No matter how many times we do it, it's never easy transitioning from a season filled to the brim with explosions and gunfire to a season where Michael Bay just doesn't belong. As excited as we are for the Oscar contenders and horror movies, it's nice to have some mindless entertainment where bullets do the talking to balance things out.

Here are the action movies coming your way this fall, and feel free to weigh in on the ones that look like keepers:


Opens: September 23

Who's in It? Taylor Lautner, Lily Collins and Alfred Molina; directed by John Singleton; written by Shawn Christensen

What's It About? When a young man finds his baby photo on a missing children site, he starts on a quest to find out who he really is, with government agents trailing close behind.

Are We Excited? Kinda sorta. We think this will have the fascination factor of a train wreck that comes with seeing Lautner in a non-'Twilight' role. This also gives him the perfect forum to wield a gun and show off those abs. Again.


'Machine Gun Preacher'

Opens: September 23

Who's in It? Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan and Michael Shannon; directed by Marc Forster; written by Jason Keller

What's It About? The title itself is awesome enough, but that's nothing compared to the premise that's based on a true story. 'Machine Gun Preacher' follows a former drug-dealing biker who finds God and becomes a crusader for Sudanese children who've been forced to become soldiers.

Are We Excited? Oh yeah! We have no idea how this one is going to turn out, but there will be plenty of guns, violence and general arse-kickery.


'Killer Elite'

Opens: September 23

Who's in It? Jason Statham, Robert De Niro and Clive Owen; directed by Gary McKendry; written by Gary McKendry and Matt Sherring

What's It About? Not to be confused with Sam Peckinpah's 'The Killer Elite,' 'Killer Elite' centers on a retired special ops agent who gets called back into action after a group of assassins kidnap his old mentor. Strangely enough, it's based on a true story.

Are We Excited? As far as the trailer is concerned, we're not all the crazy about the Scorpions soundtrack. Other than that, it looks like another 'Transporter' movie. Not that there's anything wrong with a mindless shoot-em-up every once in a while, but a movie where Jason Statham gets to stab a guy in the crotch doesn't seem like the thing that's going to get De Niro's career back on track.


'Real Steel'

Opens: October 7

Who's in It? Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly and Dakota Goyo; directed by Shawn Levy; written by John Gatins

What's It About? A little bit of 'The Fighter,' a little bit of Stallone's 'Over the Top' and a whole lot of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots. Hugh Jackman stars as a washed-up boxer who bonds with his estranged son in a futuristic world where monstrous robot counterparts duke it out in the ring for prize money. The shorter version: robots punching each other.

Are We Excited? Did you ever willingly eat a whole pizza in one sitting? Did you regret it? If you're craving a big heaping of junk food, then go right ahead and pay 15 bucks for your ticket to 'Real Steel.' Just don't be surprised if you feel nauseous after. Anyone who says they are seeing this movie for "the plot" is a damn liar.


'The Three Musketeers'

Opens: October 21

Who's in It? Milla Jovovich, Orlando Bloom and Logan Lerman; directed by Paul W.S. Anderson; written by Alex Litvak and Andrew Davies

What's It About? Paul W.S. Anderson, the man who gave us 'Alien vs. Predator' and five 'Resident Evil' movies, is updating that beloved literary tale of friendship set amidst swashbuckling adventure -- by adding a whole lot of explosions and 3D effects.

Are We Excited? If you're going to cheat on your book report by watching this movie, you deserve the F you'll get. This movie could be called "The 3D Swordfighting Movie Starring a Teen Heartthrob and Three Older Guys" and it achieves the same goal. It doesn't say much for our culture when 'The Simpsons' made fun of this of movie 10 years before it came out.


'In Time'

Opens: October 28

Who's in It? Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried and Alex Pettyfer; written and directed by Andrew Niccol

What's It About? In a futuristic society, everybody stops aging at 25 years old, but they only have so much time to live. The more money they have, the more time thy can buy to look young and beautiful. (Isn't that how it always goes?) Justin Timberlake stars as a poor, hard-working, blue-collar guy (what?) who inherits hundreds of years of life-force and proceeds to live it up with the extravagant, immortal elite -- that is until the Timekeepers come to take away his new lease on life.

Are We Excited? Finally, a film that figures out how to do away with all the pesky old people that keep hagging up the movie screen, and reinforces the idea that looks do last forever. If you can buy JT as an action star, then you'll enjoy 'In Time,' but let's not pretend the movie's "live for each moment" message is anything beyond freshman-level philosophy spouting. In spite of its ridiculously convoluted premise, 'In Time' has the chance to be a sleek, stylish, very-sexy sci-fi thriller (although it is kind of ironic that they cast a bunch of 30-year-olds to play age 25).


Make sure to check out the other genres in our Fall 2011 Preview Guide:

Monday, Aug. 29: Horror

Tuesday, Aug. 30: Dramas

Wednesday, Aug. 31: Family Films

Friday, Sept. 2: Comedy

Which action movie are you most excited to see this Fall?

'Abduction' photos courtesy of Lionsgate; 'Machine Gun Preacher' photo courtesy of Relativity Media; 'Killer Elite' photo courtesy of Open Road Films; 'Real Steel' photos courtesy of Dreamworks; 'The Three Musketeers' photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment; 'In Time' photos courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
Real Steel
Based on 34 critics

A boxing promoter (Hugh Jackman) and his son build a championship contender for the robot ring. Read More

Based on 20 critics

A youth (Taylor Lautner) learns that the folks who raised him are not his real parents. Read More

In Time
Based on 36 critics

In a society where time is money, the wealthy live forever, while the poor beg for precious minutes. Read More

Killer Elite
Based on 29 critics

A special-ops agent (Jason Statham) returns from self-imposed exile to rescue his kidnapped mentor. Read More

Machine Gun Preacher
Based on 32 critics

Former biker Sam Childers (Gerard Butler) establishes an orphanage in Africa. Read More

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