Haywire (2011)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

Women’s MMA badass Gina Carano plays a super soldier out for revenge. This one took me by surprise the first time I saw it. Non-stop action from Steven Soderbergh?!? Yes. It isn’t a realistic fight film, but damn it’s fun to watch.

Available on Blu-ray from Lion’s Gate.

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Avengement (2019)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

There are a ton of awful action movies on Netflix. This movie should have been one of them, but I loved it. It features English gangsters, almost non-stop fighting, a good story, and solid production values. You might need to turn on the subtitles as the accents and jargon are very thick for the duration. Really that’s a minor quibble, as this movie is a blast.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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No Tears for the Dead (2014)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

Here’s another very good South Korean crime film. It’s got all the elements that you’d expect: tons of action, a very complicated story, extremely bad bad guys, and slick production values. This one leans a lot on drama, but that’s fine. It kept reminding me of Léon: The Professional, which is a good thing. Like Luc Besson’s film, the drama serves a purpose, and the action is impressive.

Blu-ray available from CJ Entertainment.

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Dirty Harry (1971)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This is such a well known movie I hesitated recommending it. I’m going to go ahead and tell you about Dirty Harry because I seriously love this film, and I think there’s many younger people that have never seen it.

Here’s two fun facts: this film was a major inspiration to all the Italian police action (Poliziotteschi) films after it, and was inspired by the Zodiac murders which were still ongoing at the time of it’s release. This killer is called The Scorpio and is flawlessly played by Andrew Robinson (Hellraiser 1 & 2, Star Trek DS9). Robinson is so unhinged and despicable in this film it still blows my mind. Get ready for a grim, violent, blast of a movie with beautiful cinematography and kick ass music by Lalo Schifrin. I’m green with envy for any of you that will be seeing this for the first time.

Available on Blu-ray from Warner Home Video.

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Believer (2018)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

This is a good, super-convoluted, South Korean crime thriller. It’s a bit slow at times, but it’s also sporadically crazy-violent. I found it entertaining, so there’s a good chance you will too.

Blu-ray available from Well Go.

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The Rover (2014)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This one seems to have really disappointed people hoping for another Mad Max movie. I thought it was a much more realistic depiction of what life would be after the fall or law and order. The Rover is not an action movie. It’s very deliberately paced. There are little bursts of gun play here and there, but it struck me as more of a subtle art film than anything else. All the actors were excellent, but between this and The Lighthouse I have gained a ton of respect for Robert Pattinson’s range. Not everyone will like this movie. I loved it.

Available on Blu-ray from Lion’s Gate.

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Defiance (2008)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

Here’s a solid big budget history-based war film about three Jewish brothers that were resistance fighters in WW2. This has a good blend of drama and action. I was a bit torn on recommending Defiance as it’s a borderline blockbuster. What the hell, I liked it.

Available on Blu-ray from Paramount.

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Blade of the Immortal (2017)

Streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu | imdb | trailer

This marks Takashi Miike’s 100th film. Crazy. I certainly hope he makes much more of his unique brand of cinema. Here we have an enjoyable samurai action movie that is based on a manga series. It’s comic origins show, as the movie is even less realistic than the director’s 13 Assassins. That’s all right though. Blade of the Immortal is a lot of fun to watch.

Available on Blu-ray from Magnolia.

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Vengeance (1970)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

John Boorman’s Point Blank was a very influential movie. It informed the fractured storyline of Oldboy. It also inspired the look and feel of Vengeance. That makes this movie lean more towards an art film than Five Elements Ninjas. What will bring you down to earth from the fancy heights of cinema is the straight-up, no frills english dubbing by all the same voices that looped the other Shaw Brothers films around the same time. I was hoping there would be the original Chinese dub available to take that cheesy edge off, but that option was not available. In spite of that minor flaw, this is a very good, artsy, dark martial arts movie that I personally found quite enjoyable. It’s got a bit more drama than fists a-flyin’ but I give it high marks for it’s look and style.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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Five Elements Ninjas (1982)

Main image – my photo of a hand-painted Ghanaian poster for “Five Elements Ninjas.”

Streaming on Amazon Prime and Netflix | imdb | trailer

Now THIS is a Saturday Night movie! Five Elements Ninjas is one of my top five favorite martial arts films of all time. The Shaw Brothers serve up a heaping helping of non-stop, insane, bloody ninja action. The film is often ridiculous, and utterly improbable, but it all works together beautifully somehow. Enjoy with your favorite psychoactive for maximum impact.

Available on Blu-ray from Tokyo Shock.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema please consider supporting the site over on Patreon. You’ll get exclusive content every week, and help in the creation of a book version very similar to what you see here.