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Mens Journal's top 25 action DVDs

Old 11-18-04, 02:25 PM
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Mens Journal's top 25 action DVDs

http://www.mensjournal.com/feature/0412/poll_dvds.html
I hate/love all lists. At least it's not as messed up as Rolling Stones top 500 Rock songs list.

1| PULP FICTION 1994
This hard-edged hipster classic has aged better than even its most fervent fans could have hoped. Its rewatchability turns out to hinge not on violence or attitude or even crisp one-liners, but on the zest of a half-dozen fine performances. It also helps that most of its imitators have been utterly forgotten, so the original still seems fresh. Quentin Tarantino has more heart than he would care to admit, and over the long haul, heart will out. Key Line "I'm gonna get medieval on your ass." DVD Bonus The two-disc collector's edition from Miramax includes QT's complete hour-long appearance on the Charlie Rose show, one of his best interviews to date.

2| BRAVEHEART 1995
Maybe it's the goofy dreadlocks and peek-a-boo kilts, but this is still the best of Mel's films about outnumbered and outgunned heroes who fight on regardless. (Sorry, Jesus.) Gibson is the only man's-man actor who doesn't confuse courage with stone-faced impassivity: He can show emotion without looking like a girlieman. Key Line "Every man dies, not every man really lives." DVD Bonus Gibson's commentary track: serious but not self-absorbed.

3| GLADIATOR 2000
Ridley Scott's high-tech sword and sandal epic uses every resource of modern film technology to make the killing floors of imperial Rome feel vividly up-to-date. Russell Crowe is a battered, brawny, often brutal warrior, completely convincing as a superstar on Survivor: The Colosseum. He is also scarily believable as a guy who really could nurse a grudge for decades. Key Line "Unleash hell." DVD Bonus Special edition has a cool Learning Channel documentary, The Bloodsport of a Gladiator.

4| LETHAL WEAPON 1987
The first installment of this long-running series was, surprise, actually about something. Often crass and graceless, it still holds up well as the story of a hard-won friendship: Mel Gibson's suicidally depressed risk taker matched with a partner (Danny Glover) who has everything to live for. Key Line "I don't make things difficult. That's the way they get all by themselves." DVD Bonus Director's cut restores a good trimmed scene of a sniper attack on an elementary school.

5| TOMBSTONE 1993
A sleeper hit when it came out, this umpteenth rendition of the Wyatt Earp and the OK Corral legend has maintained an underground following among guys. The heart of it is the bond between Val Kilmer's wisecracking Doc Holliday and Kurt Russell's steely Earp, surely one of the toughest portrayals of any western hero ever put on film. Key Line "You gonna do something or are you just gonna stand there and bleed?" DVD Bonus Vista series set includes an interactive time line of the actual events.

6| SAVING PRIVATE RYAN 1998
Steven Spielberg's battle epic about the last good war reaffirms a timeless point about the nature of combat: Once the bullets start flying the only thing you're fighting for is the guy next to you. This may undercut the movie's rep as a monument to the sacrifices of the Greatest Generation, but for that, see Spielberg and Hanks's Band of Brothers miniseries. Key Line "Earn this." DVD Bonus D-Day 60th Anniversary Commemorative Edition offers exemplary historical and production documentaries.

7| TOP GUN 1986
Tom Cruise is all gleaming teeth and blinding aviator shades as a "maverick" fighter pilot trainee. If anything, the ripped and brush-cut military look is timelier now than it was in the mid-'80s, and the pre-CGI images of backlit dueling hunks of airborne heavy metal still look state-of-the-art. Key Line "I feel the need, the need for speed." DVD Bonus New collector's special edition, with loads of extras, arrives this month.

8| STAR WARS 1977
The first is still the freshest of all the episodes -- before Lucas overdosed on the Joseph Campbell shtick and got bogged down creating solemn hero myths. Key Line What else? "May the Force be with you." DVD Bonus Available only as part of a new boxed set of the first three films, with improved digital sound, newly retweaked CGI effects, and scads of new extras.

9| RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK 1981
George Lucas had the initial inspiration to revive the old Saturday matinee serial cliff-hangers of the 1930s, but Steven Spielberg supplied the surreally fast, pinwheeling action that is the true key to the movie's popularity -- that, and the unflappable headlong determination of Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones, the world's foremost whip-wielding archaeologist. Key Line "I'm making this up as I go." DVD Bonus Available only in the four-disc boxed set of the trilogy. Several standard documentaries, and picture quality has been lovingly restored.

