Traditionally at this time of year we all spend an awful lot of time indoors, and this year the amount of time we are indoors is just awful. To distract myself, in the evenings I’ve turned to film. No I’ve not made a documentary or recorded my supper; I’ve started to watch my favourite films of the action and thriller genre. Surprisingly, or not, all my top ten are adaptations from novels! Here are my choices, in no particular order:
- Atomic Blonde. Adapted from Antony Johnston’s graphic novel The Coldest City, Atomic Blonde is a slick, retro and explosive spy thriller with Charlize Theron taking the lead role as a deadly, no-nonsense spy tracking double agents. The fight scenes are incredible, and bloody.
- The Foreigner. This is the big screen adaptation of Stephen Leather’s The Chinaman, which by the way is a cracking read. It stars Pierce Brosnan, and Jackie Chan in a dramatic role which I believe is his finest ever performance. Do not expect comedy kung fu here.
- The Bourne Supremacy. The second Bourne instalment is just as good as the first and whilst it uses the name of Ludlum’s thriller the plot has been altered. A still baby-faced Matt Damon is shockingly effective as the faulty CIA asset. For me, the Moscow car chase is just sublime action.
- Casino Royale. No list of this type would be complete without at least a nod to Ian Fleming’s James Bond. This first outing for Daniel Craig is a masterpiece with Bond being redefined as harder and leaner but vulnerable. Incidentally, this is the second time Royale has been filmed, the first was an unofficial spoof starring Woody Allen and David Niven.
- Rambo: First Blood. Based on the novel First Blood by David Morrell, this is not merely an ‘action movie’ but a political statement which still rings true today. The monosyllabic Sylvester Stallone could not have been better cast.
- From Russia With Love. The second Bond film to star Sean Connery as Bond and based on Fleming’s 1957 novel. Suave spying in what many might think was a gentler time. It wasn’t.
- Jack Reacher Never Go Back. Inspired by Lee Child’s mega-selling Never Go Back, this was the second and last cinematic outing for Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. Whilst annoying many fans by being a lot shorter than Reacher’s stated 6’5” height (which incidentally is my height too), I liked Cruise’s performance. However, I’m still waiting for the new Amazon series!
- Patriot Games. Another action great is Tom Clancy, and this adaptation of his blockbuster novel is a classic. Harrison Ford to me is still Jack Ryan. Okay, and Han Solo and Indiana Jones.
- Extraction. Chris Hemsworth stars in all action Netflix film based on Ande Parks’ graphic novel Ciudad. Whilst the storyline is hardly unique – a grieving former Special Forces soldier turned contractor is hired to rescue a kidnapped child – the acting and action scenes set it apart. I hope, just hope that there is a sequel.
- Die Hard. Some say this adaption of Roderick Thorp’s Nothing Lasts Forever is a Christmas movie. I say its just great fun with riveting performances from Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman. It also, of course, has some classic lines…
If you’re looking for more distractions in lockdown, why not give Total Fallout a try? This brand new SAS thriller from Alex Shaw is sure to take your mind off things!