Cinema has no shortage of action movies. from Raiders of the Last Ark and The Terminator to Inception and Mad Max: Fury Road, spectacle filmmaking has been a mainstay of the medium for decades. Most recently, Spider Man: No Way Home and The Batman delivered an array of thrilling silver-screen action, running at 148 minutes and 176 minutes, respectively.
Gone are the days when action movies held an audience for an hour and a half. Nowadays, many of them are nearly three hours long. That’s not to say long movies aren’t great, but length isn’t always an arbiter of quality. Short movies, however, are exceedingly great at making every minute count — especially 90-minute actioners.
8 Zombieland Zooms By In 88 Minutes
Directed by Ruben Fleischer in his theatrical debut, Zombieland stars Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, and Woody Harrelson. The film follows four survivors during a zombie apocalypse who abide by a list of survival rules and strategies as they make their way across the Southwestern United States.
With its witty writing and speedy pacing, Zombieland is wickedly funny and wonderfully original. Clocking in at 88 minutes, the film does an excellent job at proving that the zombie subgenre is far from dead. Woody Harrelson has a rip-roaring time as a redneck who is out to kill, while Eisenberg geeks it up as a strict rule-abiding college student. Complete with creative cursing, spectacular gore, and a modest amount of romance, Zombieland features something for everyone.
7 Cloverfield Clocks In At 85 Minutes
A found-footage monster movie directed by Matt Reeves, Cloverfield follows six young New Yorkers fleeing from a creature the size of a skyscraper that descends upon the city. Using a handheld camera, the survivors record their struggle to remain alive as the city around them crumbles.
Cloverfield is a breathlessly entertaining cinematic experiment with a creative twist on the genre thanks to its unique found-footage perspective. The movie hybridizes The Blair Witch Project with that of godzilla to create a monster movie that feels strikingly original and genre-defining. Smart, scary, and surprisingly sophisticated, Cloverfield runs just under an hour and a half at 85 minutes.
6 Crank Is An 88-Minute Actioner
Written and directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor in their directorial debuts, crank stars Jason Statham as an assassin-for-hire who is injected with a serum that requires him to keep his adrenaline levels high in order to stay alive.
crank boasts an assaultive style and gleeful depravity that gives the audience a strong dose of adrenaline in a race against mortality. Running 88 minutes in length, the film is gory, gratuitous, and occasionally grotesque, but it gets by on a unique kind of absurdity that exists through an oddly humorous, unrelentingly chaotic screenplay.
5 Cobra Is A Cool 87-Minute Police Thriller
Directed by George P. Cosmatos and written by Sylvester Stallone (who also stars in the titular role), Cobra follows Los Angeles policeman Lt. Marion “Cobra” Cobretti at the center of a spate of murders carried out by a secret society known as the New Order.
Sleek, violent, and blisteringly paced, Cobra is an absorbing police thriller that benefits substantially from Stallone’s engrossing performance as the title character. Ending at 87 minutes, the film is full of gaudy action and plenty of unchecked testosterone — creating a campy yet captivating actioner.
4 Command Is 90 Minutes Of Non-Stop Action
Directed by Mark L. Lester, Command stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as John Matrix, a retired US Army Special Forces Colonel who lives in isolation with his daughter, Jenny (Alyssa Milano). One day, John’s privacy is disturbed when his former superior officer informs him that his fellow soldiers are being killed, one after another, by a group of unknown mercenaries.
Command is the ultimate ’80s Schwarzenegger movie; filled with endless one-liners and outsized action, it boasts an enormous body count atop countless expanded ammunition. The movie is over the top in every right way and its chaotic extravagance is hilariously entertaining. Running 90 minutes in length, Command is a violent guilty pleasure from the Schwarzenegger estate.
3 Blue Ruin Is A 90-Minute Revenge Thriller
Written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier, Blue Ruin stars Marcon Blair in the role of Dwight Evans, a vagrant who lives out of his car and scavenges for food and money. After learning that the man who murdered his parents will be released from prison, Dwight travels back to his hometown to exact brutal (and inept) revenge.
Blue Ruin is an atmospherically-dense thriller, filled with elegant cinematography that engenders a level of paranoia through the use of dynamic camerawork. It’s a dark film with macabre humor, but director Saulnier knows how to keep things taut, tense, and exciting. Well-written, well-paced, and wonderfully suspenseful; Blue Ruin clocks in at exactly 90 minutes.
2 Shoot ‘Em Up Is An 86-Minute Run-And-Gunner
Written and directed by Michael Davis, Shoot ‘Em Up follows Clive Owen in the role of Mr. Smith, a drifter who rescues a newborn infant from being killed by a group of assassins. Fleeing from the gang and enlisting the help of a sex worker (Monica Bellucci), Smith uncovers a conspiracy that backtracks to a dying senator’s plot to harvest bone marrow from babies.
Unapologetically amoral, outlandishly funny, and gloriously gory, Shoot ‘Em Up is 86 minutes of pure, exploitative action. Forget “style over substance”; the movie’s style is its substance, and it’s difficult to complain when it’s all so much damn fun.
1 Attack The Block Is A Great 88-Minute Action Movie
Written and directed by Joe Cornish in his directorial debut, Attack the Block features an ensemble cast led by John Boyega, Jodie Whittacker, and Nick Frost. The film follows a group of South London teenagers who defend their neighborhood from predatory alien invaders and malevolent extraterrestrials.
Briskly-paced, action-packed, and exceedingly funny, Attack the Block effortlessly blends laughs, scares, and social commentary to create a sci-fi story with a distinctly British spirit. The film is surprisingly suspenseful, too — filled with tautly-directed moments of tension. Attack the Block is a well-executed example of the conventions and genres it cleverly satirizes.