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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 06/15/2007

Friday List: Call to Action

By Liz Kelly

Another Friday, another "best of" list to lay to waste.


Sigourney vs. Bruce? Our money's on Ripley. (Courtesy 20th Century Fox)

This week, Entertainment Weekly has incurred our god-like wrath for daring to top a list of the best action movies ever made with "Die Hard." Ignoring the uncomfortable fact that the latest installment in the series, "Live Free or Die Hard," coincidentally opens in just two weeks and that EW also includes an interview with star Bruce Willis in the same issue, we'll give EW's editors the benefit of the doubt and confine our refutation to systematically dismantling their list and rebuilding it in the form of the one truly righteous list, a list topped by a movie that doesn't include Willis in a wife beater, Mel Gibson in a mullet or an abominable Keanu Reeves-Sandra Bullock pairing.

Here's EW's list, hot off the presses:

1. "Die Hard" (1988)
2. "Aliens" (1986)
3. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981)
4. "The Road Warrior" (1982)
5. "The Matrix" (1999)
6. "Seven Samurai" (1954)
7. "Gladiator" (2000)
8. "Saving Private Ryan" (1998)
9. "Hard-Boiled" (1992)
10. "Terminator 2: Judgement Day" (1991)
11. "Speed" (1994)
12. "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980)
13. "The Wild Bunch" (1969)
14. "RoboCop" (1987)
15. "Enter the Dragon" (1973)
16. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (2000)
17. "The Bourne Supremacy" (2004)
18. "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938)
19. "Goldfinger" (1964)
20. "Kill Bill: Vol. 1" (2003)
21. "Spiderman 2" (2004)
22. "Predator" (1987)
23. "Drunken Master II" (1994)
24. "Lethal Weapon" (1987)
25. "The Incredibles" (2004)

Aside from the fact that "Speed" -- a two-hour riff on a fast bus -- ranks higher than "Empire Strikes Back" and that "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" didn't even make the top 10, the list seems to be suffering from an identity crisis, using the term "action" to encompass not only fast-paced movies with fight scenes, but also science fiction, war movies and animation.

In any case, based on EW's list, here are the movies I think were left out:

"Lord of the Rings" (take your pick)
"Kill Bill: Vol. 2" (2004)
"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (1966)
"The Fifth Element" (1997)
"Sin City" (2005)
"Terminator" (1984)
"The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension" (1984)

My pick for top action flick? "Aliens." ("Game over!")

Your turn. And bonus points for including your nominee for Worst Action Movie Ever. (Mine? "Big Trouble in Little China.")

By Liz Kelly  | June 15, 2007; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Friday Lists  
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Comments

worst action movie - Speed 2!

I agree with your LOTR nom. And what about Braveheart?

Posted by: sjcpeach | June 15, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Kill Bill Vol 1 was a far superior to Vol 2 in terms of straight "action". Vol 2 was the story half of the diptic, and amassed only 3 killings. Vol 1 had something like 100+ killings.

Posted by: peter | June 15, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone. Worst...action movie...ever!!!

Posted by: frenchy | June 15, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Worst action movie ever? Easy, Gymkata. Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas batteling to the death in a mythical country for some reason that involves Star Wars satellite positioning. Just sent it to my Pops for Fathers Day.

Best action movies ever- Pitch Black, Aliens, The Quick and the Dead, Drunken Master.

Posted by: l8yf8 | June 15, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

How can you leave out "Flash Gordon" as the best worst action movie ever??

Posted by: Anonymous | June 15, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

A couple more omissions from the Best list: The Great Escape and Guns of Navarone.

Posted by: frenchy | June 15, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Last of the Mohicans! How can you forget the scene where Chingachgook does the 360 turn to kill Magua! One of the best fight scenes EVER.

Posted by: Susan | June 15, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Ahem. If Goldfinger made EW's list, then Casino Royale MUST be there too. The opening foot chase scene alone is worth the price of admission - and all without any big special effects either. Amazing.

Posted by: Ay Dog, Ay | June 15, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Should be on the list somewhere (not greatest but pretty darn good): Back to the Future.

