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Top Action Movies of 2008

The Best Films of the Action Movie Genre


Action movie fans had a lot to be happy about in 2008. Not only did Bond, James Bond return for more adventures, lots of action hero-types were back to take down the bad guys. Indiana Jones made his fourth appearance, Batman took on The Joker, the Hulk was released again, and even Hellboy was called back into action.

Broken up over two pages and listed in order of release, here are the best of the action movie genre from 2008.


© Paramount Pictures
JJ Abrams was aiming to thrill audiences with his take on the monster movie genre in Cloverfield. The shaky camera work scared away some potential ticketbuyers, but those with strong stomachs saw a gigantic creature attack New York.

'Iron Man'

Iron Man
© Paramount Pictures
Jon Favreau packed his Iron Man cast with critically acclaimed actors and that, plus the fact the trailer had even comic book-inspired movie cynics salivating, pushed Iron Man toward the head of the pack of the most anticipated movies of 2008. Favreau knew all of his choices would be second, third, and fourth-guessed, but he handled the pressure well. Robert Downey Jr delivered the perfect Iron Man, proving Favreau was exactly the right man to helm the film.

'Speed Racer'

Speed Racer
© Warner Bros Pictures
The Wachowski Brothers - the filmmakers who reinvented the action genre with The Matrix - brought Speed Racer to life on the big screen with Emile Hirsch as the young race car driver who lives to drive. Although it's based on the anime series from the 1960s, this Speed Racer is a whole lot different than the old TV series with the catchy theme song. The film itself isn't among the best of what 2008 had to offer (in fact, it's among the worst movies of the year), but the action sequences are definitely eye-catching.

'The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian'

Ben Barnes in the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.
© Walt Disney Pictures
Prince Caspian takes place one year after The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and follows the kid heroes of the first film as they help Narnia's rightful ruler, Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes), fight the evil King Miraz for the throne. The first film set things up, and this second movie gets to go straight to the action. Overall, it's a much better movie than its predecessor.

'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'

Indiana Jones 4
© 2008 Lucasfilm Ltd
For almost 20 years Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg have been asked about revisiting the Indiana Jones franchise. The third film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, hit theaters in 1989 and since then a myriad of writers have had a shot at coming up with what most likely will be the last Indiana Jones movie for the 65-year-old Ford, who may be passing his fedora to Shia LaBeouf with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. If this is Ford's last time stepping into the Indiana Jones character, Spielberg definitely tried to send him out with a bang.

'The Incredible Hulk'

The Incredible Hulk
© Universal Pictures
Can we agree to not hold the 2003 Hulk movie against the new The Incredible Hulk movie? After all, the director's different and so is the cast. Transporter director takes over for Ang Lee behind the camera. Eric Bana and Jennifer Connelly are out; Edward Norton and Liv Tyler are in. And Norton even reworked parts of the script, in addition to taking on the role of Bruce Banner.

'Get Smart'

Get Smart
© Warner Bros Pictures
2007 wasn't a good year in films for Steve Carell. Carell enjoyed success on the small screen with The Office but moviegoers didn't go for Dan in Real Life or Evan Almighty. But with Get Smart, Carell returned to the goofy sort of character audiences fell for in Anchorman. And, he proved he can actually play an action guy - something no one really expected from Carell based on his acting resume.


© Universal Studios
When Angelina Jolie's Wanted co-star James McAvoy was asked about the change in release dates from March to June, McAvoy wasn't exactly sure of the move's significance. But just about everyone else knows bumping a movie from March to June meant the studio (in this case Universal Pictures) thought they had a film that could compete with the big summer popcorn flicks. They were right.


© Columbia Pictures
Will Smith practically owned the last two weeks of December 2007 with I Am Legend, an action movie in which he played the last guy alive in New York City. Hancock finds Smith taking on the part of a disgraced superhero who needs a publicist to help him get back in good with the public. Smith's no stranger to summer blockbusters - Independence Day and I, Robot - and he knows how to handle action sequences, as well as the more down-to-earth human qualities of an action-oriented character.

'Hellboy II: The Golden Army'

Hellboy II The Golden Army
© Universal Pictures
Ron Perlman, Selma Blair and Doug Jones reunite with Hellboy director - and fanboy favorite - Guillermo del Toro for Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Almost immediately after the first Hellboy movie was released in April 2004, rumors of a sequel were spreading throughout the internet like wildfire (fire...hellboy...makes sense, doesn't it?). Finally, five years later, fans got their chance to see the big red, horned guy back in action - and it was worth the wait.

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