The Essentials: Christmas Action
We’re only days away from the busiest day of the year. Comedian Jim Gaffigan was correct when he talked about how crazy Christmas can be as a holiday. We cut down trees and bring them inside and then hang lights and decorate our lawns. Then we hang a couple of old socks over the fireplace and wait for an old man to give us gifts. All I’m saying is that we need some new traditions. My family loves to watch the Christmas classics Home Alone and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation each year but this year its Chad’s turn to fire up the old Bluray and dish out some holiday cheer. So grab a couple of cold ones and let me fill you in on what I consider to be The Essential Collection of Christmas Action!
- Invasion USA brings us to the bayou during the winter months. There aren’t many scenes that deal with the Christmas season but there are two that really stood out to me. One is the family decorating the tree outside their home before Rostov appears to ruin it with a perfectly placed rocket propelled grenade. The other is the Soviets attacking holiday shoppers at the local mall. Only an asshole communist would attack the greatest symbol of capitalism that we have; the shopping mall. Thankfully American hero Matt Hunter shows up and sends those commies back to Hell.
- John Rambo comes walking into town probably looking to do a little Christmas shopping and maybe take in some caroling but is pestered by the local Sheriff to the point that John becomes a one man guerilla war against the authorities. Rambo finally makes it into the town and ruins the Christmas decorations covering the town by blasting away with his M60 machine gun. John holes up in a building and waits for his old Colonel friend; most likely to give him his Xmas gift a little early.
- Anyone who works in an office setting knows that the Christmas party can either be a time for stress and awkwardness or a reason to get tanked and hit on Sharon whose desk is next to yours. In Die Hard John McClane lands in California, a fish out of water, but soon finds himself dealing with something a little more familiar to him, a bunch of deadly criminals intent on killing and robbing the good people in the Nakatomi Building. The party doesn’t last long as the armed thugs take the guests hostage and it’s up to John to wreck their holiday plans.
- Reindeer Games was Ben Affleck’s big action starring role early in his career. His acting wasn’t quite up to the standard it is now but it does have a bunch of dudes running around in Santa suits. IT may be the most Christmas-y of all the action Xmas movies as it involves a robbery committed by guys in Santa costumes. Affleck is a pansy and the film doesn’t hold a candle to some of the other films on this list but you can’t beat the image of a half-dozen assault rifle-wielding Santas.
The Last Boy Scout
- The Last Boy Scout is a movie most remembered for the opening scene; a football player shoots a bunch of players while running down the field before finally shooting himself in the head. How cheerful. He does say “ain’t life a bitch” right before he blows his brains out so you could say that this movie isn’t going to bring the same emotions up as It’s a Wonderful Life. That’s just one of the many depressing scenes in this Bruce Willis/Damon Wayans action vehicle. The best part of the movie is probably the sharp dialogue which was written by Shane Black and the worst part is Bruce Willis playing an even angrier version of John McClane by the name of Joe Hallenbeck. The only traces of Christmas are in the pictures drawn by Joe’s daughter which depict a character by the name of “Satan Claus”. Like I said, not the most merry of Xmas movies.
The Long Kiss Goodnight
- The Long Kiss Goodnight is a film that most of you may have forgotten about but if you like kick-ass action delivered by a seriously badass Geena Davis then you need to re-visit this flick. A Christmas parade causes an amnesiac spy to be found by her former enemies and she’s forced to get back into the game to save her new family. It’s another Shane Black written movie too. I guess he has something about Christmas that he really likes….or maybe he hates it.
- Batman Returns puts Michael Keaton back into the stiff-ass Batsuit as he shares the screen this time with The Penguin and Catwoman. One of the coolest scenes of the film is when The Penguin’s circus themed gang attacks the residents of Gotham during the lighting of the city Christmas tree, Christmas in Gotham sucks, that’s for sure.
Die Hard 2
- Die Hard 2 follows the continued bad luck of John McClane as he finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time once again. The original created the Die Hard trope and it is in full effect here in its sequel. McClane is just looking to fly the friendly skies but instead finds himself stopping a rogue general and a bunch of terrorists from blowing up all sorts of stuff.
- Lethal Weapon is yet another Shane Black written movie that takes place during Christmas time. I think we’re starting to see a pattern with his movies. In this one, Riggs and Murtaugh are the epitome of the buddy cop genre. They couldn’t be any more different from one another but they are both out for the same thing; justice. The houses are decorated for Christmas and we get to see a showdown between Mel Gibson and the great Gary Busey surrounded by the neighborhood lit up with Christmas lights.
- Rocky IV sneaks Christmas in at the end of the film. After the big oaf Ivan Drago beats Apollo Creed to death, Rocky gives up his title belt and travels to the Soviet Union to train and grow a beard so he can avenge his pal. Adrian shows up to lend her support to Rocky and it begs the question of who is taking care of their young son. Hopefully not Paulie’s robot. Rocky defeats the communists and saves Christmas for all time!
*image from Rocky