“Give them nothing! But take from them everything!” – King Leonidas
Leaving Zack Snyder’s oiled up Spartan war story 300 off this list would be blasphemous, as it’s a film that emasculated male audience members everywhere.
Combining themes of brotherhood and loyalty with hyper brutalized violence, Snyder utilized his hyper special effects driven visual stylings to increase already chart topping levels of testosterone.
The 300 Spartans set to fight Xerxe’s tremendous numbers were so skilled in battle they would laugh in the face of death, considering dying in action the most honorable end possible. There’s nothing more badass than fearlessly charging into battle, knowing you’re severely outnumbered and outmatched technologically, but still relishing the opportunity.
Each Spartan soldier had only each other to depend on, becoming completely exposed if any one man let their guard down. Counting on blind trust and unwavering faith while stuck in deadly scenarios are intense enough emotions to raise anyone’s testosterone levels, but Snyder’s direction makes that fact impossible to ignore.
That, and those abs. C’mon man, Gerard Butler and company just oozed dominating masculinity and warrior heroics. Women’s testosterone levels may be flowing for a different reason during this viewing thanks to Butler and company though…if you catch my drift.
“You shouldn’t mess with boys that are bigger than you.” – Michael Peterson aka Charles Bronson
Right up front, I acknowledge that this is my most controversial pick, one that wouldn’t necessarily be thought of in the same realm as these other choices. Already expecting a few comments to proclaim my lack of understanding in what director Nicolas Winding Refn set out to create, I’m sticking to my guns on this one. Get those typing fingers limbered up boys and girls, because here it goes.
Bronson is a spectacular movie (which you should go see this instant if you haven’t yet) about Britain’s most famous criminal Michael Peterson, who later chooses the name Charles Bronson for his fighting career.
Played by a much less well-known at the time yet extremely beefy Tom Hardy, all poor Michael ever wanted to do was make a name for himself. With no talents or specialties though, the violent boy eventually turns to a life of crime and is issued jail time after being arrested. It’s here where Michael would soon discover his true love and salvation, fighting, granting him his much sought after popularity.
Transforming into hell-raiser Charles Bronson, the famed prisoner punishes guards and criminals alike inside the walls and steel bars. His fights were a spectacle for onlookers, literally baiting guards into his cell for a challenge. Garnering that celebrity status he always dreamed of, our deranged main character always found himself finding a new fight, when he wasn’t trapped in solitary confinement that is.
Winding Refn does nothing to glorify violence and Charlie Bronson is not a man to be looked up to, but considering this list, you can’t deny that Charlie Bronson is a no bullshit badass of epic proportions. I’m not sure how true to real life this cinematic decision was, but Bronson would literally strip down naked and grease himself up before instigating guard fights. Such an act brings out our most primal tendencies and can be viewed as nothing but animalistic brutality, really exposing Bronson’s vicious core.
Possessing a sick love for fighting, coupled with publicized fame and praise, Bronson would first destroy his opponents and humiliate them afterwards. In today’s terminology, he’s the ultimate “bro.”
While not showing Bronson’s life in a totally positive light, Winding Refn did create some extremely memorable fight scenes which incorporate unique musical choices, surely getting the blood flowing for any action fans out there. Just because a film doesn’t exist in the action genre itself, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have a spot on this list.
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