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Added by PvtCaboose91 on 20 May 2015 07:33
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June 2015: A Month Of Action

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Titles Seen

The titles I have viewed, along with the date, a plot outline, and a brief review.
People who added this item 104 Average listal rating (73 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.2
They all came to the wrong place at the wrong time.

Viewed: June 1st

Plot: Two Arkansas firemen, Vince and Don, get hold of a map that leads to a cache of stolen gold in an abandoned factory in East St. Louis. What they don't know is that the factory is in the turf of a local gang, who come by to execute one of their enemies. Vince sees the shooting, the gang spots Vince, and extended mayhem ensues.

I had to start the month with some old-school, underrated Walter Hill. And I've gotta say, it's one hell of a start. With no idea what to expect, I had a mighty enjoyable time with this brisk thriller. It appeals to Hill's sensibilities - it's violent, has plenty of swearing, and above all it's a primal, dark potboiler brimming with atmosphere. It helps that the cast is so good, with Bill Paxton and William Sadler doing great work, while Art Evans provides amusing support, and Ice-T and Ice Cube shine as the bad guys. The ending does feel rushed, but on the whole this is a solid effort with an interesting moral message about greed.

7.2/10

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People who added this item 34 Average listal rating (23 ratings) 4.5 IMDB Rating 5.5
Most Wanted (1997)
Sometimes the most patriotic thing a Marine can do... is disobey orders.

Viewed: June 1st

Plot: A Marine on death row is recruited by a shadowy U.S. military officer as part of a top-secret ops team, then gets framed for murder when the team and it's officer set him up as the fall guy for the assassination of the First Lady.

This is exactly the type of '90s action movie I really enjoy watching. Brisk and fast-paced, it's a cliched conspiracy thriller that benefits from being wholly unpretentious. The painfully generic poster almost put me off the movie, and the presence of Keenen Ivory Wayans made me wonder if this was going to be some goofy comedy, but the resultant movie kept me entertained.

5.9/10

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People who added this item 176 Average listal rating (124 ratings) 5.2 IMDB Rating 5.4
Two good cops. One bad situation.

Viewed: June 1st

Plot: Two cops, played by Seagal and Wayans, are forced to work together to solve a chain of mysterious killings by a killer nicknamed "The Family Man".

The Glimmer Man is a standard Steven Seagal action flick - no more and no less. It has a few one-liners, it has Sensei Seagal showing off his martial arts moves, it has guns, it has violence. What it really lacks is a spin. Indeed, it's hard to distinguish this one from the mountains of other similar actioners. And the fact that it is pretty dumb (Seagal's character makes no sense) and the plot is a bit vague and simplistic (the whole equation of course boils down to men with guns) doesn't help matters. Still, the action is violent, and one cannot help but laugh as you see Seagal wearing gaudy shirts and beads, acting all religious, and sitting around like a Buddhist monk. Whatever. I enjoyed it.

5.2/10

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People who added this item 600 Average listal rating (405 ratings) 5.2 IMDB Rating 5.5
A power beyond measure requires a protector without equal.

Viewed: June 1st

Plot: Based on the very underground comic book, a Tibetan monk becomes a mentor to a young street kid whom he can teach to protect a scroll.

Although Bulletproof Monk has a handful of entertaining action sequences, for the most part it's generic, flat, and above all Americanised. There's a lot of obvious wire-fu, CGI and stunt doubles, which is pretty disappointing given the generous budget afforded to the project. Still, Chow Yun Fat is reliable as always, and it goes by quickly and painlessly enough. I wouldn't watch it again too many times, but it's passable entertainment on a rainy afternoon.

5.0/10

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People who added this item 154 Average listal rating (105 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6.2
One Man Fighting for His Honor, One Man Fighting for His Future ...

Viewed: June 2nd

Plot: When heavyweight champion George 'Iceman' Chambers lands in prison, the resident gangster arranges a boxing match with the reigning prison champ.

Walter Hill movies are good for the soul, and Undisputed delivers. If Rocky was set in prison, had no romantic subplot, and involved two morally ambiguous antiheroes, it would look a lot like this. Although everything leading up the fight is a bit blah, Hill still maintains attention, and there's plenty going on. Besides, once we get to the climactic boxing match, it's well worth every second of the build-up. Snipes and Rhames are in incredible shape here, and their bout is fucking sensational. This is more of a cartoonish 80s-style brawl than a realistic boxing match, but the result is so entertaining and gripping, and it suits the tone of the movie. Add in the underrated Michael Rooker, and this is a super enjoyable movie.

6.8/10

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Wrongfully Accused. Unjustly Imprisoned. Now He's Fighting Back.

Viewed: June 2nd

Plot: Sequel to the 2002 film. This time, Heavyweight Champ George "Iceman" Chambers is sent to a Russian Jail on trumped-up drug charges.

Unexpectedly, Undisputed 2 is a direct-to-video sequel that surpasses the movie which spawned it. Moving away from just boxing, this sequel features two highly skilled MMA fighters in the form of Michael Jai White and Scott Adkins, and their ensuing battles are absolutely sensational. The movie also moves at a brisk clip, dishing up the occasional fight, and the whole thing is skilfully-assembled. It's enormously enjoyable.

7.6/10

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One Deadly Tournament. A Last Fight For Freedom.

Viewed: June 2nd

Plot: Boyka is back. This time he is fighting in the first ever inter-prison tournament with one knee.

The most impressive achievement of both Undisputed sequels is that they are trashy, cheap, direct-to-video action movies that do not feel like trashy, cheap, direct-to-video action movies. They are elevated above the norm by competent craftsmanship and an excellent crop of badass fighters. And Undisputed 3 is easily the best of the series so far, which has grown progressively better with each instalment. This third film is not just about two opponents - it's a tournament. It's a logical place for the franchise to go, and also the most ideal springboard to create a truly kick-ass martial arts epic. Oh boy, does it deliver. Additionally, it does something unique by having Scott Adkins' Boyka befriending a cocky American who's initially hostile and standoffish. I cannot overstate how phenomenal the fight scenes are - they're raw, brutal and viscerally exciting. This movie is awesome!