And I must say, Big Trouble in Little China is one of my favorite movies. Definitely not the best but also not the worst.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 15, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

You know Big Trouble was originally a Buckaroo Bonzai sequel, right? It was also absolutely awesome.

Drunken Master 2 should be higher. Seven Samurai wasn't an action movie. And The Warriors belongs on there.

Escape from LA/NY were the worst action movies ever.

Ghost Dog was the best action movie ever.

Posted by: Matt | June 15, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I like all the Indiana Jones movies so those are a must, but for pure action I have to nominate The Transporter. Overall not the best, but for awesome kick a$$ fight scenes, car chases, etc. it is fantastic!

Posted by: Mandy | June 15, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

The 5th Element?!? You should have your thumbs removed.

Another "Best Action Flick": Dawn of the Dead (2003)

Worst Action Flick(s): "Mac and Me" or "The Last Starfighter"

Posted by: Magua Rules | June 15, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I got not quibble with Die Hard at the top. That movie has held up over time.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 15, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I know it's considered a horror movie, but "28 Days Later" works great as an action movie.

I suffered through "Anaconda" and nominate that for worst action movie and/or worst movie ever.

I also agree with questioning the absence of "Braveheart", "Casino Royale" and war movies like "Black Hawk Down"

Posted by: cee_jay | June 15, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I know it's considered a horror movie, but "28 Days Later" works great as an action movie.

I suffered through "Anaconda" and nominate that for worst action movie and/or worst movie ever.

I also agree with questioning the absence of "Braveheart", "Casino Royale" and war movies like "Black Hawk Down"

Posted by: cee_jay | June 15, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

my apologies for the double post *shamed*

Posted by: cee_jay | June 15, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I JUST watched Last of the Mohicans on AMC last weekend! Whatever happend to Daniel Day Lewis, Liz??

Best Worst Action Movie: Army of Darkness

Is it wrong that I kinda like Charlie's Angels? Does the Matrix count as an Action movie?

Posted by: not bluto | June 15, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

for the record, I see that the Matrix is #5. I mean to ask because I thought it was sorta Sci-Fi/fantasy, no?

Posted by: not bluto | June 15, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I need people to clarify when referencing Aliens.

While the first two rocked, particularly Aliens II. The last what was it two or three sucked raw eggs.

Oh and Smoking Aces through violent was actually enjoyable. In my opinion.

Worst action flicks ever: Demolition Man (or was that supposed to be a sproof) and Judge Dread. The wounds from being dragged to those two are still fresh.

Posted by: petal | June 15, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Worst Action Movie Ever (aka Biggest Letdown): Snakes on a Plane

Posted by: still | June 15, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I really liked 300, but I might have been swayed by the scenery...

Posted by: Sigh | June 15, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Possibly the worst action movie but I can't really say because I couldn't stand to watch more than the first half hour:
Navy Seals

Possibly not as bad as the critics said it was, but still pretty bad:
Last Action Hero

Quite dreadful and worth watching only to try to spot all the product placements: Lethal Weapon 3

I think any of the EW top 3 is worthy to be number 1.

Posted by: Jimbo | June 15, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Snakes on a Plane KNEW it would be an awful action movie. That is what made it so great. I mean SO cheesy!

Also, the only movie I liked AHnold in was True Lies for similar reasons to S.o.a.P, making lite of the genre.

Another I'd put in this category is Zorro with Anotonio.

Posted by: yeahbut | June 15, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

No Way, Die Hard is better than The French Connection, Terminator 1& 2, & Aliens 2, or Enter the Dragon

Posted by: Lisa1 | June 15, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

still - you mean you went to snakes on a plane expecting something great?? that movie knew it was going to be awful and was making fun of itself the whole time. the only reason people went to see it was so laugh at it!

Posted by: seattle | June 15, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

still - you mean you went to snakes on a plane expecting something great?? that movie knew it was going to be awful and was making fun of itself the whole time. the only reason people went to see it was so they could laugh!

Posted by: seattle | June 15, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

This is going back a bit, but one of my favorite action movies:

Zulu.

Worst action movie, but it is so bad it achieved cult status:

Death Race 2000.

Posted by: SoMD | June 15, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Judge Dred is the worst action movie ever made. It should be considered toxic waste.

