Nida Faraz describes some scintillating action films
On the surface, Exceptional action movies are all about the adrenaline pumping fights, explosive shootouts, imperishable warriors and hopeless causes, with a little romance and comedy sprinkled in. Some follow classic battles between good and evil with larger-than-life personas taking on entire armies to fight for what’s right. Others portray a sea of grey characters trying to get their way in cruel and brutal environments. Many of the greatest action movies ever made dive far deeper than simple fast and flashy violence and create complex characters, vibrant worlds, and engrossing stories, while also pushing the envelope with amazingly choreographed action scenes and special effects.
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Elliot Page, Ken Watanabe. Director Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending sci-fi thriller stars Leonardo DiCaprio as “extractor” and fugitive Dominick Cobb. Extractors use experimental military technology to extract information from targets of corporate espionage. The technology allows the users and target to enter a shared lucid dream world where they can craft whatever sort of environment they want, potentially deceiving a target into divulging secrets. Cobb is offered a job that will clear his legal troubles, but he must push the technology to dangerous limits.
The Terminator (1984)
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, Paul Winfield. In one of the most iconic sci-fi action movies of all time, Arnold Schwarzenegger takes on the titular role of the tenacious cyborg assassin known simply as a “Terminator.” Arnold’s character has been sent back from the year 2029 to 1984, to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of an unborn child who will one day lead humanity’s resistance against an army of hostile robots. Kyle Reese, a human soldier, is also sent back in time to protect Connor, and humanity’s only hope for survival. The blockbuster hit was directed and created by James Cameron, who reportedly got the idea for the film from a fever dream.
Die Hard (1988)
Starring: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson. Another high octane ride, “Die Hard” propelled actor Bruce Willis to stardom and began one of the biggest action franchises of all time. German radical Hans Gruber and his heavily armed accomplices seize corporate tower Nakatomi Plaza in an attempt to steal millions in bearer bonds from the company vault. However, New York police detective John McClane just so happens to be trapped in the building with the criminals. Expectations for “Die Hard” were very low before its release but the movie turned out to be a massive hit.
The Dark Knight (2008)
Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine. “The Dark Knight” set the bar exceptionally high for superhero movies and, so far, hasn’t been surpassed. The grim superhero adventure is filled with darkness and violence as Batman seeks to keep the city of Gotham safe while dealing with his own demons. Heath Ledger delivered an astounding performance as psychopathic villain The Joker. The movie crafts a sinister and shady city, overrun with crime, where only a vigilante can bring the worst offenders to justice.
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, John Rhys-Davies. Archaeologist and explorer Indiana Jones is on a mission to find the fabled Ark of the Covenant before it falls into the hands of Nazi Germany. To beat the Nazis, he must traverse treacherous ancient temples, decode mysterious messages, and defeat evil with his iconic whip and pistol. The soundtrack to the film, including the memorable theme song, was created by legendary composer John Williams. The movie won five Academy Awards in 1982 and spawned several sequels.
White Heat (1949)
Starring: James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O’Brien, Margaret Wycherly. Set in the 1930s, “White Heat” is a crime noir film that follows Arthur “Cody” Jarrett (James Cagney), a psychopathic criminal with a mild Oedipus Complex. Cody leads a gang of cutthroats who specialize in robbery and often leave behind a pile of bodies. Cody must navigate lawmen constantly trying to unwind his criminal network and criminals seeking to kill him for his riches. The Weekender