I was watching 80s nostalgia trip Mannequin the other day (dont ask!) and Im convinced after seeing the cheese-fest that when I look at the CGI filled action adventures movies of today, I somehow get the feeling that action movies of my generation were just better.
Whether it was the stunts, the danger or just the overall fun factor, the movies of today still dont get what action is all about. 10 years ago (1997) Hollywood was just coming to the end of what I call its action cycle.
Sure, back then it was all die-hard clones. But for some reason I just think those movies were just plain better. The stunts were better done, they didnt rely on CGI and the plots were okay. There was none of that overplayed emotional content that didnt connect with the audience or there just to fill out the time.
Here are ten great movies that prove why I think action movies of my generation were just better than the ones we have now.
1) Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) A classic then, a classic now!
2) Die Hard (1988) Defined action for well over 10 years
3) Robocop (1988) Verhovens classic still is great, even though its starting to show its age
4) Total Recall (1990) Perhaps Schwarzeneggers best movie bar Terminator
5) Scarface (1983) – Yeah, I know… it’s over the top.
6) Blue Jean Cop (1988) Before there was Die-hard, there was Blue Jean Cop.
7) Commando (1985) Schwarzenegger hits our screens in an utter cheese fest!
8) Hard Boiled (1992) Caused the whole two-gun pandemic in action movies that you see in movies such as Equilibrium and Underworld. But it did it far, far better!
9) The Killer (1989) Some argue this as being better than Hard Boiled. If you are a member of Blockbuster and want real action, Id hire both Hard Boiled and The Killer and watch them over the course of an evening. Just make sure they are the subtitled uncut versions!
10) Police Story (1985) Sure it might look incredibly ropey for todays standards, but Jackie Chans Police Story totally broke the mould in terms of Hong Kong action movies and most of the action sequences were lifted verbatim by Hollywood, including the Bus stopping scene and the part where Jackie drives a car down and through a shanty town and remains my favorite Jackie Chan movie.
The Matrix has cool fights and a complex story, but the action just isnt as good as any of the above. The over-reliance of CGI in action movies just makes films unbelievable and in some cases, such as Die Another Day, just plain unbearable.
Will stunts make a comeback? Will fun make a comeback, or are we all doomed to watch stunts where the hero is in no mortal danger, or threat and does impossible feats, feats that even Buster Keaton or Harold Lloyd probably wouldnt do, regardless of their dexterity.