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About Action Movies

Action movies usually involve a fairly straightforward story of good guys versus bad guys, where most disputes are resolved by using physical force. Action movies are usually "high concept" films where the whole movie can be easily summarized in a simple sentence (eg. "a scientist brings dinosaurs back to life only to find them trying to dominate earth, again" for Jurassic Park). Who exactly the good guys are differs from film to film, but in Hollywood films they usually are patriotic and rather conservative Americans, whereas the bad guys are usually either criminals or agents of foreign powers. In the 1980s and before, they were very often communists, which brings some action films fairly close to propaganda films. With the fall of Communism, communists were no longer the villains, and the focus turned to drug lords or Middle Eastern terrorists. Action movies also tend to have a single heroic protagonist and often portray institutions such as the military or police as incompetent and limited by rules and regulations which the protagonist has no regard for. This creates the stereotypical conflict between an action hero and his immediate superior.

Action films tend to be expensive requiring big budget special effects and stunt work. Action films are mainly an American genre, although there have been a significant number of action films from Hong Kong which are primarily modern variations of the martial arts film. Because of these roots, Hong Kong action films typically center on acrobatics by the protoganist while American action films typically feature big explosions and cool gadgets.

Action films also constitute very good examples for feminist film theory, because in them, the separation between the physical male who controls the scene and the look and the female, who is almost always the object of the look is very clear. Although female characters in most action films are nothing more than objects, a prize for the winner, hostages, loving wives and the like, there has been a move towards stronger female characters. These are maybe best exemplified in works by James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow.

Current trends in action film include a development toward more elaborate fight scenes, perhaps because of the success of Asian martial arts films in Western film. Actors in action movies are now much more skilled in the art and aesthetic of fighting than they have been in the past, apart from a few acknowledged fighters like Steven Seagal. Now, a distinction can be made between films that lean toward physical agile fighting, such as The Transporter, and those that lean toward other common action film conventions, like explosions and plenty of gunfire, such as Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, although most action movies employ elements of both.

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Bestselling DVD Action Movies and Videos
with Customer Reviews

  • The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring (Platinum Series Extended Edition)
    from New Line Home Entertainment.
    Considered both as fantasy adventure and as an adaptation of a beloved literary classic, Peter Jackson's film of "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" sets new standards for cinematic excellence. Everything about this film feels exactly right, from the casting to the screenplay to the...

  • Sherlock Holmes - The Sign of Four
    from Mpi Media Group.
    The Sign of Four is it self is a very fantastic and bizare case from Sherlock holmes series. The film is well directed by Mr. Peter Hammond. He successfully created the necessary surroundings. Especially in the room and palace like house of Sholto and sons company, as per the story much more...

  • Stargate (Ultimate Edition)
    from Artisan (Fox Video).
    The director/producer team of Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, who gave us Independance Day and Godzilla [ ] first produced this inventive and exciting Sci Fi flick. I'm not usually a fan of this genre, but this one is actually rather good compared with traditional science fiction. Starring Kurt...

  • Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
    from Buena Vista Home Vid.
    I'm so glad they casted Steve Buscemi, I love that actor! He's my favorite actor, and the Spy Kids series is no doubts one of my favorites! The casting is, just so.
    The first one is better, because Spy Kids is an idea were you can make 1, that's really good but 2 has sort of...

  • Rocky (Five-Disc Boxed Set)
    from MGM/UA Video.
    Rocky I has the plot of a small-time boxer getting a chance at the big time who wins. That may not sound like a lot, but that's the outline of the story. But when you see the movie, you'll realize that it's so much more than that. The story is interesting in it's elegant simplicity, making you not...

  • The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring (Platinum Series Extended Edition Collector's Gift Set)
    from New Line Home Entertainment.
    Considered both as fantasy adventure and as an adaptation of a beloved literary classic, Peter Jackson's film of "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" sets new standards for cinematic excellence. Everything about this film feels exactly right, from the casting to the screenplay to the...

