Keep my heart pumping while my heart is pumping
January 18, 2021 2:44 PM   Subscribe

What action/adventure/heist/fast paced/exciting movies can I watch to keep me going while working out on my home rowing machine? Within the extreme constraints of these genres, I'm looking to maximize feminist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist messaging and minimize torture, misogyny and xenophobia. Basically, I want something exciting and distracting but I don't want to watch Rambo. Ideally streaming on Netflix, Hulu or (lol) Criterion. Open to non-Hollywood/international movies. (Expanding my previous ask for feminist action movies.)
posted by latkes to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
The Old Guard on Netflix is a very socially progressive action film, and it's always great watching Charlize Theron kick ass.
posted by ejs at 3:18 PM on January 18 [3 favorites]

I happened to be watching Terminator 2 right now, and Linda Hamilton is doing a terrific job as the determined-to-change-the-course-of-the-future Sarah Connor. That character returns in Terminator: Dark Fate (haven’t seen); this is all as long as you have no objections to watching Arnold.

Also wondering why Tank Girl hasn’t come up yet.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 3:24 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]

It doesn't meet any of your criteria, but Row Nation (Amazon Prime USA) is a quick workout (with a dude, sorry) that is obviously tailored explicitly for a rowing machine, which wipes out a lot of other drawbacks, in my opinion. For me even better, since I own the exact model of water rower that the presenter uses. But the thing is-- it's all rowing. You can concentrate and improve on your form, the intervals are staged correctly, the instructor is giving you all the right tips on form and execution. There are only four episodes, but if you just space them out with other, non-rowing videos, I think there would be some benefit. Now, having read your requirements, I kind of wish there was some version of this show that was also a kind-hearted feminist action-adventure. Fingers crossed that maybe 2021 will bring us something good like that.
posted by seasparrow at 3:26 PM on January 18

I just watched Terminator: Dark Fate recently and can confirm it meets your criteria.
posted by ejs at 3:35 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]

Also, Birds of Prey was unexpectedly entertaining and hilarious.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 3:43 PM on January 18

Run Lola Run, surely?
posted by forbiddencabinet at 3:55 PM on January 18 [6 favorites]

Suggestions so far, including the rowing videos, are great and appreciated! I may have overstated my expectations for wokeness of the movies I seek. Yes, a truly feminist action movie would be great. But like, Fast and Furious is also fine!

Not actively glorifying of imperialist violence, no extended misogynistic terror, that kind of thing. Beyond that, any fast paced exciting movie welcome!
posted by latkes at 4:41 PM on January 18

Fury Road!
posted by kokaku at 4:48 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]

Doesn't satisfy the feminist requirement, but not actively misogynistic: 'Crank,' 'Crank 2,' and 'Hardcore Henry' come to mind as non-stop action.

Literally, non-stop.
posted by porpoise at 4:53 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]

Does it have to be a movie? Avatar: The Legend of Korra, on Netflix, is a speculative fiction animated series in which the protagonist is a woman taking on the role of a sort of messianic superhero of her world. It alternates from narrative to well-choreographed, combination martial arts and superpower fight scenes. Lots of great creative and cinematographic virtues and values.

It's the sequel to a preceding series Avatar: The Last Airbender.
posted by XMLicious at 5:31 PM on January 18

I would recommend Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which has action and twisty time-travel and two kickass female leads (Lena Headey and Summer Glau). Also it's two seasons, so it's worth, like, fifteen movies.
posted by suelac at 6:00 PM on January 18

Xena, and sprint during the fight scenes?
posted by clew at 6:42 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]

The 'Doom' (2005) movie is similar, wrt non-stop action/ violence.


'Birds of Prey' (2020) with Margot Robbie and a crew of other women is very kinetic with a great kicking-ass : anything-else ratio.

'Mayhem' with Samara Weaving and Steven Yeun also clocks in with a great ratio. Gory, though. Very Extremely. But righteous and Weaving gets a lot of physical play.

How about the 'Resident Evil' series featuring Milla Jovovich?
posted by porpoise at 9:10 PM on January 18

Enola Holmes came out recently on Netflix and I found it very exciting to exercise to. Lots of jumping and chasing and energetic fight scenes - in between the feminist and anti-establishment themes.
posted by jb at 9:24 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]

I have a friend who recently watched the second of the Lord of the Rings movies while on his excersize bike. He started when the movie started and 3 hours later he was still going (I witnessed it - he's a part of my social distancing pod). He would speed up during the scenes involving running horses and other chase-type activities and then slow to a leisurely pace during the rest of the film. I honestly thought it was a horrible idea to bike for 3 bloody hours but when he was done he felt great and wasn't even sore the next day.
posted by nayantara at 8:03 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]

I also endorse Terminator: Dark Fate as a film that will hit all of the requirements

Bumblebee! Don't be turned off by the fact that it's a live-action Transformers film. It is much better than the Michael Bay-Directed ones.

Also the recent Mission Impossible films are on there and are quite well made.

As other have mentioned, The Old Guard fits your criteria.

Hurricane Heist is like Twister + Fast & Furious.

Spectral has sci-fi soldiers fighting ghosts.
posted by subocoyne at 10:41 AM on January 19

Well, Ocean's 8 meets a few of your criteria. Maybe the newest Ghostbusters, too? I just watched Fury Road and can't figure it out, but there is just something simple about it that makes it an okay action movie, as lokaku said! The Fifth Element might be good for you, but it's mostly sci-fi. Other series: Another Life has a great female lead and gets dramatic. There must be some anime that fits your requirements, but I don't know much about that.
posted by Snowishberlin at 3:09 PM on January 19

Princess Nine, possibly. Sports not action, but I liked it.
posted by clew at 1:42 PM on January 20

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