This list features:
- 3 starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
- 2 directed by John McTiernan
- 2 directed by James Cameron
- 3 with police officers as main characters
- 5 with soldiers/pilots/marines as main characters
- 2 featuring deadly aliens
10. ROBOCOP (1987)
Over the top action and a healthy dose of satire are something Paul Verhoeven would bring back to the screen in the 90s with "Starship Troopers".
9. LETHAL WEAPON (1987)
8. FIRST BLOOD (1982)
Stallone gives a great performance as the tortured veteran, someone we can feel sympathetic towards. Brian Dennehy is excellent as the sheriff, playing the part with the right amount of arrogance to make us think of him as a real jerk. "First Blood" has its share of action and violence, but is also a more philosophical and thoughtful film than its sequels.
7. ALIENS (1986)
I've said it before, I'll say it again, there's something I just can't resist about the formula...
- Limited cast
- Confined space
- Kill 'em off one by one...
6. TOP GUN (1986)
Love him or hate him, Tom Cruise (a baby-faced 24 here) is the only actor I can imagine playing the part of Maverick, the cocky fighter pilot who's too cool for school.
I haven't seen the movie in quite a few years, so I'm re-watching "Top Gun" as I write this post. Listening to "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling", it's clear that Tom Cruise needed every minute of singing lessons he undertook before playing Stacee Jaxx in last year's "Rock Of Ages".
5. THE TERMINATOR (1984)
With half the estimated budget of RoboCop (according to IMDb figures), this could be considered a "low-budget" film, but it's also highly impacting. Arnold Schwarzenegger is perfectly cast as the steel-jawed killer.
4. COMMANDO (1985)
Arnie plays Matrix, a retired special forces soldier who launches a one-man war against a group of soldiers who have kidnapped his daughter. As is common in films like this, the leader of the bad guys is someone from our hero's past, and revenge gets personal. But mainly, Schwarznegger loads up with a whole lot of camouflage paint and weaponry, and then attacks.
With a body count of 81, "Commando" is one of the best examples of an ultra-violent, over-the-top vehicle for its main star.
3 RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)
I actually find Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade to be a better movie (having Sean Connery helps), but Raiders gets its place on this list by coming first, and establishing a template that was basically repeated in the Last Crusade.
2. PREDATOR (1987)
See the formula laid out above under "Aliens" for why I love this movie.
"Get to da choppa!"
1. DIE HARD (1988)
So many movies after this tried to follow a formula of "It's Die Hard... on a boat!", "It's Die Hard... in a school!", and so on, but the original remains an action classic. One of my all-time favourites.
This is also my wife and I's annual Christmas movie. "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow..."