In July, we posted a list about some highly anticipated action films for 2011. Sadly, some of them (ahem, Green Lantern) didn’t live up to our expectations. Since movie lists of late have been getting a lot (and I mean a LOT) of criticism, we present the top 10 best action movies of 2011 so far, in order of lowest ranking on RottenTomatoes.com to highest ranking. Just so you know there is some sort of order in involved. So, working back from the lowest ranking to the best, here are the top 10 action movies. Movies that were deemed more fantasy (Harry Potter) and more thriller than action movie were not included.
10. Sucker Punch
This may not have been the best action movie of 2011 (hence the #10 spot) because of the weak writing, poor character development, and slightly exploitative nature, but you have to admit one thing – it was truly stunning visually. And, despite the criticism, it’s hot chicks kicking ass with amazing computer-generated special effects. Since when does an action movie have to be Oscar-worthy to be fun to watch? The fantasy sequences should be sold separately on a 20-minute DVD and that would make me happy. Sexy women fighting, zombies, Nazis, dragons, giants, robots and monsters should be enough for any action film connoisseur.
One of the great action scenes from a not-so-great action movie.
9. The Mechanic
Jason Statham has done MANY action movies. In this one (a remake, right?) he is his usual, awesome self. Fans of Statham will like it. Movie critics, maybe not so much, but the stunts are great and the flaws are easy to ignore with action, and the performances of Statham and Ben Foster.
The best thing about this movie is the actor who plays the title character – a young ingenue by the name of Saorise Roman. The film is a treat visually, and even though the direction has been criticized, action fans and film fans will not be disappointed.
A small budget can go a long way. The debut full length feature from Evan Glodell bursts with creativity and the passion of a barely-controlled madman. It’s violent, sure, and pretty out there. But do we dare call it art?
6. Captain America: The First Avenger
There were a lot of expectations surrounding this movie. The refreshing thing is that it doesn’t seem to try to hard to be something its not – which is more than we can say for some of the other superhero action movies out there. Plus, Hugo Weaving. Whoa.
The cinematography was course, but the performances are stunning and despite the action and violence, the story is well-crafted and satisfying. Nick Nolte does a superb job, and Tom Hardy gives a surprisingly deep performance.
4. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
How do we feel about James Franco? Well, I guess it doesn’t matter. When one considers the expectations surrounding this movie (read: none), it was not bad at all. The reviews were mixed, and one reviewer even called the movie “a creature feature of disappointingly stupidity.” Despite the plot holes, Rupert Wyatt directed this film well, and altogether, it was very, very watchable.
3. X-Men: First Class
How many X-Men movies have there been so far? The first two were quite, quite good, but since then I haven’t even bothered. This is a fanboy’s dream – and they picked good actors in James McAvoy and and Michael Fassbender as the young Professor X and Magneto, respectively.
As long as you don’t mind violence, and a lot of it, this movie is a quite a “ride.” If you want intricate emotion and a detailed plot, this isn’t the movie for you, but if you don’t mind the visual mind trip and the 80′s soundtrack and you want pure, raw film making, check it out. If you’re faithful to the 1978 film The Driver, you might hate this. If you’ve never seen that movie, go ahead.
1. 13 Assassins
Why would I put a samurai movie at number one? Especially when I know just how critical you guys can be? Because this film, truly, is the best action film of 2011. It’s a remake of a 1963 film, but it stands on its own as both the revival of a long-neglected genre and as a film with epic battles, a wildly evil villain, and a great storyline.
Do your worst. We haven’t mentioned Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol but the jury is out as to whether or not it would make it on a list of the top 10 best action movies of 2011, anyway.