At long last, the big-screen version of the popular video game series “Uncharted” is set to arrive in cinemas on February 17. The title, of course, has been in development for over a decade. And if you follow the news, the long-gestating “Uncharted” movie has gone through multiple directors (among them include David O. Russell of 2010’s “The Fighter” fame) during the initial stages.
So, while we wait for its arrival, here is our pick of 8 Exciting Action-Adventure Movies Worth Hunting Like “Uncharted”.
1) Indiana Jones Trilogy (1981-1989)
It’s fair to say the “Uncharted” game series owes a lot to the “Indiana Jones” movies. And if you love the action-adventure genre, you can’t go wrong revisiting the “Indiana Jones” movies, particularly the OG trilogy itself. The trilogy has it all–Harrison Ford’s incomparable lead role as the titular adventurer, cliffhanger serial-style storyline and exciting stunts. It’s a whole lot of fun and full of quotable dialogues too (e.g. “Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?”).
Not to mention John Williams’ signature score that made the “Indiana Jones” movies such a pop-culture phenomenon. The fourth movie, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” may receive less favourable responses. But personally, I do enjoy it and it wasn’t as bad as I thought (okay, maybe not the preposterous “nuke the fridge” moment).
2) Romancing The Stone (1984)
I always thought “Romancing the Stone” was an “Indiana Jones” knockoff when I first caught it on TV back in the 90s. But the movie subsequently grew on me after I rewatched “Romancing the Stone” on DVD.
It may lack the rousing action-adventure hook of the “Indiana Jones” movies. And yet, pre-“Back to the Future” director Robert Zemeckis knows well how to blend reasonably entertaining adventure with pitch-perfect performances. Those performances in question refer to none other than the unforgettable on-screen pairing of Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. Besides, the romantic-comedy angle gives “Romancing the Stone” an added charm. Too bad “The Jewel of the Nile”, which was quickly released a year later, failed to recapture the magic of the 1984 original.
3) Big Trouble In Little China (1986)
Sure, “Big Trouble in Little China” is hardly a globe-trotting action-adventure. But it’s hard to deny the fantastical B-movie charm about a wise-cracking trucker (Kurt Russell) caught in the middle of bizarre war and conflict. Director John Carpenter integrated an eclectic mix of genres, combining Asian-style fantasy and mythology with a Hollywood buddy-comedy formula. The latter rings true with Kurt Russell and Dennis Dun, who plays his best friend and also happens to be a martial arts expert. Shame that “Big Trouble in Little China” failed to make money at the time of its release. But it did become a cult classic ever since. And let’s face it, it’s not every day we get to see such an entertaining oddity like “Big Trouble in Little China” coming from a major Hollywood studio (then-20th Century Fox).
4) Armour Of God I & II (1986-1991)
While Hollywood has “Indiana Jones”, the glory days of Hong Kong cinema came up with their own adventurer type in the form of Asian Hawk played by Jackie Chan. The first two “Armour of God” movies are the real deal here, where Jackie effectively combines “Indiana Jones”-style action-adventure with his signature death-defying stunts and slapstick comedy. The first movie–“Armour of God”–nearly killed Jackie due to a mistimed stunt during the opening sequence. But he was lucky enough to survive the fall, albeit with a permanent hole in his head and slight hearing loss in one ear. While Jackie did revive the franchise in 2012 called “CZ12” a.k.a. “Chinese Zodiac”, I found the third movie a mediocre cinematic experience.
5) The Mummy (1999)
Universal Pictures struck box-office gold when they resurrected (no pun intended) “The Mummy” franchise for the modern generation. At least for the first two movies, while the third one, well, the less said the better. I particularly enjoyed the first “Mummy” the most. It has great special effects (the transformation from a deformed mummy to a fully-fleshed human appearance comes to mind) and of course, plenty of exciting action set pieces. “The Mummy”, of course, has Brendan Fraser in top form — all energetic, funny and dashing as Rick O’Connell that rivalled Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones character. The movie also featured Rachel Weisz’s spunky role as Rick’s love interest, Evelyn and not to forget Arnold Vosloo’s memorable antagonist turn as the 3,000 years old Imhotep.
6) National Treasure (2004)
There was a time when Nicolas Cage used to be a huge box-office draw. And one of them happens to be “National Treasure”, where he plays treasure hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates. The movie is particularly notable for blending famous historical facts with fictional action-adventure mystery ala Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code”-like storytelling. As a result, “National Treasure” is fun to watch when Benjamin and his team (among them include Diane Kruger’s Dr Abigail Chase) solve every clue to locate the hidden treasure. The success of the 2004 movie spawned a sequel three years later called “National Treasure: Book of Secrets”. But frankly, I prefer the first one compared to the inferior follow-up.
7) Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time (2010)
The big-screen adventure of Ubisoft’s popular “Prince of Persia” video game of the same name may lack the essential epic grandeur of the “Arabian Night”-style action-adventure. But looking back at “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”, it sure featured some good fun-filled adventure throughout its running time. The movie gets a real boost from its acrobatic action sequences, particularly when watching Jake Gyllenhaal’s Dastan doing parkour jumps and engaging in thrilling hand-to-hand combats. Then, there’s Gemma Atherton’s comely supporting turn as Princess Tamina while Alfred Molina brings a sardonic wit to his character as Sheik Amar.
8) The Adventures Of Tintin (2011)
What do you get when you combine the incredible talents of Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson? Well, the result is “The Adventures of Tintin”, a rousing CG-animated action-adventure based on Hergé’s famous comic-book series of the same name. The big-screen version features some excellent voice performances, notably Andy Serkis’ scene-stealing turn as the grizzled Captain Haddock and Daniel Craig in his rare antagonist role as the evil Sakharine. “The Adventures of Tintin” may suffer from constant reliance on flashback moments but the movie remains entertaining enough. Case in point including the elaborate motorcycle chase through the fictional city of Bagghar, Morocco.
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