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Thread: The Top 18 MERICAN 90s Action Movies

  1. #1
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    The Top 18 MERICAN 90s Action Movies

    Many of you know in the Film Discussion Thread, I've been watching 90s action movies lately, and I've finally pared them down to the top 18. I was trying to go for a top 20 but I just didn't feel very strongly about the movies that would fill the last two spots- I'll throw in a couple Honorable Mentions before the list starts, but they really are pushing it as far as enjoyable viewings IMO.

    What qualifies to be on this list?

    • They need to be American made
    • They need to have been released between 1990 and 1999
    • They need to have FULL COMMITMENT to a dumb idea, premise or set piece


    Movies that are Exempt from this list (movies that are too good for this decade):

    • True Lies
    • Terminator 2
    • The Fugitive & U.S. Marshall
    • Hard Boiled
    • The Matrix
    • Die Hard(s)
    • Men in Black & Independence Day
    • Jackie Chan
    • Jet Li


    A couple of fun notes before I begin:

    • No Director made it on the list twice
    • No Film from 1990 or 1992 made the list
    • Three lead actor heroes make the list twice (they may not be top billed)
    • Two Female directors made the list



    HM1: Armageddon (1998)
    HM2: Predator 2 (1990)
    HM3: Daylight (1996)
    HM4: Face/Off (1997)

    18. Blue Streak (1999)
    17. Eraser (1996)
    16. Judgement Night (1993)
    15. Desperate Measures (1996)
    14. Executive Decision (1996)
    13. Escape from L.A. (1995)
    12. Desperado (1995)
    11. Timecop (1994)
    10. Broken Arrow (1996)
    9. Broken Arrow (1996)
    8. Starship Troopers (1997)
    7. Con Air (1997)
    6. Volcano (1997)
    5. Under Seige 2: Dark Territory (1995)
    4. The Rock (1998)
    3. Point Break (1991)
    2. The Peacemaker (1997)
    1. Speed (1994)
    Last edited by Dukefrukem; 04-01-2016 at 07:02 PM.

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  2. #2
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Honorable Mention...Sorta: Armageddon (1998)

    Director: Michael Bay


    Lead Hero(s):Bruce Willis +ensemble


    Lead Villain An Asteroid


    Stupid Premise: Giant asteroid on collision course with Earth; NASA must hire oil drillers to go into space and drill a hole on the asteroid to detonate a nuclear warhead, to split asteroid in half.

    Why It Didn't Make the List:As far as stupid premises go, this is probably the stupidest that will be discussed here, despite the fact that the production values are probably the best of the movies discussed here. But right away we are distracted by the question: Why instead doesn't NASA train Astronauts to drill instead of training drillers to be Astronauts? Why is there a Gatling Gun on the armadillo they sent to space? Why does drilling 800 feet in an TEXAS-sized asteroid split an asteroid in half? Wouldn't the hole need to be near the center...say 400 miles deep?- I wasn't quite sure this qualified to be an "action movie" either. Sure there's action, but it's more of a disaster film. Same goes for Independence Day which also will not be on the list. There needs to be other things going on than just stuff blowing up for it to be "action".
    Last edited by Dukefrukem; 06-01-2015 at 04:04 PM.

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    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Honorable Mention: Predator 2 (1990)

    Director: Stephen Hopkins

    Lead Hero(s): Danny Glover


    Lead Villain The Predator



    Stupid Premise: The Predator wreaks havoc in a concrete jungle, Los Angeles

    Why It Didn't Make the List: Despite how good Danny Glover is in this, there’s just not enough originality to reverse engineer a good Predator movie in a modern setting. Maybe it was because the bar was set so high with Predator, but Predator 2 is so unnecessarily violent, much more than its predecessor. The practical effects and makeup work is actually another good takeaway and I love the expansion of the Predator universe, adding in a new predator weapon ( the throwing disc) and seeing a glimpse of the Alien skull on the Predator ship and seeing the Predator elders, but there isn’t enough going on to propel this into a good action movie.

