Instant Video Spotlight: Underrated Action Movies

November 6, 2014
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It’s your friendly KF on KND Editor April Hamilton here, to share some great movies you may have overlooked because they were savaged by critics when they first hit theaters, or went straight to video.

If you love a good popcorn movie, filled with action and dazzling special effects, and aren’t so hung up on a bulletproof plot or Academy Award -worthy performances, any of these movies will fit the bill nicely. In most cases, the primary performances are still pretty solid.

Also note: some of these movies are priced to own at bargain basement prices.

The Legend of Hercules (PG-13, closed captions available, currently priced at $12.99 to own in SD / $14.99 in HD)

The main criticism I’ve seen about this movie is that it doesn’t stay true to the original Hercules story from mythology.

That’s very true; this is like a mashup of Samson, Spartacus and Hercules stories. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a fun movie.

If you can temporarily forget everything you know about the mythological character of Hercules and just go along for the ride, you’ll be rewarded with excellent special effects, lots of 300-inspired action sequences, and some pretty decent performances, too.

 

Solomon Kane (R, closed captions available, currently priced at $2.99 to rent in SD / $3.99 in HD, $6.99 to own in SD / $7.99 in HD)

This film stars the wonderful James Purefoy as a reformed assassin who has sworn on his very soul never to kill again.

But when the kindly family that has taken him in is waylaid on the road and their daughter is kidnapped, he must choose between looking the other way and doing the very thing he knows will damn him for all eternity.

This is one of those movies with a generous dose of the supernatural, and Kane’s battles against the forces of Hell are very well done.

The special effects here are terrific, and even if you’re a fan of these good vs. evil epics (as I am), you’re sure to see a few things you’ve never seen in a film before.

 

Season of the Witch (PG-13, closed captions available, currently priced at $2.99 to rent in SD / $3.99 in HD, $4.99 to own in SD / $7.99 in HD)

This movie stars Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman as 14th century Templar Knights looking to escape the death penalty the Church intends to impose on them for having gone AWOL after witnessing Templar atrocities in the Holy Land.

To that end, the pair are tasked with delivering a suspected witch for trial at a distant monastery. All along the road there are tantalizing “is she, or isn’t she?” moments that seem to hint the young woman they’re transporting really IS a witch—or worse.

Here again, I’ve got to give credit where credit’s due, to the special effects department. The battles with giant wolves, demons and zombie priests are very well done.

The performances of the entire cast are pretty solid as well.

 

Shoot ‘Em Up (R, closed captions available, currently priced at $2.99 to rent in SD / $3.99 in HD, $4.99 to own in SD / $7.99 in HD)

It’s all really right there in the title on this one.

Clive Owen stars as a reluctant hero called upon to protect an infant from a very determined hit man (Paul Giamatti).

The action sequences are WAY over the top here, it’s pretty much a near non-stop race through the city with gun battles.

The plot eventually thickens with the addition of some political background, but don’t expect all of it to make sense.

Rather, enjoy the clever one-liners, the dark comedy of Paul Giamatti’s cell phone calls, and the chase.

 

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