It’s the end of 2014. While there were will be ton of ‘best
of’ lists that litter the internet and consume some of our lives for a good two
to three weeks, here at Blood Brothers we aim to look less at the ‘best of the
year’ and more at the ‘most awesome of the year.’ Here we have the coveted Top
20 Action Films of 2014. This is a comprehensive list looking at films released
in 2014 that have taken us for a wild ride with fist to fist combat,
explosions, monster battles, and more. You can read official reviews of the films by clicking FULL REVIEW after the blurb.
Keep in mind that we don’t have time for every film during the course of the
year, so if we missed something or overlooked a film – you should let us know
in the comments below.
Without further ado, here is Blood Brothers’ Top 20 Action Films of 2014:
20. Batman: Assault on Arkham
only animated feature to make the list, Assault on Arkham is less of a
Batman flick and more of a Suicide Squad flick. Don’t let the ‘animated’ status
fool you, this is a pretty adult kind of film with plenty of sexual innuendos,
violence, and heavy moments that may not be children safe. It also has a pretty
solid story to go with it, snazzy voice acting, and some fun, solid twists.
19. The Purge: Anarchy
first Purge grated on my nerves with its rather watered down home
invasion approach to its grindhouse concept, Anarchy gets it right. With
John Carpenter inspiration throughout, a sense of claustrophobia in a big city,
and a great anti-hero in Frank Grillo, this sequel is less of a horror flick
and more of a B-grade action thriller…in all the right ways. Color me stoked
for the third film.
18. The Wrath of Vajra
In a way,
this is a terrible movie. The characters are broad strokes, the story is silly
at best, and the penchant for style over substance doesn’t help. It is however,
gloriously bad and succeeds in packing a ridiculous amount of martial arts
action punch. If anything, this film made the list out of sheer
entertainment…and for one of the best kung fu action sequences of the year
right smack dab in the middle of the film.
More of a
thriller than a true action flick, The November Man does pull back a lot
of old school thriller elements to work for us. Pierce Brosnan is delightfully
dark and cold in the film and the fast pacing of the flick works for its own
benefit. Not a film for everyone, this one does rely that one really buys into
the film first. If you do though, it’s an edge of your seat ride.
seemingly knows a good science fiction film to jump into. His track record is
damn near immaculate and Edge of Tomorrow is another fine entry. The
humor is surprisingly dark and often awkward, the combination of war action and
science fiction mumbo-jumbo shockingly works, and the film is utterly slathered
in charm. If anything, all I wanted for Christmas was a helicopter blade sword
to swing around because of this film.
does a ‘women in prison’ flick make a best of the year list, but Raze
does a remarkable thing with the exploitation genre – it takes it very
seriously and runs with it. The concept is simple, the execution even more so,
but the resulting (and realistic) beat downs and stripped humanity expressed in
the film works for any self-respecting vulgar auteur. Zoe Bell needs more
inspiration sports movie, one part martial arts film, one part harsh critique
of MMA and the reality show aspect of it, Fists of Legend is the first
of many South Korean films to make the list this year. It’s a remarkable drama
at its heart, but the rather continuous ability to punctuate it with strong
fight sequences makes this one of the big underground cuts for this year.
almost ceaseless flood of North Korea news on social media and in the US film
market right now, it’s probably fitting that a Korean spy flick makes the list.
This one tends to be a bit more thriller than true ‘action,’ but the strong
character work and a clever use of a beer can in disarming an assassin shoots
this one onto the year end list.
Korean feature in a row! The Suspect with South Korea’s answer to the Bourne
franchise and what a call-and-response it is. It does feature a bit too much of
the ridiculous Bourne patented shaky cam for my tastes (otherwise it might have
made the top five for the year), but the combination of realistic stunts, high
octane action chases, and a strong spy plot makes this one a must see anyway.
