The 1990s were a terrific time for action films, with a number of absolute classics being released. Letterboxd users around the world voted these the best.
As though ’90s action pictures represent a distinct subgenre from those made in earlier eras. There’s something about this era’s aesthetic, storylines, and even recurring actors that sets it apart from others. The ’90s saw the release of some of the most memorable action films of all time.
Finding the best movies to watch can be a daunting task, so Letterboxd’s average rating is a good place to start. In order to focus the search, only action films were considered, so sci-fi films like The Matrix were excluded.
1. Tokyo Fist (1995) – 3.88
Some of the most innovative and interesting action films in history have been made in Asia. The 1990s were no exception, as evidenced by films like Tokyo Fist. Throughout the story, we follow a man as he learns to box in order to cope with the different strains in his life.
When he finds out that his ex-fiancée and an old buddy are seeing each other, things get heated. However, even if this isn’t the usual “weapons and big set pieces” type of action picture, it works because some of the combat scenes here are nasty. Four stars is the most typical rating (32 percent ).
2. Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm (1993) – 3.92
Movies starring real-life superheroes are all the rage these days, and they frequently dominate the box office and are huge blockbusters. Animated film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was considered the best of the 1990s by many, although the decade as a whole was more of a mixed bag.
As a rare theatrical release of a DCcartoon, Mask of the Phantasm didn’t do well at the box office, but it received high praise from critics for its voice acting, animation, and themes. It’s not an easy task for Batman in this story, which deals with romance and a vigilante killer. Again, the most common rating is four stars (34 percent).
3. Bullet In The Head (1990) – 3.93
John Woo and the action genre are nearly inseparable. Face/Off, Hard Target, and other classic action pictures are among the director’s credits. Bullet in the Head is perhaps Woo’s greatest achievement, despite an excellent career.
Trio of friends from Hong Kong embark for war-torn Saigon in order to become criminals, but their lives are shattered in the process. Actor Tony Leung and several John Woo trademarks make this a must-watch. Some 31% of the consumers gave this product 4 stars out of 5.
4. Sonatine (1993) – 3.97
The Japanese film Sonatine is the latest in a long line of similar films to emerge from the continent. This Takeshi Kitano film was initially a commercial failure, but it has since gained a cult following and is regarded in high regard. A whopping 34 percent of the time, it was given four stars.
This film also features Kitano as the title character, an ex-Yakuza mobster dispatched to settle an unimportant gang conflict. This movie isn’t only about fighting and action; it’s about a man’s life and how he’s dealing with his situation.
5. Patlabor 2: The Movie (1993) – 4.03
A sequel to 1989’s critically acclaimed Patlabor: The Movie was produced a few years later, and this time it was deemed an upgrade.
Patlabor is a massive media property that encompasses manga, television shows, novels, and more, with Patlabor 2: The Movie probably being the highest point of it all..
This version of the story was more political in nature, focusing on a terrorist strike as the focal point. Big robots and a classic animation style make this feel like a big action film, even decades later. Almost six out of ten of the reviews are rated four or five stars.
6. Hard Boiled (1992) – 4.06
Moreover, John Woo is the director of the action film “Hard Boiled,” making it another another remarkable piece of filmmaking from Asia. Among the cast members were Tony Leung and Chow Yun-fat, both of whom were well-known at the time of this film’s release.
The simplicity of the film’s plot is what makes it work so brilliantly. In this case, the triad criminal organization was brought down by a police officer and an undercover agent working together. As Woo’s final film before moving to Hollywood, Hard Boiled is especially noteworthy. The most popular rating is four stars (33 percent).
7. Léon: The Professional (1994) – 4.10
The Fifth Element, released in 1997, and Lucy, released in 2014, were two of Luc Besson’s other blockbusters that helped establish him as a director who could produce on a massive scale. Despite this, his best effort, Leon: The Professional, perhaps remains his best work.
Léon (Jean Reno) is an assassin who takes in a young girl (Natalie Portman) after her family is killed by a crime lord in the movie (Gary Oldman). At the same time as it launched Natalie Portman’s acting career, it was lauded for being sleek, exhilarating, and surprisingly heartwarming. The majority of reviews (34 percent) give it a four-star rating, although it very frequently receives a perfect score (24 percent ).
8. Heat (1995) – 4.15
Director Michael Mann has long been hailed as the finest (or at the very least, very close to the best) at shooting shootouts. Heat, a 1995 action film with an almost three-hour running period that features some great gunfights, proved this point. Even while the action is fantastic, that isn’t the film’s strongest suit.
The cat-and-mouse game between Al Pacino’s detective and Robert De Niro’s thief is a major selling point of this heist picture. One of the most famous and iconic scenes of the era is the one in which they ultimately appear together on the screen. There are 26% of users who give this product five stars, and 31% who give it four.
9. Fallen Angels (1995) – 4.16
In the late ’90s, the most highly-rated Hong Kong film on Letterboxd was Fallen Angels. It may not have a well-known director or performers, but they all work together to create something truly unique.
This film has a unique feature in that it tells two separate stories at the same time.
A hitman, a businessman, two ladies and more are intertwined in subtle but fascinating ways in this film. 31 percent of reviewers gave it a four-star rating, while 26 percent gave it a five-star rating.
10. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) – 4.21
James Cameron is the master of the blockbuster, and he does it better than anybody else. He helmed the Terminator franchise long before the days of Titanic and Avatar. Terminator 2: Judgment Day was the series’ apex in the opinion of many, and it cemented Arnold Schwarzenegger’s status as a true action hero.
Schwarzenegger’s Terminator returns to assist Sarah Connor and her son against a more advanced cyborg assassin after playing the villain in the first film. Major audiences consider it to be one of the best action films ever made, and features like the computer graphics are still impressive today. Five stars is the most popular rating (30 percent ).