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    Honorable Mention: Daylight (1996)

    Director : Rob Cohen

    Lead Hero(s): Sylvester Stallone



    Lead Villain Air



    Stupid Premise : New York Tunnel collapses at both ends trapping commuters and passengers inside. Stallone needs to enter the tunnel, with no immediate plans to rescue the people trapped…to do what exactly?

    Why It Didn't Make the List : This is pure 90s-action movie logic: Stallone’s character needs to get inside the tunnel to “assist” the trapped people, so they decide to go in through a ventilation system that has several giant spinning fans. The fans CANNOT be shut down (for unexplained reasons- why can’t they cut the power?), but only slowed for 30 seconds each. So Stallone must drop between the enormous fans as they reboot every 30 seconds. While he makes his way through the vent system, several LEDs are displaying the countdown of the reboot process to let both Stallone and the audience know, just how much time is left before he ends up as a frappe.. Wut?

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    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Honorable Mention: Face/Off (1997)

    Director : John Woo

    Lead Hero(s): John Travolta / Nicolas Cage




    Lead Villain Nicolas Cage / John Travolta




    Stupid Premise : Travolta’s character undergoes plastic surgery to swap faces with Cage to go undercover in a prison, to gain knowledge of a pending terrorist attack against the city. While Travolta is undercover, Cage wakes up from medically induced coma, kills all of the doctors and law enforcement officers who had knowledge of the sting, and starts living his life as Travolta.

    Why It Didn't Make the List : I don’t think there are two actors who could pull off the Freaky Friday thing like Travolta and Cage do. They are basically doing impressions of each other but Travolta comes off like the better bad guy. The action scenes are so crappily generic; it makes me wish there was more Travolta / Cage dialog interaction like in the scene below. Plot Hole: Caster Troy (the terrorist) kills and burns all of the evidence of the surgery but wouldn’t a simple DNA test prove Archer’s innocence when he is left in the prison? BTW, can John Woo make a fucking movie without white doves please?

    Last edited by Dukefrukem; 06-01-2015 at 04:13 PM.

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    good for health Skitch's Avatar
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    Loving it.

  7. #7
    Seconded. This is a great thread & I'm absolutely loving these write ups.

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    Crying Enthusiast Sven's Avatar
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    My new favorite thread. Keep em coming.

  9. #9
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    I'm a big fan of Face/Off and love Travolta's Nic Cage impression mores than Nic Cage's Travolta impression.

    Little Women - *** 1/2
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    Color Out of Space - ***


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    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    #18: Blue Streak (1999)

    Director : Les Mayfield

    Lead Hero: Martin Lawrence



    Lead Villain Peter Greene



    Stupid Premise : Martin Lawrence (a thief) robs a jewelry store and stashes a $17 million diamond at a construction site before getting captured. After getting released from jail several years later, the construction site is now a police station. Lawrence then poses as a detective to search unsuspectingly for the diamond within the inner walls.

    Why It Made the List : Martin Lawrence secretly tells everyone at the police station that he’s a highly decorated detective, which evolves into internal affairs, which involves into an undercover F.B.I. agent … Every time he gets close to locating the diamond, he gets dragged out on a real case in which he ends up solving in some strange manner, typically using his "think like a criminal" skills. While out on a case, he runs into fellow thief, Dave Chappelle, robbing a store, in which he proceeds to ‘talk him down’ in front of his fellow officers. He ends the negotiation with his catch phrase: “now this is gonna hurt hurt a little bit” to legitimize his special skills in front of his fellow police. The front continues until he confronts his former accomplice, Peter Greene, who wants the diamond for himself. With supporting cast from Luke Wilson and William Forsythe this is a fantastically hilarious 90s film that earned the number 18 spot on my list.

    Last edited by Dukefrukem; 06-02-2015 at 07:54 PM.

