Stop Making Sense: The Lunkheaded Genius Of Big Trouble In Little China

In 1988's Die Hard—probably the most perfect and pure American action movie ever made—we met Bruce Willis's John McClane, a different kind of action hero. McClane wasn't an ultra-capable superman, but instead a resourceful, slippery, one-liner-slinging everyman, not to mention, sometimes, a smarmy asshole. Action… » 7/25/14 10:43am Friday 10:43am

Cruise Control: The Loopy Terror Of Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol

Tom Cruise is not like us. This was always pretty evident, but as recently detailed in this great Amy Nicholson L.A. Weekly story, it became inescapable fact around 2005, when he jumped on Oprah Winfrey's couch. That story is full of convincing evidence that the whole couch episode didn't happen the way you remember… » 7/10/14 12:09pm 7/10/14 12:09pm

One Fight In Bangkok: The Holy-Shit Elation Of Ong-Bak

There are stuntmen in Thailand willing to do ridiculous things without wires, motion-capture suits, or green screens helping them out. In Born to Fight, that meant fighting atop moving trucks. In Ong-Bak 2, that meant running on the backs of moving elephants. And in 2003's original Ong-Bak, that meant a holy-shit » 7/03/14 12:18pm 7/03/14 12:18pm

Walter Matthau, '70s Action Hero: The Lurid Charms Of Charley Varrick

For much of his adult life, Walter Matthau looked like a weathered chew-toy version of Ronald Reagan, not like anyone's idea of an action hero. But for a three-movie run of early-'70s crime thrillers, he made a case for himself as one of the all-time great movie tough guys, a calm and sardonic everyman outwitting… » 6/27/14 11:02am 6/27/14 11:02am

The Real Ultraviolence: In Praise Of Riki-Oh: The Story Of Ricky

If you're old, you might remember a time before Jon Stewart hosted The Daily Show, and instead Sportscenter's own Craig Kilborn sat in his chair. If you're old with bad taste like me, you might remember being deeply annoyed when Stewart took over, mostly because he immediately did away with his predecessor's nightly… » 6/19/14 9:12am 6/19/14 9:12am

Dredd Is The Second-Best Drug-Fortress Action Flick Ever

For reasons we may never understand, movie studios, in their infinite wisdom, often decide to drop two movies about the same thing at the same time. That's how we end up with dueling volcano-based disaster movies, giant-asteroid-based disaster movies, or Truman Capote biopics. But in 2012, we got supremely lucky. I… » 6/12/14 1:20pm 6/12/14 1:20pm

A Million Ways To Die In Japan: The Gonzo Splendor Of 13 Assassins

Netflix Instant doesn't have to feel like a depleted Blockbuster in 1990, where you spend half an hour browsing hopeless straight-to-video thrillers before saying "fuck it" and loading up another Archer. Streaming services can be an absolute treasure trove, particularly if you like action movies, and especially if you… » 6/05/14 10:04am 6/05/14 10:04am

Charles Bronson, Urban Rambo: The Frantic Nihilism Of Death Wish 3

Netflix Instant doesn't have to feel like a depleted Blockbuster in 1990, where you spend half an hour browsing hopeless straight-to-video thrillers before saying "fuck it" and loading up another Archer. Streaming services can be an absolute treasure trove, particularly if you like action movies, and especially if you… » 5/30/14 12:01pm 5/30/14 12:01pm

Peak Jackie Chan: The Intoxicating Joys Of The Legend Of Drunken Master

Netflix Instant doesn't have to feel like a depleted Blockbuster in 1990, where you spend half an hour browsing hopeless straight-to-video thrillers before saying "fuck it" and loading up another Archer. Streaming services can be an absolute treasure trove, particularly if you like action movies, and especially if you… » 5/22/14 11:49am 5/22/14 11:49am

Worst Godzilla Ever: Why Japan Hated (And Murked) The '98 U.S. Remake

If you hated what Joel Schumacher did to Batman with 1995's Batman Forever and (especially) 1997's Batman & Robin, the Christopher Nolan trilogy that followed didn't just offer good movies; they were cathartic release, a reclamation. This buffoon had taken one of the great characters in the American pop-culture… » 5/12/14 1:28pm 5/12/14 1:28pm

RZA Is Your Next Great Over-The-Top Action-Movie Supervillain

Can RZA play the villain in every action B-movie? Will RZA play the villain in every action B-movie? Suddenly, it's a salient question. The Wu-Tang Clan mastermind and figurehead made his onscreen debut 15 years ago in Jim Jarmusch's existential-samurai-hitman movie Ghost Dog—a 46-second cameo in which he wears full… » 4/28/14 11:05am 4/28/14 11:05am