If we had our way the words "lights, camera, action" would always be followed by exactly that; "Action". No nonsense, full throttle, G-force-inducing ACTION.
Alas, some killjoy decided to invent two dozen other genres of movie, diluting action films to near extinction. Fear not, carnage fans, for we've compiled a list of 10 mile-a-minute movies that are ready for your viewing pleasure, over on Netflix UK, right now. Buckle up...
John Matrix might be the greatest character name in action movie history (and it is - we've scientifically tested it), but Inspector "Tequila" Yuen, played by Chow Yun-Fat (pictured), runs it a close second. Commercially Hard Boiled ended up with egg on its face when it was released to Eastern audiences, but it made the big bucks when western critics received it very positively. And with scenes including brave cops saving new born babies in a maternity ward from crazed hitmen, why wouldn't it? Watch out for a cameo from director John Woo who plays a bartender at a jazz club who gives Yuen (non-tequila related) advice.
A traveling mariachi is mistaken for a murderous criminal and must hide from a gang who are, shall we say, more than a little keen on killing him. The first instalment in writer and director Robert Rodriguez's Mexico Trilogy, this Spanish language film was shot with a mainly amateur cast for just $7000 - almost half of which Rodriguez raised by participating in experimental clinical drug testing. In 2011, the movie was inducted into the Library of Congress to be preserved as part of its National Film Registry for being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant. Plenty of good deaths n'all.
Scoring a colossal 96% on Rotten Tomatoes (don't confuse it with Stallone/Banderas fun-vacuum Assassins which scores 16%), this wildly engrossing 2011 epic treads familiar samurai ground but with a zing long since lost in the genre. The premise? In 1840s Japan a group of assassins (go on, guess how many?) come together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord and his 200-strong army. As the numbers suggests, the odds are against our brave boys and blood will be spilt by the bucketload. So enamoured with the movie was film critic, Roger Ebert, that he included it in his list of the best films of 2011.
The Hunt For Red October
This may sound like the search for a missing race horse, but we can assure you it is anything but. One of the top grossing films of 1990 it generated over $200 million worldwide in box office coin. The film spawned a set of sequels involving the fictional CIA character Jack Ryan, on this occasion played by Alec Baldwin. Ryan works out that a rogue Soviet submarine commander (played by Sean Connery, pictured, complete with weapons-grade beard) isn't about to wage war with the US, but actually wants to defect. Almost 25 years since it was made it still has the power to shove you, precariously, to the edge of your seat.
Set in Guatemala in about 1511, the rulers of the Mayan kingdom reckon the key to reversing their civilisation's decline is to build more temples (there's economic logic in that) and offer human sacrifices (less so). Needless to say, those waiting to be sacrificed aren't best pleased and one of them flees. All jungle-based hell breaks loose in this utterly enthralling and submerging epic which climaxes in a simply jaw-dropping final scene. Note: The entire dialogue is in the Yucatec Maya language, with subtitles.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
If you're looking for a cracking spy thriller it's worth noting that Netflix does stock the brilliant 1996 Mission: Impossible, but if the emphasis is firmly on action, and by crikey in this article it is, you want to plum for the fourth film in the franchise: Ghost Protocol. Tom Cruise's highest-grossing film, raking in almost $700 million worldwide, the plot sees espionage agency the IMF (the Impossible Missions Force) shut down when it's implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, causing Ethan Hunt (the Cruiser) and his new team to go rogue. And if there's one thing we know about things that go rogue, it's that action follows close behind. Expect scenes in which one of the world's highest paid actor dangles off the word's tallest building.
The second John Woo-directed movie in our list, this time supported on screen by the predictably wild-eyed Nicholas Cage and a John Travolta who was at the height of his post-Pulp Fiction resurgence. The storyline alone is a joy to behold: To foil an extortion plot, an FBI agent undergoes a face-transplant surgery and assumes the identity and physical appearance of a ruthless terrorist. Alas the plan backfires when the same criminal impersonates the exact same cop with the exact same medical procedure. Expect Woo's signature Gun Fu and the speedboat chase to end all speedboat chases.
Where to begin? Set in the future in a crime-riddled Detroit, RoboCop centres on a police officer who is brutally murdered by a gang and subsequently revived by a malevolent mega-corporation as a superhuman cyborg law enforcer. Due to violent content the movie was originally given 11 X ratings before changes by the director finally saw it receive an R release. The ultraviolence disguises the movie's satire of American culture making it a much smarter film than it may first appear. But even on first appearance, it's a lot of fun.
Taking the action into the skies, two star pilot pupils graduate to the most elite military aviation school in... Oh you know what the damn movie's about. It is, after all, one of the famous films in Hollywood history, but interestingly only scores 55% on Rotten Tomatoes. Sure, it's no Citizen Kane, but with aerial combat footage that has never been bettered and some of the most (overly) quoted lines ever put to celluloid, this isn't only one of the best action movies on Netflix, it's one of the best action movies of all time.
More beard-based brilliance from Connery, this time playing an ex-con who spent 33 years locked up in Alcatraz. He teams up with a mild-mannered chemist (Nic Cage) to lead a counterstrike when a rogue group (remember, rogue = action) of military men threaten a nerve gas attack from the San Francisco island's former prison. Director Michael Bay rarely leaves fifth gear in this ludicrously loud and entertaining yarn that's gloriously chock-a-block with one liners.