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Sci-Fi/Action Films


didn't build that
Any fans of sci-fi/action films? Discuss your favorite films in the genre, or what you think of the genre as a whole.

I call this a genre because it has a very specific vibe to it. Action films range from Lord of the Rings to The Dark Knight, but I tend to think of sci-fi action as a series of 80s classics--The Terminator, RoboCop, Aliens, Blade Runner, Escape from New York, etc. They often have a thick, dystopian atmosphere, even when they take place in the present (as with The Terminator), and tend to be gritty, violent, R-rated films that nonetheless know how to incorporate humor.

Outside of the 80s, this sort of movie seems to have died. The Matrix and its imitators were interesting for a while, but failed to create a lasting trend, possibly due to the failure of the Matrix sequels. You don't need to look far to find evidence of the decline--from the mediocre Terminator sequels (barring Terminator 2, of course) to the toned-down, clean-looking RoboCop remake (ugh), sci fi films tend to pander to a younger audience and have overblown budgets, unwieldy exposition, and overwritten characters.

There are exceptions. Blomkamp's District 9 is the most obvious--in spirit, it's a lot like James Cameron's early films, with its left-wing social commentary and intense, violent action that manages to stay focused and legitimately nervewracking.

A personal favorite of mine, however, is Dredd. I've watched the movie three times, and frankly, it's just as good as any sci-fi/action film out of the 80s. It's gritty, harsh, violent, straightforward, and its characters never overexplain themselves. Unfortunately, saddled with "3D" in the title, it flopped when it was released in 2012. Still, it's widely available and I'd highly recommend it.

I'm curious if anyone else here likes these kinds of movies. For some reason, I've become quite interested in them lately (possibly because of Dredd), and I'm hopeful they can make a comeback in earnest. When people tire of superhero movies, maybe they'll have a chance. It's reached the point where I'm so tired of the over-the-top (but somehow still safe) action sequences of modern films that this is the only sort of action movie I feel compelled to watch anymore.
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