Last night for the podcast, Carl and I were joined by three guests; frequent guest/honourary co-host Tuaine; multi-time guest Rents; and popping his Sportcodex cherry, Tim, to take part in the first ever Sportcodex Action Movie Draft.
The rules were pretty simple. We had ten categories, which I will go through in more detail soon, and we drafted an action movie that fit each of those categories, while Carl moderated to keep us in line. Also, no superhero movies. I feel like that’s an entirely different genre and might be a potential future draft on it’s own. We will eventually put the full drafts of each player up on Twitter and let the cesspool that is the Twittersphere decide who did the best. Now, onto the categories.
- This can be any action movie that was released before 31/12/1979.
This was one of the harder categories to pick for and first off the board was Tuaine, picking perhaps Clint Eastwood’s most famous role, Dirty Harry from 1971 with the 12th overall pick. This of course started a bit of a snowball effect, as Tim then took Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch from 1969 with the 14th pick. The very next pick saw Rents jump on the wagon too, taking William Friedkin’s Best Picture Winner from 1971, The French Connection. With everyone else having filled this category, I did feel somewhat safe waiting, using the 32nd overall pick to take Walter Hill’s The Warriors from 1979.
Perhaps the biggest movie that went undrafted was the Steve McQueen vehicle Bullitt. In fact, no Steve McQueen films were drafted, with The Getaway and maybe even The Towering Inferno being viable choices.
- This can be any action movie released between 1/1/1980 and 31/12/1999.
This was perhaps the most stacked category, with this timespan being the “golden age” of action movies, so my personal strategy was to wait for a while, knowing I would still get something great later on. Tuaine had a different strategy, but one that was hard to argue with, as he picked, with the 5th overall pick, a movie that is considered by a large amount of people to be the greatest action movie of all-time, John McTiernan’s Die Hard. Rents was the next to pick for this category, surprising everybody by selecting Walter Hill’s 48 Hrs with the 10th overall pick, a movie that isn’t bad, far from it, but perhaps better suited for the Buddy Cop category. I was next to pick, using the 16th overall pick to take another John McTiernan classic, Predator, a pick which I think was a steal at that slot. Tim rounded out the category by picking the criminally underrated Demolition Man with the 30th pick, which ended up being the only Sylvester Stallone movie picked in the entire draft.
There were a bunch of great films left off. Some of them feature in later categories so I won’t mention them but two Indiana Jones films didn’t get picked, which was very surprising, as well as films like Speed or Commando.
- This can be any action movie released between 1/1/2000 and 31/12/2019.
While there were a lot of great films to choose from in this category, I don’t believe there was a “standout” movie, a clear-cut first choice to make. So when I was the first to choose for this slot, I went with my heart and chose one of my favourite movies of all-time. With the 17th overall pick, I went with Antoine Fuqua’s Training Day, which I think is Denzel’s best ever performance. Rents followed up with the very next pick, sticking with Denzel and taking Tony Scott’s Man On Fire, which is a great, great movie. Might be my second favourite Denzel. Tuaine was next in this one, using the 29th pick to take John Wick. He was correct in taking the first one, which is also the best one. Tim rounded out this category, using the 35th overall pick to take Sicario by Denis Villeneuve. In all honesty, the only reason I didn’t take that one myself is because I thought of it more as a thriller than an action.
Some noticeable omissions from this category, and the entire draft were Inception (but I have more to say about that one soon enough), Kingsman: The Secret Service, Gladiator and any of the Daniel Craig Bond films.
- This has to be an action movie that features a robbery of some kind.
This category was surprisingly deep but there was a clear top choice. Rents was smart with the second overall pick, taking far and away the greatest heist movie of all-time, and one of the greatest action movies of all-time, when he took Michael Mann’s Heat. After this one was gone, there were plenty of different ways to go with this, and Tim was next up. He used the 11th overall pick to take Fast Five, a franchise with many, many entries eligible to be drafted in this draft, but I feel this was the only one that warranted serious consideration. Tuaine was up next, using the 21st pick to take Ben Affleck’s Bostonian heist flick, The Town, which is, for my money, the second best heist movie ever. Controversy arose when I tried to make my pick for this category. I attempted to use the 33rd pick to draft the aforementioned Inception, which I felt qualified as a heist film. Christopher Nolan himself said he wrote it as a heist film. But alas, I was overruled so I went with my Plan B, going with the ever-so-stylish film from Edgar Wright, Baby Driver. I know it is problematic, having he who shall not be named in the cast, but it’s hard to deny just how cool this movie is. And the heist scenes are fantastic.