  • The Bourne Identity (Widescreen Collector's Edition)
    from Universal Studios.
    I didn't like the book. It was corny. How corny? Well, Iowa comes to mind. So I think the director was very wise to do a loose adaptation. Damon is terrific as Jason Bourne. Understated and fantastic in the action sequences. His German co-star is also excellent. It is a masterful piece of film...

  • Pulp Fiction - Miramax Collector's Edition
    from Miramax Entertainment.
    In less than a decade, 'Pulp Fiction' has become a cult classic, making many people's top ten films of all time. Not only was it a highly impressive second feature but it made Quentin Tarantino a real big Hollywood player (especially after the fantastic 'Reservoir Dogs') and it didn't just ressurect...

  • Peter Pan (Special Edition)
    from Disney Studios.
    Of all Walt Disney's animated films, "Peter Pan" is my personal favorite. This classic tale of the little boy who never grew up has Disney stamped all over it. It also varies refreshingly from the versions that preceded it. In previous plays acted on the stage, Peter Pan was always played by a young...

  • Princess Mononoke
    from Miramax.
    Master filmmaker Miyazaki has created one of the most beautiful animated movies I've ever seen. Frankly, I'm beyond impressed. Anime seems to have a much more realistic feel and the themes are very adult in nature. With intellectual themes, magical creatures and mature relationship issues, this is...

  • Minority Report (Widescreen Edition)
    from Universal Studios.
    Stephen Spielberg's latest sci-fi/action film "Minority Report" is certainly a massive special-effects hit, but great special effects and a superstar actor cannot always compensate for a weakened story and predictability. The film is based upon the brilliant short-story (of the same name) that was...

  • James Bond 007 Special Edition DVD Collection
    from MGM/UA Video.
    "The name is Bond, James Bond." With these words a franchise was born. In 1962 Ian Flemming launched a franchise that would forever change the action film genre. Starting with Dr. NO, one really couldn't tell that it was really a Bond film until that famous line was uttered. Now then, the Bond...

  • The Count of Monte Cristo
    from Buena Vista Home Video.
    In this time of fire and explosion oriented blockbuster movies it is indeed refreshing to find a remake of a classic novel of the quality of The Count of Monte Cristo currently available. I happened to nonchalantly choose this film at the DVD outlet as a source of viewing background for an evening...

  • Scarface
    from Universal Studios.
    "Scarface" is one of the greatest of all mob movies. It's an epic crime drama done with style and care. Brian DePalma presents a film that ignites the screen with a great screenplay by Oliver Stone and an amazing performance by Al Pacino. Unlike "The Godfather," which was more about family and...

  • Star Wars - Episode II, Attack of the Clones (Widescreen Edition)
    from Twentieth Century Fox Home Video.
    An incredibly good story is absolutley killed by bad dialouge among other promises that were not obtained. A friend of mine told me the film reel would be flawless because we went to a midnight showing and it was horrible. I thought it was going to melt on the reel. The crowd who attended this...

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Widescreen Edition)
    from Warner Home Video.
    The first in the J.K. Rowling series entitled "Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone" is one of the best fantasy films that I've seen in a very long time. While nowhere near as captivating or as visually explosive as the Lord of the Rings movies, Harry Potter is a marvelous silver screen...

  • Possession
    from Universal Studios.
    While "Possession" can be faulted for being more literary than cinematic, and also more Victorian-melodramatic than it really needs to be, there are those of us for whom literary films and Victorian melodramas have their charm. Here Neil LaBute abandons his usual abrasive cynicism for a stately,...

  • The Avengers - Complete Emma Peel Mega Set
    from A & E Entertainment.
    The immensely popular ABC series called "The Avengers" has long since achieved legendary status since it appeared back in January 1961. Since then there have been 161 episodes, which break into four major sections. We have the early episodes (1-26) with Patrick Macnee as John Steed...

