerich's best film, but that's not saying much.

 

Dolph plays crazy really well:

post #35 of 155
Thread Starter 

30.  Independence Day (1994)

 

You gotta love the fact that when this teaser played, people CHEERED when the White House got blown all to fuck.   The Disaster Movie makes a big comeback along with aliens that most certainly DID NOT come in peace....

 

post #36 of 155

31. Rumble in the Bronx ('95; dir Stanley Tong)

 

51PZZ0A9TCL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

 

This is the movie that brought Jackie Chan to mainstream North American audiences.  It's a blast and at the time was pretty mind blowing for a lot of people with regard to how gonzo an action film could be.  Fairly tame by today's standards.

post #37 of 155

Weird, one would've thought that this one would've cracked the Top 10:

 

32.

images.jpg

dir. Luc Besson, 1994

 

EVERYONE!!!!!

 

The sweet story of a quiet hitman who takes in a scrappy, young Nataie Portman after her family gets wiped by a terrifying Gary Oldman. Smart, heartfelt, & brutally violent, this film remains the journeyman writer/producer/director Besson's greatest cinematic achievement.

post #38 of 155

33. Out For Justice (1991) d. John Flynn

 

Seagal plays a tough NY cop out to get former childhood friend turned baddie William Forsythe. Brutal fights and bloody shootouts abound in my personal favorite movie from The Sensei.

Love this scene:

post #39 of 155

To avoid any possible confusion in the future, here's the list of movies as of now:

 

1. Jurassic Park

2. The Matrix

3. Terminator 2

4. True Lies

5. Speed

6. Desperado

7. Total Recall

8. Starship Troopers

9. Goldeneye

10. Face/Off

11. Blade

12. The Last Boy Scout

13. Hard Boiled

14. Hard Target

15. Die Hard With A Vengeance

16. Die Hard 2

17. The Rock

18. Tombstone

19. Demolition Man

20. Sudden Death

21. Point Break

22. Con Air

23. Cliffhanger

24. Under Siege

25. The Long Kiss Goodnight

26. Surviving The Game

27. The Fugitive

28. Air Force One

29. Universal Soldier

30. Independence Day

31. Rumble in the Bronx

32. The Professional

33. Out For Justice

 

Here's my pick:

 

34. Predator 2 (directed by Stephen Hopkins; 1990)

 

I know this gets mixed reviews online but I say this is wildly entertaining. It starts off right away with a bang and the action is almost non-stop for the last 40 or so minutes. It's not quite the first movie; still, it shouldn't be dogged as I've seen from various people. There are many familiar names and the title creature gets to use some awesome weapons.

post #40 of 155

35. Mission: Impossible (Brian De Palma - 1996)

 

MV5BMjAyNjk5Njk0MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTA4MjIyMQ@@._V1._SX98_SY140_.jpg

 

Tense and explosive, this film introduced the world to Cruise's Ethan Hunt.  The memorable break-in scene is still a great example of suspense in an action move.

post #41 of 155

36.

la femme nikita.jpg

dir. Luc Besson, 1990

 

If you dig through the 20 years of cheap Highlander-like TV shows & remakes, at the bottom you'll find this intelligent & uber-stylish action masterpiece that, in 1990, set the bar for female action heroines in the new decade. The original La Femme Nikita is the violent, semi-tragic story of a street junkie who gets reformed into an expert assassin by a super secret organization. Star Anne Parillaud gives her all portraying a woman stuck in an extraordinarily dangerous situation who's iron will is trumped only by her damaged emotional fragility. John Badham remade the film with Bridget Fonda as Point Of No Return but, along with the TV adaptations, recapturing the original's intensity & heart has proven to be little more than successive exercises in hollow futility.


Edited by Art Decade - 10/10/11 at 3:23pm
post #42 of 155

37. LAST MAN STANDING (1996) dir. Walter Hill

 

The unlikely sounding yet perfectly appropriate combination of western, gangster movie, and the spirit of a samurai movie, with a bevvy of great character actors, Christopher Walken, Bruce Willis, and hyper-stylized over the top gunplay (shades of John Woo in the mix as well I guess) create a movie bubbling over with mythic badassery.

post #43 of 155

38. THE FIFTH ELEMENT (1997) dir. Luc Besson

 

It IS an action movie, but I've always felt the action in the film to be pretty forgettable and beside the point.  It's just such a kooky-colorful piece of sci-fi fantasy that it shouldn't be ignored.

 

IT HAS TOMMY 'TINY' LISTER AS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSE!!!!!!!  Beat THAT, Morgan Freeman in Deep Impact!

post #44 of 155

100 years from now, The Fifth Element will be as universally well-loved as The Wizard Of Oz is today. Bet on it.

post #45 of 155
Thread Starter 

Looking at this list so far and it occurs to me that the 90's were a pretty silly decade for action films.   The bottom 50 will be very interesting to see indeed.

post #46 of 155

I can't believe FIFTH ELEMENT didn't occur to me. Love that movie.

post #47 of 155

39.  Run, Lola, Run  (1998)  dir. Tom Twyker

 

195785_134371386637565_5837393_n.jpg

 

Groundhog Day at 90 miles an hour.  Lightning-paced, amazing soundtrack and a winning, near-feral performance from Franka Potente make this an action classic for me.    

 

 

post #48 of 155

40. THREE KINGS (1999) dir. David O. Russell

 

A fantastic action/adventure/heist/comedy/drama by a director trying out action for the first time.  O. Russell brings a fresh eye to what could've been a run-of-the-mill actioner based on a fun premise.  Features a great ensemble of Clooney, Ice Cube, Whalberg, and Jonze.  Introduced me to Cliff Curtis. 

 

"Cannot take car."

post #49 of 155

41.

crow.jpg

dir. Alex Proyas, 1994

 

The 90s is littered with comic book movies that were made in an effort to repeat Batman 89's success. While most were shit & a couple were good, The Crow was the only one that threatened to achieve anything close to cinematic greatness (at least, by the standard set by it's source material). With the title character, Brandon Lee had the role of his short lifetime &, coupled with the painterly eye of director Proyas, made a gothic, near-perfect comic adaptation that rippled with the kinetic energy & personality of it's now dead star.


Edited by Art Decade - 10/10/11 at 7:31pm
post #50 of 155

42. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels ('98. dir. Guy Ritchie

 

Lock%2C_Stock_and_Two_Smoking_Barrels_2.jpg


The movie that inspired a new wave of British cinema.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dynamotv View Post

Looking at this list so far and it occurs to me that the 90's were a pretty silly decade for action films.   The bottom 50 will be very interesting to see indeed.


So long as Chewers think outside of North America, we should be fine.

 

EDIT - fixed numbering.

 


Edited by avoideverything - 10/10/11 at 2:12pm
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