Hey, does anyone else find it interesting that the villain of each Undisputed movie has become the hero in the subsequent instalment?

8.2/10

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Nobody Fucks With Jack Murphy!

Viewed: June 3rd

Plot: An action-packed thriller starring Charles Bronson as Jack Murphy, a cop who is running to stay alive long enough to even the score with his wife's killer.

For those of you who like Charles Bronson, Murphy's Law delivers exactly what it promises on the tin. I happen to adore Bronson and his stoic on-screen demeanour - he's a good old-fashioned movie star, and I'll watch anything if he has a gun and kills people. Out of Bronson's action movie filmography, Murphy's Law definitely ranks highly, as it delivers in the action department, has a nice twist by introducing a female villain, is no-nonsense and unpretentious, and above all it gives Bronson plenty of leeway to be a fucking badass. I got what I wanted.

7.2/10

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People who added this item 87 Average listal rating (61 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.3
Bronson is back on the streets.

Viewed: June 3rd

Plot: A LAPD detective is on the trail of a very handsome young man who had been seducing and slashing many young women to death.

Not so much an action film, but more of a violent thriller, 10 to Midnight is a pretty solid addition to Charles Bronson's extensive filmography. Having the villain as a good-looking young boy is a nice twist, and there are a number of set-pieces that are genuinely intense. Also, there's plenty of classic badass Bronson to enjoy.

6.1/10

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People who added this item 37 Average listal rating (27 ratings) 5.1 IMDB Rating 5.6
What the cops can't do, he will.

Viewed: June 5th

Plot: Wifes and children of the Mormon Orville Beecham become victims of a massacre in his own house. The police believes the crime had a religious motive. Orville doesn't give any comment on the case, is taken into protective custody. Journalist Smith persuades him to help him in the investigation - and finds out about economic motives for the murder.

Messenger of Death is certainly not the best Charles Bronson vehicle out there, as the pacing is a bit blah and it's another low-key thriller as opposed to an all-out action movie. Yet, Bronson is still eminently cool, and he has a few moments of old-school badassery to shine. Plus, the story is interesting, and I do love to watch an old-school Golan-Globus movie.

6.1/10

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People who added this item 151 Average listal rating (99 ratings) 4.7 IMDB Rating 4.8
There is no substitute.

Viewed: June 5th

Plot: Action star Jean Claude Van Damme plays a fashion designer who must join forces with a C.I.A. agent to combat terrorism.

Oh boy. The first five minutes of this movie feel like they're being played in fast-forward, and the movie as a whole feels astonishingly cheap. It was reportedly made for $35 million, and I can only imagine 99% of it went to Van Damme and Rob Schneider. Knock Off has the same verve as a Hong Kong action movie, yeah, and it is thankfully R-rated, but it's too goofy, poorly-made and cheap-looking to offer much, unless your entertainment standards are REALLY low or you're drunk. A few halfway cool fights featuring Van Damme, and a kinda enjoyable climactic shootout, save the movie from total destruction, but ultimately, it feels like a knock off. C'mon, who didn't see that pun coming?

3.8/10

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People who added this item 323 Average listal rating (224 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 6.2
Too tough to die.

Viewed: June 5th

Plot: Lyon Gaultier is a deserter in the Foreign Legion arriving in the USA entirely hard up. He finds his brother between life and death and his sister-in-law without the money needed to heal her husband and to maintain her child. To earn the money needed, Gaultier decides to take part in some very dangerous clandestine fights.

Lionheart - a.k.a. A.W.O.L., or Leon, or Wrong Bet, or whatever - feels like a natural extension of Jean-Claude Van Damme's early acting career; a tournament-style fight movie with plenty of fisticuffs and ample opportunities for the Mussels From Brussels to flex his natural talents. It's the spiritual cousin of Kickboxer and Bloodsport, yet again showing that Van Damme does these types of movies well. Lionheart is violent freaking, as well, and the fight scenes, though cartoonish, are brutal as hell. No skimping on the blood here. The movie isn't perfect, as the storytelling is fairly superficial and the whole French Foreign Legion plot is solved rather tidily, but there's plenty of wholesome action to enjoy and it's all skilfully-assembled.

7.1/10

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People who added this item 242 Average listal rating (173 ratings) 5 IMDB Rating 5.5
A lost city, A man of destiny, A test of honor...

Viewed: June 6th

Plot: Christopher Dubois embarks on an odyssey of self-discovery that spans the globe.

Another tournament-style action movie featuring Van Damme, The Quest is certainly not one of the star's best efforts. It's painfully slow to start - the first half of the movie seems to be perpetually stuck in second gear, with the adventurous globe-trotting ultimately coming off as drab. This was Van Damme's directorial debut, and his inexperience with pacing and forward momentum is obvious. When the actual tournament arrives, the movie does improve with a few really impressive fights, but nothing to write home about. The presence of Roger Moore does elevate the flick a fair bit, as he's charismatic (even though he was nearly 70 years old here!) and suits his role to the ground. The Quest is entertaining to an extent, but not a keeper.

5.5/10

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People who added this item 114 Average listal rating (81 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.6
In a deadly game of cat and mouse, they must fight to survive.

Viewed: June 6th

Plot: Three friends on their way to a boxing match get caught in heavy traffic, so they take a shortcut in order to get there faster, unfortunately it leads to them witnessing a murder which leaves them running for their lives.

Whenever someone asks for an underrated action-thriller from now on, Judgment Night is going to be one of the main titles I recommend. This insanely underrated white-knuckle potboiler from director Stephen Hopkins (Predator 2, The Ghost and the Darkness) deserves your attention, as it's satisfyingly violent and gripping all the way through. Despite a beefy 110-minute runtime, this is a motion picture that never stops moving, and appreciates the worth of low-key, suspenseful scenes that play out in almost complete silence. All four of the protagonists are worth cheering for, as anyone can relate to at least one of them, and Denis Leary is one of the best villains in recent memory. Sinister and calculated, Leary really needs to play more bad guys. Judgment Night is exactly the type of movie I wanted to see by doing this month, it's a hidden gem that deserves your attention.

