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Best action directors around


kerraig UK
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last night we were talking about who could really do Halo justice. My friends were totally behind this blomkampf guy, wheras I cant fully support someone until i've seen at least 1 full length movie they've made. Someone suggested Michael Bay, which i thought would be a travesty. Which left me with the opinion that only Cameron could handle an I.P. & universe that big.

Possibly the Wachowskis? Not fucking McG or the Crank guys (good as those were). This is a bit of a sad state of affairs, that we have no modern day John McTiernan or Renny Harlin to get behind.

Who are the current great action directors?

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Actually yeah Zack Snyder is pretty good actually. Cameron has been around since the early 80's, so he's off the list. We really haven't had anyone even come close have we

Zack Snyder isn't too bad.

Robert Rodriguez if you want it to be so OTT it's bordering on parody.

Dont rate Rodriguez for action at all.

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Dont rate Rodriguez for action at all.

Strikes me as another one whose earlier works show more promise than later (wrt to action). See the gun fights in Desperado against the action in Planet Terror (which I enjoyed a lot, but it was very OTT).

I wonder if it is because it is so expensive to do real, full-size action set pieces that we are left with CGIed, over-edited versions.

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The Wachowski Brothers are pretty much without equal at the moment - look at Speed Racer, the fight sequence in the snow was phenomenal. It was imaginative, visually inventive, and didn't resort to eye-fucking editing.

Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass are pretty good too; I wasn't a big fan of Mr & Mrs Smith, given that it was a complete fucking mess, but the car chase was very good, as were some of the fights. The Bourne films are impressive, too.

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It's true that we are lacking new blood in the action genre. I thought somebody like Louis Leterrier would have been a good shout but I found his version of The Incredible Hulk to be really soulless and the action was weak (although I'm still interested in seeing what he does with Clash of the Titans). Another Besson alumni, Pierre Morel (Taken, Banlieu 13), has bags of potential but the world of Halo is perhaps not an easy fit.

The Wachowskis' are always worth a shout though. Their action is always memorable (not always for the right reasons but that is down to technical limitations rather than any issues with their vision). Timur Bekmambetov is another one with a great visual eye and more importantly you can always follow the action in his films.

But what about the likes of Kathryn Bigelow? By the sound of it she is back with a bang with The Hurt Locker and something like Halo seems right up her street. Her films of the 80s pretty much stand toe-to-toe with her ex-hubbies output of the period.

Whilst it is a risk somebody like Genndy Tartakovsky would be an excellent choice. For my money he is the best action director working today the only problem is animation and live action are two very different disciplines. Which also brings me on to Brad Bird. With his first live action film (1906) going into production soon he could be another interesting choice for the director's chair.

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Pierre Morel, enjoyed everything he's done so far and I'm looking forward to From Paris With Love.

K - Greengrass can fuck off, but I'll agree on Liman thought the action in M&M Smith was good, but Jumper was complete shite.

That's a good call on Tartakovsky cookie, has he done any live action?

What about Guillermo del Toro?

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James Cameron. Consistently the best.

Wachowskis had it for The Matrix (dojo fight, lobby fight), but lost it for the sequels.

Possibly VDZS? 300's action sequences were well done, if stylised.

Surely the good 'bits' in The Matrix were more down to Yuen Wo Ping, than the Warchowski's.

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Hey there.

Never played the game. But in terms of action filmmaking.. I think Peter Berg has shown hints of being a very capable. When he isn't resorting to shakey cam shite, that is.

There are moments in THE RUNDOWN/WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE where he shows a real muscular (excuse the pun) style of action directing, using plenty of wides and keeping clear lines of actions that reminded me at times of both Cameron and McTiernan and the Wachowskis.

Despin out.

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Surely the good 'bits' in The Matrix were more down to Yuen Wo Ping, than the Warchowski's.

Thinking more of the framing of the action, the editing and the music.

One thing that just occurred to me is how the bullet time effects forced them into using slow motion and longer takes, rather than the MTV-style editing seen in other films.

Edit: Verhoeven is an excellent call.

