[Editor’s note: a special shout out to Enrico Mrena and his friend Tímea for not only completing this monstrous project for us, but also delivering to us this list. Thank you, we love you.]
A staggering 31 new additions have made it on to this year’s list leaving off popular titles such like On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Enter the Dragon, and striking particularly close to my own heart, the first two entries of Sergio Leone’s ‘dollar trilogy’. The most surprising omission to me would be the aforementioned Dragon (although maybe we have finally bust the myth of it being Lee’s best film?), James Bond reboot Casino Royale, and The Expendables. The latter mystifies me more because of how well the sequel made it on this year’s list, but more on that later. I also find it fascinating that Battle Royale, a mere two years after being #1 on the 2010 list is now completely gone. But these statistics are probably more interesting to me than most others so let us move along to the actual list, huh?
Here’s Our New List Of The Top 100 Action Films…As Voted By The Following Members of AllOuttaBubbleGum.com:
– ActionMovieFreak – Bananajuice – BaronBlitzkrieg – BrettWasean – Chance Boudreaux – Dr. Judas – Dude – DynamiteKid – Eggimann –icy manipulator – Jawsunleashed – Kersey475 – LuvMeTender009 – PhilFightMaster – Rorshach94 – Rutledal – Satanclause – Supernitpicker3 – The Hestinator – Verdugo – Xenomorph – and AOBG founders: Kain424 & Rantbo.
100. Die Hard 2 (8,05)
99. Speed (8,0588)
98. Universal Soldier: Regeneration (8,0625)
97. Heat (8,0667)
96. The Blues Brothers (8,0714)
95. The Good, The Bad, The Weird (8,0769)
94. The Getaway (8,0909)
93. Blade (8,1111)
92. Demolition Man (8,125)
91. Drive (8,125)
Let me start by saying how happy I am to finally see Speed join the ranks after having fought for its inclusion for 3 years. UniSol: Regen, Blade, and Demolition Man also join the list as first timers. The last one I have to admit is one of the (perhaps too) many films on this year’s list that I have not seen. (Isn’t that what the time until the next list is for?) For the rest of these films this is their weakest showing, especially Heat which drops over 60 spots, but how about I keep those stats to myself and instead talk about how awesome these films are?
90. Licence to Kill (8,125)
89. Lone Wolf & Cub: Baby Cart at The River Styx (8,125)
88. Project A (8,125)
87. The Two Towers (8,125)
86. Tombstone (8,1429)
85. The Hidden (8,1429)
84. Dilinger (8,1429)
83. Black Dynamite (8,1429)
82. First Blood (8,1579)
81. Rambo 2 (8,1579)
May I drop another stat for you while we are here? Licence to Kill which has been the only film to consistently place with the 100-91 (92 in 2010, 95 in 2011) has finally broken the spell and placed as #90. Good on you. Project A and Baby Cart at The River Styx are another pair that has escaped my eyes so far. They are both in my DVD collection and I probably should have watched them by now as they are third timers, meaning they have placed on all three editions of the Action 100. Other than that I am very happy to see Tombstone join the ranks this year and quite surprised to see The Hidden make it. It will be exciting to see if the attention a spot this year could give it would help or damage its chances for next year with potentially more voters having seen it.
80. Marked for Death (8,1667)
79. Sin City (8,1667)
78. Platoon (8,1818)
77. Police Story 3 (8,1818)
76. The Princess Bride (8,1818)
75. Yip Man (8,1875)
74. Troy (8,2)
73. From Russia With Love (8,2143)
72. The Incredibles (8,2143)
71. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (8,2143)
Here we find the real big surprise for me this year: Troy. This, I must admit, was not a film I ever imagined seeing on here. I think this section also best shows the spectrum of action films represented on this year’s list with Platoon and The Princess Bride which are pretty much at the opposite ends of the spectrum. We also have, I think, the first ever animated inductee with The Incredibles, we also see James Bond represented once more and Steven Seagal arrives at the scene too, leaving Arnie as the only major 80s/90s player to not yet represent.
70. Blade 2 (8,2222)
69. Dragons Forever (8,2222)
68. The Return of The Jedi (8,2353)
67. The Adventures of Tintin (8,25)
66. Death Wish 4 (8,25)
65. Die Hard with A Vengeance (8,25)
64. The Fugitive (8,25)
63. Out For Justice (8,25)
62. Sanjuro (8,25)
61. The Empire Strikes Back (8,2778)
I take my hats off to you because we have done it. Death Wish 4: The Crackdown has made it on to the list. The film itself has such a right wing anti-drugs agenda that you can’t help but think Ronald Reagan rubbed one out to it. At #62 the only black & white film amongst the hundred can be found, and like last year it is Sanjuro, meaning Kurosawa and Mifune are still the only ones to get a b&w film onto the list. We also have no less than two Star Wars films here, for Return of the Jedi it’s a bit of a comeback this year climbing almost 20 spots. While for Empire Strikes Back placing 61st must be said to be a slap across the face after back-to-back spots within the top 10 it has dropped out of the top 60, ouch.