Posted by: Lisa1 | June 15, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I have to say that I really liked Judge Dred and have never been able to figure out why people hate it so.

Worst action: Mission Impossible 3. I will never forgive my ex for dragging me to see that movie.

Posted by: LY | June 15, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Big Trouble In Little China? Are ya' kiddig me? I admit that it, of course, pales in comparison to something like Aliens, but the "worst" it is surely not. Not even close. In fact, that you term it an "action" film illustrates how poor your knowledge of film is in general. I guess by your estimation, something like Heat would be a comedy based on Pacino's near-comic performance and acerbic wit.

Oh, yeah, that and its all in the reflexes.

Posted by: Jack Burton | June 15, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

What about all the James Bond movies?

Those are my favorites to watch for pure action escapism.

I am also a big fan of Blade Runner.

Posted by: CJB | June 15, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

How about nominating anything done by Sly and The Govern-ator! Arnold gets one free pass with Terminator and since he gets one I give Sly Cobra. How can you hate a movie where best line is "Your the disease and I'm the cure", saying that to myself in my best Sly voice right now!

Posted by: dodah | June 15, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Sorry I didn't say it but nominationg for worse, just in case you couldn't tell. And how about Blade for the best list!

Posted by: dodah | June 15, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

"Last of the Mohicans" does deserve a place here. That last fight scene on the side of the mountain is breathtaking. Thanks for reminding me.

Posted by: Liz | June 15, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Whatever happend...?

There Will Be Blood (2007) completed) .... Plainview
The Ballad of Jack and Rose (2005) .... (must see movie) Jack Slavin
Gangs of New York (2002) .... Bill 'The Butcher' Cutting
The Boxer (1997) .... Danny Flynn
The Crucible (1996) .... John Proctor
In the Name of the Father (1993) .... Gerry Conlon
The Age of Innocence (1993) .... Newland Archer

Posted by: Anonymous | June 15, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Universal Soldier (the first one). Fun!

Posted by: erm | June 15, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I agree "Flash Gordon" as the best worst action movie ever. But its one of those is so bad its good. Hey Liz, how 'bout Best of Movies so bad that there good?

Posted by: Irish_Ed | June 15, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Hey hey don't knock "Big Trouble in Little China." It is stupid but fun. Not lugubrious master pieces full of fake emotion and useless monologing. Though you are right, the best action movie ever made is Aliens. "get away from her you b****." But to leave out anything by John Wayne just is wrong.
How about for worst ever Aliens 3 or 4?
Or How about "Miami Vice: the movie"
That was a heinous farce which I am pleased to say I have never seen and will never see unless held at gunpoint. And even then I think I would ask them to shoot me.

Posted by: Ariabob | June 15, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I nominate any movie starring Jean Claude Van Damme as the worst action movie of all time. The best part of those movies is finding out how the writers explain his French accent!

Terminator 2 is certainly higher than #10 in my book for best action movies.

Posted by: emily | June 15, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

How about "Red Dawn"? Just saw this again, and it's a genuine classic now. "Avenge me!!!"

Posted by: Wolverines! | June 15, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Hero, was a good action movie.

Worst action movies:
Bad Boys 1(I didn't bother watching 2)
Independence Day
Armageddon

Posted by: petal | June 15, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Star Wars?
Terminator was awesome, too.

Posted by: um, duh? | June 15, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Top Action Flick - "300"

Worst Action Movie - "Warlords of the 21st Century", 1978 or 79, made by a company called Battletrucks, Inc. of New Zealand.

Posted by: lydandy | June 15, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Not sure if this is considered an action movie (or what I affectionately call d*ck flicks) but I loved The Departed. I also loved Kill Bill Vol. 1, I agree Vol. 2 wasn't as good.

Posted by: st.louis | June 15, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse


Another great action adventure movie that never fails: "The Chronicles of Riddick." Yeah, yeah, I know it's sci-fi and, worse even, it involves Vin Diesel, but, for the action and fight sequences, pretty solid.

And Kudos to Mandy for the shout-out the "The Transporter" -- truly a great action flick!

