Full action Movies list 2013

Duncan salutes his personal choice of the 2013 action movies that deserved just a little more love

Hooray for 2 Guns. It’s quite possibly the most financially successful movie on this list, but still wasn’t as wildly successful as it deserved to be, only just covering its budget from the US take and then not making a great deal elsewhere, which is a great shame.

Any fan of buddy cop or team-up action movies should revel in the sheer comedy delight of watching Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg spitting one-liners out at a rate of knots, while shooting the hell out of all and sundry, including chickens. The sheer speed at which quotable lines fly off the screen gives Tarantino a run for his money, and every single one hits with superb comic timing.

Wahlberg plays his role as loveably idiotic, which is a shtick he now has down to a fine art and even stretched to the limit this year in Michael Bay’s divisive Pain & Gain, which caused some polar opinions here at Geek towers, though I would have included it on this list if its small budget hadn’t returned a sizeable profit. It’s been a mixed year for Wahlberg, though, as Broken City, which he also produced, really didn’t do well.

To take from the review of 2 Guns I wrote a few months ago, director Baltasar Kormákur deserves credit for putting together a film that manages to both stick to some classic genre conventions, while feeling utterly fresh and original. Kormákur takes influences from old gangster movies, to westerns and combines them into a beautifully shot and crafted movie.

Action highlight:

With a kidnapped gangster (Edward James Olmos) bouncing around in the boot, Wahlberg is pursued across a dusty desert landscape by Washington, leading to a game of truck driving chicken. It’s exciting to watch, particularly the use of a wing mirror in a fist fight, but the reason I love the scene so much is that it sets up one of the movie's funniest scenes.

Wahlberg's excitable reaction, once they’ve finished scuffling, leads to his ‘together’ moment – it made me laugh in the trailer, made me laugh in the cinema and has just made me laugh again thinking about it. Comedy and action in perfect harmony.

Production budget of $35m, worldwide gross of $46m

By the time you read this, Statham’s Homefront will have had its opening weekend in the US, and if there’s any justice in the world, won’t be deserving of a place on this list as it manages to tick all the right boxes for anyone in the mood for a tight, tense and action-filled fix.

Of course, as we’ve coming to expect from the mighty Stath, it’s his third cinematic venture this year, with Parker providing the first and Hummingbird the second. It was a close call as to which of the those films to choose for this list, but arguably Hummingbird falls more into a dramatic thriller category.

Parker chooses to follow the action thriller route, with a fine opening scene leading to a bloody betrayal, but then falters like a few films on this list due to a tonal shift in the middle, where Statham’s titular character finds himself shown around houses by Jennifer Lopez for no apparent reason - or certainly not one that warrants so much screen time. Even though I reviewed Parker back at the start of the year, I’m still baffled by the casting of Lopez, and if it was done, as I suspected, to try and broaden the appeal of Stath’s movies to a larger audience, it didn’t work. And though I have nothing against her Lopez as an actress, there’s no point to her character.

Still, there’s fun to be had, as there’s enough left from the core plot to keep things fluid, and it’s great to see our man put in a charismatic turn in the lead role, as he really does keep things entertaining, and proves yet again why he’s consistently able to carry a big screen adventure.

With Homefront about to be unleashed, Statham’s managed to take his charming turn in Parker, combine some of the dramatics from Hummingbird and the head smashing antics from his best action movies, so here’s hoping it’s a success.

Action highlight: Statham proving that he's knife proof

I think deep down we all knew that Statham could take a knife and not blink, but in Parker’s rather fine one-on-one scrap, he takes the rather novel approach of letting himself get stabbed in the hand to avoid any serious injury. He’s just that tough.

In fact, the brutality of the fight really does help to support my theory that the original intention was to make Parker a much more gritty and dark film. There’s blood everywhere, and it induces the usual wince from seeing someone get hit by toilet porcelain, while the punches are shown to full effect before things take a topple over a balcony. It’s a standout moment in the movie, and it's a pity there wasn’t more scenes like this instead of all that house hunting.

Production budget of $130m, worldwide gross of $64.6m

Poor Ryan Reynolds. I’ve loved and supported his career since he first charmed his way through Van Wilder: Party Liaison, yet it seems the big break has yet to happen. Certainly Reynolds has been in several high profile movies, but none have managed to reach the financial and critical heights that he so deserves, and each year I keep hoping his luck will change.

Ironically, for a man with such a handsome face, it’s the voice work he’s done for a couple of animated movies this year that have yielded the best box office rewards, with Turbo lifted by its non-domestic gross and the rather fantastic The Croods scoring big the world over, with nearly $600 million in the bank and a sequel confirmed.

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