by Aaron Peck
Is there a better genre of movies to watch on Blu-ray? Seriously? Action movies were made for high definition! Crystal clear, fast-paced action - rumbling, lossless explosions - and eye-popping blood spatter are just a few of the reasons to get excited about action movies on Blu-ray.
So, if you had to pick your top 10 action movies on Blu-ray which ones would you choose? My selections are below.
Agree or disagree, the following movies look stunning in high-def. Just try going back and watching the DVDs for any of these movies. I dare you! After watching the following flicks on Blu-ray, standard-def just doesn't do them justice. Click any of the titles or pictures below to be taken to the full review and find links to the best prices on Amazon. So, without further ado, I give you
The Top 10 Action Films on Blu-ray
Please Mr. Greengrass, hold your camera still! Well, besides the fact that in the last two 'Bourne' films Greengrass' patented shaky-cam technique rendered many scenes unwatchable, these are still great films for countless repeat viewings on Blu-ray. In Greengrass' defense, during the 'Bourne Supremacy' the shaky-cam was still a bit of a novelty. While today it has been widely overused, it made some sense in the second 'Bourne' film, and that car chase is still a ton of fun to watch.
With the 'Bourne Trilogy' I'm not too focused on the high-def visuals, even though they look great. These discs have some dynamite sound accompanying them. That's what I love them for. When Jason Bourne blows up that propane tank with a shotgun in 'Identity,' that LFE rumble is one of the greatest. The messy, quick-cut fight sequences are punctuated with fantastic, engulfing sound, making you feel like you're right in the middle of the action. I love the 'Bourne' films, and their soundtracks truly roar on Blu-ray.
I've met people who think 'Taken' is the best action film they've ever seen, and I've met people who just hate, hate, hate it. Personally, I loved the film. Yeah it's your standard revenge flick, but Liam Neeson is just such a badass he makes this one hard to forget. Luc Besson's signature frantic action script, stylishly directed by Pierre Morel, is another reason to love it. Besson moves 'Taken' so fast it's almost hard to keep track of where we are, but it works perfectly for this type of frantic thriller. The audio really shines on this release as wel. It's one of the more engaging soundtracks out there, showcasing everything from explosions, to car metal scraping together at high speeds, to bullets whizzing through your theater room left and right, all of which completely immerse you in the film.
As far as catalog titles go, the original 'Die Hard' looks pretty damn good. It's still my very favorite action film, and watching it in high-def gave me a new appreciation for the 80s classic.
The explosions are bigger and louder, the blood seems brighter, and John McClane's yippee-ki-yay swagger looks even better. Even though this isn't what you would call "reference" quality when it comes to Blu-ray discs, it's a huge step up from the movie's DVD release.
Speaking of catalog releases, I think we can all agree that 'I, Robot' is one of the best looking titles to hit the Blu-ray market. Reference in every sense of the word, 'I, Robot' features Will Smith battling armies of blood-thirsty robots in order to get to root of a huge corporate conspiracy.
I think 'I, Robot' was when a lot of us realized exactly what Blu-ray could do for our collections. Still, after countless other Blu-ray action releases, 'I, Robot' stands its ground as some dynamite reference viewing material. That, and you get to hear Will Smith yell, "Ah, hell no!" in lossless audio. Now what could be better than that?
There's no way I could split these movies up. They really are two volumes of the same film. When one is mentioned, the other must be too. Tarantino created two action classics when the 'Kill Bill' films burst onto the scene. Like a continuous trip along homage road, Tarantino pays tribute to classic Kung Fu films, spaghetti westerns, and gangster flicks.
Seeing the ultra-viloent, highly stylized films in HD is amazing. As Uma Thurman is hacking off the limbs of the Crazy 88s and blood spurts in every direction, you realize you're watching something totally unique. It's high-octane spirit is captured extremely well on Blu-ray, with HDD's own Josh Zyber gave both discs 5 out of 5 stars for audio. It doesn't get much better than this. Revisiting these films on Blu-ray is always a delight.
Ok let's just forget about J.J. Abrams penchant for blasting a lens flare at our eyes every 8.4 seconds, and focus on the fact that not only is the new 'Star Trek' extremely fun to watch, it's an experience!
Viewing 'Star Trek' on Blu-ray is one of the most rewarding home cinema experiences you can have. The lossless sound is engulfing as Proton Torpedoes rip apart outer ship defenses. The picture is clear and extremely detailed. Watching 'Star Trek' any other way but on Blu-ray would be a mistake.
Love it or hate it, this is eye and ear candy of the highest order when it comes to Blu-ray releases. I for one enjoyed James Cameron's film. Yes I realize that it can be compared to everything from 'Dances with Wolves,' to 'Fern Gully,' and at points it looks like it's the exact same script, but I for one thought it was a tremendous amount of fun.
'Avatar' is arguably the best looking Blu-ray out on the market. Again, referring to Mr. Zyber, he said of the video presentation: "Really, this is the best-looking demo material yet released on Blu-ray, regardless of which aspect ratio you watch it in. I'd give it 6 stars if I could."
Do you really need much more incentive than that? 'Avatar' is full of high-flying, computer generated action, and on Blu-ray it's given the perfect place to shine.
We can go on and on about edge enhancement and other nitpicks, but we're going for pure spectacle here, and 'The Dark Knight' provides it by the boatload. Crank the volume during the chase scene while the Joker runs down the police escort in his giant semi-truck, this one of the best sounding action scenes out there. When I first purchased my new surround sound system this was one of the sequences I used to test it out. A short while later, my next door neighbor came over and asked if I could turn it down, this was after she checked out the front of our building to see if trucks were flying by on the road. That's how realistic that scene sounds.
Throw in the IMAX footage that Nolan specifically filmed to give us an even more detailed and awe-inspiring view of Gotham, and you have one of the most amazing Blu-ray experiences to date.
After watching the trailers, here was a film I really wasn't that interested in, but after seeing it I was amazed at how fun it really is. It's an action film that gives you more action than you can handle, and more insanely fun gunfight scenes than you could wave an Uzi at.
So, does the Blu-ray do it justice? You betcha! With four and a half stars for video quality and five stars for sound quality, our own review of 'Wanted' shows that this is a truly top-notch action film presentation. It's one of those flicks that's easy to revisit again and again, just to relive the insanity. Blu-ray makes it even easier and more rewarding to rewatch 'Wanted' the best way possible.
As you can probably guess by now, I'm not a big fan of the herky-jerky camera movements of 'Quantum of Solace,' so 'Casino Royale' is the Bond film I would pick each and every time to witness the majesty of Blu-ray. After the beautifully rendered black and white sequence at the beginning, Sony's transfer of 'Casino Royale' bursts onto the scene with jaw-dropping color that still makes me giddy.
The very best scene to watch in high-def? Daniel Craig emerging from the ocean in his tight Speedo with glistening water dripping down his chiseled abs-
Apologies, I stepped away from my computer and my wife took it upon herself to type out her favorite scene.
My favorite scene on this Blu-ray would have to be the opening chase scene as Bond hoofs it across all types of terrain to catch a bomb-making informant. I was in awe of the entire sequence in the crappy little theater I saw it in during its theatrical run. Now on Blu-ray, this is one of the first scenes I show to friends and family members who haven't yet experienced action on Blu-ray.
So, there you have it, my top 10 action films on Blu-ray. Well, that is until 'Inception' is released and blows each and every one of these out of the collective water (I hope!).