Last year, Keanu Reeves returned to the forefront of Hollywood action cinema with his gem of a flick John Wick; a deceptively simple story about the world’s greatest assassin being pulled out of retirement when Russian thugs steal his car and kill his dog, that featured some of the craziest and well-choreographed action sequences in contemporary American cinema, a top notch cast (Willem Dafoe, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Bridget Moynahan), and a screenplay that conveys a lived-in and fully realized world through organic world-building. With a pedigree like that, it’s no surprise that a sequel was greenlit yesterday (May 4) by production company Lionsgate.
John Wick is a very particular kind of action movie; the kind that tends to be as driven by eccentric characters and bizarre plot points as it is by the unreal amounts of action that glues the whole damn enterprise together. These 10 other movies knows exactly what they’re good at, and that’s exactly why we love them so much.
This grisly little flick, a sequel to the 2010 Robert Rodriguez film, which itself was a more fleshed-out version of a 2-minute trailer from 2007’s Grindhouse, doubled down on exploitation movie craziness by having its stone-faced protagonist Machete (Danny Trejo) fight a bionic woman, a bi-polar revolutionary, and a sadistic billionaire who’s been kidnapping Mexicans to help him build an orbital space station. And this is before the guns and blades get involved.
Quentin Tarantino’s two-part epic tale of The Bride (Uma Thurman) and her quest for vengeance against the man who scorned her has earned a reputation as a brutal yet tongue-in-cheek celebration of all things exploitation cinema. Between the Crazy 88s and punching your way through dirt and coffin, Kill Bill is certifiably insane.
Even as actor/writer/directors go, Stephen Chow’s sensibilities (Chinese martial arts by way of Looney Tunes) render him unique, and this tale of Shaolin fighters taking up soccer is no exception.
A man with a poisoned heart has to keep his adrenaline up by any means necessary while he searches for a cure? What shouldn’t amount to more than “Speed, but with a human heart instead of a bus” is more depraved, immature, and just plain fun than you could possibly imagine. It’s all tied up nicely by British action star Jason Statham and writer/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor.
How many different ways can Vikings and Roman soldiers kill each other? Centurion knows, and you can bet your ass that you’re gonna see every single one.