8.2/10

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People who added this item 70 Average listal rating (54 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.7
Chato's Land (1972)
What Chato's land doesn't kill, Chato will.

Viewed: June 6th

Plot: After Pardon Chato, a mestizo, kills a US marshal in self-defense, a posse pursues him, but as the white volunteers advance deep in Indian territory they become more prey than hunters, leading to internal strife.

If First Blood was a western, it would play out a lot like Chato's Land, which involves an armed posse pursuing Charles Bronson after he kills a marshal in self-defence. Bronson plays an Indian, thus the posse are venturing into his territory where he is always in control, and he's the hunter rather than the hunted. Chato's Land is largely overlooked and was panned upon release, but it's still a fairly well-made western, and the presence of Bronson makes it more entertaining. The internal conflict between the marshals should be more interesting than it is, and the pacing is pretty draggy. Nevertheless, Bronson has his moments to shine, and they are good.

5.9/10

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People who added this item 35 Average listal rating (20 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 5.2
Keep your friends close.

Viewed: June 6th

Plot: Deep within a forest on the US-Canadian border, two sworn enemies must work together to escape a ruthless drug cartel hell-bent on retrieving a drug shipment which went missing there.

If Enemies Closer was made in the '80s or '90s, it would've starred Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis or even Van Damme himself as the hero, with someone like Carl Weathers as the side-kick and Powers Boothe as the villain. It would've been panned by critics but likely would've done healthy business at the box office, and probably would've developed into a cult classic. But the movie was made in 2013, and you know what? There's nothing wrong with that. We need more movies like this in the 21st Century. Yeah, it looks pretty cheap, but it's also highly entertaining, beautifully brisk & lean, and satisfyingly violent. In other words, it's an '80s-style actioner through and through, which is appropriate since it was actually directed by veteran action filmmaker Peter Hyams, giving it an added degree of competency and storytelling sleight-of-hand to elevate it above the ordinary. And then there's Van Damme as the bad guy. The ageing actor seems to do very well in villain roles, and he owns this one, chewing the scenery and improvising dialogue. He has a ball here, and his performance is very entertaining. The rest of the cast is less impressive - watchable enough, but I would've preferred to see more veteran names. Nevertheless, Enemies Closer is a fun watch, and I'll be watching it again for years to come. Highly recommended.

7.1/10

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People who added this item 37 Average listal rating (18 ratings) 5 IMDB Rating 5.5
El Gringo (2012)
Take the money and run.

Viewed: June 7th

Plot: A man crossing into Mexico with a satchel of $2,000,000, and a bloody past, finds himself under sudden attack in the sleepy town of El Fronteras.

We need more direct-to-video movies like El Gringo. Not to be mistaken for the phenomenal Mel Gibson movie Get the Gringo, this Scott Adkins-starring actioner may be low-budget, but it fulfils expectations with confidence. 99% of action movies these days have digital muzzle flashes and fake-looking digital blood, but El Gringo is old-school, with no noticeable digital shit. Blank-firing weapons are used, and practical blood squibs erupt in glorious showers of red. Hell, there's even real fire and 'splosions. It's awesome. The highlight is a ten-minute "run and gun" sequence around the midway mark that was reportedly guest directed by Isaac Florentine - it's a violent, deliriously entertaining set-piece, destined to be a YouTube sensation. Adkins is a worthy action hero, and he shows yet again why he deserves to be Hollywood's next big thing. Indeed, if Adkins was around in the '80s, he would've been snapped up by Golan-Globus in a heartbeat. El Gringo does rely on a few over-the-top visual gimmicks and it can't always maintain its furious pace, but for the most part I enjoyed it.

6.3/10

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People who added this item 81 Average listal rating (59 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.1
6 Bullets (2012)
The greater the sinner, the greater the saint.

Viewed: June 7th

Plot: An ex-mercenary known for finding missing children is hired by a mixed martial arts fighter whose daughter has been kidnapped.

6 Bullets is pretty much Jean-Claude Van Damme's answer to Taken, as it spotlights the veteran action star in Eastern European locations, killing dozens of unnamed extras as he works to find a young girl sold into sex trafficking. As direct-to-video distractions go, you could do a lot worse than this flick, as it's chock full of fun, brutal action scenes and it makes good use of the Mussels from Brussels. Still, it is definitely overlong at 115 minutes, it does feel on the cheap side (especially with the digital photography, the Eastern European locations, and a few moments of shonky direction), and of course it's both silly and generic. Flaws aside, though, it is entertaining, and the movie has a solid ace in the hole in the form of Joe Flanigan, a charismatic actor who can also fight fairly well.

6.4/10

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He's a cop who reached the Boiling Point.

Viewed: June 7th

Plot: A pair of sociopath killers take on the police and the mob in order to make one last big score.

Boiling Point is a populated with interesting characters and is driven by an intriguing plot, but it can never quite get to where it wants to go. Warner Bros. reportedly trimmed the movie quite a bit upon purchasing it, and both Dennis Hopper and director James B. Harris were unhappy with the final cut - and watching the film in its current form, this is understandable. The storytelling is often rather leaden, and it's occasionally hard to figure out precisely what's going on. Interestingly, though the picture was marketed as an action movie (the poster even has Wesley Snipes holding a gun), it's more of a slow-burning thriller. Hopper gives a powerhouse performance as always, and Snipes is his usual reliable self, but the enterprise is ultimately very mediocre.

5.2/10

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People who added this item 189 Average listal rating (134 ratings) 5.3 IMDB Rating 5.6
When the law can't protect the innocent, the only hero left is an outlaw.

Viewed: June 7th

Plot: Escaped convict Sam Gillen single handedly takes on ruthless developers determined to evict Clydie - a widow with two young children.

