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All-Out Action

Action movies are simple; a basic plot is stitched together via a series of physical events. However, few accomplish this task with originality, thus few are memorable. That said, 2011 brought with it some enduring examples. In Time was excellent stylistically. Adrenaline junkies love their cars and guns, and it definitely had the coolest collection. Columbiana on the other hand had the coolest choreography. Zoe Saldana kicked ass like a Bourne babe. And there was Transformers 3. Dark of the Moon was by far the most creative genre-bender of the year. The clarity of its CG was beyond crisp, and the level of destruction that ensued on screen was mesmerizing.

This past weekend one of the category’s greatest stars returned to the silver screen, Tom Cruise. With him came his character Ethan Hunt and another Mission Impossible. This fourth installment, titled “Ghost Protocol,” not only patched things up with Paramount it also brought back a coveted camera. It’s grand to see Cruise doing all his own stunts again, it was grander to view it all in IMAX. His adventure in Dubai will be remembered hereafter as a classic endeavor. From scaling the world’s tallest building to a car chase in a sandstorm the delivery and execution were all refreshing. Also, the high-gloss gadgets within are guaranteed to titillate anyone with XY chromosomes.

Forensic evidence aside let’s discuss another agent extraordinaire. Sherlock Holmes accompanied Mr. Hunt this holiday season with a sequel all his own. “A Game of Shadows” is what it’s called, and outstanding is what it is. It was amazing to watch Guy Ritchie surpass his first outing. Along with Zack Snyder I believe him to be this generation’s greatest talent. Though Rock ‘N’ Rolla is still his crowning achievement, Shadows is a close second. Where most directors/actors have shrunk under the pressure, Ritchie/Downey Jr./Law do otherwise. The thrills are amped this round, and the villain is enticing. Holmes is increasingly enamoring, and Watson shines as his unimpressed straight man. From its costuming to its pageantry the film is absolute visual splendor.

If forced to choose between these two recent releases I’d acquiesce with Sherlock. For not only did it play host to some impressive physical feats, it used such to thread a genius plot. However, both stand as archetypes for what awaits in twenty-twelve. Until then here’s some All-Out Action to look forward to here in My Life at the Movies.


  • Chris Elliott

    Great piece dude. This was filled to the brim with content. Loved that. I’m awaiting mission impossible 4, and as I mentioned, saw Sherlock. I respect your knowledge of action films. You definitely did a great job of coherently breaking down the orchestration of both films in a way that makes sells me. Really nice. Saw the trailers, Man on a ledge looks great, as does G.I Joe. Expendables looks cheese, but those who grew up with those guys will definitely enjoy the nostalgia attached. Nice work!

    • Anonymous

      Cheese? Looks awesome!!! LOL. You gotta get your nerd on Christopher.

  • KWgirl

    Loved MI-IV…I was literally on the edge of my seat. The scene in Dubai freaked me out with the height of the building and the incredible stunts. LOVED this movie.
    I thought I would also love Sherlock Holmes…but alas (and maybe because the theater was freezing cold) I just found it long. I will give it another try though as your dad thought it was great.
    LOVED the trailers….and yes, being an older generation, I’m looking forward to Expendables II.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, the line up in Expendables 2 looks stellar. I am also excited that the writer of the Adjustment Bureau is teaming up with a stylistically fresh Korean director to do a picture with Arnold as well. I’ll keep you posted. Lots of great movies to come in 2012.

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