Movies with crazy stunts and explosions?
May 30, 2004 8:36 PM   Subscribe

What's your favorite movie where stuff blows up and people do outrageous stunts? Alternatively, what are the best martial arts films, I remember one trilogy I saw part of with some crazy ass stunts, fighting on ladders, some monk whose mother was a ninja, etc. Getting back to the first part of the question: preferably funny, stylish, and sexy. James Bond meets Batman. Fire away.
posted by Grod to Media & Arts (42 answers total)
posted by interrobang at 8:41 PM on May 30, 2004

Shaolin Soccer
posted by mr.marx at 9:02 PM on May 30, 2004

Oddball over the top action movies? Two recommendations: for classic HK style, Iron Monkey. For the purely odd: Brotherhood of the Wolf (a movie made by french people trying to be hollywood trying to be hong kong, amazingly fun and cheezy -- they do a crossfade from a breast to a hill!).
posted by malphigian at 9:34 PM on May 30, 2004

Martial-arts: Hero. Really beautiful imagery. Not sure it really meets your criteria, but you should see it anyway. (IMDB link)

Hmm, if only I could remember the one where some bad guy was kicking ass with a wet towel...
posted by whatnotever at 9:42 PM on May 30, 2004

Drunken Master. The original from the 70s, not the Legend Of... remake.
posted by jbrjake at 9:46 PM on May 30, 2004

Boondock Saints. A truly great action movie.
posted by RustyBrooks at 9:49 PM on May 30, 2004

And Iron Monkey is a nice Kung Fu movie.
posted by RustyBrooks at 9:49 PM on May 30, 2004

Hard Boiled.
posted by inksyndicate at 9:50 PM on May 30, 2004

Fighting on ladders reminds me of Jet li in Once Upon A Time in China. It may not be what you're thinking of but its a great movie and the ladder scene is spectacular. Iron Monkey is another of my favourite Kung Fu films and features a younger version of the character that Jet plays in OUTIC. The Five Deadly Venoms and Crippled Avengers are my faves for campy nostalgic goodness.
However, any one who likes Kung Fu movies and stunning, ingenious, exhilarating, holy-crap-did-I-really-just-see-that stunts, you must see Ong Bak Muay Thai. It might still a bit hard to find but its worth searching for.
I'll also second Brotherhood of the Wolf. Its very cool and unlike anything else.
posted by Zetetics at 10:01 PM on May 30, 2004

whatnotever : I think the guy kicking ass with a wet towel was Donnie Yen (of Iron Monkey) in Once Upon a Time in China part two.
posted by Zetetics at 10:07 PM on May 30, 2004

I love a lot of the previous recommendations (especially older John Woo films) but let me make two that are obvious but worthy of your attention: The Bourne Identity and The Thomas Crown Affair. Both of these brought part of the emotions back for me that I used to get from Sean Connery-era Bond flicks. Neither are perfect, but there are passages from both that are great. They also both have "stylish and sexy" aspects too that are often missing from some of the Asian cinema recommendations (rather that "stylish and sexy" may be different for different cultures too.

For car chases, Ronin is phenomenal.
posted by gen at 10:09 PM on May 30, 2004

Response by poster: The Asian/martial arts suggestions are great. The western/action suggestions are also good. Bourne Identity is the type of thing I'm looking for, although I wouldn't mind funnier as well. These are all going on my list. Please, keep them coming.
posted by Grod at 10:13 PM on May 30, 2004

As long as you don't mind a lot of cheese with your crazy stunts, Big Trouble in Little China.
posted by duckstab at 10:14 PM on May 30, 2004

La Femme Nikita and the Professional
posted by milovoo at 10:20 PM on May 30, 2004

oh, and the whole "gun kata" thing from equilibrium was pretty cool.
posted by milovoo at 10:31 PM on May 30, 2004

I was always a fan of the Rush Hour movies. Jackie Chan kicks ass, as usual, and some good ole' Chris Rock humor. Good time!
posted by jmd82 at 10:32 PM on May 30, 2004

A second for Big Trouble in Little China. I saw it in college, over 10 years ago. I still reccomend it.
posted by daver at 10:43 PM on May 30, 2004

