Face it, being a Man is basically the best job on the planet. You can pee without squatting, have completely meaningless sex, and most of the time, do what you want. Apply this to movies, where pretty much every action hero is a guy.
However, some of these films stand out in ways that speak to our manhood-grit, toughness, supreme confidence, the ease of handling the opposite sex and when those aren’t enough: a can of Whup Ass, WWE-approved. Without further ado, in no particular order-Da List.
Enter the Dragon
Bruce Lee is a constant symbol of masculinity. From the calmness under pressure to the royal ass kicking, he is the undisputed king of martial arts. Here is his finest work, as he infiltrates an island ran by a Chinese Sosa (not the baseball player) and delivers foot-to face action all along the way. From the well-crafted mirror fight scene to the brutal one-on-one’s, this is THE kung-fu flick to have.
BEST MOMENT: Lee’s best moves aren’t just with his feet, but with his mind too. On the boat to the island, he runs into an arrogant Irish prick. Instead of beating him up, Lee just lures him into a life raft, and calmly drifts it out behind the boat. Silly Irishman! Guess he was a few chords short of a bag-pipe.
The Clincher: “You have dishonored my family and clan, killed my sisterÃ¢Â?Â¦for this you will die!”
At the time, no one could figure out why Bruce Willis got a then-princely sum of $5 mil to star as John McClane in this high-rise blockbuster. Two sequels, millions of dollars and scores of dead terrorists later, we all know one thing: do not mess with an NYPD cop. Or worse, his wife. McClane ices people with guns, chains, C-4 bombs and spits the eternal line that sums the bad guy’s chances: “Yippee Ki Yay, motherfucker!” Indeed.
BEST MOMENT: McClane is on the roof of the 86-story Nakatomi building, when the terrorists just decide to blow it. Knowing what’s coming, McClane grabs a fire hose, ties it around his waist and jumps as the roof goes up in flames. While falling, he blasts open a window and nearly dies again-barely untying the hose as it falls to the ground. Sounds easy, right? Did we mention he had no shoes, shirt and was bleeding like a stuck pig? Thought so.
The Clincher: “Welcome to the Party, pal!”
Wife? Raped and Murdered. Kid? Trampled, then hung. Emperor? Slain by his son, who ordered your family’s death. What would you do? How about hack your way to the emperor, piece-by-piece? Russell Crowe’s epic of domination as a Roman gladiator is the essential quest for Revenge. He’s been screwed with no Vaseline, and as a consequence, has nothing to lose. Combining beautiful fight scenes with grand, epic environments-from the opening battle to the last sword fight. Gladiator is also unique, being one of the few films that doesn’t use guns to get it’s point across-literally. The Roman empire never felt so goodÃ¢Â?Â¦
BEST MOMENT: While Maximus is fighting a past champion, live tigers-excuse me, live hungry tigers come up for a “snack”. During filming, one of the cats actually turned on the people holding the chainsÃ¢Â?Â¦where’s Siegfried and Roy when you need em? Ok-bad example.
The Clincher: “Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back.”
Die Another Day
As the highest grossing James Bond ever, there’s a reason for it. Halle Berry. Oh sure, it had massive gunfights, a sword-duel only Bond can win and the coolest car (the aptly-named “Vanish”) in years, but all that has nothing on Ms. Berry. Imagine this: Halle walking up the beach in an skimpy orange bikini, hips swaying, looking like a sex kitten and saying the following words while she checks out your package: “There’s a mouthful”. Game Over, Mr. Bond.
BEST MOMENT: The best car fight is right here, as its Bond’s Vanish vs. Zao’s souped-up Jag. Both have enough weaponry to calm down Iraq, but only one car has invisibility-a must in life-and-death situations, like divorce.
The Clincher: “You’re about to face Gravity.”
