Monday, June 12, 2006

Being Good At What it Is: MI3

I saw MI3 yesterday in a surprisingly sold-out screening. It was so L.A. that on a lovely Sunday afternoon, hundreds of people filled out a dark theater to see a movie that has been in release for a month. This is the definition of movie town.

Anyway, my friend and I both enjoyed MI3. It is what it is: a taut, fast-paced, suspenseful action movie. There are a few moments which had me turn to my companion and say, "Cool." The gadgets and stunts are great. There is no bad language in the film, or gratuitous sex. The violence is not graphic, although there is a lot of unbloddy violence going on through-out. The movie deserves credit for doing a good job of being what it is: an action picture.

I give the movie a thumbs up as harmless fun popcorn. Sometimes we need that.


On the way home, my friend and I were talking about our favorite action movies of all time. MI3 won't be on that list, we decided, because it doesn't have enough "lead character enjoyment time." You know, moments where you can just enjoy the personality of the lead hero - Han Solo being boastful, Indiana Jones being scared of snakes, True Lies Arnold setting up his wife, James Bond doing just about anything he does in between killing bad guys. These moments have much more to do with an action film working than does the consistency or probability of the plot.

I was wondering if there has ever been a great action film that doesn't have huge, global stakes. It seems not - like global stakes are part of the essential elements for this genre - but I defer to some of you who know this genre better than I.

But, here are the films I am putting on my list of all time favorite action movies. No particular order here. Do feel free to suggest more in the comments.


1) X2
2) Star Wars: Episodes IV, V, VI
3) Spiderman
4) Raiders of the Lost Ark
5) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
6) The Terminator
7) Terminator 2
8) Where Eagles Dare
9) 007: On Her Majesty's Secret Service (Leave me alone! I'd watch Diana Rigg read the phonebook.)
10) 007: Goldeneye
11) True Lies (I know, I know... But the characters were great.)
12) The Adventures of Robin Hood (Yes. The one with Errol.)
13) The Matrix
14) The Great Escape
15) Air Force One


Rich said...

I love Great Escape and your entire list. Action flicks are a fun escape...even in good weather.

John Farrell said...

Barb, Where Eagles Dare is one of the underappreciated masterpieces of 1960s Big Hollywood. First movie I ever saw in Cinemascope.

Believe it or not, I have the superb soundtrack by ....I want to say Ron Grainer but my memory may be tricking me (he might have done the Prisoner series).

Father Barry said...

I'm pleased to see Air Force One on there, Barb. It's been getting a bit of backlash in my area of late. Probably part of the "where has the good Wolfgang Petersen gone" syndrome.

The Last Crusade is often pushed under the rug by those who enjoy Raiders. Glad to see you fall into the "having my cake and eating it too" club.

(I'm moving right past the Flynn film. Just gonna pretend I didn't see that.)

What would you think about including Die Hard on the list? I always think of that film when I hear "action film." And what about another Petersen flick: In the Line of Fire?

But I'll pass on all of these just to see Guns of Navarone get mentioned.

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