Wednesday, August 22, 2012

PCP Top 10 - My favorite Tony Scott movies

As I mentioned earlier this week on the blog, director and producer Tony Scott took his own life on Sunday.  The man was behind some of my all time favorite action movies, and his style of direction had tremendous influence on the way action films are done today, especially his frequent collaborations with producers Jerry Bruckheimer & Don Simpson.  He also regularly partnered with one of my favorite actors, Denzel Washington, making five films together.  In his career he never had the success with the critics or the awards like his older brother Ridley Scott, but he still turned out some great films that I still very much enjoy watching to this day, films that in some cases will be classics forever.  So in honor of Tony Scott, here are my top 10 favorite films that he directed.

10.  The Taking of Pelham 123 - This remake of a 70s flick starred Denzel as the hero & John Travolta as the villain pulling off a train hijacking.  Travolta's turn was especially great as he plays an excellent villain (see also Face/Off, Pulp Fiction, or Broken Arrow). 
9.  Deja Vu - The closest thing to sci-fi that I recall Scott directing, this time teaming up with Denzel on a film involving using time travel to stop a crime.  It is an interesting premise that is similar to the later film Source Code.  Worth watching but you may go cross-eyed from the time travel paradoxes.

8.  Unstoppable - Yet again teaming up with Denzel, this time on a runaway freight train, and costarring Chris Pine (Captain Kirk), this train ride involves a freighter that will wreak massive havoc if it derails, killing thousands due to its contents.  It's the last film Scott completed before his death, and a great ride from start to finish.

Read the rest after the jump break--->

7.  Enemy of the State - Will Smith stars as a man on the run from bad guys within the government because he inadvertently has data that the NSA wants back and is willing to kill for. The film shows the problems with an overreaching omniscient government spy agency, but this was one of the first films that I remember showing just how easy it would be for the government to spy on its own citizens thanks to modern communications technology.

6.  Spy Game - Another spy thriller, but this time starring Robert Redford & Brad Pitt.  This one has a lot less action and a lot more talking than your typical spy movie, but it is awesome to see Redford go to great lengths to save his protege Pitt from execution by the Chinese.  The plots within plots and deceptions he pulls off are masterful and entertaining.

5.  Crimson Tide - Scott's first team-up with Denzel takes places on a nuclear submarine and features a tense standoff between first officer Denzel and captain Gene Hackman over whether or not to launch their nuclear warheads.  It is the rare action film that also makes you stop and think just how close the world may have come to nuclear annihilation at times.

4.  Man on Fire - My favorite of the Denzel/Scott team-ups, this time Denzel stars as a former CIA agent turned bodyguard in Mexico by the name of Creasy.  When his protectee Dakota Fanning is kidnapped, Denzel goes on a roaring rampage of revenge, killing his way through the chain of criminals involved in the kidnapping to get her back.  The film also features the great Christopher Walken line:  "A man can be an artist... in anything, food, whatever. It depends on how good he is at it. Creasey's art is death. He's about to paint his masterpiece."  Definitely one of the better revenge shooters I've ever seen, especially because it is heightened by Denzel's great acting.

3.  True Romance - Since the script was by Quentin Tarantino, this film feels a lot more like a QT film than a Tony Scott film.  To this day it holds up as one of QTs best screenplays (it was also one of his earliest).  A crime caper with multiple doublecrosses and an extremely huge cast of characters all played by big-named actors, the film is very entertaining to watch.  Seriously, the film stars Christian Slater & Patricia Arquette as the couple in the romance and inadvertent criminals, but also has appearances by Brad Pitt, Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman, Samuel L Jackson, James Gandolfini, Tom Sizemore, Val Kilmer, & Christopher Walken.  That makes it one of the best films for the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, given its cast since Slater & Bacon costarred in Murder in the First. 

2.  The Last Boy Scout - Bruce Willis stars as a washed up Secret Service agent turned private investigator, this time teaming up with Damon Wayans to solve the related murders of Wayans' girlfriend and Willis' business partner.  Featuring some awesome one-liners as the two stars trade deadpan quips, this underappreciated action film is heavy on both the snark and on the action.  A very enjoyable ride and worth checking out if you've never seen it.

1.  Top Gun - The film that made Tony Scott famous and made Tom Cruise into a superstar.  I watched this film so many times in my youth that it became the first film I memorized line for line.  It may not be the best movie, but it certainly is the most fun movie that Tony Scott ever made.  Top Gun is a film I can (and have) watched over and over again and not lose any enjoyment.  And you all know you love this film too.  There's a reason why it is so heavily quoted, why it is on TNT so regularly, and that is because it is a classic.  25 years from now this will probably still be the most enjoyable film dealing with the military.

Rest in Peace Tony Scott.  Your films are immortal and you will be missed.

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