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The best 10: action movie shootout

What’s your favorite action movie shootout?

If you love action movies, I’m sure at least 3 great shootouts came to mind. Did you think of this one?

Although technically not a shootout since there was no exchange of fire and no casualties, that scene from Terminator 2 will always be remembered for the ridiculous show of firepower. Can you name another movie that uses a damn minigun???

A great action movie is most often remembered for its great action sequences. The Matrix was a movie about the liberation of the human mind from the shackles of servitude, but most people will remember it for the ground breaking bullet-time fighting sequences and martial arts choreography. 300 was a story of standing up for what’s right in the face of unbeatable odds, but the brutality of the battle scenes is what stays on people’s minds. In the movie industry, the action sequence makes the movie.

That’s all fine since action is what people will pay to see, and the studios in fact deliver them well. Through the decades we have seen a ballooning of movie production budgets in order to deliver ever more elaborate action sequences and bigger and more powerful explosions. The result is a slew of action movies that tops $200 million in budget, including The Transformers, Quantum Solace, Superman Returns, X-Men: The Last Stand, 2 Spiderman movies, and 2 Terminator movies. With billions of dollars being spent each year on action, let’s check out the best of what has come out of Hollywood.

The Shootout

Today we will examine a major staple of action movies, the shootout.

I believe there are a number of factors that go into a great shootout. And the shootouts will be rated accordingly.

1. Odds – The ratio of friendly to enemy combatants.

Ratings range from 1 to 5

2. Balls – How much courage does it take to go into that situation.

I can do that – 1  Call the special forces – 3   Send Rambo – 5

3. Firepower – Types of weapons deployed and the amount of destruction caused.

Small arms – 1  Fully automatic rifles – 3   Rocket launchers – 5

4. Efficiency – How quickly the enemy are destroyed or suppressed

I surrender! – 1   I have them on the run – 3   I am the God of death! – 5

5. Creativity – How cool is the choreography and effects

Seen it before – 1   I didn’t  know you can do that – 3  Holy shit that’s awesome – 5

Now get out your popcorn, find a comfortable chair, and get ready for some of the best shootouts in movie history.

The Shootouts

Shootouts gained popularity in film through westerns. These movies showed audiences a glimpse into life in the wild west. The main character was usually a cowboy and a gunfighter, relying on his wits and skills with a gun to survive the turbulent life in the desert.

Unforgiven (1992)

Here is the final showdown in Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven. His buddies have been murdered and he is here to seek revenge, alone. He goes into a saloon filled with armed men who want to kill him. This is as badass as a scene can be.

Odds 5/5  Balls 5/5  Firepower 1/5  Efficiency 5/5  Creativity 2/5 –  Total 18/25

Desperado (1995)

Set in a similar western setting in Mexico, this movie is about the legend of a traveling man with a guitar case full of guns. El Mariachi (Banderas) walks in to a saloon looking for a man, but instead finds a gun fight.

Odds 5/5  Balls 3/5  Firepower 2/5 Efficiency 4/5  Creativity 4/5 – Total 18/25

Gradually as the west became less wild and people started moving into cities. Tales of gun toting gangsters became more popular. The westerns were replaced by movies about the Mafia.

Enemy of the State (1998)

Robert Dean (Will Smith) becomes entangled in a web of conspiracy and cover up because of a video tape. Here the agents looking for the tape are brought into a Mafia den and the inevitable happens.

Odds 2/5  Balls 4/5  Firepower  3/5  Efficiency 4/5  Creativity  4/5 –  Total 17/25

Hong Kong is one of the biggest producers of action movies world wide. It began with Kung-Fu flicks and also went down the path of cops vs. gangsters.

Hard Boiled (1992)

Starring Chow Yun Fat and directed by legendary John Woo, this movie features one of the longest single shot action sequence. The camera follows the two cops as they go down the corridors of a hospital killing bad guys. It almost looks like a first person shooter game.

Odds 3/5  Balls 5/5  Firepower 3/5  Efficiency 4/5 Creativity 4/5 – Total 19/25

As gangster movies evolved, the perspective often shifted from the point of view of the cops to that of the robbers. In some cases the audience identify with the robbers and hope that they can get away.One prime example is the movie Heat, a movie with a star studded cast including De Niro, Pacino, Val Kilmer, Ashley Judd, Natalie Portman, and Jon Voight.

Heat (1995)

This shootout was so great that it is rumored to have caused the infamous North Hollywood Shootout, where two bank robbers with fully automatic rifles and body armor stood off against police officers for 44 minutes. After the gunmen were taken down, a video tape of Heat was found in the VCR at their residence.

Odds 4/5  Balls 3/5  Firepower 4/5  Efficiency 3/5  Creativity 5/5 – Total 19/25

As gangs faded out and gangster movies became less popular, movies about highly skilled assassins got their turn on the screen. Directors and choreographers began to focus more on realistic combat tactics and accurate movements. Bringing a whole level of realism to shootouts.

The International (2009)

This shootout was famous for being shot in the Guggenheim museum in New York City. The innovative architecture of the building makes for a most interesting place for a gun fight.

Odds 4/5  Balls 3/5  Firepower 3/5  Efficiency 3/5  Creativity 5/5 – Total 18/25

Demands for more realism also forced actors to train with professional military personnel to gain the necessary skills for their roles. Tom Cruise does a great job in this movie of portraying a highly skilled assassin.

Collateral (2004)

Tom Cruise is in a night club looking for a target. However the FBI is a step ahead and is in the club waiting for him. Despite the challenges, he completes his mission with brutal efficiency.

Odds 4/5  Balls 5/5  Firepower 2/5  Efficiency 4/5  Creativity 4/5 – Total 19/25

Rambo 4 (2008)

Rambo ranks among the best movie killer/assassins of all time. He tops all previous performances with this one, killing dozens of enemies with extreme brutality.

Odds 5/5  Balls 5/5  Firepower 5/5  Efficiency 4/5 Creativity 5/5 – Total 24/25

Now we take a step forward to take a look at how creative minds of our time imagine combat will be in the future.

Equilibrium (2002)

Having been released during The Matrix trilogy and having a similar but recycled story line, this movie was a box office flop. However, this sequence of actions scenes are on par with those of The Matrix. Christian Bale begins his action movie career here.

This is the entire last scene of the movie, for those that haven’t seen the movie, it will sum the story up pretty well. The three action sequences lead well into one another. Does the ending sound similar to another recent Christian Bale movie? Hint, it’s not the Dark Knight.

Odds 5/5  Balls 5/5  Firepower 3/5  Efficiency 5/5 Creativity 4/5 – Total 22/25

The Matrix (1999)

The movie that changed film making. Audiences were completely blown away by this movie that seemed to have been made in the future. It not only pioneered new effects and film making techniques, but also successfully created a cinematic experience vastly different from other movies, as seen in this sequence.

Odds 5/5  Balls 5/5  Firepower 5/5  Efficiency 5/5  Creativity 5/5 – Total 25/25

Bonus Clip:

This is an entry from Bollywood. See if you can guess which movie this clip rips off.

Odds 5/5  Balls 5/5  Firepower 4/5  Efficiency 5/5  Creativity -15/5 – Total 4/25

Further proof how awesome The Matrix is.

We will probably never see these types of action in real life, and that’s a good thing. We can enjoy them on the screen and enjoy how they make us feel. For those brief moments we can identify with those characters and feel empowered by their courage and abilities. That’s why we love heroes. And that’s why we love action movies.

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