Nobody will ever count Nowhere to Run among Jean-Claude Van Damme's best action movies, as it's not as deliriously entertaining as the likes of Universal Soldier or Hard Target. Nevertheless, this minor entry to Van Damme's filmography has aged quite gracefully, and stands as a fairly good motion picture in its own right thanks to its tender story. Of course, everything does come to a head for a violent climax, but the mayhem doesn't feel out of place, and it's handled both tastefully and skilfully. As long as you don't expect Nowhere to Run to be full of cheesy action all the way through, this is a good film.

6.8/10

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People who added this item 89 Average listal rating (62 ratings) 4.9 IMDB Rating 5.7
A one man army. A new kind of soldier in a new kind of war.

Viewed: June 8th

Plot: A man's best friend is killed on the streets of New York. The man (Robert Ginty) then transforms into a violent killer, turning New York into a great war zone and Christopher George is the only one to stop him.

Another cheesy vigilante flick manufactured in the shadow of Death Wish, The Exterminator pretty much met my expectations. Incredibly violent and with a bit of social commentary on its mind, it's a through-and-through '80s actioner, and the gaudy costuming, exaggerated villains and graphic bullet hits all add up to a satisfying experience for those who like this kind of thing (i.e. myself). It's generic and some of the storytelling is a little sloppy, but it's still hard to resist the sense of fun.

6.5/10

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People who added this item 770 Average listal rating (525 ratings) 5.5 IMDB Rating 5.9
The Darkest Side of Magic. The Strongest Side of Man.

Viewed: June 8th

Plot: Conan leads a ragtag group of adventurers on a quest for a princess.

For a much-maligned PG-rated sequel, Conan the Destroyer has more merit than I had anticipated. This is indeed a fascinating document of moviemaking in the '80s, when PG action movies could still get away with a fair amount of blood. The first five minutes of this movie contains more blood than some R-rated movies released today! It's still not a patch on John Milius' cult classic original film, however, which was brutal and even had nudity. The problem with Conan the Destroyer is its less-than-interesting story, with a handful of really irritating, broadly-played side-kicks who join Conan in his quest. Also, the entire thing just suffers from the lack of Milius' involvement. Still, there are some entertaining sequences here, and I've certainly seen worse movies.

5.9/10

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People who added this item 136 Average listal rating (98 ratings) 5.3 IMDB Rating 5.5
Navy Seals (1990)
They're America's secret weapon against terrorism.

Viewed: June 9th

Plot: While rescuing an American air crew captured by Mid-Eastern terrorists, Lieutenant Curran and his team of Navy SEALs discover evidence that the terrorists have come into possession of dangerous high-tech weapons.

Another insanely underrated old-school action film, Navy Seals is a damn sight better than 2012's Act of Valor. Rather than wooden real-life Seals, the characters here are played by some badass thespians, including Charlie Sheen, Michael Biehn, and Bill Paxton. The presence of those guys alone is enough to make this thing worth checking out, so it's fortunate to report that the movie itself is actually pretty damn good. It's a typical action movie plot concerning international terrorists and so on, but it's executed with enough flair. The action scenes are where this picture really shines. The extended opening shootout is sensational, while the climax features another prolonged action scene that's both intense and insanely violent. Old-school action lovers owe it to themselves to watch this one, it's a winner.

7.3/10

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People who added this item 82 Average listal rating (53 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 5.8
A man murdered in cold blood. But they didn't count on his brother's revenge!

Viewed: June 9th

Plot: Truman, a Chicago cop, sets out to find the killer of his brother. Meanwhile, another of his brothers, Briar (a hillbilly) decides to find the killer himself.

Here's another enormously underrated action-thriller gem which deserves more love. Directed by John Irvin (Raw Deal, Hamburger Hill) and starring the likes of Patrick Swayze, Liam Neeson, Bill Paxton, Helen Hunt, Ben Stiller (very young here!), Adam Baldwin and the one-armed man from The Fugitive, it's of a pretty impressive pedigree, and luckily the script serves them well. This is an interesting, engaging little revenge film punctuated by some impressive action scenes, and it's brought to life through excellent, focused direction courtesy of Irvin. It's also a bit more classy than the usual action offering, though it does pull out all the stops for the climax. Next of Kin is well worth watching for action lovers or anyone who's a fan of the late great Patrick Swayze.

7.5/10

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In a town with no justice, there is only one law... Every man for himself.

Viewed: June 9th

Plot: A drifting gunslinger-for-hire finds himself in the middle of an ongoing war between the Irish and Italian mafia in a Prohibition era ghost town.

Last Man Standing is one badass motion picture. It was written and directed by Walter Hill, and it carries all of his trademarks, with hardboiled dialogue, an antihero at the centre of the story, and plenty of violence. The movie is actually an adaptation of the Akira Kurosawa pic Yojimbo, which was previously remade as the Clint Eastwood western A Fistful of Dollars. Although Last Man Standing is technically a western with its 1930s setting, it's very much a film noir, with Bruce Willis playing a Humphrey Bogart type, a role that he nails. From the very outset, I was under this movie's spell - Hill's focused direction and taut storytelling kept me riveted until the end, and the idiosyncratic Walter Hill noir-esque voiceover was a great touch. But the best thing about Last Man Standing is the action. Oh dear lord, the shootouts here are incredibly badass, some of the best I have ever seen in a motion picture. Insanely violent and astutely orchestrated, I was mightily impressed, even though I'm in the midst of a month full of action movies. I do not understand the hate for Last Man Standing; it's a really underrated, gripping addition to Hill's filmography that benefits from the presence of both Willis and Christopher Walken. C'mon, who can dislike a movie with Chris Walken?

7.9/10

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People who added this item 798 Average listal rating (553 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.7
These are the Armies of The Night. They are 60,000 strong. They outnumber the cops three to one. They could run New York City. Tonight they're all out to get the Warriors.

Viewed: June 10th

Plot: In 1979 a charismatic leader summons the street gangs of New York City in a bid to take it over. When he is killed, The Warriors are falsely blamed and now must fight their way home while every other gang is hunting them down to kill them.

