Lights, Camera, Action! Get set to dive into the most prolific genre in filmmaking, the action genre. From the dawn of cinema, action has been the cornerstone of filmmaking. From the slapstick action in the silent era to the supersonic action in the latest superhero flick “Man of Steel”, action is an essential. So let me take you through the action films that have most affected my life and given me a reason to skip a heartbeat once in a while!
Slapstick: The silent era depended on action the most. The slapstick genre depended on action comedy to make people fall off their chairs. Be it Chaplin’s Circus or Buster Keaton’s Cops, the action really kept you on the edge of your seats. And then there was Harold Llyods unforgettable “Safety Last” with the protagonist climbing a building, dangling from the hands of a clock and basically keeping you glued to the screen with on the edge action comedy!
Western: You think of this genre and you imagine gripping horse chase sequences, riveting gunfights and of course, Clint Eastwood. Though there are innumerable great films, but how can you start a western list without mentioning “The Good, the Bad & the Ugly” or “A fistful of dollars” or “The treasure of Sierra Madre”? Though the 40s to the 70s was the most prolific era of western film making, only a few modern films have achieved greatness; like the Coen Brothers’ “True Grit” or Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven” or James Mangold’s retelling of “3:10 to Yuma” or the pulp-western masterpiece by Tarantino “Django Unchained”!
Martial Arts: Before I get into the Kung fus and the Taekwondos of cinema, let me mention one of the best action movies ever made by one of the best film makers in the history of cinema – Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai”. Influencing such action classics as “The Maginificient Seven” and “Sholay”, this movie is the “A” of Action films. Ok, let’s get back to martial arts.
No eastern action hero has influenced Hollywood cinema like Bruce Lee. Be it “Enter the Dragon” or “The Big Boss” or “Fist of Fury”, Lee captured the imagination of the world. Then Jackie Chan created his own brand of fast moving, action comedy like in “Drunken Master” or “Police Story” or “Project A” or “Rumble in the Bronx”.
Now if we do not talk about legends, here are the most amazing martial art films you must watch - Jet Li’s “The Fearless”, Stephen Chows “Kung fu hustle”, Tony Jaa’s “Ong Bak”, Chan-wook Parks “Old Boy”, Gareth Evans “The Raid: Redemption”, Wilson Yips “Ip man”, Pierre Morel's "District B13". Even Hollywood has managed some classics like JCVD’s “Blood Sport” or both versions of “The Karate Kid” or Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” or Wachowski Brother’s “The Matrix” or even Leam Neeson’s “Taken” or for that matter Dreamwork’s “Kung Fu Panda”!!!
While there are many more, I will touch upon a few when we get into the genre of Gore and Pulp. Then, the true masters like Takashi Miike will stand up.
I know, I haven’t even got into movies of the action genre champions like Schwarzenegger and Stallone, and already it’s time for goodbye. But we will dig up their best in part 2. So wait with bated breath! Until then, wish you an adrenaline pumping time at the cinema…
A hopeless FILMantic, a sit-down comic, a cereal killer, chicken lover, who Copys for a living, really!
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Safety Last - www.thehollywoodnews.com
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) - www.imdb.com
Seven Samurai - www.movieposter.com
Fist of Fury - www.topchinesemovies.com
The Matrix - www.freemovieposters.net