10| PREDATOR 1987
A year before he entered the guy movie hall of fame with Die Hard, John McTiernan directed this thumpingly effective thriller, in which a big-game hunter from outer space stalks the members of a commando troop led by Arnold Schwarzenegger, picking them off (and field dressing them) one by one. The chameleonlike monster is a wonderfully crinkly Stan Winston creation, especially noxious in the wordless, mud-slathered, mano-a-mano finale. Key Line "If it bleeds, we can kill it." DVD Bonus Widescreen collector's edition teases the already forgotten destroy-all-monsters romp Alien vs. Predator, plus some goopy behind-the-scenes extras.

11| INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM 1984
Scarier and funnier than Lost Ark, it plays with a much wider range of pop culture references, from Jackie Chan films to Lost Horizon. The horrific Kali death cult sequence, in which a throbbing human heart is held aloft, was directly responsible for the creation of the PG-13 rating, after spoilsport parents squawked. Key Line "Ah, dessert! Chilled monkey brains!" DVD Bonus See number 9.

12| THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN 1960
The blasphemy of a western remake of one of the greatest action movies ever made, Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, is redeemed by the witty script and the impeccable quickdraw craftsmanship of director John "Great Escape" Sturges. Yul Brynner anchors a posse of scene-stealing up-and-comers that includes Steve McQueen, James Coburn, and Charles Bronson. Key Line "We deal in lead, my friend." DVD Bonus Special edition includes a new making-of documentary.

13| RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II 1985
A near-perfect wish-fulfillment response to the humiliation of Vietnam. The action erupts about five minutes in, when Special Forces vet Rambo/Stallone is dropped back in country to recon POWs. From there the scale of the battle sequences keeps expanding until the fireballs engulf the screen. A peerless piece of action-flick manipulation. Key Line "Do we get to win this time?" DVD Bonus New Ultimate Edition, out this month, offers pop-up extras throughout film.

14| ALIEN QUADRILOGY 1979-1997
Fox's landmark DVD release is a bar-raising nine-disc boxed set with all four space-monster thrillers. Ridley Scott's Alien (1979) and James Cameron's Aliens (1986) are presented in definitive directors' cuts, and still make us jump. The more recent sequels are less effective, but still impressive. Key Line "Get away from her, you bitch!" DVD Bonus The endless extras include cool how-did-they-do-that? docs.

15| BLACK HAWK DOWN 2001
A great war film. The emphasis is relentlessly close-in on individual acts of comradeship and heroism, even though director Ridley Scott's tone is often a bit cold and clinical. You never get to know any of the soldiers well, but you feel their pain. Key Line "It's about the men next to you. That's all it is." DVD Bonus The visceral impact of the hyperreal carnage is maximized in the supersharp Superbit edition.

16| PATTON 1970
Did the decorated tank commander who defeated Rommel and liberated Berlin also harbor cryptofascist tendencies? This sweeping WWII battle epic was spiked with hippie-era skepticism by screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola, and George C. Scott's career-best performance is rich enough to frustrate snap judgments. God help us, we do love it so. Key Line "No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country." DVD Bonus The widescreen special edition has a solid 50-minute documentary.

17| GONE IN 60 SECONDS 2000
Nicolas Cage plays an ace car thief delighted by his own prowess as he races to steal 50 cars in four days. Cage's ironic twinkle frees us to scoff at this far-fetched hokum and still enjoy it. Key Line "Okay, let's ride." DVD Bonus Ace action producer Jerry Bruckheimer holds forth.

18| JAWS 1975
Steven Spielberg's breakthrough film combines the two key elements of any durable guy movie: scary, whip-fast action and a double shot of cantankerous male bonding. Twenty-nine years on, and even when you know what's coming, the damn thing can still trigger hydrophobia. Key Line "You're gonna need a bigger boat." DVD Bonus 25th anniversary edition includes cool vintage production glimpses and deleted scenes.

19| TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY 1991
Still the ultimate molten metal fantasy. The obsessive pursuit of seamless craftsmanship in James Cameron's jackhammer filmmaking produces crystal-clear images, but the truly memorable element is the surprising depth of the surrogate father-son bond between Arnold's killer robot and Edward Furlong's liberator of the future. Key Line "Hasta la vista, baby." DVD Bonus The 2004 "eXtreme" edition sets a new high-water mark, offering an entire second, HD version of the movie for your PC.

20| SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT 1977
The consummate car-chase movie, and a classic buddy movie in its depiction of the joshing relationship between beer-smuggling trucker Jerry Reed and pal Burt Reynolds, who runs interference for a shipment of bootleg Coors in his gorgeous river-jumping Trans Am. Key Line "Take your hat off." DVD Bonus New "Pursuit Pack" edition comes with the film's two sequels. Is that a bonus? You decide.

21| FACE/OFF 1997
The stylized gunplay of Hong Kong action master John Woo finally clicked with U.S. audiences in this inventive melodrama about a hard-charging cop (John Travolta) and a psychotic gangster (Nicolas Cage) who switch identities. Key Line "I want to take his face…off." DVD Bonus Spiffy-looking widescreen edition, but no extras.

22| THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS 1997
Michael Mann transformed the operatic novel into a black-powder bodice-ripper for guys. He hired Daniel Day-Lewis to play all-American hero Hawkeye, and pumped up the French and Indian War battles, all to distract you from the fact that the key fantasy here is hiding out in the woods with Madeleine Stowe. Which works for us. Key Line "I will find you." DVD Bonus Fox's widescreen disc is a director's cut with 12 new minutes, but fans claim that favorite bits are now missing.

23| THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES 1976
A darkly humorous "realist" western, directed by Clint Eastwood 16 years before his Oscar-anointed Unforgiven. Clint is an ex-Confederate guerrilla nursing a grudge against the Yankees who destroyed his bucolic paradise. The flavorful frontier dialogue is delivered with infectious relish, especially by costar Chief Dan George, a scene-stealer who never did get enough work. Key Line "Dyin' ain't much of a livin', boy." DVD Bonus Widescreen edition looks great but is sans extras.

24| BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID 1969
George Roy Hill's uberpopular snotty/ironic western, bolstered by the star power of Paul Newman and Robert Redford, set the tone for every subsequent action-buddy movie. But what kind of a lame excuse for a western theme song is "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head"? Key Line "Who are those guys?" DVD Bonus The late, genius cinematographer Conrad Hall joins director Hill on the relaxed and chatty commentary track.

25| WE WERE SOLDIERS 2002
Proving that you can honor heroism even in an unpopular war, producer-star Mel Gibson and writer-director Randall Wallace honestly depict the carnage at La Drang in 1965, in which 400 GIs stood their ground against 2,000 battle-seasoned North Vietnamese regulars. Key Line "Custer was a *****. You ain't." DVD Bonus Getting it Right, a sincere and informative making-of documentary.
Old 11-18-04, 02:47 PM
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Re: Mens Journal's top 25 action DVDs

I thought there would be at least one Bond flick in there.

Originally posted by cleaver
PULP FICTION 1994
It also helps that most of its imitators have been utterly forgotten, so the original still seems fresh.
What were the imitators?
Old 11-18-04, 02:55 PM
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Raiders is #1!
Old 11-18-04, 03:00 PM
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That list is gay. No Die Hard? That and Raiders should be #1 and 2 on any "guy" list.
Old 11-18-04, 03:04 PM
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What the hell is Gone in 60 Seconds doing there? And I had to check 4 times to make sure there's no Fight Club!
Old 11-18-04, 03:08 PM
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Bad Boys, Beverly Hills Cop, Bond sets, Desperado, Die Hard, The Matrix, The Rock, Pirates of the Caribbean, Spider-Man, and X2 are all missing from a top action movie list?

Last edited by fryinpan1; 11-18-04 at 03:12 PM.
Old 11-18-04, 03:13 PM
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what no Road Warrior?
Old 11-18-04, 03:14 PM
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and if you're going to include Pulp Fiction you might as well include Scarface
Old 11-18-04, 03:29 PM
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If Scarface is not there, the list is noooo good.
Old 11-18-04, 03:40 PM
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This is a pretty good list except for GONE IN 60 SECONDS. Now what were they thinking?
Old 11-18-04, 03:57 PM
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Disappointed with the no-shows of The Rock and The Matrix.
Old 11-18-04, 04:00 PM
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who wrote the list little richard?
Old 11-18-04, 04:04 PM
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Pulp Fiction is an action movie?
Old 11-18-04, 04:11 PM
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Re: Re: Mens Journal's top 25 action DVDs

