Top Ten Action Films Seen In The Last Year: Digital Shortbread

Tom from Digital Shortbread rose gloriously to the occasion of submitting a Top Ten list to my site, and he brought an interesting theme to the table: Top Ten Actions Films Seen In The Last Year. Well, this list was tons of fun. If you have not checked out Tom’s site, I would highly recommend that you stop by and have a look see what is going on, and how much pie he awards any and all things that he comes across. Well-written and presented reviews and plenty of cool features, Digital Shortbread is the place to be!

Should you be interested in submitting a Top Ten list, draw up a list of either your top ten personal favourite movies or a top ten list by a specific genre/theme and send it along to me at Hope to see a few more lists!


In the past year, I have actually seen more movies in one calendar than I had across the previous three. Yet, I still didn’t get to all the movies I wanted to. However, I did get to add to my list of films a pretty good number of strong action/thriller films in 2013 that have each made strong arguments for being on my favorite lists of all time.

Although all new entries have a tendency to lose that new car smell, with the way modern pictures are shot — especially some of the bigger blockbuster franchise actioners — there’s a diminishing staying power to a lot of these stories being filmed nowadays. Yet for some reason I don’t see the following films to fall victim to that. . . . well, okay, with the exception of maybe one or two here.

I won’t call this list an “instant classics” list, but these are what I considered to be the most memorable action flicks of the last year. Hope you enjoy:

1. Man of Steel


While it’s not vintage Christopher Reeve, this is a film that holds nothing back with energy and visual splendor. The best way to enjoy this film — and although it’s probably impossible to avoid seeing extra spoilers or reveals by now — is to go in with an open mind. Make your own opinion on this new take on Superman. Highbrows and perfectionists, yes, are going to be in varying degrees let down. The casual moviegoer is going to be blown away. The ratio of the latter to the former is something like 10:1, so it’s important to keep that in mind as you watch this behemoth unfold.

2) Django Unchained


For historical purposes, for romantic reasons, for pure popcorn entertainment, Django Unchained appeals to many palates. Its romanticism is surely the winning item here, but also getting to see Django unleash his fury was about as satisfying as I was hoping for it to be. On some levels it rose above those expectations. This was my favorite Quentin Tarantino picture, far and away.

3) The Hunger Games: Catching Fire


Francis Lawrence bats it out of the park in terms of appealing to genre devotees and general audiences alike. I believe at least three screenings tonight sold out at at least one theater in my area. The movie is set to produce near-record numbers after a weekend and expanded international release. Catching Fire is a movie you won’t be able to avoid, but don’t think of that as the groan-inducing kind of side-effect associated with something gone mad-popular, but more as a sign of appreciation for a film that got things right.

4) Iron Man 3


As a whole, the new Iron Man films have been very well received the world over. This third edition is as reliable as any of them for the thrills, laughs and commanding screen presence from Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man 3 also marks the reuniting of actor and director from the tongue-in-cheek 2005 murder-mystery Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. If that is any kind of marker, it is a decent predictor of the comedic rapport we’re going to experience between Shane Black and the Iron Man. Those who loved the first two are likely to not change their mind with this. And, of course, the story’s ultimate armor  is that even non-fans of the comic are apt to take warmly to this farewell.

5) Captain Phillips


I can’t believe I am doing this yet again, but Captain Phillips makes a strong bid for one of my favorite movies of this year. (October and the tail-end of September seems to have been a sweet spot this year.) I HIGHLY suggest as many people as possible get to the theater to experience the latest Tom Hanks masterpiece. The setting isn’t quite as novel as Gravity‘s, but its just as intense, if not more so. I could not get enough of the adrenaline rush this film provides.

6) Rush


Race fans and Ron Howard devotees unite! Rush delivers upon almost everything promised by its enticing trailers, though it lacks a bit in some areas regarding the women who were behind the great drivers. Neither Wilde nor Alexandra Maria Lara (who plays Lauda’s wife, Marlene) are given much time to develop as characters at all. All the same, this is a wholly engaging experience that will have you whiteknuckled for most of its duration, and if you enjoy learning about the subject matter as much as you do witnessing it, this might just be the perfect movie for you. On that note, I fully expect this film to do far better in Europe than in America since the market for Formula 1 is nowhere near as demanding in the States unfortunately.

7) Elysium


In the words of Team America: World Police, “Matt Daaaayymmaaan…!” But really, he is very good in his role, if not enhanced by his circumstances. Any fan of Damon’s is likely to be bowled over completely, and his supporting cast (minus the decidedly villainous higher-ups) are all solid as well, so if you’re seeking out a blockbuster film with good acting, then go see Oblivi….er, Elysium. It’s about as entertaining as the big budget bad-boys are going to be this summer, rest assured.