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No-one's mentioned Michael Mann? OK, so the shootouts in Miami Vice were unmemorable. But there's Heat of course, and I've heard good things about the shootouts in Public Enemies. And someone mentioned in another thread recently that in Collateral he's able to show exactly why Cruise's assassin character is (like Bourne) very far ahead of those he fights.

Wachowskis had it for The Matrix (dojo fight, lobby fight), but lost it for the sequels.

I disagree, I think the action direction was very good for things like the teahouse fight, the Burly Brawl (the special effects are fine except for only a couple of shots!) and the freeway scene. And in all those cases, they're great at matching the music to the action. I thought the only bad action sequences in the sequels were the upside-down shootout in Revolutions (dark and confusingly shot, with no cool standout moments; nothing compared to the original's lobby scene), the climactic invasion of Zion (no-one cares about the real world bits!) and the final fight against Smith (the other fights flowed like a dance, with shots held for long enough to see long sequences of punches and kicks. But in this one they knock each other down a lot and the cutting is much faster, so it feels rough and stop-start compared to the others. Maybe that was their intention, but it didn't feel like a very Matrixy fight to me).

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Martin Campbell (Goldeneye, Zorro, Casino Royale) is one of the best action craftsmen around if you ask me, but he's not exactly new on the scene. There's also the possibility that he picks a great second unit director as well, which can make all the difference on a big action production. None of this constant speed-ramping or shakycam either; proper old-school action stuff.

The guy that did Shoot 'Em Up seems pretty good, but I don't know if he's done anything else.

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Surely the good 'bits' in The Matrix were more down to Yuen Wo Ping, than the Warchowski's.

Not neccesarily. Bound and Speed Racer are beautifully shot as well.

And yes, Bekmambetov and Snyder are good picks if you want highly stylized action.

Greengrass made two modern action classics within the Bourne franchise, but I don't know if his style would suit Halo. Then again, Blomkamp's more realistic style showed real promise in the Halo adverts.

Cameron and Verhoeven are proven quality. Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi have no problems with big scale action either.

I still think nobody shoots action like John Woo, but I'd rather have him do Hard Boiled 2 than Halo.

Based on what I've seen from Kick-Ass, Matthew Vaughn can handle action pretty well.

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Stephen Sommers! Mainly because I think a Halo movie should be a total roller-coaster of action with very few slow bits. A Halo movie shouldn't be a "Solaris" style cerebal scifi flick. It should be G.I.Joe on a fucking big ring in space.

And he's done a passable 'alien' movie in the past (Deep Rising, about a sea monster), and he did The Mummy.

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Definitely. Blade 2 and Hellboy 2 had some great action scenes.

Blade 2 is when Hollywood action, in particular fight choreography, all went wrong for me, that hideous habit for cutting the camera every fraction of a frame rather than just showing the fucking fight for long enough from one angle to enjoy what was going on

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Greengrass made two modern action classics within the Bourne franchise, but I don't know if his style would suit Halo. Then again, Blomkamp's more realistic style showed real promise in the Halo adverts.

I'd say the action was the weakest part of the Bourne films. The character and script were what made those for me

I think J. J. Abrams has the potention to be a decent action director. The action scenes in MI:3 and Star Trek were pretty good I thought.

Fuck, How did we forget JJ! ahahahahaha

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I'd say the action was the weakest part of the Bourne films. The character and script were what made those for me

Characters and script were indeed great (as well as John Powell's score, which isn't mentioned that often). I also can see why some would prefer Liman's rather slow style. I thought Greengrass's and Bradley's style really matched the urgency of the story and its themes though. I think the car chase in Supremacy and the Waterloo station and Tangiers scenes in Ultimatum were brilliantly directed. That shot in which the cameraman seems to follow Bourne's jump through a window is just wow.

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Blade 2 is when Hollywood action, in particular fight choreography, all went wrong for me, that hideous habit for cutting the camera every fraction of a frame rather than just showing the fucking fight for long enough from one angle to enjoy what was going on

I loved it. But I'm a big fan of totally OTT shots and balls to the wall crazyness. I think Del Toro is so talented that he can do that kind of stuff as well as far more restrained material like Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth.

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