Ava

Come for the action, stay for the angst.

This tale of an assassin coming to terms with her life choices does offer its fair share of herky-jerky scenes of Jessica Chastain opening a case of whup-ass.

But it’s actually the quieter moments, such as those where our world-weary hit woman has emotionally-charged conversations with mom Geena Davis and boss John Malkovich that have the biggest impact.

Davis, an action hero from a different era (go watch Cutthroat Island now!) gets to deliver one tightly-wound confessional which will put most of this year’s Oscar contenders to shame.

She shoots, and scores.

The Mummy (1999)

There are two types of people in the world.

Those who enjoy Brendan Fraser being goofy and gallant, and killjoys.

Don’t be a killjoy.

If watching Fraser shoot 1,001 bullets at a sandstorm while wailing “Oh … my … GOOOOOOODDDDD!!” doesn’t entertain you, it’s quite possible you may have already died and they just forgot to bury you.

There are multiple versions of this story out there, from Boris Karloff bringing the creepy to Tom Cruise running, and running some more, but this swing was the one which knocked things out of the park.

It’s not super-deep, maybe, but it is super-fun.

 

Kick-Ass

Something to offend everyone.

A rapid-fire series of fists to the face, this comic book adaptation is soaked in cynicism, a hardy helping of the ol’ ultraviolence, and every bodily fluid possible.

It follows the day-to-day life of a wannabe superhero, a young dude who naively believes he can slap a costume on and go save a world which couldn’t care less.

Along the way, he crosses paths with Chloë Grace Moretz’s Hit Girl, a tiny dynamo who dispenses justice, one fractured tibia at a time, and finds his ultimate role model.

She’s here, she’s savage – get used to it.

 

The Road Warrior

Let’s go for a drive.

Essentially one extended action scene, broken up by small bits of dialogue and drama, this remains one of the great rock-me, sock-me flicks.

Director George Miller, who topped himself 30+ years later with Mad Max: Fury Road, is in fine form here, pitting a grungy Mel Gibson against the dregs of humanity.

There’s a story, or at least part of one, about a bid to transport oil from one barren outpost to another barren outpost, but that’s not why we’re here.

We came for the squeal of metal on metal, and boy howdy, does this deliver.

 

Point of No Return

Where have you gone, Bridget Fonda? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

It’s been almost 20 years since one of the best actresses of my lifetime prematurely retired.

She chose marriage and motherhood over movies, and I wish her all the best, though there will always be a hope she may one day return to the family business.

Fonda imbued all her parts with a grace and fire they might not otherwise have had, and this action flick about a drug addict turned assassin is a prime example.

It’s not super-deep, maybe, but our favorite leading lady is lethally good.