Explosions, Guns, and Punches, Oh My. The Best Action of 2022

A good action sequence is genuinely amazing to watch, as it can be as expansive as explosions crashing across the screen or more intimate, like a duel between two people. This gives the best action scenes such a range, and in 2022 we were given some unique spectacles.

For me, the best action scenes excel in every element, whether that be live actions, special effects, digital effects, or animation and bring every facet to shine. It is also the category that looks at some of the department’s people don’t often fully understand, like stunt coordination or the 2nd unit.

2022 was also the year of action, so my usual hope to keep these entries down to 5 or 6 got thrown out the window.

So without further ado, these are the moments of action that awed us in 2022. Be warned that there may be slight spoilers for the films in question.

The Nominees Are –

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The Woman King – Movie Review

TL;DR – A powerful film of courage in the face of insurmountable odds.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film

The Agojie rise from the grass.

The Woman King Review

It is now time for us to take a look at the final film before we finalise our best of 2022 lists. The Woman King was a film that I tried to see several times when it was in cinemas, but the times never lined up. Indeed, I could only add it to the run-down because it just dropped on-demand. But in a year of stellar action films, we have another understanding contender to add to the mix.

So to set the scene, in West Africa in 1823, a new king Ghezo (John Boyega), has just ascended to power in the Kingdom of Dahomey. But they are under attack from the Oyo Empire, who have been pillaging Dahomey villages using proxies to sell the people to the Europeans as slaves to work in the plantations of Brazil. Ghezo is on the losing side of this war, but he has one last strength: the Agojie, led by Nanisca (Viola Davis). It is a time of castigation as many forces move inside and outside the palace, and it is uncertain if Dahomey can survive the coming storm.    

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True Lies (1994) – Exploring the Past

TL;DR – While some parts of this have aged as well as blue cheese in the sun, you can’t help but feel the pull and allure of a story swinging for the fences at every opportunity. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ service that viewed this film

True Lies Review

When getting ready for my 2022 best of lists, I discovered that I had revied 99 films this year. Which made me wonder, what could be the lucky number 100? Just as I pondered that, True Lies finally made its way onto streaming. I have not seen this in years, but while I loved it when I was younger, the years are rarely kind to films like this. But given the year that James Cameron has had with Avatar, it was all the better time to jump back to one of his classics.  

So to set the scene, an exclusive party is taking part on a snowy cold night at Lake Chapeau, Switzerland, at a heavily guarded chalet. But not all the guests are coming in the front door. Some are cutting through the gates to the lake under the ice. Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger) works for a secret US counterterrorism unit called Omega Sector and is investigating the billionaire art dealer Jamal Khaled (Marshall Manesh) as a possible front for laundering money to Islamic Terrorists. But no one outside of the agency and his team, Albert “Gib” Gibson (Tom Arnold) and Faisil (Grant Heslov), not even Harry’s wife Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis) and daughter Dana (Eliza Dushku), knows what he does. One tango later, Harry must make a less-than-quiet exit from the party. But while his work and home life are separate entities, they are about to come crashing together.   

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Samaritan – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is a perfect film for Stallone, but it becomes hampered by many factors, including one of the weakest villains in an age.    

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this film.

Joe on his back after getting hit by a car.

Samaritan Review

As we come crashing towards the end of the year, there is still a genre dominating the cinema landscape, superheroes. However, while the DCU flounders and is about to go through a massive rejig, and even the MCU has lost a touch of its lustre, there is space for someone else to do something grand here. With that in mind, we head to the good v bad narrative of the Samaritan.  

So to see the scene, two boys discovered they had extraordinary powers a long time ago, but while learning to control them, people got hurt, and soon the town came and lynched the boy’s parents in a fire. While one boy became Samaritan, a protector, the other became Nemesis, driven by their thirst for revenge. After duelling for years, Nemesis leads his brother into a trap to save the town. Samaritan sacrificed himself to take his own brother down. People still wonder if Samaritan died that night, but Sam Cleary (Javon’ Wanna’ Walton) knows he is alive, or at least hopes so. But when he gets caught up with Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk) and Reza (Moises Arias) and gets stuck in the middle of a beatdown, only one person can save him, his neighbour, the surprisingly strong Joe (Sylvester Stallone).

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Troll – Movie Review

TL;DR – A fantastic monster film that crashes through the Norwegian countryside, leaving very little in its wake.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this film

The destruction of a house.

Troll Review

I have wanted to explore more of world cinema for a while, and one area where I have been trying to expand my knowledge is Scandinavia. I have not visited a film from this region in a time, and never one from Norway. With reports of a new Kaiju film out of that region all about a troll on a rampage, I knew that this was the perfect time to jump back in.

 So to set the scene, at Trolltindene, Romsdalen, in Norway, Nora (Ameli Olving Sælevik) and her father Tobias (Gard B. Eidsvold) climb up a cliff face. Once they reach the top, they see The Troll Peaks, and Nora relates the fairy tale of a big troll wedding where 13 trolls got too drunk, and when the sun rose, they were turned to stone. Twenty years later, on the Atlantic coast of Norway, Nora (Ine Marie Wilmann), now a palaeontologist, is rejoicing because they finally found a fossil. But in the village of Hjerkinn, in the Dovrefjell mountain range, a rail tunnel is being controversially cut through the mountain. But the last explosive charge does not just blow up some rock. It wakes a creature from its slumber, an angry beast.

