I love a good superhero flying through the air, or Liam Neeson blurrily breaking a guy's wrist with his "special set of skills," but these days, it's harder than ever to find movies that glorify actual action. Are the stunt-filled movies that evolved out of Westerns and Bruce Lee, got pumped up during the Reagan-Stallone years, and learned spin-kicks when Van Damme showed up, gone for good?
I'm here to declare "no," and celebrate 30 of the best and baddest two-fisted, back-flipping action vehicles that have come out since 2000. Nothing against caped crusaders, but you won't find movies that emphasize visual effects over stunts and choreography on this list. Also absent are "post-action" movies, i.e., action-driven stories where camera tricks obscure what used to be money shots. Instead, these are films with thrilling, kinetic, and objectively badass set-pieces, preferably joined with characters and stories that capture our imaginations, or even have something to say.
With a few ties (OK... cheats), this top 30 contains movies ranging from obscure straight-to-video to massive blockbuster, and originating from many different countries (but apologies to Jason Statham, an actor I love and the era's only real marquee-level action star -- Transporter 2 nearly made this list). I think you'll find that the modern age of action has plenty to offer.