Top 10 Manliest Movies of 2017
Movie list created by PvtCaboose91
"I'd rather knit baby booties with pink yarn than hit people for no reason."
Making another movie in the shadow of sleeper surprise Bone Tomahawk is a tall order for any filmmaker, but auteur newcomer S. Craig Zahler defies the odds almost effortlessly. Brawl in Cell Block 99 is a fucking masterpiece from top to bottom; a brutal, riveting showcase of extreme violence and hyper-masculine behaviour, buoyed by superb direction and a brilliant performance by Vince Vaughn, who’s ostensibly out to reinvent himself after Hacksaw Ridge and now this. Zahler’s masterwork succeeds because it’s unafraid of length; this is an uncomplicated movie which could have probably run a proverbial 89 minutes, but Zahler lets the narrative breath with a runtime of over two hours, creating an intoxicating atmosphere and keeping us under his spell until the very end. I found myself riveted by every dialogue exchange and visual frame, unsure of what will happen next because Vaughn plays such an unpredictably brutal motherfucker. Visceral prison fight scenes are welcomely steady, often occurring in extended wide angles so we can watch the choreography properly. The film really takes off when Don Johnson enters the picture, though; he exudes masculinity and badassery from every pore. The extended climax is heart-stopping and impossible to tear your eyes away from, while the film actually ends with a bit of unforced emotion. The prosthetic violence and gore effects are fucking top-notch, allowing us to watch faces get ripped off and arms being brutally broken. This is the kind of violence that makes you cringe and turn away (awesome though it certainly is), which is so fucking rare in contemporary flicks.
Brawl in Cell Block 99 is one for the ages. I will never forget it, and it will be on continual rotation at my place. It’s the work of a genuine auteur who doesn’t give a damn about political correctness, and who has instantly mastered the language of cinema. It’s also the manliest prison movie ever made.
"You stabbed the devil in the back and forced him back into the life that he had just left. You incinerated the priest's temple. Burned it to the ground. Now he's free of the marker, what do you think he'll do?"
You'll note that the outstanding original John Wick took first place on my Manliest Movies of 2014 list, so it should come as little surprise to see the sequel sharing a similar honour. Gloriously violent and inventive, John Wick: Chapter 2 is the best kind of action sequel, as it goes bigger but never loses sight of the charms of its predecessor. Compared to big-budget summer blockbusters, the John Wick movies offer a refreshing dose of ferocious, old-school action that's considerably more gripping than motion pictures that cost five times as much. For action lovers, John Wick: Chapter 2 is pure heaven.
"Nature made me a freak. Man made me a weapon. And God made it last too long."
Logan/Wolverine has always been one of the manliest motherfuckers in the Marvel canon, but the movies so far have consistently failed to serve him due to PG-13 ratings and aiming said movies at teenagers. But that all changes with Logan, which is both one of the year's best all-round movies, and one of the manliest movies of 2017. Taking its cues from movies like Unforgiven, this is a compelling, gloriously violent and undeniably adult version of the character, giving Hugh Jackman the sendoff he deserved all along. Whereas Deadpool was a flat-out fun R-rated comic book movie, Logan is serious, though there are still moments of pure awesome badassery whenever Wolverine starts slaughtering people. This is a must-see!
"You newer models are happy scraping the shit... because you've never seen a miracle."
Blade Runner 2049 is breathtaking. It's a proper movie, and one of the purest cinematic experience of the year with its jaw-dropping visuals and compelling storytelling. It was able to hold my attention better than its iconic predecessor, and that's saying something. It's also a very manly movie, with its mature underlying themes and bursts of R-rated violence, while a grizzled Harrison Ford is the most badass he's been for a long time.
"The fact is, we all started out as someone's little angel. And a place like this forces us to become warriors or victims. Nothing in between can exist here."