Another Walter Hill classic sneaks its way into my line-up for this month, and it's a cult classic that I probably should have watched a long time ago. The Warriors deserves its reputation, it's a solid little movie which carries an astonishing sense of time & place, and it can be pretty dark and unnerving at times. The cast is spot-on from top to bottom, and it's amusing to see David Patrick Kelly - Sully from Commando - in an earlier role. It's not really an accurate portrayal of New York gang life, playing out like some campfire fable taking place in a fictional world, and that gives Hill license to indulge in a few fantastical scenes, including some entertaining fights. The Warriors deserves its reputation.

7.9/10

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People who added this item 250 Average listal rating (140 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.2
He'll get you away faster than anyone else on wheels.

Viewed: June 10th

Plot: "The Driver" is a specialist in a rare business: he drives getaway cars in robberies. His exceptional talent prevented him from being caught yet. After another successful flight from the police, a self-assured detective makes it his primary goal to catch the Driver. He promises remission of punishment to a gang if they help to convict him in a set-up robbery. The Driver seeks help from "The Player" (Isabelle) to mislead the detective.

As much as I love Nicolas Winding Refn's 2011 masterpiece Drive, it's undeniable that he was heavily inspired by Walter Hill's The Driver. This is one insanely cool, stylish action movie, an early Walter Hill effort that again exhibits all of his favourite idiosyncrasies. The car chases here are truly pristine, shot and edited with sublime kinetic energy that's hard to top even by today's standards. The dense sense of atmosphere, the stylish photography which makes brilliant use of shadows...The Driver is a winner from top to bottom, and the film is beautifully rendered on Blu-ray which does justice to the top-flight filmmaking. The cast is spotless, with the actors all putting in solid work across the board. This is one of Hill's very best movies, and it absolutely holds up.

8.3/10

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The ultimate American fighting machine is back!

Viewed: June 10th

Plot: On a remote Caribbean island, Army Ranger Joe Armstrong investigates the disappearance of several marines, which leads him to The Lion, a super-criminal who has kidnapped a local scientist and mass-produced an army of mutant Ninja warriors.

Yeah, American Ninja 2 is exactly what I wanted and expected it to be - nothing more, nothing less. Being a Cannon ninja flick from the 1980s, it's cheese city, and it's all the more entertaining because of it. What separates these cheapie '80s action movies from their more contemporary brethren is the complete lack of pretension. Indeed, Cannon films like American Ninja 2 deliver what they promise on the tin, and have no delusions about being more than the entertaining actioners that they are. American Ninja 2 serves up plenty of violent, athletic action (including an early beach fight with Steve James looking ripped as shit in his swimmers), and it's delivered with such corny sincerity that I fell in love instantly.

6.3/10

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Evil with no cure. A warrior with no fear.

Viewed: June 12th

Plot: Jackson is back, and now he has a new partner, karate champion Sean, as they must face a deadly terrorist known as "The Cobra", who has infected Sean with a virus. Sean and Jackson have no choice but to fight the Cobra and his bands of ninjas.

Oh boy. The first two American Ninja movies are bad from a critical perspective, but their awfulness is endearing. American Ninja 3 - the only instalment in the franchise not to feature Michael Dudikoff - is just bad. It's a typical, cheap '80s Cannon ninja flick, and though it has a few entertaining moments, for the most part it's just utterly humdrum. Scenes play out in the most ridiculous way possible, and a lot of the fights just look half-assed.

3.8/10

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The tradition lives on!

Viewed: June 12th

Plot: The two American Ninjas, Joe Armstrong and Sean Davidson, team up to do battle against a terrorist and his band of Ninjas.

Although marginally better than American Ninja 3, there aren't many positive things which can be said about this third sequel to the mightily entertaining Michael Dudikoff vehicle. Strangely, although Dudikoff returns here in at least some capacity (only really for the second half), Steve James is mysteriously absent from the cast. Really, why did they bother? Studiously overlong at around 100 minutes, and often incredibly stupid without being entertaining, this cheap Cannon production cannot belie its trashy origins. At least the movie eventually picks up as the climax approaches, but there's nothing worth writing home about. For the most part, American Ninja 4 is flat. It's not worth your time.

4.3/10

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People who added this item 33 Average listal rating (23 ratings) 4.7 IMDB Rating 5.1
Seduction is a deadly weapon!

Viewed: June 12th

Plot: A CIA agent gets caught up in political intrigue after he gets brought in to solve the murder of a Cuban ambassador.

With First Blood director Ted Kotcheff at the helm, Hidden Assassin is worth a look. Not groundbreaking by any means, it fulfils its modest ambitions of being an entertaining action-thriller, and it does so without many of the drawbacks usually associated with the genre. Yeah, it's patently silly and the script gives over to excess to allow for more gun battles and violence, but such sequences are handled with a deft touch. Add to this the R rating which allows for plenty of blood-letting, and the presence of seasoned action star Dolph Lundgren (not to mention there's female titties as well), and Hidden Assassin isn't bad.

6.2/10

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When crime is personal there are no rules.

Viewed: June 12th

Plot: A cop, his partner, and his father uncover a plot by city elders to smuggle drugs from Mexico into Phoenix, Arizona.

No Code of Conduct is a perfectly acceptable way to kill 90 minutes. A fun, underrated old-school action-thriller from the late 1990s, it has Charlie Sheen playing, well, Charlie Sheen, and Martin Sheen is on hand to play his dad. Paul Gleason is in the cast as well, a nice little addition for fans of the action genre. The movie is not balls-to-the-wall action, but it does have a handful of seriously entertaining (and vehemently R-rated) set-pieces, not to mention an explosive climax that caps off the movie in style. It drags out a lot of old cliches and it's nothing that you'll remember a few days after viewing, but I certainly do not regret spending my time on it. Furthermore, I do not regret purchasing the dirt cheap Blu-ray pack which contains it - I'll be sure to pull it out on a forthcoming beer & pizza night.

And did I mention Charlie Sheen is a boss?

6.8/10

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People who added this item 45 Average listal rating (34 ratings) 5 IMDB Rating 4.7
He will bring her back alive whatever the cost.

