From the popular to the lesser-known movies from around the world, this list speaks of 10 movies, ranked in the personally preferred order (it is normal to have different opinions). So, without further gist, let’s dive into the list.
10. The Diamond Arm (1969, Russia) IMDB: 8.5
The list, officially starts with a comedy directed by Leonid Gaidai, to commemorate a fact that, we really miss the quirky action comedy movies of 1960s and 1970s with genuine narratives. This movie has songs, action sequences and comedy, all the while it satisfies being a perfect pastiche of James Bond’s Goldfinger (1964) (yeah, the gold-diamond and the finger-arm similarity).
9. Akira (1988, Japan) IMDB: 8.0
Akira represents animated movies here. It may not be a hard-core action movie like Ghost in the Shell (1995), but, it is akin similar to the movie next on our list. Akira is unmatched by any traditionally animated movies, for it visuals and action scenes. Though this movie is graphically violent and unsuitable for kids, it is suitable for the adults like you, who curiously wonder what this movie has to offer.
What is the use of an action movie list, without mentioning the neo-apocalyptic ride from The Wachowskis? If so, then, why it is placed very lower in the list?… Because, even though it has more action, the movie is more defined by its philosophy than its action. Regardless, it paves way for its other less-spoken brothers and sisters to occupy higher positions in the list.
7. A Fistful of Dynamite (1971, Italy) IMDB: 7.6
You thought of another Sergio Leone movie? Sorry, it has its place due to its story. The director said, the movie does not depict the real people struggle, but, it happens around the real Mexican Revolution. The director and the audience alike thought, whether it would be better than his Dollars Trilogy, but it is. It has that casual charm to it, especially in the ending, and in the middle, where they blast a bridge (Strictly recommended)!
6. Siva (1989, India) IMDB: 8.1
You may ask: why placing a masala entertainer amid action classics? To answer this, let’s quote the title of this movie director Ram Gopal Varma’s autobiography: “Naa Ishtam!” (My Wish). Because, this movie has all the essence of the director’s later epic Satya (1998) which inspired an entire generation of realistic action movies in Indian industry. Still, it is very hard to see an Indian action movie nowadays, without the essence of Shiva. All the while, the movie talked about crowd psychology, like no other.
5. Hero (2002, China) IMDB: 7.9
It is currently the third highest grossing non-English movie in the US market, overshadowed by the popularity of the similarly-made Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). Nevertheless, Hero has its own important place in the movie universe, because of how it utilized the concept of colour and action, within its narrative, woven by Zhang Yimou. And, let’s not forget its rain fight, an epitome of choreography!
4. Léon: The Professional (1994, France) IMDB: 8.5
From Luc Besson the Professional. When you start watching this, you will meet this promising little girl (Natalie Portman) who will, later in her career, be the monstrous Black Swan or the aide of thunderous God. From her to the heroic Jean Reno to the equally villainous Gary Oldman, the movies is entirely the conviction of these three characters. And, it delivers the raw treat, you expect from the rare combination of Taxi Driver (1976) and Terminator (1984).
3. 300 (2007, USA) IMDB: 7.6
Was there a style, before there was 300? Probably not, except for some exceptionals like Sin City (2005) (another Frank Miller adaptation). It told the world what ‘bleach-bypass’ monochrome look is, and what an easy-to-underestimate guy like Zack Snyder is capable of. It is one of the first (action) movies to properly use cinematic tools like slow-motion. There were some movies which tried to imitate it, including one pathetic sequel. But, 300 remained like a uniquely original. Because, “This… is… Sparta!”
2. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015, USA) IMDB: 8.1
Not to say that this movie was any lesser than the ultimate movie on the list, but someone has to be very partial, when it comes to making “top 10”, right? Nonetheless, for those who need less dialogue, more action, strong narrative and theme (carried by the ever-stronger Charlize Theron) and more stronger antagonist (who has guitar-playing goons), this is a movie for you. And, Tom Hardy was the perfect cherry on top of the sandy cake, baked by George Miller.
1. Snowpiercer (2013, South Korea) IMDB: 7.1
Yeah! It is Korean, Mr. Drump. And let’s say in the accent, Bong Joon-Ho! Before Parasite (2019), there was this never-ending snow-piercing journey of a train, which perfectly crosses stations like social-division, cannibalism, humanity and destiny. And, let’s not forget, it has strong characters and story to place it in right tracks. So was Tilda Swinton’s Minister Mason.
Now, it’s up to you to hunt your favorites!