Ever since the turn of the century and the rise of new technology to create better, more fluid visuals, there has been no genre that has undergone a significant change as the action genre. I love a good action flick. The genre has gained significant popularity in all forms of cinema in the last 20 years, and has proved to be a viable source through which different ideas can be expressed. Now, knowing that most great action movies also come under categories such as sci-fi and superhero (yes, that includes The Dark Knight, even though we don’t consider it to be), we’re going to leave those out. Here’s my list of the 10 best action movies made 2000 onwards:
10. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011)
Director: Brad Bird
Ghost Protocol remains my favourite Mission Impossible installment to this day. Being Brad Bird’s live action debut, with his success in animated movies such as The Incredibles, he does a great job in making Ethan Hunt’s latest mission a little more impossible.
From dodging bullets underwater, to scaling the Burj Khalifa to having a gun fight atop stories of cars, Bird’s contribution to the series contains clever set pieces, good action sequences, Tom Cruise doing his usual thing, which leads to a well-made, well choreographed, and highly entertaining installment to the franchise.
9. Baby Driver (2017)
Director: Edgar Howard Wright
Baby Driver is simply delightful. A cinematic triumph for Edgar Wright.
The sheer originality of the movie alone makes it worthy enough to be called one of the best action movies in recent memory.
Add to that some amazing visuals, action sequences choreographed in sync to a KICKASS soundtrack, a cast of some of the coolest characters in cinema, and an amazing script, and you’ve got a definite top 10. Some people may call this movie a little cliched, but I do not concur with this opinion.
The way I see it, it’s a mix of some classic Hollywood components, a little gritty modern storytelling and the unique style and tone Edgar Wright brings to the film. And the soundtrack. Never forget the soundtrack. Baby Driver may very well make its way up this list in the future when it’s old enough to be considered a cult classic, but for now, it’ll make do with a #9 spot.
Where to Watch: Netflix
8. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
Director: Paul Greengrass
The third installment was undoubtedly the best in the Bourne series. Until it all went downhill with future projects. The Bourne Ultimatum, however, is a mix of brains and brawn for both the titular character as well as the film itself. This film is as much of a suspense thriller as it is action.
The action scenes are absolutely brilliant, with the director’s intentions to make you feel every emotion, feel every punch and gunshot coming to full effect. The movie is smarter, and at the same time, more audacious. The film swept the Oscars in its technical categories, winning for Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing, for good reason.
7. Haywire (2011)
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Haywire is an apt title for this one. In a good way, of course. In a film filled with male A-listers like Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, and Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, and Bill Paxton, director Steven Soderbergh brings to the forefront Gina Carrano as cop Mallory Kane, as she kicks all kinds of ass in this shaky but slick, well-edited, VERY well choreographed action sequences of the century.
With the sequences choreographed by the great J.J Perry, this movie has some of the best editing in an action movie this century, and is an absolute treat to watch. Could’ve been a potential money-making franchise, but what can you do?
Where to Watch: Netflix
6. Casino Royale (2006)
Director: Martin Campbell
Daniel Craig’s first outing as the legendary super spy is considered as one of the greatest movie renditions of the character. And for good reason. The mission is typical of the Bond franchise — defeating a weapons dealer in a high stakes game of poker at Casino Royale. But Casino Royale also gave a more human look to the character of James Bond. The man behind the suit.
Unlike Pierce Brosnan’s classy spy look, Craig’s is more grittier, with a darker backstory to add more depth to the character. For Craig’s part, he plays the role in a newer, and superior fashion than most of the other Bond actors. But that’s just my opinion. Casino Royale is my favourite Bond film, and opened the door to a newer, more vulnerable version of 007, but much more brutal.