Viewed: June 13th

Plot: The tough and cold mercenary Warchild, is working for the man who took care of his war training and upbringing, the greedy General Ruechang. Ruechang is planning to take over the country by marrying Princess Halo. But Halo discovers that Ruechang killed her father to gain more power than he had working for the King, so she decides to run away. Warchild is the one who has to bring her back to Ruechang, but the one thing no one counted on happens... Warchild and Halo falls in love, and together they take on the forces of Ruechang...

And here, ladies and gentlemen, we have the first through-and-through dud of the month. Although Bridge of Dragons has some interesting ideas, it doesn't have the budget or the vision to do anything decent with them. This is the type of cheap late-'90s action movie which gives direct-to-video flicks a bad name, even with Isaac Florentine at the helm, who went on to make a handful of gems. Production values are about on a par with a regular VHS-shot backyard production (most YouTube videos have more worth), the Bulgarian locations look cheap and bland, the performances aren't worth a damn, and none of the action scenes are remotely exciting. Yeah people get shot and fall done, but there's no flair or style to this boring shite; it's all very amateurish and unspectacular. Productions of this ilk should at least be counted upon to dish up bloody action, but again this piece of crap falls flat. Blood squibs are only very occasionally used - for the most part, people fall down with no visible wounds or holes. It's really shoddy. Bridge of Dragons has no dragons, or bridges, and it is absolutely not worth your time. I only watched it because it came in a triple pack with The Mechanik and Detention. The couldn't have packaged them with a more worthwhile movie?

2.5/10

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It's not paranoia if they're really after you.

Viewed: June 13th

Plot: A lawyer becomes a target by a corrupt politician and his NSA goons when he accidentally receives key evidence to a serious politically motivated crime.

Enemy of the State is the better version of 2008's stinker Eagle Eye, as it benefits from the touch of the late Tony Scott and some fine thespians in the cast. Although it runs over two hours, this is a thriller which really moves, going by at such a brisk pace that I was scarcely bored. It is silly at times (a preposterously, impossibly advanced security camera "enhancement" moment feels like something from a spoof film), but it's sold with enough gusto by the cast, led by the reliable Will Smith. It entertained me and didn't insult my intelligence, and that's what matters.

7.3/10

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People who added this item 310 Average listal rating (222 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 5.8
The star of Above the Law is back. Now...Steven Seagal is hard to kill.

Viewed: June 13th

Plot: Mason Storm, a 'go it alone' cop, is gunned down at home. The intruders kill his wife, and think they've killed both Mason and his son too. Mason is secretly taken to a hospital where he spends several years in a coma. His son meanwhile is growing up thinking his father is dead. When Mason wakes up, everyone is in danger - himself, his son, his best friend, his nurse - but most of all those who arranged for his death

Another early Steven Seagal actioner that I really should have watched sooner, Hard to Kill is a perfectly serviceable 95-minute guy flick that has no pretensions of being anything other than a fun time. At this stage in the Sensei's career, it is clear his ego was starting to sneak into the equation - Kelly LeBrock falls for him effortlessly, Seagal can outrun an assassin whilst rowing himself around on a stretcher...Seagal even survives multiple SHOTGUN HITS before going down. Goodness. So, yes, Hard to Kill is very silly, but it's imbued with an intriguing plot which provides enough story material, and the flick never slides into tedium thanks to the skilful craftsmanship and astute pacing. The action sequences are good value, with plenty of visceral impact to all the bullet hits. Anyone who enjoys a fun Seagal flick, or just an enjoyable beer & pizza actioner, should definitely check this one out.

6.8/10

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He's mean . . . And he'll blast through your screen!

Viewed: June 14th

Plot: With the help of a magic ticket, a young film fan is transported into the fictional world of his favorite action film character.

I had seen bits & pieces of this film on television maybe ten years ago and I couldn't remember anything, but I figured there was no time like the present to properly watch this Schwarzenegger flick that I wasn't familiar with. Last Action Hero was a troubled production, with filming and post going on way too close to its scheduled release. And though it was critically savaged and it's way too long at a mammoth 130 minutes, this is a fun, amusing treat which sets its satirical sights on the Hollywood action scene. It has wonderful self-aware meta humour (Shane Black contributed to the script) and Schwarzenegger openly parodies his own image with gusto. Unlike today's spoof movies, Last Action Hero is both a fun satire and a solid Schwarzenegger action flick, and the PG-13 rating didn't even bother me much since said rating is actually one of the things the film itself ridicules. It's all put together competently by veteran John McTiernan. I don't understand the hate for this one; it's really enjoyable and it made me laugh out loud on several occasions.

7.3/10

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He's a cop. It's a dirty job... but somebody's got to take out the garbage.

Viewed: June 14th

Plot: Brooklyn cop Gino Felino is about to go outside and play catch with his son Tony when he receives a phone call alerting him that his best friend Bobby Lupo has been shot dead in broad daylight on 18th Avenue in front of his wife Laurie Lupo and his two kids by drug kingpin Richie Madano, who has been Gino and Bobby's enemy since childhood. As Gino is hunting Madano down, Gino discovers the motive behind Bobby's murder. This is when Gino's hunt for Madano leads to the showdown of a lifetime.

Another all-in-good-fun vintage action movie of the sort that I love watching, Out for Justice is exactly the type of film I wanted to see by doing this month. At about 90 minutes, this is a brisk, entertaining Steven Seagal vehicle which goes by briskly enough and contains a handful of exciting, excessively violent action sequences. One cannot defend this film as anything other than a red meat guilty pleasure, and that's fine. I enjoyed it.

6.2/10

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Every war has a beginning.

Viewed: June 14th

Plot: An origins story centered on the centuries-old feud between the race of aristocratic vampires and their onetime slaves, the Lycans.

