Comedies can win Oscars, or at least Golden Globes. Foreign films get their own category. So, aside from family films, the one genre that never gets much recognition other than through box office dollars is the action movie genre. Action films have become blurred with thrillers recently, as Hollywood has leaned more toward serious, realistic action-thrillers over kick-ass explosion-filled extravaganzas. This list includes some of those, but 2007 saw the reemergence of some bad ass action films.
And no, Spider-Man 3 is not on the list. Here are the top ten action movies of 2007:
- Transformers (2007)
The top five action movies of 2007 are pretty close to one another, and the top three are almost interchangeable. But there’s no denying that the film with the biggest impact over the summer was an explosive action film that had fan boys salivating and even regular audience members blown away by spectacular visual effects and a finale that all but destroys Los Angeles. The movie was plagued with some annoying dialogue and other screenplay issues, but Michael Bay’s action sequences overcame those flaws to make Transformers the best action movie of 2007.
- 300 (2007)
Coming in a very close second place is 300, a movie from Dawn of the Dead director Zach Snyder. 300 could have been a complete disaster, but Snyder made the movie a visual feast. Some people complained that the movie had a lot more talking than fighting, but I found it to have the perfect balance of politics, drama, visuals and action. 300 is by far and away the most visually original picture of 2007, and it’ll be interesting to see how the Visual Effects Oscar gets handed out – on the one hand, Transfomers offered seamless visuals; on the other, 300 was one long special effect that defied expectations and made the film the biggest hit of the first four months of the year.
- The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
The smartest action film in the top three, the third Bourne film places third simply because I thought The Bourne Supremacy was slightly better. The Bourne Ultimatum felt a bit like it was re-treading on the second film’s originality only with a less interesting plot, but I only say that because Supremacy is one of my all-time favorite action films. Ultimatum is still a great action movie, and continues to prove that Matt Damon can be an action hero, and a damn intimidating one to boot.
- Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
Despite going way too over the top at times (the fighter jet blowing up a billion dollars worth of highway, for instance), the fourth Die Hard movie was everything fans were expecting and waiting for. People had all but given up on the chance that they would indeed make a fourth movie, but Bruce Willis brought his rugged John McClain back to theaters one more time. The movie is one long action sequence, and while it is hit a bit by the fact that it is rated PG-13, it is still a pretty brutal thrill ride. At the very least, it was refreshing to return to the action films of old, where tough guys did tough things.
- No Country for Old Men (2007)
Who knew that a major Best Picture contender would end up on a Top Ten list for Best Action Movie? Regardless, No Country for Old Men, from the Coen Brothers, is one of the most exciting movies I’ve seen in a long time. Not your typical action film, the Coen Brothers fill their film with an impending sense of dread, and give us one of the scariest and most ruthless villains ever witnessed on the silver screen. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t end the way most of us would have liked – otherwise, this film could have been a lot higher on this list.
- Shooter (2007)
Items six through ten aren’t nearly as good as items one through five, but are still good entries for those looking for mindless entertainment. Shooter is a pretty mindless film that tries to cover some idiocies with a political assassination and conspiracy storyline, which, for the most part, works well enough. Mark Wahlberg does a good job in the lead, and Shooter offers plenty of action and intrigue. It’s not a great movie, but it’s still better than most action movies we get these days.
- 28 Weeks Later (2007)
Okay, so 28 Weeks Later is technically a horror movie, or at the very least a zombie movie, but as far as excitement goes, it’s a great little film. The movie didn’t receive very good reviews nor box office revenues, but this zombie sequel is exciting and suspenseful from the first minute to the last. The opening sequence is great, and the film is full of exciting moments.
- Vacancy (2007)
It’s been a while since I last saw this thriller, but I had to put it on the list anyway. It’s not an action movie per se, but it is action-packed, so I think it deserves a place. Starring the unlikely combination of Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale as a nearly divorced couple, Vacancy is about two people who find themselves trapped at the hotel from Hell. The movie is exciting from beginning to the end, minus the last two minutes, which are just dreadful. Still, I hadn’t sat on the edge of my seat like this in a long time.
- 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
I wasn’t crazy about the ending of this one either, but there’s no denying that 3:10 to Yuma is still a thoroughly entertaining film. Starring the great combination of Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, the western remake offers a complicated and disturbing villain (Crowe), some good action scenes and several other exciting moments. If anyone still thinks that westerns are out of date, 3:10 to Yuma is just one of many recent westerns that proves them wrong.
- The Kingdom (2007)
This one wasn’t as good as I was hoping it would be, but The Kingdom has some great action, especially toward the end. Somehow this movie, which featured some pretty spectacular trailers and a quality cast, flopped in theaters despite having everything that action audiences require. The shortcoming of the film is that the screenplay isn’t nearly as good as it should have been, given the material.
Other movies that almost made the list: Planet Terror, Death Proof and Smokin’ Aces. The two Grindhouse films were both thoroughly entertaining and offered some good action, while Smokin’ Aces was entertaining but not quite as action packed as I was hoping for.
Why wasn’t Spider-Man 3 on the list? Because it just wasn’t that good of a movie. Harry Potter? Not nearly as good as the other movies (and not really an action movie). Pirates of the Caribbean? That movie just sucked. Fantastic Four 2? Enough said.