8) Pacific Rim


Pacific Rim is most everything you’d want in a CGI spectacular: exciting action, arresting visuals, big. . . things. (I still can’t get over how much these Jaegers resemble the more simplistic design of the animated The Iron Giant.) If you’re coming for the easy ride where the only challenge is sitting through a series of long action sequences, this is your flick.

9) Fast & Furious 6


For fans especially, 6 fires on most, if not all cylinders. It is alternately an adrenaline rush and a sentimental story that does a nice job summarizing the places we’ve been thus far. But it is safe to say we are far from the finish line with it all. Go see it on the big screen; your T.V.’s stereo system won’t really do this thing justice.

10) 2 Guns


Come in with low expectations and you’re sure to have a good time. It’s capably acted, decently paced although it plods around a bit in the middle, and the conclusion can be seen coming a mile away, but if all you’re looking for in a movie is a great escape from your real-life drama, be sure to check in on these guys’ movie life drama. I’m sure it’ll be worth it in the end. And honestly, who DOESN’T like Mark Wahlberg…?

49 thoughts on “Top Ten Action Films Seen In The Last Year: Digital Shortbread

  1. Woot!!! Awesome Zoe, thanks so much for letting me submit my stuff! To be completely honest, I’m still scratching my head as to why 2 Guns made my list. . . lol I really must have had to start digging. It was an enjoyable pic no doubt, but certainly not on the kind of level as these others.

    I know you COMPLETELY 100% AGREE with me on Elysium, eh? 😉 haha. Once again, thanks for the opportunity!


    1. Always a pleasure Tom! You beat me to writing my thank you here first haha! It was so nice to have you here, and I appreciate your list. I haven’t seen it yet, but I believe it is an enjoyable buddy cop thing, but nothing too serious or anything.

      Oh yes. My film of 2013, no doubt!


  2. Reblogged this on digitalshortbread and commented:
    Thanks very kindly to my friend Zoe at the fabulous Sporadic Chronicles blog for posting up my selection of the Best Action/Thriller films I had seen in the last year (December ’12 to December ’13). I am honored to be featured on such a quality site and hope you all have a chance to go and check out not only my list but her writing as well.


  3. PS: There are some really good ones on here. Django was simply brilliant, and Catching Fire was a damn fine adaption, too! Gotta say, I wasn’t a fan of Iron Man 3 😦


      1. Yeah I was not a fan. It was a disappointment at the time, though the effects were good and the case was good though seriously underutilized, but the more I think about it, the worse it gets.


  4. Some really strong films on here Tom, and I know we see eye to eye on Rush! Pacific Rim was one of my favourite action films of the year, although I think I prefer Thor 2 to Iron Man 3.

    Another great list being showcased here Zoe, loving the feature!


  5. Fun list Tom! Glad to find someone else who enjoyed Man of Steel! There are couple on here I’m not crazy about but that’s the nature of these lists. Really enjoyed reading.


    1. Nope. I’m 100% correct. These choices are matter-of-fact axioms. Hhahah I kid, I kid. I loved all of these but I see the flaws in them which caused people to have issues with them. Thanks all the same buddy


    1. hahah a lot of these flicks are pretty big, dumb and loud and that’s exactly what appeals to me in an action flick. Thanks a lot Eric. Appreciate it


  6. Great list, Tom! Even though I wasn’t a fan of Captain Phillips or Pacific Rim (and didn’t watch 2Guns or FF6), I think 2013 was a great year for action blockbusters. Really liked all the other films you featured.


    1. Thanks so much Fernando! 2013 had it’s share of ups and downs but I enjoyed every last one of these films for certain. Top 10 lists are always sure to find friends and enemies. 🙂


      1. Definitely true. Glad we mostly agree on your list, then! Some great films on here that I think are going to show up on my Top 10, at least in the honorable mentions.


  7. Can’t say I agree with all of the films you mentioned there but I enjoyed most of them.

    “Go see it on the big screen; your T.V.’s stereo system won’t really do this thing justice.”

    I beg the differ on this statement though, if you have descent home theater setup and a Bluray player, the surround sound can be as good or better than in the theater. In fact I recently watched FF6 and it sounded much better on my home theater than at the theater I went to see it at. 🙂

    As a big fan of action movies, it’s always nice to see this kind of list!


    1. Elysium I had a great time with, but I can see where it failed people. Some acting was atrocious. Surprised to see that coming from one of the better dramatic actresses in the biz. I had no probs with Sharlto Copley, however. Man of Steel was also great in my eyes.

      Always good to stir controversy with these sorts of things


  8. Captain Phillips was one of the finest films I saw last year, and great to see Iron Man 3 make the list – some say it is the weakest of the trilogy, I say it is arguably the strongest!


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