Tired of the feel-good Christmas classics? Don’t worry Budapest Reporter has you covered, with several action-packed movies to watch during the holiday season.
“Die Hard” is more than just an excellent action flick that elevated Bruce Willis to the Parthenon of A-list stars. It is a stone-cold Christmas classic, taking place on Christmas Eve. John McClane gets caught up in a terrorist plot of some West German bad guys, and eventually saves the day, but if you think about it, he is just a man who wants to get back to his family. “Just once, I’d like a regular, normal Christmas. Eggnog, a fuckin’ Christmas tree, a little turkey. But, no. I gotta crawl around in this motherfuckin’ tin can,” he says while crawling around in the air vents to stay undetected. And of course, he provides the terrorists with a real Christmas present in the form of a dead gunman dressed up in a Santa hat and a jersey saying “Now I have a machine gun ho ho ho!”. Truly a movie that warms your soul.
1992’s “Batman Returns”, directed by the legendary Tim Burton, is also set during the winter holidays. The Christmas tree of Gotham is amajor recurring element in the second Michael Keaton Batman film and the entire film features a whole lot of snow, decorations, and jolly songs as well. One can even argue that the businessman Max Schreck, played by Christopher Walken is a modern interpretation of Charles Dickens’ Scrooge, who eventually realizes that he actually has a heart and has to save his son from the Penguin. If you still have doubts about “Batman Returns” being a Christmas movie, just look at the ending. Bruce is alone receiving a present in the form of a stray cat, and he closes the movie by wishing his butler Alfred “Merry Christmas”.
Just like “Die Hard”, “Lethal Weapon” is also a 1980’s action which could easily be classified as a Christmas classic. Considered one of the best buddy cop movies ever made, “Lethal Weapon” takes place during Christmastime in Los Angeles. Just think about the opening scene, which includes a drugged up woman jumping off her balcony while “Jingle Bell Rock” plays in the background. And after all, isn’t “Lethal Weapon” about coming together? Police officers Riggs (played by Mel Gibson in his prime) and Murtaugh (Danny Glover) show a real holiday spirit becoming true friends over the course of the movie. Of course, the film also has Danny Glover saying “I’m too old for this shit,” a line many of us could surely identify with…
The Nightmare Before Christmas
While the story revolves around Jack Skellington, the Halloween “Pumpkin King”, this film is also a certified Christmas classic. After walking into Christmas Town, the protagonist gets totally absorbed by the Christmas spirit, deciding to take over the holiday and deliver people presents around the globe with help of reindeer skeletons while wearing a Santa suit and a fake beard. While his present might not be, well… completely Christmas compatible, the spirit is there, as Jack realizes his mistakes and to finish, Santa Claus makes an appearance himself at the end, blessing Halloween Town.
A superhero movie set around Christmastime, “Shazam!” is about a foster kid whose life gets turned around after getting special powers to turn into an adult superhero. It serves as a lesson supporting the idea that family is sometimes a thing to be found and not to be born into, after Billy Batson (the child form of superhero Shazam) finds his mother only to realize that she did abandon him on purpose. Even the film’s director David F. Sandberg acknowledged the holiday themes in the film saying, “Yeah, it’s all about family and like Christmas time and this family holiday. It’s about finding your family … with these foster kids and everything. So yeah, it’s very appropriate for the story.”
Cover credit: IMDb