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  11. #11
    Shocking Seductive Spiral Thirdmango's Avatar
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    Ah this makes sense why I saw you watching these movies on letterboxd. We both ended up watching The Rock the same week.

  12. #12
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Thirdmango (view post)
    Ah this makes sense why I saw you watching these movies on letterboxd. We both ended up watching The Rock the same week.
    Heh yup. No peeking at my ratings on those movies.

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    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    #17: Eraser (1996)

    Director : Chuck Russell

    Lead Hero: Arnold Schwarzenegger



    Lead Villain James Cann



    Stupid Premise : Arnold, a US Marshall, specializes in Witness Protection and “Erasing” a person’s past identity. Arnold is set to protect Vanessa Williams who has information from her corrupt implorer on selling futuristic electronic pulse rifle weapons on the black market. Arnold is then betrayed by his mentor, James Cann, who turns out to be the facilitator of the black market arms sales.

    Why It Made the List : All of those 80s Arnold movies would fare much better in the 90s, and this is an example of one that was made at the perfect time. You have Arnold wheeling dueling rail guns running around a dockyard killing bad guys left and right. At one point, there’s a gun fight at a zoo with some rather terrible CGI crocodiles, which is preceded by a rather awesome scene where Arnold rips a chair out of a plane, throws it in the plane’s engine and then jumps out of the plane without a parachute with some rather impressive special effects. And then you have a classic James Cann bad guy- saying things like: “I want his face all over this windshield”. And Arnold still cracking cheesy jokes- after surviving the parachute scene (below) Vanessa Williams scolds him “you’re late!”… “Traffic!”.

    Last edited by Dukefrukem; 06-02-2015 at 07:55 PM.

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    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    #16: Judgement Night (1993)

    Director : Stephen Hopkins (Hey look! Director of Predator 2)

    Lead Hero: Emilio Estevez



    Lead Villain Denis Leary



    Stupid Premise : Emilio Estevez, Cuba Gooding Jr, Stephen Dorff and Jeremy Piven rent an RV for guys night out to see a boxing match, when they get caught in highway traffic, take the back roads and find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Why It Made the List : Bear with me because this is one of those chase movies that you keeps you hooked in for the weirdest reasons. The kind of chase movie which keeps shifting from set piece to set piece as the bad guys track them down like they were hunting deer even though the movie takes place in rundown city. Emilio Estevez is the guy who always does the right thing, Stephen Dorff is his screw up brother along for the ride, Cuba Gooding Jr is the jock / wild guy and Jeremy Piven is pretty much playing the same character since 1986- the pessimistic, jump to conclusions snarky pain in the ass, racist guy. Put all of them into one RV and put them in a dire situation and you’ll get bickering, desperate bunch of guys using their environment to their advantage. Oh hey! Look it’s the bad guy from Blue Streak: Peter Greene as one of Dennis Leary’s thugs. The 90s were awesome.



    Wanna watch the full movie? It’s on youtube. At the very least watch how the RV crashes between two buildings at 22:18. It’s so 90s it hurts.


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    good for health Skitch's Avatar
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    Worst CGI crocagator of all time.

  16. #16
    Face/Off will be better than 90% of your list. Love that movie.
    Last 10 Movies Seen
    (90+ = canonical, 80-89 = brilliant, 70-79 = strongly recommended, 60-69 = good, 50-59 = mixed, 40-49 = below average with some good points, 30-39 = poor, 20-29 = bad, 10-19 = terrible, 0-9 = soul-crushingly inept in every way)

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    Duck, You Sucker (1971) 68
    Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) 71
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    (2005) 61
    The Third Murder (2017) 56

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    (1999) 85

    /Toy Story
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  17. #17
    Guttenbergian Pop Trash's Avatar
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    Those Judgement Night screenshots look atrociously DNR'd.
    Ratings on a 1-10 scale for your pleasure:

    Uncut Gems - 6
    1917 - 7
    A Hidden Life - 10
    Little Women 2k19 - 7
    The Rise of Skywalker - 6
    Home Alone - 5
    Richard Jewell - 8
    Marriage Story - 8
    The Last Jedi - 9
    Knives Out - 6

  18. #18
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Pop Trash (view post)
    Those Judgement Night screenshots look atrociously DNR'd.
    DNR?

