by Patrick Bromley
Action movies and Christmas go together like horror movies and Christmas, which is to say that both genres often use the iconography of the holiday as an easy way to establish setting and "cleverly" subvert our expectations by taking a season usually associated with peace on Earth and goodwill to men/women and, you know, add a bunch of violence. As someone without a lot of patience for traditional Christmas films, I'd probably rather watch one of these any day.
1. Die Hard (1988, dir. John McTiernan)
dozens of imitators? Yes. The all-time best action movie hero and action movie villain? Yes, that's here too. Four sequels would follow that each offered diminishing returns, but only the second film in the series retains the Christmas setting. The original is winner and still champion.
2. Lethal Weapon (1987, dir. Richard Donner)
3. Reindeer Games (2000, dir. John Frankenheimer)
4. Everly (2015, dir. Joe Lynch)
5. The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996, dir. Renny Harlin)
6. First Blood (1982, dir. Ted Kotcheff)
7. Invasion USA (1985, dir. Joseph Zito)
very different reading of the film.
8. Running Scared (1986, dir. Peter Hyams)
9. The Last Boy Scout (1991, dir. Tony Scott)
10. I Come in Peace (AKA Dark Angel) (1990, dir. Craig R. Baxley)
Action Jackson and Stone Cold) features an alien drug dealer who steals people's endorphins and is pursued by Dolph Lundgren and the guy from Dream On. In this way, I Come in Peace is its own kind of Christmas gift.