13 utterly bonkers action movies

Join us in celebrating the Hollywood blockbuster action flicks that absolutely lost their mind...

Crank. Genius.

Every now and then, Hollywood decides that it’s not even worth pretending to entertain the notion of plausibility, or comes up with a script that rips the whole action genre to bits with absolute glee. May we present 13 films that fall into one of those categories, and invite you to join us in celebrating their existence…

CrankJason Statham is already on a pedestal as far as Den Of Geek is concerned, but is Crank his crowning glory to date? It’s basically Speed with a human being, as Statham has to make sure his heart rate doesn’t fall too low, else the deadly poison inside him will kill him. That’s all the excuse required for manic car chases, gratuitous public humping, and a quite brilliant final sequence as he falls from a plane while making a mobile phone call. A sequel, amazingly, follows, and we it’s one of our most looked forward to films on the planet.Snakes On A PlaneIt’s not quite the cult joy we had hoped for in the build up to its release, but Snakes On A Plane is still an absolute hoot. Our favourite bit is where Samuel L Jackson delivers the film’s iconic line, but it’s clearly been done as part of a reshoot, as he doesn’t seem to be standing on the plane when he utters the lines (we’re sure even the colour of the wall changes). Let’s not forget too the various ways that snakes get to kill off the unwitting passengers. The mile high couple, in particular, deserve special recognition.

Shoot ‘Em UpWe only caught up with this Clive Owen/Paul Giamatti two-hander recently, and shame on us for leaving it so long. It’s basically a non-stop action flick with a baby at the heart of it, which Owen is trying to protect while shooting seven shades of shit out of anyone who comes near him. Great moments: shooting the oil out of a car to allow Owen to slide at speed past a load of bad guys; the automatic gun sentries; the carrot on the trigger; Gianmatti and Owen. A genius piece of cinema.

Mad Max 2: The Road WarriorMad Max is a fair description of the title character here, as Mel Gibson watches everyone go apeshit in the middle of nowhere in this destruction-fuelled sequel. Considering the tamed down action fare of the Lethal Weapon movies, this is Gibson on the rampage par excellence, arguably for the last time. We were half tempted to include Payback on the list, but it probably has a little bit too much restraint…

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Shaolin SoccerWe could have picked several Stephen Chow movies, but we’ve always had a leaning to his marriage of over the top action and sport. As well as staging some outrageous action sequences, the film also has the wonderful moment when someone does a powerful kick, sending the ball high into the air. Cut to an hour or so later, with everyone still sat around, relaxing, waiting for it to fall to the ground. See also: Kung Fu Hustle.Con AirCon Air is bonkers in a different way to some of the films here, because the action sequences themselves – while impressive – are actually quite conventional. Instead, the film wraps around them a brilliantly ludicrous plot, and some of the finest villain characters seen in a Hollywood blockbuster in ages. John Malkovich’s Cyrus The Virus is our outright favourite though, although bonus marks as always for Mr Steve Buscemi…

FortressA work of some genius in the Christopher Lambert back catalogue, Fortress is one of those prison movies where the script goes to great lengths to justify the actions of the leading actor who’s ended up in chokey. But this is a futuristic prison, and this is good. For we get dialogue such as “random intestinations”, which results in lots of badly-paid extras rolling around on the floor in agony. The rest of it is just as bonkers, and for an added treat, team it up with the sequel, which shifts the whole shebang to space, replete with cardboard sets. Life is good…

Face/OffSometimes, you can come up with an idea so ridiculous that you’ve got no choice but to do it. We’d have paid hard cash to be in the pitch meeting for Face/Off, which mixed the over-the-top action of John Woo on top of his game, with some brilliant hokum about Nic Cage and John Travolta swapping mushes. Entirely constructed around WTF moments, Face/Off is gleefully outrageous nonsense of the highest order.

Smokin’ AcesA film that has to make the list, not least because a friend of the site swears it to be one of the most gloriously over-the-top action flicks he’s seen in his existence. It’s basically a flick about the hunt for a mob informer, but this is a quick excuse for some marvellously pacey and choreographed action sequences. Plus it has Ray Liotta in it, which is a good thing.

Deep Blue SeaWe can’t express our love for this film enough. Genetically enhanced sharks? Samuel L Jackson? Renny Harlin behind the camera? Ladies and gentlemen, just what isn’t there to love, as plausibility gets buried under the floorboards where it’s left to rot while the rest of us have a good time. Shame the upcoming sequel is direct to DVD. We’d give Harlin another go at it…

Die Hard 4.0To be fair, the last adventure for John McClane is remarkable sane – by standards – for much of its running time. Until, er, you get to the point where Brucie is driving a truck along the freeway with an air force jet trying to blast him off the road. Cue the point where the audience look at each other, try to figure out what’s going on, and just go with the flow anyway…

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Kiss Kiss Bang BangBonkers for all the right reasons, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is the film that Shane Black, Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr were surely all brought together on the planet to make. It’s the cleverest, funniest movie on this list, too, but fuelled by an inherent madness that’s hard not to love.

The Specialist“You’re the rigger and I’m the trigger”, says James Woods to Sylvester Stallone, in the midst of arguably the most brilliantly ridiculous film that either of them have ever made. Throw in Sharon Stone (who seems to be there to hump), and a marvellously cheap CG sequence where the top floor of an apartment block falls to the floor, then The Specialist has dumb, insane guilty pleasure written all over it.We’re already working on a list of more of these, so please feel free to add your suggestions below…

See also:10 edited for TV movies10 tough guys that went soft10 movies Steven Seagal hasn’t made yet10 movies that ignored history

 

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