Critics’ Choice Awards Countdown: Best Action Movie

The Critics’ Choice Movie Awards are coming up on January 12, 2012 on VH1. Leading up to the big day I will profile the nominees in the major categories beginning with a look at the nominees for Best Action Movie.

Fast Five

It’s big, it’s loud and it’s incredibly dopey but there is no denying that the action of Fast Five is top notch. Director Justin Lin will never be known for subtlety but his reputation for massive action spectacle is fully intact thanks to his bombastic, over the top work in Fast Five. Most importantly, Fast Five features a one on one showdown between modern action icons Vin Diesel and The Rock. If that isn’t a guarantee of great action what is?


Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive is not a typical action. Drive is a moody, meditative character study that happens to feature sudden, shocking moments of violence. Does Drive qualify as an action movie? That’s a matter of conjecture. Based on the film’s bloody violence and car chases it qualified for me. On the other hand Drive is so much smarter and more artful than your average action movie.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

What’s great about the action of Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the slow build to action in the film. The character of Caesar is pushed and pushed toward violent uprising until leading his ape troops into battle was the only option. The emotional build toward the film’s climactic action scene gives the action an emotional undercurrent that makes it all more impactful and exciting.


The action of Hanna is sleek yet gritty. Star Saorise Ronan’s graceful fighting style, and that of Eric Bana as her father, is a jaw dropping visual. Director Joe Wright makes the lithesome form of Saorise Ronan into an elegant weapon while Ronan gets to the heart of a frightened girl who happens to have the capabilities of a killer.

Super 8

J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg’s family alien action movie Super 8 made this list because of the spectacular train derailment sequence. The special effects in the train derailment are spectacular and watching the scene in IMAX 3D gave audiences the feel of being in a train derailment minus all the pesky bone crushing potential for death.

Vote for your favorite of this category at and be sure to watch the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards on VH1 Thursday, January 12th.

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About the author


Sean Kernan

I have been a film critic online and on the radio for 12 year years. I am a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association as well as a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association.