Action movies have a terrible reputation among movie buffs for being nothing more than formulaic wastes of film. These movie connoisseurs feel that explosions, gun fights, and martial arts extravaganzas are not high art, thereby serving as fluff that shouldn’t be recognized as good. While many people might disagree with this opinion, it certainly does carry weight, which is why we tend to see most, if not all, action movies out of the running for major awards.
But every so often, there’s an action film that comes along that not only blows everyone’s mind, it also happens to have a surprise ending that leaves an entire theater with their jaws near their feet. It’s in these moments that fans of action movies can bask in the glow of one of their own making it onto the “year’s best” lists.
Here are a few action movies that knew just how to really give audiences something to think about:
The Italian Job (original version) — Not only is the film very hip and cool, but it captures the 1960s beautifully. Follow the exploits of a gang of criminals out to get the ultimate score, thrown in a few Minis, and then end the film on the greatest cliffhanger of all-time.
The Mist — When a mysterious mist rolls into a small town, strange and horrible things start happening to anyone who gets near it. Sprinkle in a military conspiracy and trap an eclectic group of townspeople in a grocery store who start to crack, and you’ve got a pretty good movie. End the movie on the most gut-wrenching reveal ever, and you’ve got a legendary film on your hands.
Avengers: Infinity War — What just happened? Did that just happen? Where did everyone go? Are they dead? Did they just die? Few action/superhero movies have made such a cultural mark as this one, and the ending is something to behold. Wow!
Friday the 13th — Most horror movies nowadays think they’ve perfected the end scene jump scare, but few have ever matched the ridiculous scare at the end of the first movie in this franchise. You’ll never watch horror movies the same way again.
Ghost — OK. You might think this is an asinine entry on this list, but give it a chance. While it’s mostly a love story, it’s also a film that pits good vs. evil, and that’s a battle that has raged on since the beginning of time. The end might not be a twist per se, but it certainly will push viewer’s boundaries regarding right & wrong.
Action movies are arguably the last great remnant of what movies were all about back in the day. They’re fun, exciting, and they know just how to tug at your emotions at the right time. You know you’re not watching a film that will change the world. All you want is to have a good time at the movies, and there’s nothing wrong with that. So, give the action genre more of a chance, and you just might stumble onto a gem of a film with an ending that’ll leave you speechless.