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'Stupid' Action Movies That Are Secretly Brilliant

Updated 30 Jul 2019 10.4k votes 1.2k voters 43.1k views14 items

List RulesVote up the "dumb action movies" that are far smarter than people give them credit for.

Action is consistently one of the highest-grossing film genres, with arguably the longest shelf-life in terms of pop-culture relevance and general popularity. However, despite how much people love chaotic shootouts, high-octane car chases, and intense hand-to-hand combat, action movies don't always get credit for their hidden depths.

While people might love watching Jean-Claude Van Damme, Nicolas Cage, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sylvester Stallone dispatch baddies with a hail of fire and a snarky one-liner, they don't necessarily expect those characters to embody philosophical points of view about the human condition. As much as audiences love watching aliens and natural catastrophes wreak havoc on major cities, comparatively few find it worthwhile to look for the brilliance hidden behind the spectacle.

But, if you take the time to appreciate some of the nuance, subtext, subtleties, and technical innovations that went into making some of Hollywood's most famously "stupid" action films, you'll see there's a real brilliance buried beneath the surface.