Action Filmmaking: The Guide to Producing Kick-Ass Microbudget Action Films

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Read Empire's The Fugitive review. The set-up has Swizzle as a bouncer at the seedy titular establishment, the Double Deuce. But his attempts to clean up the joint lead him into violent confrontation with local heavy Ben Gazzara and his goons.

Action Filmmaking: The Guide to Producing Kick-Ass Microbudget Action Films

Along the way Swayze gets to do a spot more dirty dancing — this time with Kelly Lynch — and a modicum of throat ripping. Read Empire's Road House review. Arriving at the height of grunge it was also perfectly placed to ride the alt-rock wave, and did so without ever feeling like an embarrassing studio attempt to appeal to a yoot movement: The Crow rages to a soundtrack that still feels credible two decades later. Read Empire's The Crow review. The thesis is that the Bunch are men out of time, left behind as the march of progress leaves them obsolete in the developing American West.

Read Empire's The Wild Bunch review. The biggest hit of the three, it also established Paul Greengrass as arguably the premier thriller director currently plying his trade. Read Empire's The Bourne Ultimatum review. Adding 37 percent more slow-mo to the decade, John Woo exploded out of Hong Kong action cinema and into the international spotlight with a run of badass crime flicks in which Chow Yun-Fat wasted ruthless gangsters in big jackets and there would often be doves.

Following A Better Tomorrow , Woo's pioneering use of gun-fu, a lucky charm in Yun-Fat and those doves all came together in the blazing church-set crescendo to this attention-grabbing maelstrom of Triad carnage. Nestled amid the awesome pyrotechnics are ageless themes of honour and redemption worthy of Woo's main influences, Martin Scorsese and Jean-Pierre Melville.

Read Empire's The Killer review. Kirk Douglas was born in Mead is quaffed, buxom wenches are goosed, and the tone is Read Empire's The Vikings review. The first of six seven if you include Once A Cop , but still the best of them: an exuberant outing for Jackie Chan at the height of his diminutive ass-kicking powers.

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But it all gets rather complicated by the fact that she has her own agenda. It all ends up with a massive rumble in a shopping mall. Pure slapstick action-comedy excellence. Read Empire's Police Story review. Of course, most stars of the silent era performed their own stunts, from the Keystone films of Mack Sennet, to Charlie Chaplin and, best of all, Buster Keaton.

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But arguably the most famous image of the lot is Harold Lloyd hanging off a clock face at the climax to Safety Last. The long-shots of Lloyd climbing the building actually are of a double, but the mid-shots and close-ups are all Lloyd, as are the clock-dangle and all the dicking about on the top of the building — and it is genuinely the top of a building and not a studio mock-up. No strings attached, and he only had three fingers on his right hand.

Still vertiginously, viscerally thrilling, in a way CG could never achieve.

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Read Empire's Safety Last review. But John Wick was an instant classic nonetheless, kicking of a series that continues to gain momentum. Read Empire's John Wick review. Glossy Michael Bay action from the days when that meant something other than Transformers. Nic Cage is the younger suit sent to chaperone him. Read Empire's The Rock review. The third James Bond movie and perhaps the quintessential one.

For better or worse…. Read Empire's Goldfinger review. It's no exaggeration to say that there are few joys greater in life than Buster Keaton 's The General. Alongside possibly Sherlock Jr. First released in , it was initially greeted with indifference by moviegoers and a chorus of disdain from critics. The Civil War adventure left Keaton physically bruised and financially battered, with that old loco left down a gorge and Old Stone Face shackled to MGM and creatively stymied.

Since then, though, The General has gained the richly deserved status of silent masterpiece. If you don't know the story, suffice to say that Keaton is a railwayman stuck between two warring armies, with his beloved gal Marion Mack to defend and his treasured train to rescue. Things don't run smoothly.


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Read Empire's The General review. So much more than a high-concept action movie about a cyborg policeman, RoboCop is also a savage satire and a religious parable, with its structural narrative nicked from folk mythology. The deeper you go into it, the more you find. But it works as a shoot 'em up too.

