When we talk about the golden decade of action movies, most people assume that we’re talking about the 80’s. And while that may be true to some extent, the decade that followed after it was probably better. No, it wasn’t as original as the 80’s, but it built upon the concepts that were created in that decade and perfected them. So while there were less shocking action movies in the 90’s, they were a lot better.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ones.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Look, I’ve already said this: the 90’s did very little things that were new, but they just did everything better. There’s not a person alive that’ll claim that Terminator 2 isn’t one of the best action movies ever made, and that’s because it simply is. Heck, the sixth Terminator movie is coming out later this year and it’s the fourth time they’ll be trying to make a proper sequel to this work of art.
While the story in The Matrix wasn’t really all that appealing to wider audiences, this movie managed to make a mark because of its camera techniques. We’d never seen slow motion and “bullet time” used so intelligently before this film, and we frankly haven’t seen it since. And let’s not forget: it starred the breathtaking Keanu Reeves.
Another Keanu movie (honestly, the 90’s wasn’t all that original when it came to actors either), this probably had the most ridiculous plot of all action movies, counting the Steven Seagal ones. It’s fairly simple: you have to keep driving fast or the bus blows up. Yes, they built a movie around this. And yes, it was good.
Another thing the 90’s did better than the 80’s was dystopian sci-fi movies. Total Recall recently got a remake we’d probably better forget almost instantly, but the original – starring Arnold Schwarzenegger not as a T-800 – was a masterpiece that everyone should at least see once. I mean, it’s an action movie, if you’ve seen it once you’ve probably gotten all there is to gain out of it.
The first actual decent superhero movie. It’s hard to not love this movie, and it’s mainly because Wesley Snipes just looks like he was built for no other reason than to play Blade. He does an excellent job and after this movie we’ve honestly spent over a decade until superhero movies were good again.
While the more recent M:I movies are hot garbage, the original one is a masterpiece that probably made the James Bond creators sweat. Tom Cruise was the ideal spy underdog, and at the time a lot more realistic and believable than his more famous spy counterpart.
Remember when Will Smith played in good movies? Well, Independence Day was probably one of the best. As far as alien invasion movies go, this one was way ahead of its time and is actually still watchable 20 years later. And – very rare for a movie this old – it actually has a decent modern sequel!
Die Hard 2
The first Die Hard was good, but the second one was better. Much like Terminator 2, this is the movie where we see our main actor – Bruce Willis – really understand his character and add a new dimension to his performance, actually being able to carry a story instead of being carried by the story.