11. X-Men: Days of Future Past
I might still fight for how
awesome I thought The Wolverine
was, but Days of Future Past
is truly a return to form for the X-Men
franchise. Returning director
Bryan Singer takes one of the most iconic stories from the comic and blends it
into an action packed espionage thriller with enough strong character work and
action pieces to please any one of the fan bases. Sure,
it’s full of plot holes, but the awesome spectacle of it all makes up for a lot
might not fall directly into the action film category, but as a long time Godzilla
fan I loved it. Bitch all you want about the lack of Godzilla in the run time
of the film, but I felt the film was highly overlooked by detractors and
critics alike. Perhaps it was all the Spielbergian talk in the hype for the
film, but for a Godzilla flick the human element worked, the special effects
worked, and the final act truly encompasses why he is still ‘King of the
have been one hell of a Charles Bronson vehicle back in the early 80s. Sure the
gimmick of the set up for this franchise seemed a little too obvious, but the
combination of thriller spy elements and utter badassness of Washington had me
grinning from beginning to end. Here’s to hoping that franchise really kicks it
into gear with the second flick though.
often that a war film would make this list let alone one that features both
Taylor Kitsch and Mark Wahlberg, but Lone Survivor really caked on a
nice sense of tension to go with its realistic gun battles and relentless
pacing in the second half. I was utterly shocked by how much I enjoyed this
film, particularly after I thought Peter Berg’s career sunk with Battleship.
07. Kundo: Age of the Rampant
As a big
martial arts fan, 2014 was generally a let down as many of the bigger flicks
tended to deviate away from strong action and the genre’s roots in lay of
fantasy elements and shoddy CGI. However, Kundo was a film that harkened
back to its wuxia foundations and focused on epic story telling, a fantastic
lead, and strong stylish battle set pieces. This was perhaps the biggest
surprise of the year.
If you told
me that one of my least favorite Avengers in Captain America would be in one of
the most thoughtful and relevant action films in decades, I would have laughed.
Isn’t he a gimmick? Captain America 2 does just that though with its
weird conspiracy theories and political undertones about information gathering.
It does however, also feature some epic action set pieces and some fun banter.
Which is what I came for to begin with…
would have told me that TWO Chris Evans films would be in my Top 10 action
movies of the year last year, I would have laughed you off the planet. For this
Terry Gilliam inspired science fiction action thriller romp though, he earns
his stripes. The idea might be ludicrous and buying into the sheer silly
science fiction concept is a lot to chew, but the combination of brutal action,
thoughtful social analysis, and quirky humor makes Snowpiercer a must
see for cult film fans. It sure as hell isn’t for everyone though.
I expected The
Raid 2 to be my number one film of the year, so in a way it’s drop to four
is rather disappointing. The film is, however, one epic piece of modern martial
arts awesomeness. It’s like the Godfather with Sammo Hung inspired fight
choreography. It’s a viciously complex film, slathered in atmospheric tension,
but the final act features some of the greatest action set pieces ever put to
film. It has a few plot holes that do take it down a few notches, but kung fu
fans will have to see it no matter what.
In a weird
way, James Gunn might have earned himself even more street cred in the cult
film world (considering his films like Slither and Super…that’s a
big statement in itself) with Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel has been
riding on the success of The Avengers thus far, but the hilarious banter
and action of these rag tag group of heroic space scavengers hits all the right
notes. It’s action focused and heart warming at the same time…and did I mention
the Planet of the Apes was a perfect reboot for this cult science fiction
franchise. Dawn, however, takes that foundation and runs with it in all
the right ways as a thoughtful critique on human behavior that features some of
the most impressive mo cap acting that has ever graced the screen. The action
is a bit light in the first two thirds, but the final act more than makes up
for it with style AND substance.
Reeves has had one hell of a come back in his career. First it was his
directorial debut in the martial arts flick Man of Tai Chi
and now its
his performance in the utterly fantastic and effective John Wick. On one hand, this
film is utterly simple and to the point. On the other hand, it’s so utterly
steeped with homages and style action film past (the John Woo inspired gun fu
is phenomenal) that it knows exactly what it is and just stays with it. It’s
that kind of dedication to the genre that really makes this film work.