Last week I finally got around to watching the British sci-fi horror/comedy film, Attack the Block, which was a totally awesome ride from start to finish. A brilliant debut film by British director, Joe Cornish.
I tend to agree the writer of this aritcle, Erik Davis, foreign films are presently kicking Hollywood's ass, as far as quality action films are concerned.
Here is the list:
13 Assassins (Japan) -- Takes a little while to warm up -- although I wouldn't call it boring -- but once the mayhem hits the screen, it just ... doesn't ... stop. (Also of note:Outrage, Yakuza Weapon)
Attack the Block (Great Britain) -- Call it action, comedy, sci-fi, horror, whatever. It still pulses with energy, offers colorful characters, and moves forward on all cylinders. (Also of note: Centurion, A Lonely Place to Die)
Chocolate (Thailand) -- An autistic girl studies the moves of the martial arts masters and becomes one of the most entertainingly dangerous heroines in years. (Also of note: Born to Fight, Ong Bak, The Protector)
Clash (Vietnam) -- A female mercenary turns to old colleagues when a bad guy kidnaps her daughter. Obvious plot machinations, but some pretty impressive mayhem. (Also of note: The Rebel)
District 13 & District 13: Ultimatum (France)-- The first entry is a shot of adrenalin; the sequel is a bit drier but certainly packed with lunacy. (Also of note: Point Blank; Sleepless Night)
Elite Squad & Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (Brazil) -- Might look like just a super-intense police procedural to American eyes, but these two films have made quite a lot of noise in Brazil, and I don't just mean at the box office. (Also of note:City of God!)
Flash Point (Hong Kong) -- At least three different gang leaders declare war on a special agent ... and vice versa. (Also of note: Exiled, Ip Man, Ip Man 2, Kill Zone, Vengeance)
The Good, the Bad and the Weird (South Korea) -- Probably my favorite action film of the last ten years. Gorgeous to look at, smoothly fun, and outrageously kinetic. (Also of note: A Bittersweet Life, City of Violence, The Man from Nowhere)
JCVD (Belgium) -- Probably the best action film that Jean-Claude Van Damme has ever made. Hell, forget probably.
Kiltro (Chile) -- Simple stuff about a pretty lady and her powerful protector, but works well as an introduction to the ass-kicking talents of Mr. Marko Zaror. (Also of note:Mirageman, Mandrill)
The Raid (Indonesia) -- Straightforward, simple, and pretty damn amazing. Police raid a high-rise that's jam-packed with sleazy thugs. Enough said. (Also of note:Merantau)
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (Finland) -- Action, horror, and sweet sense of nostalgic humor run rampant through this great Finnish import.
Saint Nick (Netherlands) -- Slightly similar to Rare Exports, although a little wackier.
The Warlords (China) -- An epic period piece about three brothers, ancient betrayals, and lots of violence. (Also of note: Red Cliff, Hero, Let the Bullets Fly, Wu Xia)