Another one of those random outliers I've intended to watch for years but never got round to it, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans has more worth than I ever expected. Without series star Kate Beckinsale, I expected this to just be some cheap riff which doesn't contribute much to the franchise, but it is in fact a solid prequel which sets up the rivalry between the vampires and the lycans, and the rift between Lucian and Viktor. Solidly paced and running under 85 minutes, it goes by effortlessly and it's a fun watch, packed with plenty of violent action. And with this entry being set in medieval times, the warriors here are using swords and axes, which is a refreshing change of pace. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans doesn't have a great deal of story material, and it's pretty slight, but one has to admire the beautiful simplicity. I approve.

7.1/10

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People who added this item 856 Average listal rating (541 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.6
The path is unsafe. The place is unknown. The journey is unbelievable.

Viewed: June 15th

Plot: A discovery made by a kung fu obsessed American teen sends him on an adventure to China, where he joins up with a band of martial arts warriors in order to free the imprisoned Monkey King.

I have never enjoyed the Wuxia genre. Hero and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon did nothing for me, with their vague narratives, terrible dialogue, and incredibly obvious wirework souring those movies big time. But blow me, The Forbidden Kingdom is one Wuxia movie which really works. Filtered through the eyes of a westerner, and featuring Jackie Chan and Jet Li who are as athletic as ever, the movie carries an interesting story and is filled in with some insanely exciting action scenes. The Li/Chan throwdown is a particular highlight, and it's a treat to see these two martial arts legends engaging in a vicious brawl. Some people call the movie "Americanized" or dumbed down, but that's not an accurate label. The flavour of foreign Wuxia movies is here, with the same brand of wirework-heavy action and lavish production design. Just because the narrative is easy to understand, that doesn't mean it's dumbed down. The Forbidden Kingdom is mightily enjoyable and I will certainly be watching it again.

7.4/10

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People who added this item 640 Average listal rating (434 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.5
The cop who won't stop is back. But this time he's chasing down a lot more than a fugitive.

Viewed: June 15th

Plot: US Marshal Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) and his team of Marshals are assigned to track down Sheridan (Wesley Snipes), a murderer and robber.

A perfectly respectable sequel/spin-off to The Fugitive, U.S. Marshals retains the basic idea of the film which spawned it, but changes things up by introducing a splash of political conspiracy. Tommy Lee Jones is as good as ever, but the movie also brings back his ace team from the original, as well as introducing some superb newcomers like Robert Downey Jr and Wesley Snipes. It runs too long at 131 minutes, but it is an entertaining action-thriller with some decent set-pieces.

6.9/10

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People who added this item 204 Average listal rating (116 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.6
To avenge his masters death, He'll fight like never before!

Viewed: June 15th

Plot: In 1937, a Chinese martial artist returns to Shanghai to find his teacher dead and his school harassed by the Japanese.

If all martial arts movies are as viscerally exciting, brutal and amazing as Fist of Legend, then I really have been missing out. Produced during Jet Li's heyday, it's a gorgeously-produced 104-minute action picture with a surprisingly rousing plot and some adequately-developed characters. But the movie really soars when it comes to the fights, when the talented performers are given the chance to showcase their insane skills. The sound effects are cartoonish of course, but that's part of the charm.

7.7/10

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People who added this item 1526 Average listal rating (1037 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 7.1
Stargate (1994)
It will take you a million light years from home. But will it bring you back?

Viewed: June 16th

Plot: An interstellar teleportation device, found in Egypt, leads to a planet with humans resembling ancient Egyptians who worship the god Ra.

I have always enjoyed Roland Emmerich's brand of blockbuster entertainment (yes, even Godzilla), and Stargate was his only big-budget production I hadn't seen...until now. Rich with imagination and bolstered by a fantastic cast (notably Kurt Russell and James Spader, both of whom are exceptional), it's easy to see why this movie was such a big hit, and why it spawned such a tremendous expanded television universe. Most of the characters are pretty flat, the story is painted in broad strokes of black & white, and the science is primary school-level, but it all comes together because Emmerich is so good at making fun movies.

7.1/10

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In A World Without Rules, He Makes His Own.

Viewed: June 16th

Plot: In Los Angeles, an ex-con takes the underground fighting world by storm in his quest to fulfill a promise to a dead friend.

Blood and Bone is a direct-to-video movie, and it does look like one. There is some horrendously cheap CGI blood, bullet hits are non-existent, and almost every scene feels like it needed more money. But Blood and Bone works thanks to skilful pacing and the talents of the fighters here. Michael Jai White is a fucking monster, and the movie gives him free reign to engage in some of the most viscerally exciting fights you'll ever see in a DTV movie (Undisputed aside). Indeed, the sheer athleticism of the brawls here is unreal, elevating this above the usual standard for DTV movies that often revolve around toy guns, digital muzzle flashes, digital blood, and half-assed fights. Quality DTV movies are rare, but Blood and Bone is a worthy addition to anybody's collection.

7.0/10

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People who added this item 168 Average listal rating (117 ratings) 4.9 IMDB Rating 5.4
Replicant (2001)
A ruthless killer... To destroy him, they had to create him.

Viewed: June 16th

Plot: Scientists create a genetic clone of a serial killer in order to help catch the killer, teaming up with two cops.

The premise behind Replicant is incredibly stupid and essentially sci-fi, but it's a creative little device that's suitable for a B-movie. With Jean-Claude Van Damme and Michael Rooker headlining this one, Replicant is a bit better than its reputation suggests. It's a fun, well-performed little action movie that isn't high brow, but it is effective and competently made.

6.3/10

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People who added this item 141 Average listal rating (111 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 6.1
Sniper (1993)
One Shot. One Kill. No Exceptions.

Viewed: June 16th

Plot: Tough guy Thomas Beckett is a US Marine working in the Panamanian jungle. His job is to seek out rebels and remove them using his sniper skills. Beckett is notorious for losing his partners on such missions. This time he's accompanied by crack marksman Richard Miller, who's more of an office-type. Together they plan to seek out an important rebel leader, whilst avoiding a rogue marksman who frequents this part of the jungle.

