Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013: the best action films
- Niki Boyle
- 17 June 2013
Car chases, kidnappings and counter-espionage thrills at the EIFF
With a frenetic pace and a full-on soundtrack to match (featuring Nick Cave and Bad Seeds/Grinderman cohort Warren Ellis), this Mexico City-set thriller uses the confusion and bustle of three World Cup football matches (in 2002, 2006 and 2010) as a backdrop for three kidnappings. Told from a variety of perspectives, this debut feature from writer-director Everardo Valerio Gout has inspired critics to employ phrases like 'adrenaline rush' (Hollywood Reporter) and 'insanely over-the-top' (Variety) - which is just how we like our action round these parts.
Another Latin American thriller, this one following street kid Victor (newcomer Celso Franco) as he transports cargo through a crowded Paraguayan market place. What's in the boxes, he doesn't know, but it soon becomes apparent that it's something of interest to people who'll do anything to get it. Shot in the tight, claustrophobic confines of the real life Mercado 4 in the capital city of Asunción, 7 Boxes is a classic chase movie with a Hitchockian plot device - the mystery MacGuffin - at the heart of it.
A Hong Kong action film about a seasoned 'high speed pursuit' specialist (Infernal Affairs' Anthony Wong), joining forces with a rookie partner (Shawn Yue) for one last mission... We've sold it to you already, haven't we? Making no bones about it's highly familiar set-up, Motorway is all about the car chases - have a look at the various trailers available online and tell us the combination of gasoline and Drive-esque electronica doesn't get your motor revving.
Falling into the Festival's Korean Cinema strand, The Berlin File is a spy thriller with no shortage of chases, gun-play and hard-hitting fight sequences. The plot is standard double-crossing counter-espionage stuff - when a top spy is betrayed by his superiors he starts to uncover a conspiracy that might (sing it with us) go all the way to the top. Not that a traditional plotline is necessarily a bad thing - we'd wager the film's action-packed set pieces are where we'll see some real innovation and excitement.
Two French nightclub owners, Milan and Victor, are on the run when a criminal from their past comes to Paris looking for revenge. As you might expect with that setting, the clubland score is very much a driving force in a film that also packs in some explosive bursts of action and some taut drama in the form of Milan and Victor's estranged friendship.