Welcome to the click, click, boom of the holiday season, kids. It’s that special time of year when Shane Black brings the magic of Christmas to life by filling it with explosions, testosterone, and cars crashing through houses. When Bruce Willis likes to jump off rooftops and bite into a thousand year old Twinkie. When action heroes from Stallone to Dolph like to hang their weaponry by the chimney with care, in hopes that Saint Nicholas would soon be there, so they could punch him in the face for breaking and entering, toss out a one liner like “Tis the season… to die” and pop him once as Silent Night plays over the end credits.
If you haven’t guessed, the crew here at DG likes to put their own spin on the holiday season by jumping on the action train (with a hint hear and then of sci-fi). Let’s face it, Rankin and Bass never had the balls or the ambition to send Rudolph shooting up a string of Christmas lights as he fired an automatic weapon at a helicopter, but Shane Black did. Sure, Rudolph didn’t have opposable thumbs or even fingers, but Reindeer also don’t talk. So, there’s that. Ahem… let’s reset. We came up with 20 must-see action and sci-fi films for the holiday season. These are ranked in order of viewing necessity with number twenty being a good one to see and number one being the grandaddy of kick ass action that is mission critical to get in before the new year starts. So here it is, Jack and Jills!
DAILY GRINDHOUSE PRESENTS:
HO HO BANG BANG:
20 FILMS THAT BUST A CAP IN CHRISTMAS
20. ENEMY OF THE STATE (1998)
This was originally going to star Nic Cage, but he jumped over to SNAKE EYES, a film Will Smith left to take ENEMY OF THE STATE. They both can be traced back to Kevin Bacon in a few simple moves.
19. THE ICE HARVEST (2005)
I think this is one of the darkest, and subversive, Christmas films on this list. It didn’t do well when it was released and I feel like people still don’t talk about this film enough, but it’s brilliant. The kind of film that makes you wonder why Harold Ramis doesn’t get behind the camera more.
18. IRON MAN 3 (2013)
Shane Black is like the Jack and Coke of Christmas. This is the first (and most recent) of many films on this list that he had something to do with. I actually didn’t like IRON MAN 3 at first, but then I had to eat a giant plate of shoe because I had the complete opposite reaction the second time around.
17. THE MINION (1998)
Celebrate Christmas AND the coming Apocalypse in one film with Dolph! Guess I don’t need the hookers and blow after all. On second thought…
16. GHOSTBUSTERS 2 (1989)
Yeah, I love this flick. It gets shit, some of it well deserved, but the darker tones and the chances to see the characters being a little more human is fun as hell. Plus it has Egon admitting to fuckiing a bowl of slime. Which now that I think about, maybe I don’t need the hookers and blow after all. (See what I did there?)
15. DEAD BANG (1989)
Don Johnson and skinheads don’t equal the kind of family movie you would think it would. I always thought Johnson was an underrated actor, and he is, but he never sold me as an action guy, this one came close to convincing me otherwise.
14. MANIAC COP 2 (1990)
If Robert Z’Dar shows up instead of Santa, you’re fucked. I’ve always been partial to the first film in this series, chalk it up to a sense of discovery, but this film is Lustig’s masterpiece. VIGILANTE is good, MANIAC COP 2 is fucking great.
13. COBRA (1986)
You’re the disease, and he’s the cure. It just happens the cure is Dolly Parton and rhinestones, or is that a different movie? A weird combo, but so is Stallone and Christmas. The yuletide makes only a brief appearance or two in this, but this is prime Stallone. One of the best openings in any of his films.
12. I COME IN PEACE aka DARK ANGEL (1990)
Nothing says Christmas like a 6’5″ Swedish badass.
11. TURBULANCE (1997)
Ray Liotta can play crazy better than Santa can play the fat guy who slides down your chimney. I forgot this was a Christmas film until about three years ago, it hasn’t left the rotation since.
10. BRAZIL (1985)
BRAZIL, the Terry Gilliam masterpiece, one of my Top 10 films of all-time, beats TURBULANCE on this list and is bested by FIRST BLOOD. Just take a moment to soak that crazy shit up.
09. FIRST BLOOD (1982)
Who knew Stallone was one of the patron saints of yuletide action? This is almost cheating, it’s kind of blink and you miss it hints of Christmas, but fuck it, this has been a Christmas staple for over two decades.
08. INVASION USA (1985)
Chuck Norris Vs. Christmas and Russians. Who do you think lost? If you answered your waistline, then you’re right. Remember not to overeat at this time of year. Trust us, your heart will thank you. So will Norris, or he’ll just stab a knife into your ear.
07. ROCKY IV (1985)
At this point, there really isn’t anything keeping Stallone from a JINGLE ALL THE WAY version of THE EXPENDABLES.
06. BATMAN RETURNS (1992)
The most bizarre BATMAN film ever created, and still one of my favorites in the franchise. Purists hate this film, it’s not really much of a Batman film as it is a film that has Batman in it. Not sure why this is set during Christmas, but who cares, it’s a BATMAN Christmas film.
05. KISS KISS BANG BANG (2005)
Reasons to see this film:
A. Shane Black is like Sonny Chiba and ass-kicking, they go together.
B. Still the best performance in the impressive Downey Jr. filmography
C. Perfect blend of neo-noir, action, and comedy
D. Michelle Monaghan is hot as hell in this.
E. See D.
04. THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT (1996)
Would you like some more Christmas with your Shane Black?
03. DIE HARD 2 (1990)
This flick isn’t as good as the first, but it comes damn close. It explores the same ideas, doesn’t break new ground, but it has buckets and buckets of bullets and Franco Nero.
02. LETHAL WEAPON (1987)
The only thing keeping this from the number 1 spot, is Alan Rickman is one of the best villains of all-time and Gary Busy isn’t. Having said that, this is a classic and deserves all the acclaim it gets. Merry Christmas, Sugar-Tits.
01. DIE HARD (1988)
Thanks for another great year, Bastards. Hope your holidays are full of laughs, cheers, and good watching. SALUTE!
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