Trifecta #12: Christmas Movies That Pack a Punch



by: Nathan Swank

You can’t go out and party every weekend, so on those nights you want to take it easy, has put together a bi-weekly column to help you with your movie selection. The Trifecta is a recommendation of three movies that set a mood, that showcase an actor or director, that acquaint the viewer with a geographic location, or maybe even have some obscure link like a Best Boy or Key Grip.

With the release of AVATAR a week before Christmas and SHERLOCK HOLMES on Christmas day, it feels like Hollywood may have forgotten what season it is.  Dramatic Oscar bait is meant for winter and blockbuster action movies are reserved for summer, right?  Well apparently not this year, but this began me thinking about action movies that have celebrated Christmas.  If you are one of those people that need some action all year round, this Trifecta is meant for you.  Sorry folks, but although HOME ALONE does have some great action, I’m vetoing it for it’s family friendly content.  Only ‘R’ rated Christmas action on this list.  Tis the season to shoot, rob and blow things up.

Die hard

DIE HARD is quite possibly the quintessential best action film ever.  It’s basically what all action films strive to be, so much so that they will use DIE HARD’s name to describe their own film in a different location – “It’s DIE HARD on a boat” or “DIE HARD on a plane.” Which ironically DIE HARD 2 and 3 did have a plane and a boat.  John McClane (Bruce Willis) is visiting his (separated from) wife at her company Christmas party in a high rise building in L.A. when a team of foreign terrorists hijack the building and McClane has to disassemble the group one by one hiding throughout the building.

Best Christmas Moment:  Listening to the epitome of all bad guys, Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) read a blood written message on a dead henchman’s body sent by McClane.   (In a German accent) “Now I have a machine gun HO – HO – HO.”

It also introduced me to the song, “Christmas in Hollis” by Run-DMC

reindeer games

REINDEER GAMES isn’t quite the quality action film that DIE HARD is; in fact, it’s not very good at all… ok it’s awful.   But it is entertaining in that cheese factor sort of way.  You can sit around and laugh at all the ridiculously absurd and yet predictable plot points.  Gary Sinise heads up a group of bad for the sake of being bad guys, planning on robbing a casino in full on Santa Clause attire.  They kidnap Ben Affleck who recently was released from prison to be there vault guy in a case of mistaken identity.  Affleck is pretending to be his dead cellmate to hook up with his girl – and he’s supposed to be our hero, what a winner.

Best Christmas Moment:  Charlize Theron in an absolutely unnecessary, gratuitous nude sex scene to the song, “Let It Snow” by Dean Martin…  I just really like that song.

lethal weapon

LETHAL WEAPON is in my opinion another classic.  This is the first installment, which is a lot darker than it’s more comedic sequels.  Riggs contemplating suicide while watching a Bugs Bunny Christmas Special is pretty dark.  Sergeant Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) is about to retire when he gets partnered up with crazy reckless Sergeant Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson).  Glover and Gibson have the best chemistry any buddy duo movie has ever had.  They are so likeable that we are immediately drawn into their world and rooting for them all the way as they track down drug smugglers and fight Gary Busey.  They never miss a shot or a funny quip.  “Jingle Bell Rock” is played over the opening credits before a half naked girls falls to her death from her apartment building.

Best Christmas Moment:  Riggs busting a small drug ring masked as a Christmas tree lot.    The drugs are free but the tree will cost ya.

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