The Countdown: Top Ten Ridiculous Action Movie Scenes

| September 6, 2016

On my podcast, I try to always see the good in things, except for on rare, very fun occasions.  One thing I really like about The Countdown is most of the time they stay very positive.  Their top ten last ten episodes usually feature some movies they really dislike, and occasionally they do lists like this week where they list their worst ten something, but most of their lists are the best of film and TV and its refreshing to find a movie review podcast that focuses on the positives of cinema rather than delighting in destroying something.

That being said, it is delightful to destroy things from time to time, and even a recent episode of my podcast was me and my friend Andrew tearing apart Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey because tearing apart overrated trite is a guilty pleasure of ours.

I had originally planned to approach this list with a full spectrum of absurd action movies, ranging from ones I hated completely, to ones I actually quite like, absurdity included.  It would have given me a chance to praise such ridiculous action movies as Kill Bill: Volume 1, Hot Fuzz, and Live Free or Die Hard, but knowing that Paul and Wayne are going to be devoting their list to the most face-palming, cringe-inducing action movie moments they can come up with, I felt compelled to come up with a list in keeping with the spirit of their episode.  Enjoy!

Honorable Mention:  The Matrix: Reloaded (2003) – The Courtyard Fight Scene
Dir. The Wachowski Sisters
I don’t hate the Matrix sequels as much as most people, but I’d definitely rank Revolutions over Reloaded if only for the cool human version of Agent Smith, and the fact that Reloaded has more crazy stuff in it.  This scene, which is approximately 7 hours long, features Neo (Keanu Reeves) fighting a hoard of Agent Smith copies using the mystical powers of CG effects.  It’s a bit gratuitous.

10. Daredevil (2003) – The Playground Fight Scene
Dir. Mark Steven Johnson
The memory of this movie is made all the worse by the incredible new Daredevil TV series on Netflix. How right they got it can only emphasize how wrong Johnson and Affleck got this movie. The playground fight between Daredevil and Elektra is a perfect encapsulation of how the movie completely missed the tone.  It’s meant to be playful and flirtatious, but it just comes off as insane.

09. Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) – The Rise of the Dinobots
Dir. Michael Bay
I would still say Revenge of the Fallen and its ridiculous Jesus Labeouf storyline are the worst chapter in an otherwise awful franchise, but the dinobots were always my favorite as a kid, and Michael Bay using them so laughably bad here (I laugh to cope with the pain) is one of the most disappointing things the megalomaniac has done with his stewardship of this series.

08. Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997) – Just… All of it…
Dir. John R. Leonetti
I was the exact right age to appreciate Paul W. S. Anderson’s Mortal Kombat, and I was utterly ecstatic looking forward to the sequel, but even at 13 years old, this movie was one of the most disappointing cinematic experiences of my life. So few movies get every single thing wrong, and it’s almost impressive when they do, but that awe doesn’t make watching such films any less painful.

07. Face/Off (1997) – The Boat Chase Scene
Dir. John Woo
This is one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies, and it would just be one of my straight up favorite movies if it weren’t for this ridiculous, tacked-on boat chase that serves as the film’s seventh climax. The showdown at the church between Cage and Travolta is great and the movie should just end there, but instead we have to drive boats around for 10 minutes for no reason. Lame.

06. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) – The Jungle Chase
Dir. Steven Spielberg
Yes, Indiana Jones surviving a nuclear explosion using nothing but his quick wits and a refrigerator is ridiculous, but it’s over in a moment, like pulling off a band-aid. By the way, don’t yank off your band-aids. Just pull them off slowly and it doesn’t hurt at all.  The even more tedious and crazy scene is when Indy and his team are chasing a bunch of communists through the jungle and Indiana Jr. is swinging through the trees on vines and other such nonsense.

05. Superman III (1983) – Superman v Superman: Dawn of Mediocrity
Dir. Richard Lester
People often just accept that Superman IV: The Quest for Peace is the worst one, but it is far and away better than this movie, which has an interesting premise when it comes to synthesizing Kryptonite incorrectly and turning Superman evil, but tries to handle that in a family-friendly way that really pulls its punches. And then, you have this scene where good superman and evil superman literally fight each other in a junk yard. The rules of the Christopher Reeve Superman universe often don’t make sense, even in the beloved first two movies, and this scene is the culmination of that.  The movie itself is a junk yard.

04. Ultraviolet (2006) – Circle O’ Guns
Dir. Kurt Wimmer
Fortunately, I remember very little of this movie, but can still say with some confidence that it is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. I remember it being absolutely excruciating to sit through, and this scene in particular stands out as absurdly bad. Milla Jovovich’s character is surrounded by gun-wielding assassins who form a circle around her with about a six-foot diameter, and then they just open fire and are completely befuddled when they all shoot each other in the face.  Just thinking about it makes me angry.

03. The A-Team (2010) – The Tank Flying Scene
Dir. Joe Carnahan
Got to give a movie props for trying something new and unique, but you also have to call out that movie on how bad it is when these experiments flop. I again remember very little of this movie, but the scene where the team are in a tank that is plummeting to the ground and they use its cannon to essentially fly it through the air is beyond idiotic. It always amazes me when no one says along the way of a movie’s production, “Hey guys, this makes no sense and we should do something better.”

02. Gymkata (1985) – The Pommel Horse Scene
Dir. Robert Clouse
If you’ve never seen Gymkata, I highly recommend it. It’s one of those insanely bad movies that is a ton of fun to sit through with a group of friends. The lead actor isn’t an actor, but an Olympic gymnast with exactly as much acting talent as you’d expect.  He’s mastered a new type of martial art which combines Karate with gymnastics and has to infiltrate a Bloodsport-like fighting tournament and bring down a yakuza-like crime syndicate, or something, if I remember right.  But the scene that blows my mind with its absurdity is when our hero is taking on a hoard of ninja in a town square and there just HAPPENS to be a pommel horse, or a statue that looks like a pommel horse, in the middle of the street and he starts whipping around it kicking bad guys in the face.  It’s fun, it’s stupid, it’s crazy. Go check it out.

01. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) – The Mountainside Escape
Dir. Jonathan Liebesman
And here we are: the crème de la crap.  I was basically tricked into seeing this Michael Bay masturbatory session in the theater and spent the entire time with my head in my hands at how stupid everything in this movie is.  But, if we want to focus on the ridiculous action, then we can point to the mountainside sequence that somehow takes place 20 minutes outside of New York City even though there are no mountains that tall in the entire state.  Bay and his directorial puppet Liebesman give the audience a solid 15 minutes of CGI vomit, that makes no sense, sacrifices character for cheap humor, and further reduces their female lead to a sex object.  This scene is a symptom amongst the disease of the rest of the film and I’m starting to suspect there is no cure for what Michael Bay is doing to modern cinema.  God, what a piece of garbage.

Next week, Paul and Wayne will be doing one of their aforementioned Top 10 Last 10 episodes in which they rank the last ten movies they saw in order.  Thankfully, I also tweet about all the new movies I see on my personal twitter (@Play_Architect) and get to play along.  Which is good, because I have no idea what the last ten movies I saw are without looking at my twitter feed.

Go check out Paul and Wayne on their show wherever you listen to podcasts and follow them on twitter @TheCountdownPC.

About the Author:

Joe Sanders Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
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