Just looking at my shelf: So Close is a stylish, modern gunplay & kung fu action flick with female stars Qi Shu (of The Transporter and the Jackie Chan movie Gorgeous), Vicki Zhao (from the aforementioned Shaolin Soccer) and Karen Mok (Shaolin Soccer and Stephen Chow's God of Cookery). Tai Chi Master is a period epic with some great fight choreography featuring Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh. Heroic Trio is a fun, if flawed, movie about three women (Anita Mui, who recently passed away from cancer, Michelle Yeoh, and Maggie Cheung, who just won Best Actress at Cannes) who must band together to fight an evil plot that involves the kidnapping of male babies. It's kind of like a cheesy superhero flick (the Mui character is even named "Wonder Woman"). Fist of Legend is widely regarded as Jet Li's best film. Legend of Zu is a fantasy martial arts movie that combines fighting with a LOT of special effects. My favorite Jackie Chan movie is Who Am I?... it combines all of the elements of a typical Jackie Chan movie (exotic locations, lots of action, creative fight choreography, Jackie's use of found materials as weapons, and one big showcase stunt) in a particularly pleasing way.

posted by MegoSteve at 10:50 PM on May 30, 2004

The Rundown was surprisingly good (see it even if you have a bias against The Rock).

The Fifth Element meets your criteria of both over the top and funny. It took me a couple of times watching it to really appreciate it, but it's now one of my favorite movies.

Desperado goes way over the line to the point of hilarity, though it's not one I can watch that often.

If you're willing to dip your toe into Anime, Ninja Scroll is one people who appreciate action movies never fail to enjoy.
posted by freshgroundpepper at 10:52 PM on May 30, 2004

Thank goodness. I was beginning to wonder where all the Anime was. Ninja Scroll really fits your bill very well, but you might also want to check out Akira and Ghost in the Shell (but only if you want to spend a lot of time afterwards trying to figure out what you just saw.) Much more straightforward are Anime like: Princess Mononoke, Castle in the Sky, Metropolis and Read or Die (Yes, Read or Die). But then again, you may hate Anime...I like it 'cause they can pretty much get away with anything. Anything
posted by Slimemonster at 11:13 PM on May 30, 2004

Ninja Scroll rocks indeed. Worlds better than Kill Bill.

I also liked the Final Fantasy movie, along the same lines. With a female protagonist and an oh-so vegetarian message, it's even possible your gf will watch it with you.
posted by scarabic at 12:09 AM on May 31, 2004

something by takashi miike, maybe?

probably not for everyone's taste, but I just saw dead or alive 2 and thought it was amazing. something like takeshi kitano's "sonatine" on a steady diet of steroids, crack and pcp.
posted by juv3nal at 12:15 AM on May 31, 2004

Another vote for Hard Boiled. You can't argue with a final gun battle that lasts for 40 minutes.
posted by PenDevil at 2:14 AM on May 31, 2004

Prodigal Son and Wheels on Meals kick ass.
posted by the cuban at 2:20 AM on May 31, 2004

Drunken Master. The original from the 70s, not the Legend Of... remake.

'Legend of' is not a remake. It was Drunken Master 2 in Hong Kong. When Miramax thought to dub it and release it in the States, they didn't want to confuse American audiences with the 2 ("Why would I want to see the sequel? Would I be missing something?") Anyhow, Drunken Master 2 is by far my favorite Jackie Chan movie.

Straight up regular kung fu, I prefer Jet Li's Fong Sai Yuk movies to the Once Upon a Time in China movies. Fong Sai Yuk is a bit goofier and he's got this whole Norman Bates relationship with his mom.

Another suggestion is some movies with Bridgette Lin. Like the remake of Dragon Gate Inn or Swordsman II or The Bride With White Hair. All excellent movies.
posted by alidarbac at 4:06 AM on May 31, 2004

Geez... pretty good list, with Boondock Saints and Iron Monkey and all. 'Course, I'd be negligent in my duties if I didn't mention the John Woo classics like The Killer and Hard Boiled. Even Hard Target was awesome. (And pretty much the only decent John Claude Van Damme flick.) I think, though, that Jet Li comes about as close to Batman meets James Bond as you can get in Kiss of the Dragon. A good HK flick off the beaten path, though, is Tokyo Raiders. Kinda silly, but a totally enjoyable movie.
posted by ph00dz at 4:33 AM on May 31, 2004

The One! The Killer!
posted by ac at 6:34 AM on May 31, 2004

I watch a neighbour couple throwing stuff at each other and quickly recompose themselves out of shame as I pop my head out of the window to see. Fast & Furious & Comedy Central for free !
posted by elpapacito at 7:22 AM on May 31, 2004

Almost any of the Jackie Chan's original HK movies:
Project A (and the sequels) and Police Story (and the sequels) are chock full of action.
posted by grum@work at 7:52 AM on May 31, 2004

Probably obvious, but Kill Bill Vol. 1 for the gigantic, yakuza katana showdown.