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  19. #19
    Guttenbergian Pop Trash's Avatar
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    You also neglected to mention the TOTALLY 90s rock meets rap Judgement Night soundtrack. How else would I find out what Mudhoney and Sir-Mix-A-Lot sound like together?
    Ratings on a 1-10 scale for your pleasure:

    Uncut Gems - 6
    1917 - 7
    A Hidden Life - 10
    Little Women 2k19 - 7
    The Rise of Skywalker - 6
    Home Alone - 5
    Richard Jewell - 8
    Marriage Story - 8
    The Last Jedi - 9
    Knives Out - 6

  20. #20
    Guttenbergian Pop Trash's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Dukefrukem (view post)
    DNR?
    Digital Noise Reduction. For HD transfers if the source is subpar (like an old print) the studios will put this digital filter that makes everyone's face look like wax (see Predator: Ultimate Hunter blu ray). Most studios have caught wind that people don't like this and have stopped doing it (or put out a new transfer w/o DNR) but certain less beloved films like Judgement Night still get the ol' wax figure treatment.
    Ratings on a 1-10 scale for your pleasure:

    Uncut Gems - 6
    1917 - 7
    A Hidden Life - 10
    Little Women 2k19 - 7
    The Rise of Skywalker - 6
    Home Alone - 5
    Richard Jewell - 8
    Marriage Story - 8
    The Last Jedi - 9
    Knives Out - 6

  21. #21
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Pop Trash (view post)
    Digital Noise Reduction. For HD transfers if the source is subpar (like an old print) the studios will put this digital filter that makes everyone's face look like wax (see Predator: Ultimate Hunter blu ray). Most studios have caught wind that people don't like this and have stopped doing it (or put out a new transfer w/o DNR) but certain less beloved films like Judgement Night still get the ol' wax figure treatment.
    I remember someone posting those Predator screens on here about that very issue. Was that you? Did you make a thread for it?

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  22. #22
    Crying Enthusiast Sven's Avatar
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    Ah, good ol' Eraser. I saw that one three times in the theater.

  23. #23
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    #15: Desperate Measures (1998)

    Director : Barbet Schroeder (who??)

    Lead Hero: Andy Garcia



    Lead Villain Michael FUCKING Keaton



    Stupid Premise : Andy García’s son has leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant so the only person on the planet that matches his son’s marrow is convicted prisoner, murderer, sociopath Michael Keaton.

    Why It Made the List : Four words: Best, prison escape ever. Keaton is so good here as the bad guy- there are plenty of opportunities for Garcia to take him out, but he knows if he does that his son is dead. Keaton literally kills several people in front of Garcia and Garcia is so fucking selfish he refuses to do anything about it. But in the end, it works out for everyone right?

    Below is several doctors burning alive because of Garcia’s selfishness.

    Last edited by Dukefrukem; 06-03-2015 at 04:55 PM.

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    Director Spun Lepton's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Dukefrukem (view post)
    #15: Desperate Measures (1998)

    Wow, this sounds dreadful. Does the film address the fact that Garcia's character is letting all these people die?

  25. #25
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Spun Lepton (view post)
    Wow, this sounds dreadful. Does the film address the fact that Garcia's character is letting all these people die?
    Yes I believe so. Garcia is an FBI agent, who used FBI resources to look through the national database for personal reasons to find matching donors, and I think at one point he's suspended for his actions. But he's also one of the few who can intervene in the situation since the entire hospital is on lock down. It's all very complicated. :-D

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