Arnold is a film icon and the absolute master of killing everything in sight. So, with this comes a dilemma-what could beat up him up? How about an eight-foot invisible alien with weapons that can wipe out a jungle? Yep. This flick’s strength is provided in the cast: Jesse Ventura, Carl Weathers, Shane Black (Lethal Weapon writer) and Bill Duke provide the toughest unit of U.S. soldiers to hold a gatling gun. And the surprise isn’t that they’re good, it’s that they are no match for the alien. A must-watch, if only for the fact that this movie has 2 future governors-who knew?
BEST MOMENT: Stripped of guns, Arnold turns to the terrain and goes back to his caveman roots, rigging an area of jungle into a death-trap. When he finishes, he lights a candle, mud over on his face and lets forth a primal scream that does mankind proud-“Come and get me”.
The Clincher: “I ain’t got time to bleed.”
The Bourne Identity
For those of you who thought Matt Damon could only hold a golf club and talk smart, check this tale of an amnesiac super-spy that destroys everything in his path to find out the truth of who he is. From evading an entire squad of soldiers in the American embassy to climbing down a building with his bare hands, Jason Bourne is a man who will not be denied and the stealth alternative to Bond. So if you’re having coffee in Paris and he’s the guy that looks funny at you, don’t stare back. He’s deciding between breaking your arm or dislodging your jaw.
BEST MOMENT: What to do when an uzi-toting guard is coming upstairs to kill you? Simple, take a dead guard, push him over the balcony and follow. While you’re going down, use one shot to make the guard’s brains decorate the nearby wall-and don’t forget to break your fall with the other guy you pushed over. So easy, no one else could do it.
The Clincher: Bourne wakes up from his sleep and finds to foreign guards hassling him. After breaking their arms and wrists, he realizes that he just wasted two cops by accident. Oops.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Whip? Check. Gun? Check. Hat? Check. Now let’s find some gold. Harrison Ford, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg combined forces to create the greatest treasure hunter and part-time professor ever seen on film. Indiana Jones uses his wits, fists and art of improv to serve up the Nazi’s in this stellar quest for the Ark of the Covenant. Throw in a girl who drinks most guys under the table, a best friend who always has his back, and a one-man convoy chase and you’re all set. Many have tried to duplicate it, none have succeeded.
BEST MOMENT: A sword-master is no match for Indy’s gun in the shortest fight in history.
The Clincher: “SnakesÃ¢Â?Â¦why’d it have to be snakes?”
Where do you start with this epic tale of gangstaism? Tony Montana is a self-made psychopath who’s good at two things-killing people and selling massive amounts of cocaine. He combines the two to become a drug kingpin on a first-name basis with Sosa, nabs Michelle Pfiefer and destroys everything in his way. If there’s a lesson to be learned, it’s that when all else fails, sniff coke and get a gun. Results may vary for you, but for Tony, it’s all bueno.
Bottom line, if you don’t own this movie, you’re not a man. At all.
BEST MOMENT: After inhaling an amount of coke equal to a mid-sized cat, Tony proceeds to grab the biggest gun he can find and go out a blaze of glory.
The Clincher: “You fucking with me-you fucking with the best!”
Meet Keyzer Soze, the criminal mastermind of a global organization who’s never been fingered, caught, identified, or wounded. Proof of his ruthlessness is shown when he deprives a hit squad of their only hostages by killing his own familyÃ¢Â?Â¦and then theirs, their friends, people that owed them money, their parents, their high-school sweethearts and the guy who sold them ice cream in March two years ago. Now, aside from all that, he’s also the world best liar, as he tells the quick-witted cop interrogating him a truckload of horse-shit, then walks away. The entire movie is spent watching one clever criminal destroy his one threat, tell the greatest lie ever, and walk off into the sunset-rich, powerful andÃ¢Â?Â¦gone.
BEST MOMENT: Chazz Palmentari, who thinks he’s got the case closed-until he looks at the case board behind him and realizes everything he told him was taken right off it, including the coffee mug brand named Kobayashi.
