The Most Underrated Action Movies of the 2000s, Ranked

the most underrated action movies of the 2000s, ranked

The Most Underrated Action Movies of the 2000s, Ranked

The 2000s were a rich time for all kinds of action movies, as new technology and stunt teams made them more spectacular and unique than ever before. There were so many good action movies, that some of them fell through the cracks and didn’t get as much time in the sun as they should have. Other movies were seen as okay back then, and with time, have become much more essential to the genre than they looked at first sight. Here are the most underrated action movies of the 2000s, ranked:

The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

The original Matrix was so surprising, unique, and game-changing that the expectations for its sequel were too high. It didn’t help that this movie might have been overstuffed with ideas and stories following Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus in their war against the machines and Agent Smith; while being less clear about the intriguing ideas the first movie put upon us all. Nevertheless, The Matrix Reloaded still had incredible and imaginative fights and action scenes, especially in one of the most epic car chases of all time.

Shoot ‘Em Up (2007)

Shoot ‘Em Up is a strange movie, one where Paul Giamatti wants to kill a baby, and one where Clive Owen has to kill assassins in the strangest ways, while also defending said baby. The movie is a homage to the Hong Kong action flicks of the 1940s and 1950s, where action and comedy blend to make a unique, preposterous, and entertaining movie with crazier-by-the-minute action scenes.

Speed Racer (2008)

Another Wachowskis movie, and another underrated action film. In this case, it’s Speed Racer, the real-life adaptation of the animated TV show about Speed Racer and his love for racing. The movie tried to replicate the Anime show as much as possible, making the movie that followed have a video game aesthetic, editing, and visuals; a movie for the 21st Century. Although the film was a bomb when it was released, with time, it has been getting a cult following. Speed Racer is now seen as a pioneer, one of the first to use an editing language that has become the norm for those who have played video games their whole life.

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

What would it really be like if a Zombie Apocalypse happened today? That’s the premise for Shaun of the Dead; Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost’s presentation to the world in one of the best zom-coms movies ever made. The movie is an homage to the classic Geroge A. Romero zombie films, and like every Wright movie, has a killer soundtrack, many jokes and sight gags, and a mix of genres. This film is a zombie romp, a comedy, and also an incredible action movie, especially in the scene with Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” on the jukebox.

The Protector (2005)

The Protector is one of Tony Jaa’s best movies. He had already become famous with the Ong-Back franchise, and this movie only cemented his place as one of the greatest action heroes, as his fights and stunts are jaw-dropping. In this movie, Ja’s character’s elephant has been kidnapped, and he’ll do anything to get it back; especially kick butt. This film has one of the most astonishing sequences ever, one that probably helped inspire John Wick, as there is a four-minute, no-cut fight scene through several flights of stairs, that more than fifteen years later, still leaves us amazed.

The Bourne Identity (2002)

When The Bourne Identity was released, not many thought this would become a multimillion-dollar franchise. Some people still think it’s the visual style by Paul Greengrass in the second one that made Matt Damon a real action hero, and one of the many reasons why this movie is so underrated. The film has incredible action sequences, a car chase through Paris with a Mini that probably made The Italian Job possible, while also giving us an almost Before Sunrise love story between Bourne and Marie (Franka Potente). This film might be the least loud of the whole franchise, but that’s what makes it so special, as director Doug Liman and writer Tony Gilroy didn’t look like the people to hire if you wanted a by-the-numbers action film.

About doing the movie, Matt Damon told Entertainment Weekly: “I wanted to try an action movie…exactly the way I’d love to do it, with someone who was thinking outside the box. Doug being Doug, this would be an interesting movie.”

Miami Vice (2006)

Michael Mann’s Miami Vice is a strange film: one where mood and the human toll these cops see every day at their job are as important as catching the drug dealers. This new version of Crockett (Colin Farrel) and Tubbs (Jamie Fox), shows how being undercover cops has changed their lives and belief systems, while also delivering some stressful, pretty realistic action sequences. It might not be one of the best Michael Mann movies, but every year, more people re-watch this sweaty, Miami-infused, too-modern for-its-own-good, shot in digital, action film.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World should have been the first movie in a franchise, one telling the stories of Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe), Dr. Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany), and the rest of his crew, while having adventures on the seven seas. Unfortunately, the movie was up for the Oscars the same year that Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King cleaned up, and the producers decided it was not worth the effort. It’s a shame, as Crowe is doing his movie star thing, Bettany was born to play the roll-his-eyes-at-everything doctor, and the action is perfectly choreographed and filmed by Peter Weir. This movie had a different flavor of action, one that still holds today, as there are still rumors that there will be a new film. Let’s hope so, as the action, spectacle, and amazement from the first movie deserve a second chance to come out of the shadow of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Battle Royale (2000)

Battle Royale tells the story of a class of high school students who have to fight each other to the death until there’s only one left. This movie still influences culture today; not only was The Hunger Games inspired by this concept, but the mechanic of being in a new place and having to kill everyone is also one of the bases of the PUBG video game franchise. Battle Royale is still an incredible movie to watch: the action, the madness, and the violence are so great that, when asked what movie he would’ve liked to have directed, Quentin Tarantino told Indiewire that this would have been the one.

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