With explosions and excitement galore, action cinema offers moviegoers some of the most thrilling footage ever seen on the big screen. Whether it’s the martial arts masterpieces of the ’80s, box office juggernauts Stallone and Schwarzenegger, or the ultra-violent and elegant tastes of the John wick franchise, action fans usually know what they’re getting into.
While action aficionados expect a hard-hitting good time as they watch their heroes take down armies of villains, what many don’t expect is having to dry their eyes. between the chills at the edge of your seat. Some of the biggest action movies are as emotionally powerful as their stars are physically, and when an overwhelming movie moment happens, it’s an extremely rewarding watch.
ten John Wick and the tragedy of his beloved friend will tear your heart out
Any movie that uses the death of a pet dog for emotional depth can be seen as taking the easy way out. However, when it comes to making the public shed a tear, John wick executes the dog’s plot point to perfection.
Without the shattering disappearance of his beloved dog, Wick’s motivations would not have reached their guaranteed highs of relativity. Although Wick was an unstoppable assassin, audiences had one thing in common with him: an undeniable love for man’s best friend. Therefore, watching Keanu Reeves’ killer mow down baddies was all the more satisfying.
9 Black Rain presents seriously devastating drama
An underrated action gem from legendary Ridley Scott, Black rain is the story of two New York cops and their troubles with the Japanese Yakuza. Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia embody the two police officers in charge of this increasingly dangerous battle. It’s fair to say that things are not looking exactly in their favor.
Black rain is much more upsetting and emotional than it has the right to be. Most people come into this movie expecting the action of ’80s popcorn, and while all the expected ingredients are present in awe-inspiring glory, it’s certainly not uncommon to finish watching. Black rain watery eyes.
8 Logan is the heartbreaking end of one of cinema’s most iconic superheroes
Watching Old Man Logan’s story unfold onscreen was going to be overwhelming at one point. However, few could have predicted just how emotional Wolverine’s end would be.
Thanks to another sensational performance as Weapon X by Hugh Jackman, an impressive performance as X-23 by Dafne Keen and a generally fit Patrick Stewart as a sick Charles Xavier, Logan is one of the most heartbreaking superhero movies ever made.
7 Above the Law is as emotionally powerful as a Steven Seagal aikido throw
Sadly, Steven Seagal is more closely associated with direct DVD misfires than acting greats these days. However, the martial arts master was once one of the game’s most prominent action stars, and Above the law is the film that started it all for the aikido specialist.
Above the law is Seagal at his best at bashing bad guys. However, much of the emotional weight of this film is due to the legendary Pam Grier. Her endearing performance is as touching as the surrounding action. And when things go wrong for Nico de Seagal and his law enforcement colleagues, Above the law gets a lot more emotional than you might expect from a Seagal movie.
6 The end of First Blood is as painful as it is disturbing
Part war movie / action classic / heartbreaking drama, the first installment of Rambo The franchise remains the most entrenched and emotional offering of Stallone’s signature green beret. First blood begins as the study of a veteran struggling to reintegrate into society. However, it quickly turns into a mind-boggling and deadly cat and mouse game.
The film’s earth-shattering final sequence features some of the best actors in Sylvester Stallone’s career. The sounds of John Rambo’s moans as he remembers the loss of his friend – only to find him in pieces – is enough to entice even the most hardened moviegoers to grab the handkerchiefs.
5 Léon: The professional’s central connection is touching
Leon: the professional is unmistakably a stylish and emotional action thriller. What is truly unique about the Luc Besson classic, however, is the central platonic relationship between the main character and his protege – a 12-year-old girl played to perfection by debutant Natalie Portman.
Jean Reno’s hitman does a lot throughout the film to cement his place as one of the most recognizable characters in action movies. Still, Leon the emotional ending is what remains on viewers’ minds and hearts for years after its release.
4 Top Gun is truly a story of love and loss
While Top Gun is a slice of high-octane ’80s action starring the one and only Tom Cruise, all the upbeat badassery is shattered thanks to the unexpected death of one of the characters in the film.
Goose’s death is one of the most iconic disappearances in cinema. Many who watch this action classic dread the moment Anthony Edwards’ character pops out of his jet. Add that to the film’s central love story between Maverick and Charlie, then top it off with the sounds of Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” and you’ve got a movie that comes from the heart.
3 Protector takes advantage of an expert in people’s affection for animals
Another action classic that tugs on the sensitive strings thanks to a four-legged friend is The protector. Only this time the precious pet is not a dog, it is an elephant. The protector is a martial arts masterpiece that showcases the incredible talents of its star Tony Jaa, who takes on a host of villains as he tries to save his best friend.
His best friend is the aforementioned elephant, and watching animals rescue is always going to elicit an emotional reaction. However, it is the bond between man and beast that really sets this Thai film apart from so many in the genre.
2 The rock is uplifting and moving at the end
When it comes to action movies from the 90s, one of the biggest is The rock. It takes an attractive but simple concept – a team of soldiers burst into Alcatraz – and add some unpredictable twists and turns. Therefore, the rock is one of the most thrilling and thought-provoking action films to define the genre.
Ed Harris’ Frank Hummel deserves a spot at the top of any list of best action villains, while Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage bring their absolute A-game to the Michael Bay film. As the set pieces increase in intensity, so does the emotion. There are no dry eyes when Nicolas Cage, Stanley Goodspeed falls to his knees in despair.
1 Terminator 2 has perhaps the most iconic emotional ending of any action movie
Widely regarded as an, otherwise the, James Cameron’s greatest action movie of all time Terminator The sequel removes many of the horror elements from the first film and accelerates the action and emotion to remarkable levels.
One of the many strengths of Terminator 2: Judgment Day is the heartwarming bond between Schwarzenegger’s Terminator and Edward Furlong’s John Connor. At the end of the film, it’s a challenge not to shed a tear watching Arnie’s heroic cyborg sink into flames. T2 The final thumbs-up is as heartbreaking as it is iconic.
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