Posted by: VoR | June 15, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

EW seems to have a problem with including sequels, and not the original movies (though I agree with "Aliens", since "Alien" didn't have much action). "Empire Strikes Back", but not "Star Wars - A New Hope"? ESB had the advantage of being able to build on what Star Wars had already accomplished (big Star Wars original trilogy geek here!). "Bourne Supremacy", but not "Bourne Identity"?

I would have included "Pirates of the Carribean" and "Casino Royale" in addition to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" (the three-person shootout in the graveyard at the end is classic!).

Worst action film for me - "Wyatt Earp" (if it counts as action). Three hours of suffering in a movie theater through some of the worst dialogue I've ever heard.

Posted by: TEL | June 15, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

To clarify, I expected Snakes on a Plane to be bad and cheesy, but I guess it wasn't cheesy enough. Which just makes it bad.

Posted by: still | June 15, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Liz! I'm so glad you have "Aliens" as your top pick. It is one of my favorite movies, cetainly my favorite from the EW list. Yes "game over" (isn't it "game over, man, game over"? At least that's how I remember it) is forever embedded in my head as meaning "darn it, now we are going to get eaten by aliens!"

Posted by: CAB | June 15, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Woooolvereeeeeeeenzzzz

Posted by: red dawn! yes! | June 15, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Liz, I'm so glad you love Aliens! It is the most action movie ever! Love it!

"They're coming outta the walls. They're coming outta the go****n walls!"

Posted by: dc | June 15, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Liz, I love you even more because you picked Aliens. It is the best action movie ever.

"They're coming outta the walls. They're coming outta the go****n walls!"

Posted by: dc | June 15, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I totally agree with "Last of the Mohicans". That and "Jaws" are two movies that keep you on the edge of your seat, yet have a plot for people with brains in their heads!!
Last I heard, Daniel Day-Lewis was making shoes in Florence, Italy where he lives with his wife and child. He does make movies occasionally. He's married to the daughter of the playwrite who wrote "Death of a Salesman." Please forgive me..I forgot his name! This is what happens when you have menopause.

Posted by: POS | June 15, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

This list and most like it are rubbish.

Posted by: Chris | June 15, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Best action movie? Two words: Battlefield Earth

Posted by: Ugh | June 15, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Ronin!

Posted by: Skeetch | June 15, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of classics, what about Bullitt with Steve McQueen. One of the first car chases ever, and still one of the best!

Posted by: CJB | June 15, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

The Transporter should have been on that list. That movie has some of the best choreographed fight scenes I've ever seen in a film. Plus Jason Statham is just cool.

Posted by: Stuck @ Work | June 15, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

(Oh, forgot to add a "worst".)

Worst Action Film of all time -- easy:

"On Deadly Ground" where Steven Seagal saves the Alaskan Wilderness and all the racially oppressed Eskimos from Michael Caine. It's Seagal at his most craptastic!!!

Posted by: VoR | June 15, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Amen VoR, amen!

I went to that with my cousin. Horrid piece of film, which is a shame because I like Michael Caine in movies. Craptastically crappy crap.

Posted by: petal | June 15, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

People may think I am crazy but I think one of the Best Worse Action flicks is "Galaxy Quest"! To me it is a great bad action movie to watch.

Posted by: MLF | June 15, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Am confused by the lack of any Mel Gibson movies. Braveheart and Mad Max should definitely make the cut. And what about the Lethal Weapon series? Looks like the list compilers have inserted their own bias into it.

Posted by: Harper | June 15, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Worst Action Movie Ever: John Carpenter's "They Live" with Rowdy Roddy Piper. Please don't ask how I've seen that. Or why.

BTW, where's "The Dirty Dozen"? Are you kidding me? Someone would dare to make this list and leave out Lee Marvin? Blasphemy.

Also:
"Star Wars" far more action-y than "Empire"
"Saving Private Ryan" is a war movie, not an action movie.

And for the record, I would like to give a hug to the EW editors, even though I may quibble with some of their choices, for wisely refusing to include anything by Michael Bay on their best list.

Posted by: Lisa | June 15, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

P.S. Maybe I'm a picky purist, but I think some of y'all are getting confused about what constitutes an "action movie." War movies ain't it.

Posted by: Lisa | June 15, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Surprised no one has mentioned these, but "The Dirty Dozen." Come on. How this is not on the EW list is beyond me.

