6. Elite Squad (2007)
Captain Nascimento, a member of the elite BOPE police squad in Rio De Janeiro, tries to take down the drug lords who control the city in 2007’s Elite Squad. What makes this an underrated action film is its intense and realistic portrayal of the war on drugs in Brazil. The film doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of the situation, portraying the violence and corruption in a raw and unflinching manner. The acting in the film is also noteworthy, with Wagner Moura giving a standout performance as Nascimento.
In addition to its intense action sequences, Elite Squad also explores important themes such as police corruption, poverty, and social inequality. The film raises important questions about the effectiveness of the war on drugs and the role of law enforcement in society. An action movie that deserves attention for its uncompromising approach to its subject matter and its exploration of complex themes, Elite Squad looks at the morally gray area between right and wrong in desperate situations while providing action to keep it from sinking into unwieldy drama.
7. Shoot ‘Em Up (2007)
For an over-the-top action film, there are few as bonkers as Shoot ‘Em Up. Starring Clive Owen as a mysterious loner known only as “Smith”. The film follows Smith as he tries to protect a newborn baby from an army of assassins, all while engaging in a non-stop barrage of gunfights, explosions, and chase scenes.
This action film knows exactly what it is and this sort of self-awareness and its willingness to embrace its own absurdity is exactly what makes it stand apart from contemporary genre films. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously, instead reveling in its own over-the-top action and outrageous stunts. Clive Owen gives a memorable performance as the stoic and lethal Smith, and his chemistry with co-star Monica Bellucci adds an extra layer of fun to the proceedings.
In addition to its wild action sequences, the film also has a sharp sense of humor, with clever one-liners and references to other action films sprinkled throughout. It’s a movie that knows what it is and isn’t afraid to have fun with its own genre conventions.
Shoot ‘Em Up may not be a cinematic masterpiece, but it’s a movie that delivers on its promise of over-the-top action and pure entertainment. It’s a movie that knows how to have fun, and it’s a welcome break from the more serious and somber action films that dominate the genre.
8. Red Cliff (2008)
An epic historical war film directed by action film legend John Woo, Red Cliff is set in ancient China and tells the story of a famous battle between the armies of the southern warlord Sun Quan and the northern warlord Cao Cao.
Its grand scale and sweeping visuals, massive battle scenes with thousands of extras, and impressive practical effects makes Red Cliff a true feast for the eyes. The film also features an all-star cast, including Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, and Zhang Fengyi, who all give compelling performances.
Not just any typical action film, Red Cliff balances its impressive action sequences with complex themes such as loyalty, honor, and the nature of war. The film’s depiction of ancient Chinese culture and society is also noteworthy, with attention paid to historical accuracy and cultural nuances.
While Red Cliff may not have achieved the same level of commercial success as other Hollywood blockbusters, it’s a film that deserves recognition for its grandeur and its exploration of important themes. Besides this, it’s a John Woo historical action film that appeals to his fans and history buffs alike. It’s not often you get such substance in an action movie, but Red Cliff delivers on many unexpected fronts.
9. The Chaser (2008)
“The Chaser” (2008) is a Korean thriller directed by Na Hong-jin. The film follows a former detective turned pimp who discovers that several of his prostitutes have gone missing. He tracks down the person responsible, a sadistic killer who has been preying on his workers.
What makes “The Chaser” an underrated action film is its tense and suspenseful plot. The film keeps the audience on the edge of their seats, with a relentless pace and a series of twists and turns that keep the audience guessing until the very end. The film’s lead actor, Kim Yoon-seok, gives a powerful performance as the flawed protagonist, adding an extra layer of depth to the story.
In addition to its gripping plot, “The Chaser” also features expertly choreographed action sequences that are both thrilling and brutal. The film’s violence is never gratuitous, but always serves the story and the characters, making the action scenes all the more impactful.
While “The Chaser” may not be as well-known as other Korean thrillers like “Oldboy” or “The Handmaiden”, it’s a film that deserves recognition for its tight storytelling and expertly executed action. It’s a movie that will keep audiences on the edge of their seats, and it’s a testament to the talent of Na Hong-jin as a director.
10. The Bank Job (2008)
“The Bank Job” (2008) is a British crime-thriller film based on the true story of the 1971 Baker Street robbery in London. Directed by Roger Donaldson and starring Jason Statham, the movie is a smart and entertaining heist film that blends action, suspense, and humor.
What makes “The Bank Job” an underrated action film is its focus on character and story over spectacle. While there are certainly some thrilling action sequences, the film is more interested in exploring the motivations and personalities of its characters. This adds a level of depth and complexity that is often lacking in the genre.
The film’s cast is excellent, with Jason Statham turning in one of his best performances as the lead character Terry. He is surrounded by a talented ensemble, including Saffron Burrows, Stephen Campbell Moore, and David Suchet, all of whom bring nuance and depth to their roles.
Another reason why “The Bank Job” is an underrated action film is its ability to keep the audience engaged and guessing throughout its runtime. The heist itself is cleverly plotted and executed, with plenty of unexpected twists and turns along the way. The film also expertly captures the atmosphere of 1970s London, adding a layer of authenticity to the story.
Overall, “The Bank Job” is a smart and entertaining heist film that deserves more recognition than it has received. It is a refreshing take on the genre, with well-developed characters and a compelling story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.