Action Movies 2017
The Top 10 Action Movies List in 2017 (So Far)
Action movies are still alive and kicking in 2017, even if they aren’t the traditional stunt-driven fare they once were. If one craves the old school method, than xXx: The Return of Xander Cage certainly scratches that particular itch. Reuniting Vin Diesel with the role that made him a megastar, the third xXx installment is sure to pile on the practical effects and wry one-liners like it’s the 90s. Elsewhere, movies like King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and The Great Wall ride bankable concepts and proven stars (Charlie Hunnam, Matt Damon) into theaters with all the intentions of dominating their respective openings. The former especially, given that Warner Bros. and director Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) plan to flip Arthurian legend into a Cinematic Universe á la Marvel and DC Studios. There’s also the American adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, a film that’s sure to draw a massive amount of manga fans despite the controversial casting of Scarlett Johannson in the lead role.
xXx: THE RETURN OF XANDER CAGE
The original xXx (2002) was an old fashioned delight; mixing extreme sports with awe-inspiring stunts and a charismatic leading man in Vin Diesel. Unfortunately, xXx took a major hit in 2005 with State of the Union, an Ice Cube led sequel that successfully retired the franchise. Now, with Diesel back and riding high off recent Fast & Furious success, xXx is back and seemingly better than ever. Thought to be dead, Xander Cage (Diesel) reunites with NSA agent Augustus Eugene Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) to take on alpha warrior Xiang (Donnie Yen) and recover a seemingly unstoppable super weapon known as Pandora’s Box. Let the thrills begin.
Steven Quale started his career is esteemed company, as he was the second unit director for James Cameron on Titanic (1997) and Avatar (2009). Since then, the filmmaker has dabbled in everything from horror (Final Destination 5) to disaster flicks (Into the Storm), each time out with passable results. The Lake, however, opens up an entirely new avenue for Quale: the military thriller. Penned by action specialist Luc Besson, the film follows a group of Navy SEALs who discover a massive treasure hidden beneath a Bosnian lake. Fans of the 1999 film Three Kings will recognize the premise, but Quale’s lead trio of Sullivan Stapleton, J.K. Simmons, and Charlie Bewley will undoubtedly bring something new to the table.
THE GREAT WALL
The victim of whitewashing attacks from the very moment it was announced, The Great Wall has some big hurdles to overcome. Many Asian celebrities, including actress Constance Wu, criticized the casting of Matt Damon in a cliched “white savior” role– an accusation that director Zhang Yimou has repeatedly dismissed. “The Great Wall is the opposite of what is being suggested, Yimou explained, “For the first time, a film deeply rooted in Chinese culture, with one of the largest Chinese casts ever assembled, is being made at tentpole scale for a world audience.” Combined with the acclaim of the director’s previous work, and the sci-fi tinge of the plot, it looks as though the film will make lots of noise either way.
Based on the French film Nuit Blanche (2011), Sleepless makes no attempt to mask it’s hardcore thriller intentions. The plot trails Vincent Downs (Jamie Foxx), a police detective who gets caught up in an ugly situation when he and his partner get caught stealing cocaine from a local drug lord. The resulting chaos also puts Vincent’s son in danger– as if the intensity behind his damned situation wasn’t high enough. Swedish director Baran bo Odar will direct a cast of talented vets like Gabrielle Union, Michelle Monaghan, and Scoot McNairy, while also managing to swap rappers like Young Jeezy, Lloyd Banks, and T.I. into the mix. As to whether the film will nab much acclaim remains to be seen, but there’s certainly plenty to suggest it’ll be a fun watch.
Jamie Foxx is also at the center of Baby Driver, the newest release from comedy auteur Edgar Wright. As the filmmaker behind modern classics Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007), Wright has flashed a propensity for zippy humor and explosive action in equal measure. This upcoming release, which stars Ansel Elgort as a getaway driver caught in a botched robbery, is sure to employ this trademark style, while also expanding it into the satirical realms of something like Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive (2011). Along with Elgort and Foxx, the stacked crew of nutcases include Lily James, Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, and Jon Bernthal.
KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD
The legend of King Arthur has been told many a time on the big screen. The most recent, a 2004 adaptation starring Clive Owen in the titular role, didn’t exactly do the business that Hollywood was hoping. But in the age of Marvel, DC, and the cinematic universe, Warner Bros. has decided to take another crack with director Guy Ritchie. The extreme stylist behind Snatch (2000) and the Sherlock Holmes franchise will retell Arthur’s story from his drawing of the Excalibur sword to warding off the tyrant who murdered his parents– Vortigern (Jude Law). Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam will assume the royal mantle, while international stars Djimon Hounsou, Eric Bana, and Mikael Persbrandt will inhabit the rest of Richie’s visually rich world.
GHOST IN THE SHELL
Yet another casualty of Hollywood “whitewashing”, Ghost in the Shell marks the awaited adaptation of the iconic manga series. The original story, which follows a counter-cyberterrorist group led by Major Motoko Kusanagi, bristles with societal allegory and philosophical allusions– traits that’ve made it one of the most adored comics in Japanese history. With that in mind, many feel more than a little miffed that actress Scarlett Johansson will be playing the lead role of Kusanagi on the big screen. It’s still unclear as to whether the character will retain her Japanese roots, but the change has overshadowed an otherwise rich collection of Asian actors. If director Rupert Sanders plays his cards right (and carefully), he could have the next big blockbuster franchise on his hands.
An eclectic mashup of Now You See Me (2013) and Taken (2009), Sleight takes viewers into the niche world of street magic. Jacob Latimore stars as Bo, a sharp magician who turns to drug dealing as means of supporting his little sister. When things go awry, however, and the idolizing Tina (Storm Reid) is kidnapped, Bo must use his sleight of hand skills to get her back. The film’s director, J.D. Dillard, penned the story while working at J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot productions, and while it may not bear the studio’s tag, it certainly carries with it the same commercial sheen. Toss in an up-and-comer like Latimore (Ride Along, The Maze Runner), and Sleight may very well find a big audience.
WORLD WAR Z 2
While production for World War Z dated back as far as 2011, production delays and expensive reshoots pushed things back to 2013. Many worried the film would flop given the issues onset, but the adaptation of Max Brooks’ 2006 novel was a massive success; grossing $540 million against a $190 million budget. With numbers like that (the highest grossing zombie movie of all time), a sequel was as sure a thing as can be in Hollywood. Production has yet to begin, but Brad Pitt is set to return as Gerry Lane, the U.N. investigator hellbent on finding a zombie cure. The big question on everyone’s tongue, however, is whether rumored director and Pitt associate David Fincher (The Social Network, Gone Girl) will take over for Marc Forster. Only time will tell…
The Mummy is one the rare Hollywood properties that’s worked twice. Once in 1932 when Boris Karloff iconicized the role, and again in 1999 when Brendan Fraser turned the undead into an action-packed franchise. Universal Studios has taken note of this success, and as a result, are selecting The Mummy as the first film in their rebooted Monsters Cinematic Universe. In a series that will eventually include Frankenstein, The Wolfman, and Dracula, Universal has linked up with director Alex Kurtzman and superstar Tom Cruise to put their best blockbuster foot forward. This time around, Cruise will play a soldier who’s forced to throw down with the titular monster (Sofia Boutella) before she takes over the world.