Earlier this week, Sara, the female companion, let it be knownst that she had gone 26 empty years without seeing Die Hard.
"What's that?" she said.
"You have got to be shitting me!" I replied. "It is literally the best action movie of all time."
"Nf-kay, literally the best action movie of all time, whatevs."
So she Googled the phrase "best action movie ever" and a bunch of lists came up. #1 on each of which was in fact Die Hard. Score one for me. Face. I am so smart. Now that I proved I know my action flicks, I am compiling a list of the "Ten Best Action Movies Ever" in hopes that I can con her into watching them (although everyone should) which is sort of a feet considering the first three movies I got her to watch (The Rules of Attraction, A Clockwork Orange, and Blue Velvet) all feature disturbing rape scenes, thus to her my taste in film is a bit suspect. Yeah, well. Here goes it.
10. Ronin- Best car chases ever. Makes Bullit and The French Connection look like Driving Miss Daisy. None of that CGI crap either. De Niro and Jean Reno are both kick ass and the movie gets its title from the bushido since of the word. Highly underrated.
9. Kill Bill- From start to finish, there isn't much time when ass kicking isn't taking place. Super violent, super bloody, super hot. My personal favorite fight scene is the one between Beatrix Kiddo aka Black Mamba aka The Bride and Gogo Yubari (played by one of the kids from Battle Royale, #8 on this list). In short, this movie rekindled my desire to become a samurai.
8. Battle Royale- Nothing says kick ass like a bunch of children fighting to the death. When I taught at that New England boarding school, BR infiltrated the school in all its forms--the novel, the film, and the graphic novel--with one copy of each floating around and planting the seeds of violence into the young impressionable minds. Eventually it got to the point where everyone was scheming who they would kill and who would be most likely to win if there were a school-wide-every-kid-for-him/herself-there-can-only-be-one-melee-of-death. (My money would have been on a tough little South Boston fucker named Ryan Cunnif.) Don't let the fact that this film is set in a dystopian society fool you, the only political statement this film makes is that children will fuck or kill anything in their way and sometimes do both. This flick is pure carnage.
7. Leon: The Professional- The first non-horror R rated movie I can remember seeing in the theater unsupervised, there will always be a place in my heart for this movie about killin. The Professional also marks the first time I had ever seen Natalie Portman and never was my lust for her as controlling as it was when I was 10 after watching this movie. After her family is killed by a psychopathic Gary Oldman, that is to say the typical Gary Oldman character, Portman becomes the understudy of hitman, i.e. cleaner, Jean Reno who takes it upon himself to give Oldman and his henchmen what's coming to them. The film is actually quite touching.
6. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly- Best theme song ever, whenever I do something awesome I will hum it. So many things to love about this movie that it is hard to pin down any one thing that makes it so great. But its Clint Eastwood. Sergio Leoni too can pretty much do no wrong. A historical western that is also a tale of redemption. What can be better than that.
5. The Terminator/T2- If there is one thing I have learned from science fiction, its that Artificial Intelligence is bad. No film series has ever illustrated this more so than The Terminator. AI is all powerful and doesn't have things like a conscience getting in the way of taking the shit that it wants. We create this supreme being and then we lose control of it. We try to destroy it but shit AI is way too smart for that. So there is some little group of human holdovers trying to claim back the earth. Ha, they build shit that is stronger and tougher than anything humanity's got and it never stops coming. It was Mr. Universe for Christ's sake. It is the perfect killing machine--its like Jaws, the mummy, and Jason Vorhese rolled into one. When they don't win immediately, what do those crafty machines do, they invent a time machine to go back and kill the leader of the insurgence mother before he has a chance to even give the renegades hope. Doesn't exactly seem like the machines are playing fair but they don't care, they don't give a fuck, they are machines and they are a coming. The Terminator teaches us to prepare and act accordingly.
4. Raiders of the Lost Ark- Dun-da-da-dah, Dun-da-da-dah, Raiders of the Lost Ark was revolutionary, here you have this Doc Savage type guy who goes on mysterious quests for lost relics. I can trace my educational decision to study medieval literature and religion back to the Indiana Jones trilogy. The films mix all the coolest stuff about history, religion, anthropology, and what not into one bad ass dude set in one of the most interesting times since the French Revolution (WWII). An unexpected perk of this little diddy is that you actually learn some pretty awesome shit along the way while Indy fights with the snakes and the whatnots.
3. Predator- This film oozes machismo. Staring two U.S. Governors (Jesse "The Mind" Ventura--formerly of Minnesota--and Arnold "The Governator" Schwarzenegger) Predator follows an elite band of mercenaries who go from kicking ass and taking names to being hunted by a giant, invisible, bulletproof, skull collecting super alien with laser capabilities and dreadlocks. When Arnold inevitably immobilizes the beast, proving once again he really is Mr. Universe, what does the Predator do? does he go out like a woose? Hell no. Rather than give even Arnold the satisfaction of capturing him alive, he opts to detonate a small atomic devise that takes out miles of rain forest. There is not a single moment from start to finish that isn't testosterone pumped manliness.
2. Unforgiven- "Don't you go cut up or otherwise harmin no whore, or I'll come back and kill every one of you sons-a-bitchs," maybe the greatest closing lines to a movie ever. Don't be fooled, this is a moral fable--Henry James type stuff here--didactically teaching its views that bad ass, alcohol does one make. When we first see Eastwood's character William Money, he is a shell of the former cold-blooded-killer he used to be in his youth having turned away from the bottle for the love of a woman. Ah, romantic. But after she kicks the bucket, there is no one around to teach him the error of his ways. So after some assholes kill his BFF, he starts getting liquored up again and the killin naturally comes back with a vengeance. I'll see you in Hell William Money.
1. Die Hard- John McClane, Die Hard's protagonist, is the American James Bond. Where 007 has his gadgets, McClane has only his will. Where 007 is suave, McClane is on the verge of divorce. Bond's clean cut, McClane has a five-o'clock-shadow and never baths. Things like this go on and on. McClane is a drunken maniac who does what he's gotta do and he does it while being an ass and he always manages to say something cool when he blows the bad guy away. Where some would use caution or moderation, McClane swings down onto a boat via crane and blows up the fucking building. That is why John McClane is an American hero and Die Hard is genious. Yippy-ky-yay mother fucker.
Fifteen more movies that are all about ass kicking: Enter the Dragon, the Mad Max Trilogy, Star Wars, Speed, Saving Private Ryan, Fists of Fury, The Matrix, Troy, Action Jackson, Rambo, Lethal Weapon, Gladiator, Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai, The Dark Knight, Sin City