6. Hacksaw Ridge
Mel Gibson’s latest directorial effort didn’t catch on as well as it deserved, but fans of hard-hitting, R-rated war action will want to seek it out before it leaves theaters. After setting up its characters and stakes with a dramatic (and action-free) first half Gibson unleashes bloody hell across the battlefield of Okinawa with gore, grue, and giblets galore as men with guns, bombs, and flamethrowers meet each other head-on.
5. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi
Michael Bay leaves his toys at home and delivers the most modern war movie to make the list, and if you can avoid getting lost in the politics the reward is a terrific siege film pitting a few men against dozens. The characters are hard-hitting vets, and the action is thrilling. Sure you’ll have to mop your floor afterwards due to the testosterone leaking from your screen, but it’s a small price to pay.
After a series of roles in movies that failed to take full advantage of his mad skills (I’m looking at you Criminal, The Brothers Grimsby, and Doctor Strange), Scott Adkins finally gets to cut loose again in this low-profile, simply-plotted action picture. He’s a man on the run blah blah blah so what – he gets to participate in multiple, terrifically-choreographed/shot fight scenes that continually leave a smile on viewers’ faces.
This one’s something of a cheat as Yûji Shimomura’s film hasn’t actually found distribution in the US yet, but don’t let that stop you from seeking it out. The plot is denser than it needs to be, but even if you can’t follow along the near-constant presence of fight scenes, neck snaps, bone breaks, and deaths by fisting (a fancy way of saying “punching with unique style”) offers immense satisfaction for action-junkies. You’ll want to welcome Tak Sakaguchi (Versus) back into your life.
2. Ip Man 3
Why do people insist on bothering Donnie Yen? You think they’d learn, but happily for us they never ever do. Here he returns to the role of the legendary Master Ip and once again dispenses brutal beat-downs and bruisings in the name of honor and justice. And for those of you worried about Mike Tyson’s presence being no more than a gimmick, don’t worry – their fight is terrific.
1. Kill Zone 2
Making a sequel to a modern action classic is a risky move, especially when you do so in name only without any returning characters. Thankfully director Soi Cheang and stars Tony Jaa, Wu Jing, and Zhang Jin craft their own action gem here. Is the story convoluted and contrived? You bet. But who gives a flying spin-kick when you get incredible fights, gravity-defying action, and a ridiculously entertaining single-shot prison riot sequence. (And for those of you paying attention.. yes, this made my list last year too, but it was officially released in the US this year and the title was changed so just go with it.)
Related Topics: 2016 Rewind