In the 1990′s, action movies evolved. The plots hit closer to home and heroes had Average Joe appeal. This is also the decade that turned former pretty boys into action royalty (we’re looking at you Antonio Banderas and Keanu Reeves). So hold on as we count down the top 10 macho movies that ruled the ’90s — one bullet at a time.
10. Cliffhanger (1993)
Is it cold in here, or is it just us? Forget New York and L.A., 1993′s Cliffhanger takes place in the Rocky Mountains! The film follows Sylvester Stallone as he battles the icy elements and a group of merciless thieves. Not only does Stallone do some impressive rock climbing but he does it in shorts and a tank top! Who cares if it’s 20 degrees below zero, he doesn’t have time to freeze.
9. The Rock (1996)
Before he retired, Sean Connery made a few badass action films, including Michael Bay’s The Rock. As Captain John Patrick Mason, he helps a group of soldiers infiltrate the most secure prison in the country – Alcatraz. Even though he was a senior citizen, Connery still had what it took to get the job done. He may be old, but he’s still James Bond, damn it!
8. Hard to Kill (1990)
Don’t let the ponytail fool you; Mason Storm is hard to kill. After being shot and left for dead, the man just won’t quit. He wants justice and he doesn’t care how many bones he has to break to get it. Unlike Stallone and Van Damme, Steven Seagal doesn’t need bells and whistles to handle his business. Give him a handgun, a pool stick and he’ll make magic happen. Nothing screams macho like low maintenance.
7. Desperado (1995)
Antonio Banderas is the man, the myth, and the legend – El Mariachi. Before becoming the family-friendly Puss in Boots, Banderas made a name for himself as a vengeance-seeking musician. After a drug lord kills his lady love, he goes on a mission to make him pay! El Mariachi is one of the few action heroes who can literally pull a gun out of thin air. And in some cases, his jacket sleeves, guitar case, and even his hair. The man’s resourceful.
6. Double Impact (1991)
Are you ready for “Double the Van Dammage?” In Double Impact, Jean-Claude Van Damme plays twin brothers looking to avenge their dead parents. One packs a punch, while the other packs a piece. What more could you ask for? There are fights, explosions, and lots of unnecessary nudity. This is the perfect movie for a guy’s night in.
5. True Lies (1994)
By the mid-nineties, Arnold Schwarzenegger had played every action character under the sun. But in 1994, he reunited with Terminator’s James Cameron to create Harry Tasker, super spy! By day, he works at a boring office but by night, he’s flying jets and riding horses in elevators. Tasker’s not your everyday badass — he has versatility. Do you need a pilot? He’s on it! You need someone to disable a bomb? He can do that too!
4. Con Air (1997)
Believe it or not, Nicolas Cage used to make good movies. After surviving his time on The Rock, he returned to the action genre in 1997’s Con Air. He plays a former Army Ranger who’s sent to prison after killing a man (with excessive force) in self defense. After serving his sentence, he’s placed on an airplane with some of the worst criminals in the country. What’s more awesome than one man fighting a group of psychos? One man fighting a group of psychos at 40,000 feet!
3. Bad Boys (1995)
Bad Boys is the movie that introduced us to professional pyromaniac and director Michael Bay. The movie features Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as funnymen turned heroes Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett. They’re detectives, they live in Miami, and they’re protecting an attractive murder witness (Tea Leoni). With a set up like that are you surprised explosions and car chases ensue?
2. Speed (1994)
“Pop quiz, hotshot. There’s a bomb on a bus. Once the bus goes 50 miles an hour, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50, it blows up. What do you do? What do you do?” Before becoming “The One,” Keanu Reeves went after Dennis Hopper in 1994′s Speed. As Officer Jack Traven, he had to maneuver a bus through L.A. traffic, while keeping its passengers calm and safe. Somehow he manages to stop the bus, find the bomber, and get the girl with little to no help. You’ve gotta respect a man who works well under pressure.
1. Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)
Die Hard with a Vengeance is one of our favorite entries in the Die Hard series. Seven years after the release of the original, Bruce Willis and director John McTiernan returned for what was supposed to be John McClane’s last hurrah. Similar to Speed, this film centers on a psycho bomber who has a bone to pick with our hero. Once again, McClan,e armed with a wife beater, gun, and his famous one-liner (Yippee Ki Yay Motherf*cker!), goes head-to-head with a terrorist/ thief. It may sound over the top to us but for him, it’s just another day at the office.
What’s your favorite Macho Movie of the nineties?