Luckily I have my trusty Netflix Instant account to turn to whenever I want my fix of on-screen awesomeness. The following characters may not inspire, but they are the most badass Netflix streaming has to offer.
Ip Man (2008)
In his peak condition, it was said Bruce Lee could rip open a 100-pound bag with a simple sidekick. My personal favorite stat of Bruce’s is that he could strike a target three feet away in five hundredths of a second. And before Lee was a martial arts master, he was a pupil training in Hong Kong under the careful supervision of Yip Man and his Wing Chun method.
Ip Man is the chronicle of the life of Bruce Lee’s master. Although I would guess the “based on a true story” statement is used rather liberally in this case. The storyline is less than stellar. Yip Man is a man of peace, training only the most dedicated pupils in his Wing Chun style. He resorts to violence only when necessary. But when Japanese soliders bring the violence of World War II to his tranquil town he’s left with no choice.
What the film lacks in narrative it more than makes up for in fight scenes. I can’t remember the last time I saw choreographed action that was so fluid. If you can get past the subpar acting—and the subtitles—Ip Man won’t disappoint.
The Grey (2012)
This movie is not for the faint of heart. I don’t think a single character smiles throughout its entire duration. Not surprising given the story’s subject matter.
A small group of roughneck oil riggers survive a plane crash in the northern wilderness. The harsh winds and negative temperatures lead them to believe they are alone in the Alaskan tundra. They are wrong. A pack of wolves, seizing an opportunity at fresh meat, begins to stalk them. Their only chance at survival lies in their personal yearning to live and the leadership of Liam Neeson.
The mortifying subject matter of the film has garnered it a so-so reputation. I think it’s just plain brilliant. Neeson’s character doesn’t suffer from any of the sappy emotional tropes that often litter these kinds of films. He believes in survival, he embraces fear, and—not matter what—he fights for his life.
Normally, this is where a writer would get on his soapbox declaring, “women are capable of being badass as well!” Since you guys fairly smart, and it’s 2013—where basically anyone is capable of achieving anything—let’s just move on.
Haywire stars female MMA fighter-turned-actress Gina Carano. She plays an international spy who has been framed by the agency that employs her. That’s about it. But—as with Ip Man, the fight scenes are the main spectacle. Gina Carano isn’t on her way to an Academy Award by any means, but her training as an MMA fighter really helped her choreograph some awesome on-screen ass-kicking.
Okay, maybe this choice is a little too obvious. Be that as it may, this was easily the best 007 film I’ve had the pleasure of seeing. Keep in mind, James Bond movies have been around for 50 years! Yet, under the careful direction of Sam Mendes, this one feels fresh. I think this is due to Daniel Craig’s portrayal, which is easily my favorite James Bond to date (do your worst, internet). The cinematography is insane in this film, definitely a sight to see. So if you’re in for some good ol’ fashioned Bond action, I can’t recommend Skyfall highly enough.
I wasn’t sure what to expect before turning on Dredd. It certainly wasn’t what I saw. With the exception of Batman, I was never a huge comic book fan. Sure, I knew the important guys; Spiderman, Iron Man, Superman and the like. But, Judge Dredd was nowhere near my radar. I honestly had no clue this guy was even a comic book character, let alone one worthy of his own movie.
Dredd takes place in the not-so-distant future. Nuclear war has made Earth a radioactive wasteland, forcing people to move into protected Mega-Cities. I use the word “protected” very loosely. Crime is rampant in these cities. Due process is a thing of the past as super-cops known as “Judges” act as judge, jury, and executioner. Dredd delves into a plethora of hot button topics including social media and ultra-violence in our society. It is also filled with many worthwhile action scenes that you are sure to enjoy. So if your feeling contemplative and eager for some awesome action this movie’s for you.
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