The title of Sniper tells you everything you need to know about this movie. It's an American military action film, and it provides a sufficient amount of shootouts and snipering to keep any army nut satisfied. Shot in Queensland, Australia, the dense jungle setting is hugely effective and atmospheric; you can literally feel the heat emanating off the screen. It's well-performed too, with Tom Berenger a badass lead while Billy Zane fulfils the requirements of his role with ease. Surprisingly, there are some nice character moments here to give the leads some degree of humanity. Sniper is a bit too long and could've used a bit of extra energy and snap, but the action is nevertheless exciting and violent, and that's about all I wanted from this one. I'll definitely be keeping the movie in my film library for future viewings.

6.7/10

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People who added this item 973 Average listal rating (654 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.4
How do you stop an assassin who has no identity?

Viewed: June 17th

Plot: An imprisoned IRA sniper is freed to help stop a brutal, seemingly "faceless" assassin from completing his next job.

Not so much an action movie but rather an assassin thriller, The Jackal is another underrated flick which doesn't deserve all the hatred and scorn. With Bruce Willis starring here, most will probably be expecting another Die Hard knockoff with the actor portraying the hero, but that's not the case - Willis sinks his teeth into a colourful villain role, allowing him the chance to flex his acting muscles. It really works. And Richard Gere's Irish accent is surprisingly convincing. Clocking in at about two hours, this is one long movie, but the narrative is sustained; there's momentum and tension, and above all it's well performed by all the thespians in the cast here. Furthermore, it's crafted with a sure hand, and the various action scenes are competent. However, the ending is a bit of a dud, closing in a very Hollywood fashion. Still, The Jackal is a solid watch.

6.8/10

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People who added this item 203 Average listal rating (147 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6
The Government gave her a choice. Death. Or life as an assassin. Now, there's no turning back.

Viewed: June 17th

Plot: Hardened criminal Maggie Hayward's consistent violence, even in police custody, ends in the execution chamber. However, top-secret US government agent 'Bob' arranges a staged death, so Maggie can be elaborately trained as a phantom killer and subdued into obedience. She gets a new cover identity as saleswoman Claudia Anne Doran. She also gets a wonderful house-mate, building super J.P., a broad-minded, gentle photographer. The two fall in love, and that complicates hit jobs. His good influence extends to breeding in her a conscience that places love over business, unlike Bob's agency.

An American adaptation of Luc Besson's La Femme Nikita, Point of No Return is a middling action effort without much to raise it above the ordinary. The movie's best achievement is the execution of Bridget Fonda's transformation from ugly junkie lowlife to sleek assassin; she looks genuinely putrid in her earlier scenes. The action scenes, too, definitely deliver, and the movie tries to be something more than just action by introducing a love angle which interferes with Fonda's work. It's a nice idea, but in practise it just drags, with the film going too long at about 110 minutes. Still, there is some merit to this one.

6.0/10

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The 'Mad Dog' Criminal...The 'Lone Wolf' Lawman...The Ultimate Showdown.

Viewed: June 17th

Plot: Legendary renegade Texas Range J.J. McQuade is fierce with a gun - but lethal with his black belt! When his teenage daughter's life is threatened by hijackers attempting to steal a truck full of weapons and ammunition, the job becomes personal for McQuade.

Lone Wolf McQuade is classic, quintessential Chuck Norris, as the bearded superstar charms ladies, does roundhouse kicks, uses firearms, and plays a lethal Texas Ranger. It's not high art, but it knows exactly what it is, and it doesn't pretend to be anything other than a cheesy B-movie. And that's fine. The action scenes are enjoyable, including an opening sequence that sets the tone beautifully. And it rolls out all the other cliches one would expect, including Norris getting a partner he doesn't want, and not being popular with his bosses who find his methods a little extreme. But criticising Lone Wolf McQuade for being cheesy or silly would be foolish - that's like criticising an Oscar winner for being too dramatic. It's pure '80s awesomeness, and I enjoyed every minute.

7.6/10

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The toughest cop in the world...just got tougher.

Viewed: June 18th

Plot: A Chicago cop is caught in a middle of a gang war while his own comrades shun him because he wants to take an irresponsible cop down.

Another stereotypical Chuck Norris movie, Code of Silence delivers everything it promises on the tin. It's a standard-order plot involving gangs and a renegade hero and so on, but the execution is solid, with director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive) showing a firm grasp on pacing and storytelling. The movie really shines for its climax, when Chuck and an armed robot (yes, an armed robot) go up against a whole cavalcade of nameless goons. Violence and awesomeness ensues. Chuck even uses a freaking shotgun. Any fans of Chuck Norris, or '80s action flicks in general, will get a kick out of this one. I'll certainly be doing repeat viewings.

6.7/10

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People who added this item 71 Average listal rating (50 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.7
Every journey must begin with one small step.

Viewed: June 18th

Plot: Yuda, a skilled practitioner of Silat Harimau, travels to Jakarta as part of his "merantau" - his rite of passage into adulthood. However he finds himself defending a young orphan from a human trafficking ring.

Welsh director Gareth Evans' precursor to the game-changing The Raid, Merantau is a little-seen, overlooked little martial arts action movie that does its job well enough. It's more or less a Tony Jaa movie with Iko Uwais as the lead, and that's fine, because Evans' execution is pretty freaking solid. No, it's not The Raid, but this minor demo reel for Evans' Indonesian martial arts career is full of brutal, hard-hitting, insanely enjoyable action scenes, and it even has a bit of heart to boot. It's certainly silly and cartoonish - especially with fights that go on for a long time and you have to wonder how people can take such punishment - not to mention conventional, but I enjoyed it. It's much better than the usual standard for direct-to-video action movies, that's for damn sure.

7.2/10

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I love action movies, they are my bread and butter. I've seen a lot of action movies, but there are still some unseen that I need to watch. I have taken onboard every random recommendation, and come up with a list of action films I need to watch. If I was to watch them casually, it would take forever. I have, however, decided that June will be my month of action movies. 3-4 titles per day for as long as I can manage.

Below is the list of movies I wish to watch, and the list will be updated when one has been viewed, with my brief thoughts on it. Recommendations are welcome, though if you recommend me some modern PG-13 shite, you will be ridiculed and have stones thrown at you.

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