Darragh Kelly looks at the resurgence of the genre.
With a Meat and Potato’s plot, thrills that make sense to the senses, and a hittable-but-too-legit-to-be-quittable protagonist at the helm, action films are finally returning to their former glory. We see it in markets outside of the States and Europe and the same people who have captivated Asian audiences are finally being brought to Western attention. Today on Campus.ie, Darragh Kelly recommends some of the best action films in the past few years.
John Wick 2 (2016)
John Wick is an assassin working for a mysterious society. Upon retiring, he realises that simply leaving the order is not as straight forward as he once thought and is thrown back into the world of gunfights, car chases and so on. The first film in the series could be included in this list as a standalone film but as the sequel is on par with the first I have decided to include the second. This is all down to world building.
The world of the Continental is delved into in greater detail and a fully formed world is seen to be running in conjunction with our own with its own raves, currency, hotels and tailors. The rules which the assassins have to abide by make up an interesting dynamic and it is where the majority of the humour in the film comes from.
The combination of the knowledge of Johnathan Eusebio and the drive of Keanu Reeves results in creative and polished scenes. The action is on par with that of the first and Keanu Reeves passion for the character and the training he has put in has really paid off. The character is not perfect and the ending proves that. Go watch, it’s a good one.
The Raid: Redemption (2011)
It’s a little older than some of the other entries but it should be seen by all Action buffs. From the get go the protagonists are on their back foot as they are separated in a high rise apartment block filled with violent criminals. The main character is inexperienced and falls back on his martial arts training in order to defeat the swarms of henchmen that come his way. The director describes The Raid: Redemption as “a survival horror film.”
Long takes done skilfully by trained martial artists are a wonderful thing. The Raid and its sequel The Raid 2 (2014) have an abundance of wide shots and long takes between them. Penchak Silat is an Indonesian fighting style that was used during the film and it is something that audiences had never really been exposed to. Members of the cast were also sent to a KOPASKA base, the underwater demolition branch of the Indonesian Navy, for military training.
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)
Kingsman takes the classic Bond troupes, which they deny the whole way through, and just runs with them. By the looks of Kingsman 2: The Golden Circle trailer the wackness of the gadgets and characters will continue.
You’ve got your fish out of water story, the training montage, and the action set pieces. Kingsman is a blend of James Bond and Austin Powers, shaken not stirred. Matthew Vaughn, known for his flashy style, directed a solid turn with another creation of pure popcorn cinema. It goes to show that you don’t always need to break the mould to make a good film.
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