Its gonzo violence perhaps functions so well because it's from an outsider's skewed perspective: Dutch director Paul Verhoeven , here only making his second English-language film. The sequels and remake increasingly missed the point. Verhoeven's later Starship Troopers is RoboCop 's real spiritual successor. Read Empire's RoboCop review. Jason Statham already had an action franchise in the Transporter films, but Crank was the one that really cemented him as the Stath we know and love today.

Hence car chases through shopping malls, impromptu sex, copious fights Statham is the granite centre of the madness: almost Buster Keaton-like in his stoic single note of constant simmering annoyance. Read Empire's Crank review. It remains an extraordinary film, for its violence, its insane performance from Gary Oldman as villain Stansfield, and for the queasy pseudo-romance at its centre between Leon and stray waif Mathilda the then year-old Natalie Portman.

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Read Empire's Leon review. Many explosions, machine-gunnings and knifings later, Arnold is, of course, unscratched. What times we live in. Read Empire's Commando feature. Seemingly from out of nowhere came the sudden arrival of one of the most blistering action films of the 21st century to date: a ferocious curio stemming from Indonesia but written and directed by Welshman Gareth Evans. Lots of guns. They have to fight their way to the top of a tower block and back out again.

The Raid 2 — a massive and unexpected expansion, keeping the extreme violence but adding a level of Once Upon A Time In Indonesia -style epic drama — followed two years later. The third in the projected trilogy has been promised but has yet to materialise. Read Empire's The Raid review. Two trucks. Four men. Enough nitroglycerine to blow up South America. These are heady ingredients for any thriller, but the genius of Henri George Clouzot's downbeat stunner lies in its murky, masterful characterisation.

He invests the first half in developing his quartet of desperate men, each willing to risk it all for a stack of oil company greenbacks, so that by the second, a nerve-ripping ride up mountain passes and through tortuous jungles, we're right there in the cab with them.

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The first trilogy had petered out with the almost straight-to-video Tokyo Drift. Fast Five reimagines the brand as a ridiculously high-octane Italian Job -style crime caper — climaxing with a vault robbery in which massive safes are dragged round busy streets by Dodge Chargers, causing maximum destruction. And of course, this was the first of the Fasts to drop The Rock on proceedings.

Which is always an excellent idea. Read Empire's Fast Five review. Read Empire's Casino Royale review. John Woo 's later work might have tailed off somewhat see Mission: Impossible II — or, if you prefer, don't , but his super-stylish Hong Kong period remains virtually untouchable, and Hard Boiled is the best of the lot.

Even if it does sacrifice emotional development in Chow Yun-Fat's kick-ass cop Tequila on the altar of gun porn, it remains a guns-a-blazing, walls-exploding, tea-room-destroying, hospital-devastating triumph, and a must-have for every action fan. It's so influential that it took Woo global and slung Chow into the big time, all whilst carrying a shotgun in one hand and a surprisingly large baby in the other. Read Empire's Hard Boiled review.

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Read Empire's The Driver review. The remake dutifully piled on the action but missed that aspect entirely. Read Empire's Point Break review.

Rambo was forced into the role of one-man-army superhero for the daft sequels, so it's refreshing to revisit First Blood and find a thrilling pulp drama about a PTS sufferer driven over the edge by bullying small-town petty-mindedness. Sylvester Stallone is a decent actor when given the opportunity, and John Rambo in this film, crucially, is almost believable: the crunchy action kept under tight control by director Ted Kotcheff.

It's a decent adaptation of David Morrell's page-turning novel too, although Brian Dennehy 's Sheriff Teasle gets shorter shrift, and the devastating ending is changed so that Rambo lives. Read Empire's First Blood review. Almost unbelievably this is a studio movie: Warner Bros. Sometimes the best scenes result from raw footage that you shoot when there is no script. This can be especially true if you are writing with a low budget. The aspect of your film that will distinguish it from higher budget films is your ability to capture events that are not scripted.

In terms of scripting for scene changes, special effects, or other events, sometimes during editing you will find that no matter how you scripted the event, you are limited by your raw footage in some way.