Top 10

July 30, 2012

10 of the Best: Action Movie Directors

1. James Cameron – Not much of a surprise really. The first 2 Terminator movies are total classics; Aliens (best of the series), The Abyss, True Lies and Avatar . Avatar is visually stunning, and shut up with your Dances with Wolves comparisons, there’s only 7 stories you can tell and this one worked just fine. Once you’ve made a film that’s made $2.5 Billion, then I’ll give a shit what you think.


2. John McTiernan – Die Hard, Predator, Die Hard with a Vengeance, etc. Your argument is invalid. He knows how to not only shoot an action scene but create almost unbearable tension in-between. Oh, did I mention that Die Hard & Predator are 2 of the greatest action movies of all time?


3. Paul Verhoeven – Robocop, Total Recall, Starship Troopers and Hollow Man to name a few. Verhoeven can not only make hard R, classic action movies but his movies always have a tinge of satire, showing that he doesn’t take himself or the movie too seriously. Good luck to anyone remaking these films, you will fail.


4. Michael Mann – Heat, Last of the Mohicans, Public Enemies and Collateral to start with. He doesn’t make brainless action movies; but movies with flawed characters and interesting stories. Admittedly his dialogue sometimes strays into the pretentious: “You sift through the detritus, you read the terrain, you search for signs of passing, for the scent of your prey, and then you hunt them down.” Dude, what? People don’t speak like that.


5. John Woo – Where the hell is he anyway? He only made The Killer, Hard Boiled, Face/Off, Hard Target, Broken Arrow, M:I 2 and A Better Tomorrow. His slo-mo and doves shtick did get a bit samey after a while but it’s still a lot better than the shaky cam shit that goes on today. His violence was balletic, characters also flawed (like Mann) and the last half hour of his films is just full-on action carnage.


6. Walter Hill – The Driver, Last Man Standing, 48 Hrs, The Warriors, etc. So many classics on this man’s resume. He is also directing the upcoming Sly Stallone vehicle Bullet to the Head, which is on my most anticipated list. A man’s man through and through and a legendary filmmaker.


7. Isaac Florentine – He directed Undisputed 2/3 and Ninja. Hasn’t done any big budget fare (yet) but his films have some of the best fight scenes you’ll ever see. Any action fan should own the Undisputed movies; the story is well written, the acting top notch and the characters are memorable (Boyka = Legend).


8. Tony Scott – Although he does have a lot of shaky cam recently, his older fare like Top Gun, The Last Boy Scout, Crimson Tide, True Romance, etc are all classics. He is one of the all time great film makers. All must bow before him.


9. Sylvester Stallone – The Expendables, Rambo, etc. Well, if you haven’t heard of him, you’re on the wrong site I’m afraid. Arguably the most important man in action cinema as he helps keep the genre alive with his recent Rambo (2008) being one of the most hardcore movies you’ll ever see to the Expendables where he assembled the greatest action legends of all time.


10. Richard Donner – The Lethal Weapon Franchise, Superman, Assassins, etc. Another all time great. One of the best things about the Lethal Weapon movies was continuity, same cast, same crew = classics.

About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel
I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it's a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone.



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