Stylish and sexy anime: Cowboy Bebop the Movie

Outrageous anime: Fist of the Northstar ( Sooooo over the top )
posted by picea at 9:25 AM on May 31, 2004

I can't believe no one has mentioned Die Hard yet - perhaps the greatest action/blow-up/smart-aleck-rebel-cop/vaguely-euro-bad-guy movies ever. It redefined the genre.

How about Killing Zoe? Romeo is Bleeding? True Romance? All great, violent, ridiculous fun.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:50 AM on May 31, 2004

In terms of pure "fight & blow stuff up", Die Hard 2 beats the original Die Hard (even though it IS the better movie).

True Romance has too much "down time" between the violence.

Robocop has some good, old-fashioned violence-and-blowing-stuff up.
posted by grum@work at 10:41 AM on May 31, 2004

Death Wish 3 takes the biscuit for the 15 minute final rampage through a New York suburb. What could be more outlandish than hoodlums on motorbikes throwing grenades into people's houses and Bronson blowing some guy (on the other side of the room) away with a RPG whilst sitting, comfortably, in an armchair.
posted by xpermanentx at 11:01 AM on May 31, 2004

I'd like to second the following:

Equilibrium (gun-fu. Hello? God, *that's* sexy.)
Shaolin Soccer - Crouching Tiger meets Game of their Lives meets that one episode of Buffy where they all sing and dance.

Boondock Saints. Lots of violence and action and someone shoots a cat. Ah man, good times.
posted by precocious at 11:18 AM on May 31, 2004

For the really outlandish action (if one wishes to call is that), there's always Hot Shots...

someone shoots a cat.
Best. Scene. Ever.
posted by jmd82 at 11:29 AM on May 31, 2004

Jackass is the obvious answer.
posted by Hackworth at 3:41 PM on May 31, 2004

Yeah some have been obliquely listed already, and sorry I don't have time to put in links:

Battle Royale -- this is totally f-ing awesome
Shark-skin man Peach-hip girl
Ichi the Killer
Shaolin vs. Lama
Shaolin Temple against Lama
posted by headless at 3:52 PM on May 31, 2004

I second Battle Royale.
posted by btwillig at 4:08 PM on May 31, 2004

No complaints about the above. Some that haven't been mentioned yet...

1) Wild Zero - an unholy mixture of UFOs, zombies and Rock 'n' Roll.
2) Tsui Hark's Time and Tide has some great sequences, including an unbelieveable gunfight where the characters are rapelling down a tenement.
3) The part in John Woo's Face/Off where the boat goes through the other boat. Best boat stunt ever.
posted by Gortuk at 5:44 PM on May 31, 2004

If you like Jackie Chan flicks, you might also enjoy some Sammo Hung or Yuen Biao. If you're into the whole samurai thing you'll love the Baby Cart series, or Lady snowblood (great new DVD transfer out).

I can't vouch for Fist of the North Star myself. After the novelty of watching people explode like lumbering sacs of blood and intestines when someone punches them, it's just another crappy anime. Battle Royale, though... That one's a doozie. I recommend it too.

Hmmmm... (*pondering*)
Dirty Harry?
You might like some old Jack Hill prison movies. They've got everything! Hot horny ladies stuck in jail, Pam Grier in her prime, and enough corny action to amuse you when the skin ratio's getting low.
posted by Evstar at 8:11 PM on May 31, 2004

Remo Williams
posted by Hildago at 10:45 PM on May 31, 2004

gen: The Bourne Identity and The Thomas Crown Affair. Both of these brought part of the emotions back for me that I used to get from Sean Connery-era Bond flicks.

Could that be because they're both remakes?

Also, the car chase in Ronin was an awful lot like the one in To Live And Die In L.A.
posted by bingo at 7:34 AM on June 1, 2004

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