Representing something of a spiritual sequel to director Ric Roman Waugh’s 2008 masterpiece Felon, this is one badass crime/prison/drama flick and one of the manliest movies of the year. Admittedly, it does rehash some elements of Felon in terms of both story beats and themes, but it does enough to emerge as its own entity with its own story to tell. First things first, Shot Caller is violent as all hell - when the moments of brutality arrive, you will be taken aback by the savageness, realism and amount of blood on display. A climactic showdown is particularly savage. Indeed, this shows yet again what Waugh is capable of when he’s free of PG-13 restraints (2013’s underwhelming Snitch).
The characters are badass. The violence hits hard. The story is compelling. This is essential manly entertainment.
"There are two things that can make a man move. Fear and greed."
This one got me good. Here's an insanely manly movie about the bond and brotherhood shared between men who put their lives on the line to serve their country and fellow citizens on an almost daily basis. The camaraderie between the central group of twenty firefighters - the Granite Mountain Hotshots - is instantly apparent, and we're right there alongside them as they do their noble work. Only the Brave is an excellent movie because it helps us understand the ins and outs of a firefighter job, and it stays grounded, never coming across as over-the-top. In addition, the movie is incredibly powerful and affecting, but not through corny melodrama - every tear it wrings from you is wholly earned. It also helps that the movie is so damn well-made, with impressive special effects to depict the fires. Yes, the movie is long, but it's not boring, nor does it ever feel like homework - it's old-fashioned in its narrative approach, using the runtime to explore the characters and show us how they ply their skill. It's an instant classic. Good luck trying not to cry at the end.
"Shit, motherfucker. I am... harm's way."
There's always room for a comedy on these lists, and The Hitman's Bodyguard scratches that itch. With the combined talents of Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, this is a riotous, purely fun action-comedy which never lets up and knows how to entertain. The action sequences are always violent and easy to comprehend, while the witty bantering is frequent and on-point. If you're a fan of buddy action-comedies like 48 HRS or Die Hard with a Vengeance, you'll have a good time with The Hitman's Bodyguard.
"As one of our founding Kingsman once said: This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
Leave it to director Matthew Vaughn to make a James Bond-esque spy film that's more fun and more Bond-esque than the actual 007 series. Seriously, this movie has exotic locations, beautiful women and big action sequences like classic Bond, and it's not weighed down by the pretentiousness of Spectre. It's also rendered manly through the goofy gratuitous violence - whereas 007 is PG-13, these Kingsman movies are for adults. It even has Elton John trolling his arse off. If you're in the mood for some light-hearted manly entertainment, Kingsman: The Golden Circle delivers.
"The moment you catch feelings is the moment you catch a bullet."
Another excellent original movie from the reliably brilliant British writer-director Edgar Wright, Baby Driver represents a skilful homage to the iconic "car chase" movies of old, from Bullitt to Walter Hill's The Driver. Wright puts a unique spin on the car chase subgenre - and the action genre writ large - by incorporating music into the production on a major scale. Action sequences are timed to the chosen songs (what a fucking soundtrack it is!), and the hero is unconventional since he has tinnitus and appears to suffer from Asperger's or some other form of Autism. The movie is frequently exciting, and there's a colourful ensemble to carry the production. Admittedly, the movie has trouble when it approaches the finish line, as Wright seems unsure where to finish it, but this isn't enough to undo the huge strengths of what came before. This is exceptional entertainment that will probably appeal to a broader audience, but macho action aficionados should lap it up.
"I don't lose."
The Undisputed sequels have always provided reliable masculine entertaining, particularly with British martial artist Scott Adkins taking centre stage. This long-anticipated fourth Undisputed movie (shot back in 2015) is fun as hell, and despite a modest budget, serves up plenty of fights and violence. Regular franchise helmer Isaac Florentine was forced to vacate the director's chair at the last minute due to personal reasons, replaced by Todor Chapkanov who has a solid history with action movies. To put it simply, the fights will not leave anybody unsatisfied - particularly when Adkins throws down against the astonishingly enormous Martyn Ford, the result is primo entertainment. In addition, the story explores the next stage in Boyka's life after getting out of prison in the third movie, and there's an appreciable element of drama, as Boyka is not being selfish by choosing to fight. Sure, the movie is a little rough around the edges and some of the fights could be longer, but this is still a fun slice of masculine entertainment.