  • X-Men 1.5
    from Twentieth Century Fox Home Video.
    If you like X-men enough to think about buying this dvd, then you probable already bought the original dvd release.
    It's a shame that FOX is trying to milk Xmen so much...

  • Terminator 2 - Judgment Day (The Ultimate Edition DVD)
    This new "Ultimate Edition DVD" of Terminator 2 Judgement Day, one of the biggest box office smashes of all time, is truly The Ultimate Edition. Unless you get this outside of the US (which I did) you have two disks. One disk is the movie (THREE versions of the movie, in fact), and the next disk is...

  • The Tuxedo (Widescreen)
    from Universal Studios.
    Jackie Chan plays Jimmy Tong, a New York cabbie turned chauffeur for secret agent Clark Devlin. When forces unknown incapacitate Devlin, his mission passes to the unwitting Tong, along with Devlin's tuxedo, a high-tech piece of equipment that turns Tong into a super-spy. Tong finds himself teamed up...

  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks (30th Anniversary Edition)
    from Walt Disney Home Video.
    Keeping up with Disney tradition Bednobs and Broomsticks again stars an all star cast of Angela Landsbury (who has done quite a bit with Disney inluding more recently the voice of Mrs. Potts in Disneys animated version of Beauty and the Beast in 1992), in this movie she plays an absent minded mail...

  • XXX (Widescreen Special Edition)
    from Columbia Tri-Star.
    XXX (Rob Cohen, 2002)

    Here's a surprise: Rob Cohen, whose The Fast and the Furious was not only one of the biggest surprise hits of 2001 but also by far the biggest of Cohen's career, teams up again with Vin Diesel. The major lineup change here is the addition of screenwriter Rich Wilkes....

  • Die Hard - The Ultimate Collection
    from Twentieth Century Fox Home Video.
    This 3 Disc box set is a must-have for Die Hard fans! The movie that made John McTiernan (Predator) the hottest action director in Hollywood, created an explosion of inferior rip-offs and with Bruce Willis, started the long line of sweaty vested heroes while making a huge box-office success....

  • Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home (Special Edition)
    from Paramount Home Video.
    Who cares if it's the best Trek movie or not? If you've been watching the special features on the past three special edition DVDs, you know that the best part of them is Shatner's comments on the movies. He's a nutbar and immensely entertaining because of it. I can't wait to hear him on a commentary...

  • The Sum of All Fears
    from Paramount Home Video.
    I read a great book once called "The Sum of All Fears" which was about a plot by Middle Eastern terrorists to set off a nuclear device in the United States and trigger World War III. I was really excited when I heard this movie was coming out in 2002. I was less excited when I heard more about the...

  • Jack Ryan Thriller Set (The Hunt for Red October/Patriot Games/Clear and Present Danger)
    from Paramount Studio.
    The Tom Clancy movies are some of the best to have ever been adapted from novels. Though all of the books are at least twice as good as their movies, the films are still great action movies to watch. "The Hunt for Red October" is a great movie, John McTiernen's best right next to "Die Hard." Connery...

  • The Matrix
    from Warner Studios.
    Ever wanted to be important, to live a life that matters? Well take a look at "The Matrix" because it starts with the premise that we are all living pointless lives, slaves to frighteningly powerful beings that prevent everyone from knowing their true state. Here enters the myth. There will come a...

  • Star Trek III - The Search for Spock (Special Edition)
    from Paramount Home Video.
    This really is a great "Star Trek" movie. It suffers a bit in the act of following up the superior "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan", but it is satisfying and exciting to watch. This is a film that was really made for the fans. People who are not familliar with the "Star Trek" universe may have a...

  • Transformers - First Season Collector's Edition
    from Wea Corp.
    I've been waiting so long for this day to happen. The Transformers complete first season on DVD. This was the most amazing cartoon I had ever seen while growing up. I was nine years old when the Transformers debuted in 1984 on Saturday mornings. I had my mom set the alarm clock ten minutes before...

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