'Toy Soldiers' (not to be confused with 'Small Soliders', which is actually about toy soldiers while 'Toy Soldiers'... is actually about small soldiers) is yet another deliciously 90s film about a prep school filled with bad boys who must come together to - wait for it - defend themselves against terrorists who have taken over the school. I know! It's so good I could cry - in fact, I am right now as I type this. Starring Sean Astin, as he emerges spectacularly from the baby-faced child actor to fully-fledged teen heartthrob, Wil Wheaton, Keith Coogan and Louis Gossett Jr, this has it all - bombs, terrorists, double denim, robotics, a smart alec kid who proves everyone wrong and lives up to his potential - and best of all, an overly-dramatic death that acts as the call to action. I've got chills! And
it's suitable for the tweenagers in the house and above.
'KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE'
I love 'Kingsman: The Secret Service', and if we're talking about great action movies, this one has it all. Guns, gadgets, exploding heads, double-breasted suits, and puppies! The sequel might be more polarising and troubling, but don't let that get in the way of its superior predecessor. Samuel L Jackson's villain has a lisp, Colin Firth is a bad-ass secret spy, and we get our first look at superstar-in-the-making, Taron Egerton. The action set pieces are thrilling and creative, unlike anything I have seen before. Special mention to the "one-take" church scene, which is designed, choreographed and edited with a masterful touch. It's super-fun, super-violent, and the perfect dose of outlandish behaviour, making it the ideal viewing to escape your isolation boredom.READ OUR REVIEW
CHRIS DOS SANTOS
Rebooting an iconic franchise has a very limited success rate - we've seen it fail time and time again - however when they work, they become true masterpieces and add to a franchise's legacy... and that's what 'Creed' did for 'Rocky'. Apollo Creed had a son, Adonis, out of wedlock, after Apollo's death his wife Mary Anne takes him and chooses to raise him as her own. Now older, Adonis travels to Philadelphia in hopes of getting in touch with his father's old rival, Rocky Balboa, and wants to be to trained by him. While Balboa is hesitant, the two form an unlikely friendship, and with the world watching, it's up to Adonis to not only kept his father legacy intact but also Balboa's. 'Creed' perfectly takes 'Rocky' and makes it modern, working as its own unique piece of cinema. The soundtrack is fantastic, perfectly capturing Adonis' world, and the training scene and end fight are up there in my favourite cinematic moments. If you're looking for a modern take on a hard-hitting inspirational underdog story, 'Creed' is one to check out - and be sure to watch 'Creed II' right after.READ OUR REVIEW
'LET THE CORPSES TAN'
Self-isolating is the perfect time to dive into some weirder and more wonderful movies, and where better to start than with this batshit crazy Western? This whirlwind story of gold thieves trying to lay low in the Mediterranean (and failing miserably) is unlike anything you've seen, and it's unlikely you ever will again. Hit play and let the weirdness hook you in for 92 glorious minutes. You're welcome.READ OUR REVIEW
Brendan Fraser in his prime and Rachel Weisz come together to create a pure romp of a film. It's got everything from mystery to romance and comedy as well. If you asked me what film I though perfectly encapsulates the action genre, it would be this. From start to finish, it's just a perfect action movie - I mean, there's a fair bit of plague stuff in there too, so maybe it's mildly relevant?
'THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE'
One of the all-time great action thrillers, where Robert Shaw leads a team of gunmen to hijack a New York subway train and hold the passengers for ransom, while transit cop Walter Matthau tries to negotiate with them. A major influence on everything from 'Oceans 11' to 'Reservoir Dogs' to 'Inside Man', it's a rollicking, arresting and wildly entertaining film, bolstered by tremendous performances and sharp-as-hell direction. This film is an absolute blast!
'UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION'
The original 'Universal Soldier', from 1992, was not a great movie, though it's still the best movie that Roland Emmerich has ever directed. The premise is ludicrous and simple: the United States has figured out a way of reanimating the dead and the government plans to implement these "Unisols" as a replacement for regular soldiers. 'Universal Soldier: Regeneration' is the fourth in the series and a straight-to-DVD direct sequel. There's no obvious CGI. There are no recognisable actors other than Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, and Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski, a former UFC heavyweight champ who had never acted before. John Hyams had never directed a movie before; he'd only worked in TV and documentaries and was immediately dropped by his agent when he signed on for the project. And yet this movie rocks. The Eastern European locations look bleak and apocalyptic, as if by design. The score is all electronic drones and clanks and whirrs. Van Damme gives a thoughtful, damaged performance as someone who only knows violence. And the action is fantastic, particularly a great extended tracking shot set piece from director-turned-cinematographer Peter Hyams. 'Universal Soldier: Regeneration' is a testament to the emergence of the low-budget actioner (see: 'The Raid') as superior to its Hollywood equivalent.
CHARLIE DAVID PAGE
'THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY'
It's the perfect time to catch up on those bucket list films - and this was one of mine. Directed by Sergio Leone and starring a young Clint Eastwood as Blondie, Lee Van Cleef as Angel Eyes and Eli Wallach as Tuco, these three hardened criminals are on the hunt for $200,000 worth of gold during the Civil War. It's pulpy, it's violent, it's epic, it's iconic. With its extraordinary Western soundtrack from Ennio Morricone and trailblazing cinematography via Tonino Delli Colli, this legendary action Western blurs the lines of morality and envelops the cruelty and conflict in a dreamlike haze.
'THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS'
'The Last of the Mohicans' is an all-time classic. It boasts great cinematography, story and the greatest score piece of all time. The appeal of its narrative is far-reaching, with great action, romance, history and Daniel Day-Lewis. At first glance, it could be conceived as another shoot 'em up plot, but its depth extends much further. It's a story about the arrogance of the French and British forces to utilise Native Americans as war pawns in a fight for land that already belonged to them. Its themes include justice, revenge, loyalty, family, sacrifice and honour. It'll move you to tears and have you on your feet cheering. One thing's for sure, when you start this movie, you need to crank up the surround sound, get the popcorn and strap yourself in as the film opens over a valley with Trevor Home's string quartet accompaniment.
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