London is truly a global city, offering sites, sounds and loads of action! Find out which action movies have taken place in the city of dreams.
Big Smoke and explosions: action movies in London
London is one of the most populated cities in the world and there’s no shortage of action movies that take place there. With so many films shot in London, it can be hard to narrow down which ones are worth your time. Some of the best action movies ever made take place in London. The city is an ideal setting for any film that needs a fast-paced, high-energy environment with plenty of destruction and danger. Some of the most famous scenes in movie history took place on the streets of London. With all this mind, let us now look at some of the major action movies that have taken place in what is commonly referred to as the city of dreams.
How can one speak of London without speaking about one of it’s biggest entertainment exports – James Bond 007. Skyfall is significant for a number of reasons; many deem it to be Craig’s best outing as the super spy after his first turn in 2006’s Casino Royale. It’s also the only 007 adventure to gross over a billion dollars at the box office. One of the film’s biggest set pieces takes place in the London Underground when Bond pursues his nemesis, Raoul Silva, played with sheer relish by Javier Bardem, only to escape death by mere inches when the Silva orchestrates the derailing of one the Tube’s carriages. It’s an action set-piece that doesn’t pull any punches and even though you know 007 will survive, the danger is palpable. In addition to being a truly equal and villainous adversary to Craig’s 007, Bardem’s Silva is also a computer genius and hacker who boasts to Bond about the ease of manipulating financial markets and how his actions can have an impact on global economies, CFD and share trading, through the mere click of a button.
Reign of Fire (2002)
Released in 2002 and starring a surprisingly timid Christian Bale as the lead, Reign of Fire is a post-apocalyptic science fantasy film that takes place in the year 2020 – don’t laugh. During construction on the London Underground, workers accidentally stumble upon a cave, unleashing a massive dragon and with it, hoards of others. Eventually dragons have raised London to the ground and replaced human beings as the dominant species on the planet. The trailers for this movie showcased great promise and with big names like Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey attached, expectations were high. Regrettably Reign of Fire, despite sporting a barrage of impressive special effects fell short of the glory at the box office. However, if you’re keen on some great action set-pieces, it will be worth your while.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Released back in 1998 and directed by the then relatively unknown Guy Ritchie, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is an action comedy crime caper that offers an amusing twist on the story-telling formula made popular by Quentin Tarantino. Ritchie captures a very different side of London, electing to expose the audience to a grimy side of this global city. However, Ritchie populates his grimy iteration of London with interesting characters, infusing them with a fair amount of witty humour, and in the end offers up a highly-stylised account of the events that transpire.
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Directed by Guy Ritchie and taking place in 1890 Victorian era London, Sherlock Holmes was a box office success, grossing $524 million off a production budget of $90 million. Robert Downey Jnr. offers a very different take on the traditional character of Holmes, electing to play him as an eccentric Bohemian scientist instead. And while Ritchie’s modern and kinetic story-telling style might not suite all audience members, what Sherlock Holmes really benefits from are its fantastic action set pieces and the undeniable bromance between the film’s two leads – Robert Downey Jnr. and Jude Law.