The Clincher: “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
The Best sequel ever features Arnold’s Terminator as protector against the advanced liquid-metal death machine called the T-1000. The action scenes are all high-octane, from the Truck vs Bike chase scene to the bloodless shootout where the Governator takes out every cop car in L.A. Not to mention the final fight where Arnie actually loses before he wins. James Cameron, we salute you.
BEST MOMENT: John Connor thinks he’s escaped on his bike, stops to catch his breath, then looks up to see a 10,000 pound truck careen through a bridge, pedal to the metal. Apparently, he wanted John’s face on the grill. Pushy guy, that T-1000.
The Clincher: “Hasta la vista, baby.”
Dirty cops suck, but what would you say to a guy who threatens to have your job taken because you smoked the PCP he gave you if you don’t go along with the fact that they murdered a drug lord and took 1 million? What if he threatened your wife and kid? What if after you went along, he tried to have you killed? That’s not dirty, that’s a filthy S.O.B. copÃ¢Â?Â¦and a testament to the talent invested in Denzel Washington, who brought Lt. Alonzo to life. If you want to watch where the inspiration for The Shield came from, check it out.
BEST MOMENT: After being told by a cuffed crack-head to pleasure him orally, Denzel hoists him up, cocks back twin glocks to his balls and asks calmly: “Left nut or the right one?”
The Clincher: “Wanna go to jail or you wanna go home?”
John Travolta thought the following: “Nine billion in DEA funds ripe for the takingÃ¢Â?Â¦but I’ll need a hacker to get them. No problem. I’ll call Hugh Jackman a.k.a. Stanley to work for me, and have Halle Berry a.k.a. Ginger convince him. No sweat. Now I’ll just kill the Senator who hired me, invade the bank and escape by a bus-transported helicopter. After that, I can ride into the sunset and wage my own war on terrorism. Let’s get started.” Yea, well, it works somehow.
BEST MOMENT: The greatest topless shot in history is a surprise, as Halle Berry sunbathes and Stanley asks for the keys. He got that and a memory to tell your boys about.
The Clincher: “What the eyes see, the mind believes. Misdirection.”
Welcome to cool. Now aside from the lack of females, with the exception of Julia Roberts (that’s nearly enough to make up for it entirely), this heist film is saved by the basic premise-a group of guys gets together to get rich and beat the odds. Along the way, they con everyone in sight and get a guy’s wife back for him, but that $160 million sure sweetened the deal. The perfect kick-back guy movie.
BEST MOMENT: Near the end, when it’s all said and done, you see the heist unfold and the crew gets away in a SWAT van.
The Clincher: “The House always wins, unless when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big and you beat the house.”
Now, if you were a billionaire, you’d probably be up to eyeballs in Maybachs and have a harem of Jessica Albas and Carmen Electras. Unless you had your parents murdered by a smiling maniac and felt powerless to stop it; then you’d want revenge, and lots of it. Hello, Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman, who uses his billions to fight crime in all forms and one smiling maniac in particular, the Joker, played by the convincing pillar of madness known as Jack Nicholson. This is a revenge flick with all a guy’s dreams-rich, powerful, able to beat anyone up and bang chicks who are dead-ringers for Kim Basinger.
BEST MOMENT: Batman pummels an entire gang of thugs in an alley, including one sword wielding nutjob who gets his blades deflected by our hero’s fists.
The Clincher: “I want you to tell all your friends about meÃ¢Â?Â¦I’m Batman.”
Nothing causes trouble like a beautiful woman. So, if you’re married, successful, and an ex-flame is promoted as your new boss, watch out-especially if she looks like Demi Moore. Michael Douglas is put through the ultimate hell as almost ex-sex becomes a twisting game of almost-fired, almost-divorced and almost sued. As a bonus, we also get to see some shots of Demi Moore in a business suit, and removing it-always a good thing. This one’s a careful reminder of sexual harassment and corporate power that can entrap anyone. If you want a date movie that doesn’t involve sap, get this one and watch the sparks fly.
BEST MOMENT: Demi puts the moves on a married Mr. Douglas in a late-night office rendezvousÃ¢Â?Â¦and he stops himself.
The Clincher: “Did it ever occur to you that I, set you up?”
Family. It’s what makes up who we are. So if your father is the most powerful Mafia don this side of Sicily, you’re gonna follow in his footsteps. Such is the epic tale of the life of a Crime Family, with Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall and Marlon Brando as the quiet-speaking, mammoth-stick carrying Don Corleone. The magnitude of the film encompasses all sides of the story as Michael Corleone begins to walk the path of his father. Tony Soprano could take lessons from this guy.
BEST MOMENT: After insulting Robert Duvall, a film mogul wakes up with his prized horse’s head in his bed, safely removed from the rest of his body.
The Clincher: “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
Remember what they said in Sunday school-if you partake in the seven deadly sins, an insane man who cuts off his fingerprints who come for you. Ok, so maybe that not what the nun said, but that’s what this one all about. Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt are two detectives who race to stop “John Doe” who kills through the appropriate sin-making a man eat until his stomach bursts, offering a lawyer a knife to cut off a pound of his own flesh, starving a man to death over a yearÃ¢Â?Â¦and that’s just three of Seven. Another great date movie.
BEST MOMENT: John Doe walks in the hall of the Police station with blood-soaked clothes and says “Detective? I believe you’re looking for me.”
The Clincher: “There is nothing wrong in taking joy in one’s work”
The Scorpion King
Every generation has it’s larger than life heroes, and ours happens to be Dwayne Johnson a.k.a. The Rock. This list wouldn’t be complete without a Rock movie and his first is the best so far. Playing the last of a race of assassins, The Rock hacks and slashes his way to get the man who killed his brother and took over the known world. Along the way, he hooks up with Kelly Hu and proves his strength by absorbing the blood of a scorpion. Not bad for a day’s work. This is the new version of Conan the Barbarian; the same is true of both men-they stand alone.
BEST MOMENT: The Rock finally kills his nemesis by launching an arrow that impales his chest and propels him off his palace into cloud of fire. That’s domination.
The Clincher: “I’ve come for the woman-and your head!”
Meet Castor Troy, the baddest terrorist to hold a gun and the guy who’ll have a threesome with your wife and sister after you get sent to jail. Meet Sean Archer, a tough as nails FBI agent who makes thugs shit in their pants during interrogations and wants Castor Troy for killing his son. Now what happens when they switchÃ¢Â?Â¦facesÃ¢Â?Â¦voicesÃ¢Â?Â¦lives? In this shoot ’em up directed by John Woo, Nicolas Cage and John Travolta tear up the screen as men experiencing both sides of the law. Highlights include an apartment siege, an airplane vs. Hummer chase and the unnerving knowledge that your worst enemy is now having “date night” with your wife. Ouch.
BEST MOMENT: Castor Troy and Sean Archer battle in an airplane hanger that ends when Archer hits the ignition on a turbine engine that sends Castor into a wall-induced coma.
The Clincher: “Ready for the big time, baby!”
Meet Gordon Gecko, the investment tycoon who beats up companies like Ron Artest does fans. Charlie Sheen is his protÃ?Â©gÃ?Â©, Buddy, who learns the ropes from the ringmaster himself while banging Daryl Hannah and selling out his father’s union so Gecko nets a cool $75 million profit.
Whoops. Rule number one in Business: Trust no one. The business world has never been portrayed more clear.
BEST MOMENT: Buddy walks in on a conference call that has Gordon enforcing his will with every single person on the opposite end.
The Clincher: “My first deal, I sold a building for an $800,000 profit. Better than sex.”
So there you have it, the best of the best, baddest of the bad. If you don’t own at least five of those movies, I’d get to Best Buy a.s.a.p.-you may have your man-pass revoked. One thing that these flicks show, it’s better to be the guy with, than without.