The biggest omission from this category is Point Break, the 1991 version, not the shitty remake. Ocean’s Eleven would’ve also been a worthy pick. I don’t think anyone would’ve been desperate enough to take Takers but I found that movie totally enjoyable.
- This one needed to be a buddy cop film, obviously. Not necessarily with two cops, but two people who may or may not get along, but have a similar goal in mind so work together to accomplish it.
This is another category that has quite a few to choose from but didn’t have a particular clearcut top choice. Tuaine broke the ice again, using the 13th overall pick to take Michael Bay’s debut film, Bad Boys, a great choice as Bay was on just the right amount of coke for it. Tim shocked us all with the 22nd pick, not because it was a bad pick, quite the opposite. He took a pick that nobody else even thought of for the category, but we all agreed it fit. He selected James Cameron’s True Lies. I came in two picks later, after having my original pick sniped in a different category, to take the not quite as good as the one I initially wanted movie, the late, great Richard Donner’s Lethal Weapon. It has a much darker tone than the rest of the films picked, but it absolutely qualifies. Finally, Rents used the 34th pick to take The Last Boy Scout, another Tony Scott movie.
To nobody’s surprise, no Rush Hour movies were picked. They aren’t exactly bad, but let’s just say the first one was my emergency pick if everything went to shit. Other omissions included Hot Fuzz, which is more comedy than action but the argument could definitely be made, Red Heat, a totally underrated Arnie movie, Tango & Cash, continuing the lack of Stallone, and Men In Black, which didn’t even get a mention.
- This film needs to be a sequel, not necessarily a direct sequel. It can be any number in a franchise, as long as it’s a sequel.
This is yet another category where Tuaine started us off. Using his 1st pick, the 4th overall, to take arguably the greatest sequel of all-time, Terminator 2: Judgement Day. This would’ve been a totally justifiable first overall pick for sure. Much like the pre-80’s, this pick started a snowball effect, with Tim picking his sequel two picks later, Lethal Weapon 2. Then another two picks later, I took Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior. Finally, Rents used his final pick, the 39th overall to make a pick that caused a little discussion over whether it qualified as an action movie; Kill Bill Vol. 2. It was ultimately decided that it qualified, barely.
I mentioned these in their respective previous categories, but it surprised me that the likes of Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom or either of the John Wick sequels didn’t get picked here. Granted, there are some fantastic action sequels, so I guess it’s understandable. I did find it interesting that everybody decided to go with the second film of a franchise, instead of maybe looking at the Mission: Impossible franchise where they have gotten better with each installment. I’d argue that the latest, Fallout, is the best of the bunch.
- Much like the previous category, except that instead of being any sequel in a franchise, this has to be the third installment of a particular franchise.
I started this one off with the 9th overall pick, going for Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, for my money, the best movie in the entire franchise. We had to wait a while for the next pick to happen, with Tim coming through with the 27th pick to take Mission: Impossible III, the one that features one of the greatest villainous performances in action movie history by the late, great Phillip Seymour Hoffman. With the very next pick, Tuaine took Die Hard With A Vengeance. This was after originally taking The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King, but this caused a little discussion as to whether a fantasy movie and an action movie are the same thing. No consensus was reached but Tuaine rescinded the pick anyway. Rents completed the category with the 31st overall pick, taking The Bourne Ultimatum, another movie that I think is the best in it’s respective franchise.
One notable omission was mentioned earlier, with John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum not being taken. A couple of Bond movies qualified here as well; Goldfinger and Skyfall are both third installments considering Casino Royale is essentially a reboot of the Bond films. I really wish someone was brave enough to take The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift but alas, nobody was.
- This category was open for interpretation but the main thing is that it wasn’t allowed to be an American film.