Originally posted by Mondo Kane

What were the imitators?
Are you kidding, there are tons of movies that immitated Pulp Fiction, especially immediately following it. 2 Days in the Valley, Boondock Saints just to name a couple.
Old 11-18-04, 04:39 PM
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I agree that list is ghey.Die Hard and Speed both deserve spots on there.
Old 11-18-04, 04:39 PM
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Re: Mens Journal's top 25 action DVDs

Originally posted by cleaver
I hate/love all lists. At least it's not as messed up as Rolling Stones top 500 Rock songs list.
If thats the case, I'd hate to see how fucked up the Rolling Stone list is, because this is a SERIOUS case of cranial/rectum inversion here. Since when is Pulp Fiction an action film?!? Raiders of the Lost Ark at number NINE?!? Where the hell is Die Hard or any one of the James Bond movies?!? Face off instead of Hard Boiled of The Killer?!?

Most useless list ever.

Last edited by El-Kabong; 11-18-04 at 04:41 PM.
Old 11-18-04, 04:40 PM
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I have 11.

Not a horrible list.
Old 11-18-04, 04:57 PM
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not a horrible list, since most of the films on it are actually good movies- but PF is inappropriate and there are a couple monumental omissions, and quite lame inclusions.
Old 11-18-04, 05:10 PM
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this list is worthless without die hard.
Old 11-18-04, 05:15 PM
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I don't think the list is too bad either. I have 11. Could there be some other choices on there? Sure. But i have no qualms with what's on there.
Old 11-18-04, 05:21 PM
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Josey Wales, but no Good, Bad, and Ugly? What the hell? No Aliens, James Bond, Fist of Legend, Drunken Master 2, Hard Boiled, etc.? THIS LIST SUCKS BALLS!
Old 11-18-04, 05:43 PM
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Originally posted by QuiGonJosh
Josey Wales, but no Good, Bad, and Ugly? What the hell? No Aliens, James Bond, Fist of Legend, Drunken Master 2, Hard Boiled, etc.? THIS LIST SUCKS BALLS!
Aliens is listed. They have the Alien Quadrilogy up there. Which is peculiar because they listed individual Indiana Jones movies but not indivdual Alien films.
Old 11-18-04, 07:01 PM
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So it would seem that this is the SECOND "Guy Action Movies" list they've done. The down side is that the first list is just as lame:

1) Apocalypse Now 1979
2) Blade 1998
3) Bullitt 1968
4) Die Hard 1988
5) The Dirty Dozen 1967
6) Dirty Harry 1971
7) Dr. No 1962
8) Enter the Dragon 1973
9) Fight Club 1999
10) 48 Hrs. 1982
11) The French Connection 1971
12) The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 1966
13) The Great Escape 1963
14) The Killer 1989
15) The Longest Yard 1974
16) The Matrix 1999
17) Platoon 1986
18) Reservoir Dogs 1992
19) The Road Warrior 1981
20) Scarface 1983
21) Seven Samurai 1954
22) Shaft 1971
23) The Terminator 1984
24) The Untouchables 1987
25) The Wild Bunch 1969

While this time they include Good, the Bad, James Bond (although they go with Dr No over the WAY superior Goldfinger) and the Ugly and Die Hard - it sucks even worse because notable movies like Raiders are now missing. And they still have this sad delusion that Tarentio makes action movies (Reservoir Dogs?!?).

These guys just suck ass. No two ways about it.
Old 11-18-04, 07:17 PM
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Their list is terrible:
In terms of war movies they really shoul have had We Were Soldiers or Full Metal Jacket.
Others they should have had: Kill Bill Vilume 1, Hard Boiled, Die Hard, Die Hard 2, Scarface, Reservoir Dogs, Enter the Dragon, Master of the Flying Guillotine, Once Upon A Time in China, The Five Deadly Venoms, Spiderman, The Rock, The Toxic Avenger, and X2.

Last edited by undergradsfan; 11-18-04 at 07:21 PM.
Old 11-18-04, 11:17 PM
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Originally posted by undergradsfan
Their list is terrible:
In terms of war movies they really shoul have had We Were Soldiers or Full Metal Jacket.
Others they should have had: Kill Bill Vilume 1, Hard Boiled, Die Hard, Die Hard 2, Scarface, Reservoir Dogs, Enter the Dragon, Master of the Flying Guillotine, Once Upon A Time in China, The Five Deadly Venoms, Spiderman, The Rock, The Toxic Avenger, and X2.
We Were Soldiers was the last one.

This list is not what I would consider my top 25.

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