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14 Movies Only A True Action Fan Would Pick For Movie Night

Updated November 19, 2018 1.7k votes 281 voters 9.3k views14 items

List RulesVote up the films true action nerds are most likely to pick for prime weekend viewing.

Any regular action fan can recommend Mad Max: Fury Road or The Dark Knight for a surefire movie night full of explosions, but truly dedicated genre aficionados will often gravitate towards lesser-known films. Some of the best adrenaline-pumping movies of all time didn't even get a wide theatrical release. The bowels of the internet and the few surviving stand-alone video rental stores are littered with hidden action gems that no true fan should ignore.

Whether it's a film's tightly choreographed fight scenes, spectacularly rendered displays of destruction, or even just a high-octane, mind-melting plot that spawns more ridiculous fan theories than actual answers, the appeal of action movies remains as broad and varied as the movies themselves. Movies for action fans can sometimes serve as a window into a viewer's personality, whether they realize it or not. It takes a particular type of person to recommend a film called Shoot 'Em Up, even if it's not for the reasons you might expect.

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  • Why Is This A True Action Epic: Heat isn't just a great heist film, it's a great film. Starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro at the top of their respective games, Heat sports an affecting plot, powerful acting, and one of the most thrilling cops and robbers shootouts ever filmed.

    What Does This Movie Say About Its Fans: They mostly just want to see great movies. Heat appeals to legitimate film fans who care about cinematic quality more than the amount of action in a movie. They're going to shush anybody getting loud while watching, and afterward ask everybody in the living room about their thoughts on the film and what it was trying to say thematically. 

    • Actors: Natalie Portman, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Ashley Judd
    • Released: 1995
    • Directed by: Michael Mann
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    Why Is This A True Action Epic: Crank is nothing if not nonstop action. In order to stay alive, the lead character must keep his adrenaline skyrocketing at all times. To that end, he pursues wilder and wilder stunts, like picking fights and engaging in very public displays of affection, all to keep his heart beating. It isn't exactly subtle.

    What Does This Movie Say About Its Fans: This is a dumb but incredibly fun movie. It primarily appeals to people who just want a film playing in the background while hanging out and doing something else. Fans of Crank enjoy fun, simple films that don't distract too much from where they are and the people they're with.

    • Actors: Jason Statham, Amy Smart, Dwight Yoakam, Glenn Howerton, Efren Ramirez
    • Released: 2006
    • Directed by: Neveldine/Taylor
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  • Why Is This A True Action Epic: This is Bruce Campbell at his B-movie best. The second sequel in the Evil Dead series, Army of Darkness sends Ash back in time with a chainsaw for a hand and his trusty shotgun. The plot is utter nonsense, but blowing away undead foes makes for a reliably hilarious viewing experience, especially with a crowd.

    What Does This Movie Say About Its Fans: These people watch action films for the sheer fun of it. They're not into thinking about which of these films are the greatest or the slickest, they just want to watch stuff explode, hear some good one-liners, and hang out with friends.

    • Actors: Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi, Scott Spiegel, Ellen Sandweiss
    • Released: 1981
    • Directed by: Sam Raimi
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  • Why Is This A True Action Epic: Edge of Tomorrow is sort of like if Groundhog Day became an epic sci-fi action movie. Thanks to the lead character's invincibility - if he passes, he just wakes up again at the start of the day - he's able to perform some incredible action stunts, risking and sometimes losing everything to thwart an alien invasion.

    What Does This Movie Say About Its Fans: Edge of Tomorrow isn't a movie many people have seen. In fact, it was functionally retitled after release to clarify the concept. Though it has found a passionate audience, the movie remains underappreciated, so this is one for the people who identify with the runt in a litter, who take the time and effort to seek out a movie or experience no matter who unpopular or under the radar it may be.

    • Actors: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, Charlotte Riley
    • Released: 2014
    • Directed by: Doug Liman
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