All cards on the table, I thought this category would kinda get ignored so I made a bad judgement in leaving one of the greatest ever action movies open, confident it would come back to me. Tim broke my heart when he took John Woo’s Hard Boiled with the 19th overall pick. Then, Tuaine killed my Plan B with the very next pick when he took the excellent Indonesian film The Raid. Rents then used the 23rd pick to take the Jet Li film Hero, one of the few movies drafted that I had not seen. WIth everyone having filled the category I decided to take my time. I considered The Raid 2 with my pick, but I prefer the first film. I also considered Leon: The Professional but I have too many issues with the “romance with a child” stuff in there. So I went with my heart with the 40th and final pick in the draft and I took a personal favourite, Dredd, which was a UK/South African production.
Apart from the aforementioned Leon and The Raid 2, I was surprised there was no Bruce Lee picked here. There are also many excellent martial arts films like the Ip Man and Ong Bak franchises, as well as The Protector, and many John Woo/Chow-Yun Fat collaborations.
- As the title implies, this film needed to have a female as the lead actor.
I had the first overall pick in the draft and I tossed up between Heat for heist, Terminator 2: Judgement Day for sequel and the pick I ended up going with, James Cameron’s Aliens. I felt like this category was the thinnest and that Aliens was the best pick from this category. Tim used the third overall pick to fill the category as well and went with Kill Bill Vol. 1. Rents then used the seventh overall pick to take Mad Max: Fury Road so maybe the category was a little deeper than I originally thought. Tuaine then “picked with his heart” (his words, not mine), when he took Colombiana with the 36th overall pick.
As I mentioned, this group wasn’t overly deep. The only notable omissions that I could think of were The Hunger Games franchise, Atomic Blonde and Angelina Jolie flicks like Salt or Wanted.
- This is your free spot. Any action movie can be put into this category.
A sound strategy when it comes to a wild card slot, as Tim and Tuaine employed, is to fill your categories first then leave the wild card to pick the best movie left. I said fuck that noise when we got to the 25th overall pick and I chose one of the most influential action movies in history, The Matrix. Rents followed suit, taking the excellent Ronin with the very next pick. We waited until their last picks, but Tuaine used the 37th overall to take Den Of Thieves. I then offended Tuaine when I referred to this as the Dion Waiters of Heist movies, a description I still stand by. There are points where you are thinking “oh no, what are you doing?” when watching, but then there are times when the movie is just unstoppable. Tim then used the 38th pick to take Con Air, which is an excellent movie and I kinda wish I took it earlier. If there was a category for movie mullets, I would’ve taken it first.
- Three actors appeared on the list three times; Mel Gibson, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The latter is the only one to appear for three different IP’s though. Mel had two Lethal Weapon movies and Mad Max 2. Bruce had two Die Hard movies and The Last Boy Scout. Arnie had Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Predator and True Lies.
- Two directors appeared also appeared three times on the list; John McTiernan and James Cameron. Once again though, only one of them (Cameron) appeared for three different IP’s. McTiernan had the two Die Hard movies and Predator. Cameron had Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgement Day and True Lies.
- Threequel was the first category to be filled, despite the fact that 3/4 of it wasn’t selected until the final third of the draft.
- The biggest gap between picks in a category was 31 picks. I was the third to pick in the Sequel category when I took Mad Max: The Road Warrior 8th overall. The final Sequel pick didn’t come until the 39th pick, when Rents took Kill Bill Vol. 2.
- The quickest category to fill (not the first, which was Threequel, but the one that had the smallest amount of picks between it’s first and last picks) was Wild Card. The first pick for Wild Card was the 25th pick. The final pick was the 38th pick, so only 13 picks to fill that entire category.
- The slowest to fill once again is Sequel, with 35 picks between the first and final picks. Terminator 2: Judgement Day was selected 4th overall, Kill Bill Vol. 2 selected 39th overall.
This was maybe the most fun I have ever had recording a podcast so my thanks to all those that participated. But the fun will only be complete if people vote on the polls, so be sure to follow The Sportcodex on Twitter and keep an eye out for them. Also, be sure to follow the fellas that helped make this possible, I’ve linked their Twitter’s at the top of the piece. And keep an eye out for any future drafts as I have some ideas for others we can do.
Finally, remember: If you shake it more than three times, you are playing with yourself.