'Demolition Man' and 13 More Great Guilty Pleasure Action Movies You Love
Sometimes we watch movies to be enlightened and uplifted. Other times, we just want to watch explosions and car chases and pew pew! for 90 minutes. As "Demolition Man" celebrates its 25th anniversary this month, we honor its spot on Guilty Pleasure Mountain with a few more so-bad-they're-great action movies you wish you could quit (but never will).
A comet the size of Texas is hurtling towards Earth, and only a plucky band of redneck oil drillers can save the day. Highly implausible, but we can't help but root for Bruce Willis and his roughnecks every time. We could do without the sappy love story and the earworm-y Aerosmith song, however.
'Bad Boys II' (2003)
Like the original, "Bad Boys II" is pretty much exactly what you'd expect from the pairing of director Michael Bay and stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. It's dumb as a brick, but the two leads' chemistry and Bay's penchant for massive explosions is enough to keep us coming back.
'Con Air' (1997)
Just gaze upon that glorious mullet and try to tell us "Con Air" isn't a film to be treasured for generations to come. Nic Cage is in full Nic Cage mode here, hamming it up with an atrocious Southern accent as he protects a stuffed bunny from a plane full of crooks. Over the top barely covers the action here.
'Demolition Man' (1993)
Sylvester Stallone made a few questionable choices in the '90s, but starring in this lovably goofy, futuristic action film wasn't one of them. We're always up for a healthy mix of social satire and explosions, particularly when it revolves around Stallone and Wesley Snipes. Oh, and long live the Three Seashells.
It's ironic that Nic Cage and John Travolta both delivered one of their best performances by imitating the other. The premise is legit ridiculous, but between that switcheroo and John Woo's hyper-stylized direction, "Face/Off" never fails to entertain.
The 'Fast & Furious' Movies
The "Fast & Furious" franchise is the gift that keeps on giving. Each sequel is more wacky and over-the-top than the one before it. At this point, Vin Diesel and his pals have become indestructible bouncy balls that constantly leap from one impossible stunt to the next.
'Last Action Hero' (1993)
We're not going to argue that "Last Action Hero" touches Arnold Schwarzenegger's better action movies, and it's not nearly as clever a satire as it thinks it is. But we'd be lying if we said we weren't amused by this tale of a Hollywood action hero acclimating to the real world. We'll gladly take it over most of Schwarzenegger's more recent work.
'Marked for Death' (1990)
Steven Seagal movies are the textbook definition of "guilty pleasure," and they don't get more guilty than this 1990 gem. Here, Seagal plays a retired DEA agent forced to defend his hometown from (naturally) evil, voodoo-wielding Jamaican drug dealers. It's the kind of dorky setup that only an "in his prime" Seagal could pull off.
'RoboCop 2' (1990)
"RoboCop 2" is very much the "Jaws 2" of the franchise. It's nowhere near as good as the original, but it's still endlessly preferable to what came later. At least it still tapped into the trademark blend of extreme gore and social satire that made the first "RoboCop" such a hit.
'Tango & Cash' (1989)
As far as buddy cop movies go, "Tango & Cash" is no "Lethal Weapon." But it more than delivers on the promise of excessive violence. And really, you can't go wrong with a movie that features Kurt Russell in drag.
"xXx" blatantly billed Vin Diesel's Xander Cage as the anti-James Bond. He had attitude and a love of extreme sports, both of which gave him a leg-up over the frankly atrocious state of the Bond franchise at the time. The lack of Diesel in the sequel hurt it immensely, but the third movie hopes to rectify that mistake.
'The Long Kiss Goodnight' (1996)
Writer Shane Black's funniest and most-underrated Christmas-set action fest has everything: An amnesiac assassin, a hilarious Samuel L. Jackson, explosions on the Canadian border, ice skate-powered shootouts, and lots of funny.
Cue the Limp Bizkit! And doves flying through flames. John Woo directs this crazy (and terrible) sequel, Tom Cruise's first ever, with slow-mo glee. And yes, that's two men hug-punching each other in mid-air.
*slow clap. Come for the Arnuld feeding soft serve to a deer before killing everything with every weapon ever, stay for the uh-mah-zing end credits song by (not making this up) Power Station!