In no particular order, these five films will make your free time fly by with explosive combat scenes, engaging plotlines and only the best of badass characters!
- “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015)
George Miller introduced his famous Road Warrior to a new generation of viewers in the 2015 “Mad Max” reboot starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron. Staying in line with its predecessors, this film is obsessed with chaotic car chases between armored eighteen-wheelers and spiked motorcycles, as Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) attempts to traverse a post-apocalyptic desert to help a group of enslaved women escape a vicious cult. Originally played by Mel Gibson, Hardy took up the Mad Max cowl with a new shade of silence, filling his character’s punches and driving skills with more character building and conflict than we could ask for! “Mad Max: Fury Road” brings new meaning to vehicular warfare, providing the audience with two hours of fast-paced action complemented by violently religious biker gangs and sadistic warlords. A second installment within this reboot series is currently set to premiere in 2023.
“Mad Max” is available to stream on HBO Max.
2. “Planet of the Apes Trilogy” (2011-2017)
Another reboot of a 20th century classic, the new “Planet of the Apes” series packs a punch that no one expects. The first film, the least explosive of the three, leads the audience down a doomed path of love and betrayal between Will Rodman (James Franco) and his test-subject-turned-pet monkey, Caesar (Andy Serkis), who shows human levels of intelligence due to experimentation. Rodman, with the drug he hopes will cure Alzheimer’s, causes a worldwide plague that kills humans and evolves primates’ brains rapidly. From here, the second and third Apes films get very dark and captivating, as humans and apes struggle to coexist on Earth. They both betray, discriminate, and wage war on one another, bringing to life terrifying scenes filled with battle, extermination camps and death. The writing within this trilogy entertains while exposing the historically human habit for preaching peace, love, and justice while practicing war, hatred, and evil. Also, no one should ever miss the chance to see Andy Serkis, the master, behind a few layers of fantastic CGI
“Planet of the Apes” is available to stream on Amazon Prime.
3. “Fury” (2014)
“Fury,” set inside a Sherman tank led by Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt), will take you on a ride through Nazi Germany you won’t forget any time soon. David Ayer, the writer and director, pieced together a true war epic filled with realistic gore, brutal anxiety and striking dialogue. The star studded cast, including Logan Lerman and Shia LaBeouf, works together exceedingly well, convincing the audience their deaths lie at every corner while they writhe under the pain and pressure of tank warfare. Ayer’s film captures the immense dread of war behind an extremely entertaining plot filled with the corruption of innocent Army youths and mind-blowing tank battles against Nazi scum! The film’s ending is especially explosive as well
“Fury” is available to stream on Vudu.
4. Van Helsing (2004)
Despite what the critic reviews said, Stephen Sommers’ “Van Helsing” is an ultimate action masterpiece. Hugh Jackman plays Helsing, an infamous monster hunter who has partnered alongside a steampunk, secret-department in the Catholic church established to physically fight evil. Twisting the classic story from Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” novel, Sommers brings together humans, werewolves, vampires and even Frankenstein to create this blockbuster adventure, as Helsing fights to stop Dracula (Richard Roxburgh) from breeding an army of vampires. The plot moves fluidly without strain, captivating audience members with clever twists and lore not usually found in such a pulpy action movie. Sommers’ film also features some of the best monster fight scenes I’ve ever seen. This movie will do more than just entertain you; it will keep you wishing Jackman and Sommers had made a second film.
“Van Helsing” is available to stream on Hulu.
5. “Hardcore Henry” (2015)
Ilya Naishuller strapped the plot into the backseat when writing and directing his experimental, gore-filled, action-cinema experience. Concentrating mainly on first person point-of-view, the film plays out like a Call Of Duty video game where audience members only see from the perspective of the protagonist, Henry (Ilya Naishuller). The film then follows Henry after he has been brought back to life in a lab, augmented by robot parts, as he embarks on a journey to save his wife from a super-powered psychopath. The film, due to its experimental nature, certainly falls subject at points to annoying expositional dialogue with little-to-no concentration on character development. However, Hardcore Henry’s eerie cyberpunk tone, amazing cinematography and unbelievably bloody battle scenes make for an absolute blast of a viewing experience. This film, while not for the light of heart, is definitely worth the watch for any video game fans out there.
“Hardcore Henry” is available to stream on Netflix.
By Erik Mathews