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The Contractor – Movie Review

TL;DR – A sadly predictable story with some good performances.     

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this film

Warning – Contains scenes that may cause distress.  

A Military Cemitry.

The Contractor Review

If there is one group of people you can reliably know will be the bad guys, it is a private military outfit. I mean, take Angel Has Fallen, Black Adam, and Secret Headquarters, to name three of many examples. And when you look out at the world, it is not an entirely unearned reputation. When I heard that Chris Pine would be playing PMC in a film as the main lead, I had to give it a look.  

So to set the scene, James Harper (Chris Pine) is a Green Beret in the US Army who has had to take illegal steroids to treat a keen injury. When he is discovered and discharged from the army, he has few choices left, and he needs to take a private military contractor job for a fellow veteran Rusty Jennings (Kiefer Sutherland). Rusty was recommended by a former squadmate Mike Hawkins (Ben Foster), because he is not like one of those other PMCs. James and Mike must head to Berlin for a black mission because it is not officially signed off on. But things fall apart when the Berlin Police show up.

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Blacklight – Movie Review

TL;DR – An action film that wastes a lot of its runtime, forgetting it is an action film.     

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this film

Flags at Washington DC

Blacklight Review

As we continue our run to the end of the year, I thought I would continue my catch-up by continuing my look at Liam Neeson’s after yesterday’s Memory. This time around, we have an action film where Liam is an undercover expert caught up in a grand conspiracy

So to set the scene, we open with a politician Sofia Flores (Melanie Jarnson) is giving an empowering speech about bringing politics back to the people and stopping the cooperate interests that are disenfranchising people. Still, later that night, she is run down by an assassin. Meanwhile, in Rural America, Travis Block (Liam Neeson) is extricating a deep undercover operative from a mission gone wrong. He wants to step away from this life and spend more time with his family, but one last mission to extricate Dusty Crane (Taylor John Smith) goes pear-shaped, and now he is in the fight of his life.  

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Memory – Movie Review

TL;DR – An interesting concept let down by sloppy execution.     

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this film

bullet smashes through a window.

Memory Review

As we gallop towards the end of the year, it is time to catch up with the films I had missed along the way. The first of these is Liam Neeson playing an assassin with early onset Alzheimer’s, and while that is a set-up that is at the very least intriguing.

So to set the scene, Alex Lewis (Liam Neeson) is a hitman for hire and has no compunction murdering a son while his mother sits in her hospital bed, unable to do anything but watch. The only issue is that he has early onset Alzheimer’s, a problem in his line of work where there is no such thing as retirement. This all comes to a head when Alex is tasked to take out Ellis Van Camp (Scot Williams) in El Paso, Texas. However, he didn’t know the next target was Beatriz Leon (Mia Sanchez), a young sex-trafficking victim, who should be off-limits. But you don’t say no to people like this.        

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Avatar: The Way of Water – Movie Review

TL;DR –  A visual masterpiece and powerful themes mark a solid return to Pandora   

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film

Swimming with the Tulkun

Avatar: The Way of Water Review

Back in 2009, I might not have gotten all the themes Cameron was dropping, but I felt the power of narrative and the world of the first Avatar. However, I will be honest in that I have not really thought much of the film much since then. Every couple of years, there were mentions of going back into the universe, but they never eventuated. Well, I was surprised as everyone when this finally started coming together 13 years later, but then I re-watched the first Avatar in the cinemas and was reminded how good this world was. That screening primed me to return to Pandora, and I am glad I did.

So to set the scene, in the years since pushing the sky people back into orbit and skulking back to Earth, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) have started a family and live with the rest of the Na’vi people in the forests. But after many years of peace, the sky people return and begin a literal scorched earth policy. Jake fights back, but when his kids Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), Kiri (Sigourney Weaver), Spider (Jack Champion), Lo’ak (Britain Dalton) and Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss) are put in the line of fire as the family is directly targeted, they decide to leave to limit reprisals. However, no matter how far you run, your responsibilities or a genetically resurrected hellspawn that will try to hunt you down.

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Warriors of Future (明日戰記, Ming yat zin gei, Virtus, 矛盾戰爭) – Movie Review

TL;DR – A fascinating action story, held back by some frustrating characters.    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this film.

Looking up at a painted rendition of what Earth used to look like.

Warriors of Future Review

If there is one thing that will get me immediately interested in a film, it is a story about trying to fight for a future. The world has gone to pot, but there is one chance to save us all. I can’t help but sucked into stories like this, and today we look at one around an alien plant.

  So to set the scene, technology had been advancing at a prodigious pace in the last century, as was the propensity for destruction, aided by the development of military robots. The wars and ecological decline led to a societal collapse worldwide. It is hard to go on when even the air you breathe is toxic, so what governments that were left started building Skynets over cities so they could purify the poisonous air. Things were beginning to turn around when a meteorite crashed into the plant. It caused immense destruction, to where it hit City B-16, and it carried an alien plant called Pandora that rapidly expanded when exposed to water. A turn that humanity might not be able to recover from.           

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