by Jordan Raup
In honor of Crank: High Voltage hitting theaters this weekend here is a rundown of the Most Over-the-Top Action Movies of the Decade. Some of these are actually decent films that hold their own (Transporter, Kill Bill Vol. 1) and others are awful, but over-the-top worthy (Rambo, Punisher: War Zone). I will try and be as spoiler-free as possible when describing the scenes, and include YouTube clips if available. Check out the full list and below:
300 (Snyder, 2007)
Why It Is On This List: This visually astounding, but narratively overwrought film features more bloodthirsty half-naked men running around in slo-motion that anything else on the list.
Most Over-the-Top Scene: The decapitated head flying through the air is good but the scene below fulfilled my over-the-top action fix for the year:
Bad Boys II (Bay, 2003)
Why It Is On This List: The Rottenwatch Consensus: “Two and a half hours of explosions and witless banter.” Oh boy are they so deliciously right. Like most of Bay’s films this one is the definition of over-the-top.
Most Over-the-Top Scene: Although the car chase scene would qualify with flying colors, the final headshot takes the cake:
Live Free or Die Hard (Wiseman, 2007)
Why It Is On This List: Bruce Willis abandons the realistic aspect of the past Die Hard films and goes all out PG-13 style in the fourth film of the series.
Most Over-the-Top Scene: The picture above is good, but when McClane fights off a fighter jet that descends below a highway I thought about how good Die Hard was and cried inside.
Transformers (Bay, 2007)
Why It Is On This List: This is Michael Bay’s wet dream of a movie. Robots battling each other and concluding in a ridiculous 45-minute continuous action scene. If I made this list 2 months later, I’m guessing Revenge of the Fallen would be on it.
Most Over-the-Top Scene: When Josh Duhamel’s character skids his motorcycle underneath a transformer. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a clip. We can only hope for more of these scenes in number two.
Shoot ‘Em Up (Davis, 2007)
Why It Is On This List: This film feels like a videogame and screams over-the-top action. Clive Owen runs around with a carrot killing people. It doesn’t get better than that.
Most Over-the-Top Scene: I would give this honor to the birthing/gunfight scene, but the winner is the simultaneous sex and shootout scene. Yes, Clive Owen has sex and shoots people in the face at the same time.
Running Scared (Kramer, 2006)
Why It Is On This List: Scene after scene this one pushes limit with gratuitous violence and ultra gritty cinematography and editing.
Most Over-the-Top Scene: Vera Farmiga’s character carries out some sweet, sweet vengeance on some despicable pedophiles.
Transporter Trilogy (Yuen, Leterrier, Megaton, 2002, 05,08)
Why It Is On This List: Statham. The second film is the most over-the-top but each of these deserve a special place.
Most Over-the-Top Scene: It involves a car, a bomb, and a crane:
Die Another Day (Tamahori, 2002)
Why It Is On This List: The end of Brosnan as Bond. Too bad it was such a terrible way to go out.
Most Over-the-Top Scene: The ridiculous car chase in a ice fortress:
Punisher: War Zone (Alexander, 2008)
Why It Is On This List: The ultra-violent Punisher we have all been waiting for….well not exactly, but it’s here so enjoy it.
Most Over-the-Top Scene: I was debating the rocket hit in the air scene (which you can see above), but in this clip The Punisher blows off someone’s ENTIRE face. The great thing is that isn’t the only time it happens in the film:
Planet Terror (Rodriguez, 2007)
Why It Is On This List: Rodriguez has crafted an superbly entertaining B-movie, with literally every scene becoming more hilariously outrageous.
Most Over-the-Top Scene: Helicopter vs. Zombie-esque creatures:
Smokin’ Aces (Carnahan, 2006)
Why It Is On This List: A complete mess of a movie, but a quite fun waste of time, with a little bit of something for everyone.
Most Over-the-Top Scene: The excessive sniper shot:
District B-13 (Morel, 2004)
Why It Is On This List: Taken may have fit the list, but Morel’s previous effort, District B-13, has enough over-the-top action to satisfy all our needs. It is also it is a pretty good film on its own right.
Most Over-the-Top Scene: The jail scene qualifies, but the opening parkour chase is one of the best caught on film:
Rambo (Stallone, 2008)
Why It Is On This List: Despite absolutely hating this movie, one can’t deny the body count, the action, and the Stallone.
Most Over-the-Top Scene: Rambo mows down an entire village of people:
Kill Bill Vol. 1 (Tarantino, 2003)
Why It Is On This List: Tarantino’s epic revenge story reaches equally epic levels of violence, but it all comes off like it was from a live action Looney Tunes.
Most Over-the-Top Scene: The Bride Vs. The Crazy 88’s:
Wanted (Bekmambetov, 2008)
Why It Is On This List: Bullets get curved.
Most Over-the-Top Scene: Everything in this film is unrealistic, but I lost it after the following scene:
Crank (Neveldine + Taylor, 2006)
Why It Is On This List: I made this list because of Crank.
Most Over-the-Top Scene: Gotta hand it to the sex scene in the middle of Chinatown:
Do you agree with this list? What would you add? Should Crank: High Voltage join this list?