Runaway Train

It’s a one-way ticket.

Two hardened convicts, and one employee in the wrong place, hold on for dear life, riding a train as it slices through a snowy world en route to a fateful end.

Based on a story by acclaimed filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, and directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, it’s a beautifully-downbeat tale of lost and lonely men forced to consider their places in the harsh world.

It’s also a pretty darn good crash-and-go-boom action piece.

Eric Roberts and Jon Voight both earned Oscar nods, and, while the box office never responded, this has endured as a film worth revisiting.

Mission: Impossible

Still the king.

The series gets bigger and louder as it goes, with Tom Cruise risking life and limb in the name of realism, but I think Brian DePalma’s original hasn’t been topped.

One of the best TV-to-film adaptations, a notch below The Fugitive, this remains as whiz-bang exciting today as when it hit theaters in ’96.

Mixing spy intrigue with hanging on top of a whizzing train action set-pieces, DePalma delivers the goods.

Does the reveal of the big villain still feel a bit like a stab in the back to longtime M:I fans?

Sure, but time heals all wounds.

 

Anaconda

Jon Voight got his Oscar for the wrong movie.

Sure, Coming Home is a sensitively-told tale of Vietnam War vets coming to terms with life back on the home front and all, but come on, Angelina Jolie’s dad truly knocked it out of the park in this man vs. snake epic.

Playing a crusty big game hunter with a mysterious scar and a propensity for sneering at everyone, he rasps his dialogue, creeps everyone out, and gets one of the best death scenes in movie history.

Before you scream, “Hyperbole!” at me, whippersnapper, feast your peepers on this: