Five Action Movies to Watch Now

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In the gangster crime thriller “Furioza,” warring gangs fight with their fists, not their guns. The title’s gang is led by Kaszub (Wojciech Zielinski). But it is her younger brother Dawid (Mateusz Banasiuk) who attracts the attention of a ruthless researcher (Lukasz Simlat) and his partner (Weronika Ksiazkiewicz). They want to take down Furioza, forcing Dawid (who left the team a long time ago to become a doctor) to infiltrate the group as an informant or risk his brother going to jail.

Polish director Cyprian T. Olencki’s film often recalls “A Clockwork Orange” with its messages about fraternal bonds infused with depravity. For example, Kaszub’s erratic best friend Golden (Mateusz Damiecki) begins to trust Dawid only after he proves himself in battle. There are lots of bodies punching, throwing and howling at each other in the jungle fight that started with the rival mafia Antman. In this high-adrenaline film about loyalty to your relatives, Dawid questions which side he’s really fighting and wonders if the cops are real thugs.

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Directed by director Harjit Singh Ricky, “Ucha Pind” opens with surprising grace as Azaad (Navdeep Kaler) and his uncle Najjar (Sardar Sohi) stare at the stars on a cool and calm night. The next morning, they wake up to vagrants employed by powerful boss Zaildar Jagir Singh (Aashish Duggal). The titular city calls it his territory and these two gangsters rape him. But not double repulsive. Cold-blooded killers with firearms.

Despite Jagir’s opening attack, Najjar and Azaad are still working with him. But the delicious double, triple and quadruple crossovers in Narinder Ambarsariya’s hilarious scenario blow up rivalries and friendships. How they land leads to rich, ballistic violence similar to 1990s Hong Kong style.

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Ajo Kawir (Marthino Lio) isn’t your typical action hero. Hailing from a criminal neighborhood, he lives with erectile dysfunction, which casts him off in an overly masculine society. Instead of any sexual pleasure, the frustrated Ajo fights anyone who gets in his way. But problems arise when she meets and falls in love with Iteung (Ladya Cheryl), a heavyweight for a local crime boss. How can Ajo bring her happiness in the face of her difficult situation? Fight turns into an erotic act in this Indonesian film directed by Edwin; emanating satisfaction from two bodies floating in the air, moving with and against each other.

Set in the 1980s, the film adores the action genre traditions of that decade while adding new wrinkles. A scheming, sleazy gangster falls for Iteung’s affections by promising Ajo can’t. And a collaborative spirit haunts Ajo, deceiving lecherous men towards death. “Revenge Is Mine, Others Pay Cash” cleverly criticizes machismo and its inherent expectations. It also features clear, fluid fight scenes filmed at 16 millimeters and scored to metal music that injects love into the raging acts of violence.

I have a weakness for meditative action movements. Written by writer-director Khalili Dastan, “The Way” is not only plausible but also contains a metaphysical twist. It focuses on a death row inmate Jane Arcs (Eli Jane), who discovers spiritual peace and escapes by learning tai chi from an inmate, Master Xin (Joan Wong).

Much of “The Way” acts like a mystery. In the beginning we do not know how Jane ended up in jail. She once fought in underground MMA matches and gained a reputation as a ruthless brawler. Prison only hardened him. She may or may not be in a sexual relationship with Max Stone (Kelcey Watson), a prison guard trying to find a way to kidnap her. Perspectives often change without warning throughout the film, including characters waking up in different bodies. For example, at one point Stone finds himself a prisoner in a prison cell. Dastan’s adventurous anti-capital-anti-criminal scenario gets a lot of ripples, and the philosophical endings they come with are part of the fun.

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“Justice is preserved by being just,” explains Prosecutor Han Ji-hoon (Park Hae-soo). Ji-hoon ignores his followers’ calls to bend the rules to win a case. Therefore, his superiors, embarrassed by the legal loss, exiled him to the moribund National Intelligence Service. Ji-hoon seems stuck there until the agency’s director comes up with a tough case that, if successful, will bring Ji-hoon back to his former position. He must travel to Shenyang, China to get intel on a rogue branch of the agency led by the notorious, rule-breaking Ji Kang-in (Sol Kyung-gu).

There are few good guys in South Korean director Hyeon Na’s muscled gangland movie. Instead, in this ramshackle world of competing governments (Japan, the United States, China) and underground unions, only the morally resilient will succeed. The large set pieces—an intricate chase through the claustrophobic streets of Shenyang’s red-light district, a rubble-down mine and a slow-motion swordfight—make this movie hum. And Kyung-gu’s impressed performance makes him fly.

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