And, "Midnight Run." Pretty much a perfect action-comedy. And Liz, sweet Liz, I love you, but "Speed" is a great action movie. And no "Top Gun" either?

Worst? May I suggest "The Perfect Weapon." If only because its star is named Jeff Speakman.

Posted by: Rick | June 15, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Harper:
Road Warrior was # 4 -- that oughta be enough Mel Gibson for ya'. And, from a pure action standpoint, I think it's a defensible position to claim that Road Warrior was much more of an action flick than Mad Max. Mad Max, while having some action elements, was much more about mood and suspense, always setting up a sense of forboding (woods scene, anyone?), that sometimes paid off in action sequences. Road Warrior was more b**ls-to-wall action start to finish, hence it ranking in the top 20.

Likewise, Braveheart, while having some great battle scenes, gets bogged down in the political back-story, the French chick love interest, and the gay defenestration comic relief -- i.e. some action elements, but other stuff going on that detracts from the pure action-adventure nature of the movie.

Posted by: VoR | June 15, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

You really shouldn't give EW the benefit of the doubt. That is transparent toadying if I ever saw it. There is no separation of Ad and Edit over there.

And I can't believe they missed The Fugitive. And What about Midnight Run and what about Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back.

I vote the EW list as the worst list ever!

Posted by: Pookster | June 15, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, The Incredibles belong on that list, but not Star Wars.

What morons work at EW?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 15, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Aliens is the best action movie ever!
I vote Armageddon the worst! It was awful

Posted by: Movie Fan | June 15, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Aliens is the best action movie ever!
I vote Armageddon the worst! It was awful

Posted by: Movie Fan | June 15, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Escape From New York--Best Action Movie Ever!

Even better Kurt Russell than Big Trouble though no Kim Catrell.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 15, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

The Fugitive! Yes! Best action flick ever, in my opinion. For years, I wanted a jacket like Tommy Lee Jones has in it (with the flip-down badge patch and the hidden gun pocket).
Best worst action film might be Death Race 2000- although it's so bad, it might be good. Features David Carradine and a young Sylvester Stallone mowing down pedestrians for fun and profit. Runners up (down?) include Soldier, where Kurt Russell stretches his talents to the limit by playing what is basically a robotic mercenary, and Six-String Samurai, which is as strange and magnificent as it sounds. (My friends and I had "Bad Movie Nights" in college, which is where I encountered most of these, uh, epics.)

Posted by: 51 | June 15, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Desperado!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 15, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

On the best list? Fist of Legend! Glorious. I'd also nominate the first Antonio Bandaras(or even the old,BW original)Zorro movie!

as for worst? maybe the chronicles of Riddick. And I even really WANTED to like it...

Posted by: washington DCan't I go home now? | June 15, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

So to start, How about Spartacus with Kirk Douglas (much better than gladiator), Seven Days in May, The Mouse that Roared, The Great Escape

Posted by: Hal | June 15, 2007 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Liz, I love you just for putting Buckaroo Banzai in your list!

Posted by: Newsmickey | June 17, 2007 4:18 AM | Report abuse

Gotta agree with "Hard-Boiled" - It's kind of like a die hard movie without Bruce

Posted by: kdt | June 17, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Surviving the Game: best bad action movie ever. Hackneyed script, recycled ideas, absurd characters - just so beautifully pulled off that it's still good and still holds up. Not terribly unlike any John Woo or Sergio Leone classic.

Posted by: Rutger | June 17, 2007 11:54 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Liz that Aliens is the top action movie. To put a Star Wars episode on the list and omit The Blade Runner is kind of hard to understand. 'Extreme Prejudice' also comes to mind when you think 'action'.
As for the worst list: 'Charlie's Angels' (2), 'Mission Impossible' (2), and 'Tango and Cash' are among my worst memories.

Posted by: hågar | June 18, 2007 6:41 AM | Report abuse

The Fifth Element! Cheesy, yes, but definitely an original. And the costumes are soooo sexy. I love this movie so much.

But it isn't an action movie.

If we're including sci-fi movies in the "action" genre, gotta have "Serenity".

Posted by: Anonymous | June 18, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

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