60. Starship Troopers (8,2778)
59. The Guns of Navarone (8,2857)
58. Police Story (8,2857)
57. Desperado (8,2941)
56. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (8,2941)
55. They Live (8,2941)
54. Lone Wolf & Cub: The Sword of Vengeance (8,3)
53. No Retreat, No Surrender 2: Raging Thunder (8,3)
52. The Way Of the Dragon (8,3)
51. Django (8, 3077)
47 spots! Way to go No Retreat, No Surrender 2! If you aren’t one of our forum dwellers you might not know this, but I am the vice chairman and treasurer of the No Retreat, No Surrender 2 fan club so to see it make the jump from 100th to 53rd was better than witnessing the birth of my first child, or so I assume as I don’t have children. Throw in They Live, the film that gave the site its name, and two spaghetti westerns with Django and The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and Bruce Lee’s best film Way of the Dragon this might just be my favourite bit of the whole list.
50. The Matrix (8,3158)
49. Fist of Legend (8,3333)
48. The Great Escape (8,3333)
47. Conan – The Barbarian (8,3529)
46. A Better Tomorrow 2 (8,3571)
45. The Dark Knight (8,3684)
44. The Crow (8,375)
43. Hot Fuzz (8,375)
42. Kill Bill vol.1 (8,3889)
41. Star Wars (8,3889)
The Austrian Oak has arrived on the scene with his breakthrough performance in the first Conan film, usually the most frequently represented actor on these lists you should hardly be surprised to see him again. There is also one of my favourite films of last decade; both hilarious and awesome, Hot Fuzz is one of the few action comedies to grace the list. We also cap off the original Star Wars trilogy in what, must be allowed to repeat, has been a poor year for the space saga. Also found here is the movie that if you speak ill of is most likely to get you called “FAGGOT!” on the internet; The Dark Knight.
40. Bullet in the Head (8,4)
39. Once Upon A Time in The West (8,4)
38. Braveheart (8,4375)
37. Goldeneye (8,4375)
36. Hard Target (8,4444)
35. Face/Off (8,4737)
34. The 36th Chambler of the Shaolin (8,5)
33. A Bittersweet Life (8,5)
32. Dirty Harry (8,5)
31. The Fellowship of the Ring (8,5294)
At 39th we find Once Upon A Time in The West, my favourite film of all time, which I sadly have to admit, is seeing a steady decline over the years. But I still have Kain beat by 8 spots. Suck it! Bond hits the list again with GoldenEye, which makes it three films and three “Bonds” represented so far. John Woo is also strongly represented here with 3 films, with 2 of his American films; the world record holder for ‘most splits in a film’ Hard Target, and the showcase in overacting Face/Off. Plus his Vietnam epic, Bullet in the Head. Also worthy of a note is Dirty Harry which is this year’s biggest climber, jumping 68 spots!
30. Death Wish 3 (8,5333)
29. The Wild Bunch (8,5556)
28. The Raid (8,5882)
27. True Lies (8,6316)
26. Looper (8,6923)
25. Shanghai Express (8,7143)
24. Django Unchained (8,7143)
23. A Better Tomorrow (8,75)
22. Skyfall (8,7647)
21. Mad Max 2 (8,7647)
“I like the way you die boy!”
Without question my favourite film of last year, Django Unchained, makes a strong debut at 24th, and must admit that it is without my own vote as I was unable to catch it until February. Two more of last year’s finest are found here with Bruce Willis in the time traveling assassin film Looper and some more of the steel-livered intelligence officer James Bond with his latest outing Skyfall, setting its mark as the 2nd highest ranked first timer this year. Bronson returns to as Death Wish 3 completes a rather unlikely double appearance for the world’s deadliest architect Paul Kersey on the list. We also find genre-defining classics like A Better Tomorrow and Mad Max 2. And with them placing outside the top 20 you better be sure that the remaining entries are so balls to the wall that I would recommend you watch them in an open field for safety.
20. A Fistful of Dynamite (8,7778)
19. Eastern Condors (8,7857)
18. John Rambo (8,7859)
17. Lethal Weapon 2 (8,8421)
16. Léon, The Professional (8,8421)
15. The Expendables 2 (8,8947)
14. Lethal Weapon (8,9474)
13. Commando (8,95)
12. The Terminator (9)
11. The Legend of Drunken Master (9)
Almost there we have the two greatest buddy cop films of all time; Lethal Weapon 1 and 2, because when Shane Black did right there was no equal. The legendary trio of Chan, Hung, and Biao are all represented here with Eastern Condors and The Legend of Drunken Master. As previously promised Arnie makes his mark, ranking for the 3rd, 4th and 5th time here, most notably with this year’s highest first timer; The Expendables 2. Making its debut at 15th, Expendables 2 proves that sometimes quantity does triumph quality. I know this might stir some controversy amongst you action fans; the film is not on here because it was great, but because the only thing that has had more 80s icons in it is Brigitte Nielsen’s vagina.
10. Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade (9)
The first of the five ‘top 10 regulars’ that has kept its spot is Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, the final entry of the Indiana Jones trilogy, which as we can all recall never had a 4th entry. Crusade sees Jones Jr team up with Jones Sr for what goes down in my book as the greatest father and son movie there is. With a horse chase, a train chase, a boat chase, a motorcycle chase, a plane chase, and even a tank chase it packs so much action that the fact the Nazis get shot to bits all over the place just seems like a sweet topping on a cake already made of awesome. If you’ll pardon the not so masculine pastry analogy. Also, for a final note of statistics; in the top 10 there are only 5 directors represented, all of them with 2 movies each.
09. RoboCop (9,1111)
“Dead or alive, you’re coming with me!”
Detroit’s #1 son breaks into the top 10 for the first time this year and Paul Verhoeven sublime satirical take on the Reagan area’s “shoot first, ask later” approach is by all means a welcomes addition. While RoboCop may be the film in the top 10 that has aged the poorest in terms of its visuals (I am looking at you, ED-209) it has lost none of its punch in terms of its political commentary. With his clunky movements, no bullshit attitude, marksman aim, and itchy trigger finger RoboCop has been a perfect time capsule for that perfect kind of awesome that only the 80s could do for over 25 years.
08. Aliens (9,1579)
If there was ever someone who understood how make a great sequel it was James Cameron. Instead of retreading the formula that made the original work we get a full on genre swap. Changing out the nerve-wracking terror of the original with adrenaline pumping action Aliens is an action classic sequel to horror classic original. It also assembles the greatest ensemble of criminally underrated badasses from the 80s; Biehn, Paxton, Henriksen and onwards.
07. Total Recall (9,2632)
Paul Verhoeven is the first to make his second mark amongst final ten, this time alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the most one-liner heavy entry on here. From Arnie’s unorthodox divorce, to his promise to the armless Richter and my personal favourite cinematic “fuck you!” Total Recall hardly has a single line in its script that isn’t a slice of fried gold. Throw in a three titted hooker and near nonstop action, the result is an action classic for the ages.
06. Predator (9,2632)
More Arnie and aliens, but this time they come to him. The Austrian Oak teaming up with Apollo and Jesse Ventura to level the South American jungle through random gunfire in all directions, oh yes! Predator is so packed to the brim with testosterone that they had to edit Jean-Claude Van Damme out of the film to keep the levels below lethal. Like Total Recall before it Predator too has a dangerous amount of quotable lines that will make you the social outcast at any party if you use them like ice breakers.
05. Raiders of Lost Ark (9,3158)
Doctor Jones, we meet again. With Raiders of the Lost Ark keeping its 5th spot from last year, the Indiana Jones are the highest ranking original and sequel for the third time running. The dashingly handsome archeology professor that moonlights as a badass treasure hunter extraordinaire. Raiders has everything from date-stealing monkey to Nazi’s getting their faces melted off, what’s not to like? Not a lot apparently seeing as it is #5.
04. The Killer (9,3333)
It’s the age old tale of an assassin with a heart of gold teaming up with a cop, who feels the system is hindering him getting results to kill everyone they can aim a gun at in this John Woo classic. The Killer features all the visual cues you’ve come to expect from a Woo film; excessive slow-motion, a fetish-like approach to white doves, guns so powerful you’d think they be the head of religion, and so much blood ejaculating across the screen that the film technically qualifies as bukkake film in at least four states.
03. Die Hard (9,35)
Often seen as the textbook answer to the question “what is the greatest action movie of all time?” it may surprise you to learn that this is the first time Die Hard has place within the top 3. Upon its release it made a household name and action icon out of Bruce Willis, and in the years afterwards it spawned more rip-offs than Elvis. At least one of which features on this year’s list, but none ever came close to the standards of the original. Those were the days; when Bruce Willis had hair and Die Hard films didn’t suck balls. How the times have changed.
02. Hard Boiled (9,4444)
And how the mighty have fallen. Once again last year’s winner has failed to defend its position at the #1 spot, although in the case of Hard Boiled it has only dropped one spot and not 73 like its predecessor. Having consistently placed within the top 3 I also feel pretty confident in saying that we will be seeing it next year too. Draped in slow-motion, white doves, God-like guns, and Woo’s attempts to channel Jackson Pollock in blood this time around is Inspector Tequila who has had it with these motherfucking triads in motherfucking Hong Kong! So he teams up with an undercover cop and shoots them all.
01. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (9,7368)
I think I made a point regarding James Cameron and sequels earlier and I must admit that it was not by accident, because unlike lightning Cameron did strike twice. Not only making the jump from taught low budget thriller to full blown action, but also making the villain from the first film the hero of the sequel he proved with Terminator 2: Judgement Day that he truly is the maestro of the sequel curveball. I also have to say that if there was one film that I would deem worthy of taking over the top spot from Hard Boiled it would have to be T2 because while I do think the former might be the better film the latter is after all the reason I am here. By which I don’t mean that my parents conceived me while watching, but rather that it is the film that got me into action cinema. Had my cousin not gotten T2 on DVD for Christmas all those years ago these words you are currently reading would have been written by some other hack while I’d been of elsewhere probably being a right pretentious bastard. So very much a #1 after my own heart this year.
Well that’s it kids, go play outside now and we’ll see you next year.