The 1990s was a great period for action movies. With filming technology advancing rapidly, '90s action movies were starting to look a lot better than their 1980s predecessors. Things were especially looking up for the action sci-fi genre, which was beginning to take off with classics like Total Recall, The Matrix, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, The Fifth Element, and so many more.
While we celebrate the time where Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger were the biggest stars in the world, here are some things you didn't know about the making of '90s action movies.
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Patrick Swayze was cast as Bodhi 'Bodhisattva in the 1991 surfer action film Point Break and despite the script calling for stunts as excessive as jumping out of a moving plane, Swayze insisted on performing the skydive himself. He ended up doing it over 55 times despite objections by the studio.
Swayze was an avid skydiver at the time so naturally, the role was perfect for him. Despite Swayze's experience doing jumps, the producers actually had to ask him to stop skydiving during the film's shoot for insurance purposes. They eventually compromised, agreeing that Swayze would perform his own skydiving stunt in the film but only once. Nonetheless, Swayze kept doing the jumps, especially without the producer's knowledge. He even badgered poor Gary Busey to go skydiving with him.
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Independence Day is one of the most significant Hollywood blockbuster films of all time, sparking a resurgence of large-scale action films in the mid-'90s. It's also the film where Will Smith punches an alien in the face and says "welcome to earth." Again, quite significant.
The plot revolves around an alien attack that takes place on Independence Day (that's July 4th for non-Americans). Funny enough, the film originally had the support of the U.S. Military and were granted access to shoot on several military bases. They even offered consultants for the actors who were playing military roles. That is until they found out that Area 51 is referenced in the script several times, prompting the military to withdraw their entire agreement and pull out. Oddly suspicious behavior, isn't it?
- Photo: Warner Bros.
The Fugitive was like a constant anxiety attack from start to finish. It gets even crazier when you find out that the chase scene involving Kimble and Gerard in Chicago's St. Patrick's Day parade was actually shot during the city's real parade, and the actors had to keep a low profile to avoid being recognized by civilians, which made the scene look even more authentic.
The scene was not actually in the original script but director Andrew Davis, a native of Chicago, really wanted to include the city's parade in the film. He got permission from the mayor to discretely shoot the sequence with hand-held cameras, letting Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones work out the action. Additionally, Ford really did injure his leg during filming but didn't want to fix it until after the shoot was over to make Kimble's limp seem authentic, so Kimble's limp in the film is really Harrison Ford's.
- Photo: Tri-Star Pictures
Total Recall was not only one of the most iconic Schwarzenegger films of the 1990s but also helped boost the science fiction/action-adventure hybrid genre that is still around to this day. The film was written by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett in the 1970s before they wrote Alien but the project was stuck in development hell until Schwarzenegger got involved and pushed it forward.
Eventually, the project was a go and filming took place in Mexico City over six months. While filming in Mexico had its advantages, (the futuristic-looking subway station was actually just part of the Mexico City Metro) the entire cast & crew came down with bad food poisoning except for Schwarzenegger and Ronald Shusset. That's over 500 people. Schwarzenegger avoided food poisoning because he personally required all his food be imported from the United States.