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High-Def Digest Holiday Gift Guide 2010: Best Action Blu-rays of the Year
Tags: HDD Holiday Gift Guide, Holiday Guide 2010, Aaron Peck, Industry Trends (all tags)
by Aaron Peck
Looking over this list, 2010 has been a pretty great year for balls-to-the-wall action films on Blu-ray. We can look over the year, particularly the summer months, and notice that we had kind of a lackluster box office year in terms of quality movies. The summer seemed filled with remakes, redoes, and sequels, but if we just focus on the action genre, there are more than enough Blu-rays you can pick up to stuff the stocking of even the most hardcore action fan in your family.
Kick-Ass (Lionsgate, Matthew Vaughn, 2010)
Nate Boss doesn't hand out four and a half star ratings for films too often, so you know when he does that it's got to be good. 'Kick-Ass' features a world where people, no matter what their lot in life, can become superheroes by choice. Chloe Moretz as Hit-Girl, shows off her butt-kicking action moves even though she's not yet old enough to drive. 'Kick-Ass' is full of action and gory enough to earn it its R rating. This is a movie for those people who like their plots darkly comedic and their action extra bloody.
The A-Team (20th Century Fox, Joe Carnahan, 2010)
On December 14th we'll finally get the Blu-ray release for this summer's remake of the 80s TV favorite 'The A-Team.' When I saw the movie in theaters I thought to myself, 'This is really predictable, silly, and weighed down with cookie-cutter bad guys, but WOW is it ever fun!' Any movie that has a tank free falling through the air, with the only way to control it being to actually fly the tank by shooting rounds out of its gun is a movie I will wholeheartedly back. Most of the movie is just so outrageous that when it comes to action this is probably the most nonsensical of the bunch. In the end, it's fun and that's all you can ask from Hannibal and his rag-tag group of miscreants.
The Losers (Warner Brothers, Sylvain White, 2010)
I know that when I reviewed 'The Losers' for the site I gave it a paltry two and a half stars out of five, and I still feel that way. The movie lacks the fun of the 'A-Team' without making up for it in different areas. However, I know that 'The Losers' has its fan base and I certainly respect that. It's a fairly good looking (albeit extremely oversaturated) Blu-ray, with some decent audio thrown into the mix. If you're looking for a turn-your-brain-off-and-roll-with-it kind of movie, then you've come to the right place.
Knight & Day (20th Century Fox, James Mangold, 2010)
November 30th is when the Tom Cruise/Cameron Diaz comedic action movie 'Knight and Day' hits the format. Before setting foot into this movie I must admit I was less than excited to see a spy movie starring Diaz and Cruise. It stunk of one of those star vehicles where the two leads mail-in their roles, gather their paychecks, and leave the audience wondering why they just paid to see this. What I witnessed was perhaps the most under-appreciated movie of the summer. I've never been so surprised in a movie theater, walking in expecting on thing and getting the complete opposite. Cruise is downright hilarious in this, and it contains more than enough action and explosions to keep genre fans happy. For me this is a must own as we near the holiday shopping season.
Predators (20th Century Fox, Nimród Antal, 2010)
'Predators' caught a lot of flack when it first hit theaters. Most people were less than impressed with what Antal and Robert Rodriguez came up with to continue on with this franchise. Maybe it's because of the ridiculous subplot of Topher Grace's character or the way Laurence Fishburne grates on every nerve as soon as he appears on screen. Those two aspects of the movie certainly lowered its overall effectiveness in my eyes, but in the end, this is a fun, moderately inventive re-imagining of the 'Predator' franchise. That and this disc received tip-top honors in the audio and video categories. If that's not enough to convince you to pick it up, then I don't know what is.
Inception (Warner Brothers, Christopher Nolan, 2010)
December 7th cannot come fast enough. There's nothing more I want than to have 'Inception' on Blu-ray spinning in my PS3. I can't wait to once again gaze in wonder at the marvelous visuals produced by Nolan and his team. This is guaranteed to be a reference quality disc all around providing Warner doesn't screw it up somewhere. This is already must own on my holiday shopping list, and when it comes to action movies of 2010, 'Inception' reigns supreme.
Salt (Sony, Phillip Noyce, 2010)
For the life of me I can't figure out why 'Salt' got such a bashing from the critics when it hit theaters. 'Salt' was an exciting thrill ride of an action movie with Hollywood's only bonafide action heroine. Angelina Jolie is the only woman in Hollywood that I believe could throw a punch and really do some damage to a tall muscled Russian henchman. I loved 'Salt' from beginning to end, and it even received a four star rating from Roger Ebert. If the negative reviews of pushed you away while it was in theaters, make sure to catch it on Blu-ray. It's worth it.
The Expendables (Lionsgate, Sylvester Stallone, 2010)
It's impossible to talk action in the year 2010 and not at least mention Sly Stallone's send-up of the action movies of the 80s and early 90s. Gathering (almost) every action star from the four corners of the world, Stallone set out to make the most macho, manliest movie he could. Guns, explosions, muscles, girls, guns, more explosions. Us Bruce Willis fans wish that he would have had a bigger more action-packed part, but it's hard to argue with the film as a whole. This is going to be a stunning Blu-ray presentation, I just know it. Make sure to turn down your sound system a few notches, because when Stallone and Statham turn back around in the plane and start mowing down bad guys your neighbors may think something very wrong is going on in your house.
From Paris with Love (Lionsgate, Pierre Morel, 2010)
Another action film that flew a little below the radar was 'From Paris with Love' starring a bald, but hilarious John Travolta as rogue agent Charlie Wax. I was very pleasantly surprised with this movie and how Morel and Luc Besson were able to create an intriguing tale filled with fun energetic action. Definitely worth a peek!
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Universal, Edgar Wright, 2010)
Take one look at some of the fight scenes that were choreographed for 'Scott Pilgrim' and tell me that this isn't an action movie. It's full of stunning action that at the same time harkens back to the video games of the past – pixilated glowing swords? Genius! 'Scott Pilgrim' is on my short list of best films of the year right up there with 'Inception' and 'Toy Story 3.' Come for Edgar Wright's uncanny ability to direct a movie full of heart and wit and stay for a butt-kicking Michael Cera who is totally believable in his role. Just a fantastic movie all around, and a perfect addition to anyone's action movie collection.
We've had a great year for action movies here in 2010, and now you know which ones to put on your list for Santa. If you have an action junkie in your family then hopefully we've pointed you in the right direction this holiday season.
We're looking forward to reading your own lists in the forums!