With the return of the Fast and the Furious franchise in the new sequel Fast Five, we have assembled a list of the top 10 Best Action Packed Films! Packing more power per punch than any other, these films have upped the ante on what onscreen action truly is, and deserve proper recognition. And here it is!
After an armored-car robbery goes very bloody and wrong, high-level criminal perfectionist Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) and his reliable crew of professionals plan a rebound robbery that will enable them all to put the heist life behind them. The only real catch in the plan is Lt. Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino), a relentlessly detective obsessed to the point of self-destruction with catching Neil, whose life-motto ('Never have anything in your life that you can't walk out on in thirty seconds flat, if you spot the heat coming around the corner') is put to the test when he falls in love. One of the biggest shootout action sequences in film history – and certainly one of the most classic – takes place in downtown Los Angeles, featuring a ruthlessly passionate performance by Val Kilmer.
Kill Bill I & II
No modern action-film library is complete without the one-two (and soon to be three) punch of the Kill Bill saga. Nobody, man or woman, has severed a fraction as many limbs, fought nearly as many vicious battles and gotten such sweet, brutal revenge as Uma Thurman Kill Bill. After barely surviving a point-blank gunshot to the head and the four-year coma that resulted, The Bride pulled herself together using her Kung Fu training and sheer willpower, retraining herself for a mission of retribution. As she exacts blood-spraying revenge on her attackers, one can't help but realize that there are far less appealing ways to go out than by the blade of such a beauty.
This French action flick highlights the art of parkour for this breakneck-paced tale of one man's war on the drug lords who have plunged his hometown into ruin. The action is relentless and innovative, the fight scenes jaw-dropping. Even without the subtitles, it's a helluva show. Catch the French version with subtitles, because the English overdubs are simply terrible.
The Hurt Locker
Iraq war movies have been a difficult genre to sell to audiences, but The Hurt Locker broke the mold with an absolutely stunning portrayal of the struggles our military face daily, and won Best Picture at the Academy Awards in the meantime. The movie captures the emotions and intensity of war extremely well, but even those looking for purely visceral action will find plenty to enjoy here. The Hurt Locker features several intense action sequences, as the main character is assigned to defuse bombs while snipers are trying to kill him from afar.
Iron Man 2
Finally, Iron Man moves from the backstory-heavy original to the full action overload of Iron Man 2! With Thor, Captain America and the Avengers film on deck in the next few years, it's important to have all the exciting backstory chapters in your collection! Besides, Downey's pure gold, and Marvel's done a hell of a job building up the Iron Man franchise. Highlight scene: Iron Man & War Machine settle their differences just in time to take on an army of robot killers.
This 1999 cult favorite stars Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus as fraternal-twin Irish Americans who kill two members of the Russian mafia in self-defense and quickly adapt to a new life of vigilantism. Pursued by the awesomely eccentric Special Agent Paul Smecker (played brilliantly by Willem Dafoe), the brothers execute their way through Boston's criminal underground, finding that they've got a particular knack for righteous killing – and for a reason: their father is the infamous Il Duce, a legendary assassin-for-hire.
Rambo: First Blood
Here's where it all began. Ex-Green Beret John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is introduced as a lonely Vietnam vet drifter, picked up and harassed by some local cops. Their antagonization pushes him over the edge, and he proceeds to beat the entire force senseless before escaping into the mountains nearby. He fends off everything the law throws at him, while stepping into the halls of action hero fame.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
There's little question among even the most casual of fans as to what the best Terminator film is. In this pop culture phenomenon Arnold Schwarzenegger reverses his role as the ultimate killing machine to become John Connor's protector against a more advanced Terminator – one that can shapeshift and mimic its prey. Linda Hamilton toughens up mother-of-the-savior Sarah Connor for the fight against the future with her son, the leader-to-be of the resistance and the last hope for mankind. With groundbreaking special effects and a career-peaking Guns N' Roses on board for the soundtrack, T2 was an unstoppable force that still thrills to this day.
The Empire Strikes Back
Empire is far and away the best film of the Star Wars saga, and arguably George Lucas' finest work. Luke discovers the horrors of his origin and finally grasps the destiny before him, and we're finally given a brief glimpse into the humanity behind the mask of Vader. There's also a Jedi feast of action sequences, including numerous righteously awesome light-saber duels. Put simply, Empire is the best part of a mind-blowing sci-fi epic space opera that our grandkids will be quoting someday.
Quentin Tarantino's masterpiece and 2010 Best Picture Academy Award nominee Inglourious Basterds tells a new tale of World War II, a fictionalized account of Jewish American soldiers dropped behind enemy lines and given orders to collect one hundred nazi scalps apiece. A brilliant upping of the ante for Tarantino, and as brutally awesome a tale of revenge as the Kill Bill films. Christoph Waltz won an Academy Award for his unforgettable role as the Jew Hunter in the film as well, and if you've seen it, you know precisely why; his character portrayal is evil incarnate.