For years we have thought about films in a very linear way in the film industry. Action films were action films, comedies were comedies, romantic dramas were…. You got it. Of course a comedy can get some action here and there, but in general you laughed without seeing a heavyweight explode in his face. This medium has evolved over time, and now we often see all the above genres mixed up to make a film that literally has nowhere to go. Is this an action? Drama? Suspension? A romantic comedy?

This whole debate turns into an even bigger whirlwind when we party. And one holiday that seems to cross more genres than another is Christmas. I’m not suggesting you make a robbery movie and Santa Claus suddenly shows up with his reindeer and a bunch of elves (although that can certainly happen). I say Marion Cobretti (Sylvester Stallone) shoots people with a bunch of Christmas trees around her in Cobra. Christmas sometimes has to do with plot, but anyway it’s a movie. In fact, the film wouldn’t be the same without her. Don’t you agree? Read this list and imagine each film without the most beautiful time of the year taking place in the background.

The Jaws of Death 2

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The next episode in the eventful life of John McClane (Bruce Willis) takes place during the Christmas season and shows our hero trying to avert disaster when a group of terrorists (led by the always famous William Sadler) attacks Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. With Christmas lights and other things to remind us of what time it is, McClain has further obscured this time of year by the fact that his wife is on one of the planes that could be the victim in our villain’s plot. Well, Die Hard 2 is actually a Die Hard 2 that takes place at an airport, and it’s also as good a Christmas movie as its predecessor.

Death wish 3

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The late Charles Bronson, once America’s greatest and most profitable actor, also produced a Christmas action film in Death Wish 3. When Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) returns to New York, a not very honest police chief (Ed Lauter) is looking for him to solve crimes in his neighborhood. Christmas is the background to this story of street justice, but it is also a classic Bronson action film. With her faithful 475 Magnum in hand, Bronson brings out her own brand of Christmas spirit, using her methods to make the holidays a little redder and the stomachs a little greener. Although not as well known as the other films on this list, Death Wish 3 does more than bring Christmas joy in its 92 minutes.

American invasion

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With Chuck Norris’ brand replica in the film, It’s Time to Die is a Christmas action film about steroids. In this classic from the 80’s, Christmas is the setting for the return of Matt Hunter (Norris) to the CIA. The American invasion is not an empty slogan, describing many ways in which someone could be killed during the holidays. Whether it’s a face-to-face or a bazooka shoot, this film (which also includes a fight in the most festive place of Christmas… the mall!) could be the benchmark for Christmas action. The fact that it was made by the people of Cannon Films only reinforces its credibility in this category.

Rocky IV

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Although Rocky IV is ultimately a great propaganda film about the American domination of Russia during the Cold War, it is as constructive as a wonderful life for a Christmas film. After the loss of Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) to the Russian Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) in an exhibition match, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) travels to Russia to face Drago in a Christmas theme fight. Training in the mountains, the snow, the comfort of a log cabin – if Rocky IV still had a Christmas bed, he might as well not be an American. The fact that Rocky Drago beats on the most festive consumption day only reinforces the propaganda corner of Rocky IV. Forget all that. It’s a great Christmas action movie. Beating Rocky Drago and making the Russian crowd sing his name is a Christmas miracle like no other.

Deadly weapon

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Christmas is everywhere in this masterpiece by Richard Donner. But in the end, when Mel Gibson and Danny Glover finally cornered the crazy and very suitable Gary Busey, one can’t deny the Christmas spirit that accompanies the street fight between Gibson and Busey. To cement the film into a Christmas action film, there is a lot of red and green, and a few minutes before the aforementioned fight Busey screams and shoots on TV with A Christmas Carol. The characters of Riggs (Gibson) and Murtaugh (Glover) are action legends and cop buddies, but I challenge anyone who will see this movie at Christmas not to stop and watch it. When we meet Riggs, he actually introduces himself to us by shooting in a parking lot where they sell Christmas trees. That’s why the film opens with the holiday classic Jingle Bell Rock!


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At first glance, Cobra is just an average Sylvester Stallone film. He plays the role of Marion Cobretti. A tough cop who has to protect a witness (in those days Bridget Nielsen’s wife) from the New World. This group is trying to take over America (or whatever it plans to do with the weak), and it’s up to Stallone and his candy-loving partner Gonzalez (Reni Santoni) to stop them. The movie’s not really in the Christmas mood. If you expect the microwave vibration of love to actually take place, you will be very disappointed. However, if you want to shoot in supermarkets and other institutions that have Christmas stuff, Cobra is a Christmas action movie as solid as you can find.

Long goodnight kiss

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Renny Harlin, who directs a scenario by Shane Black (see his other Christmas work, Lethal Weapon, above), has designed a well-made Christmas action thriller with Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson at their best. Davis plays an amnesiac teacher who was also a cold-blooded killer in a previous life. As with many of the films on this list, Christmas is not the reason for the script, but it is very present in this list. In fact, there is also a parade that goes on throughout the season and where Davis has to try to stop some bad guys in a really terrible scenario. This film is also full of Christmas color and fun, and will certainly generate a positive reaction as something to watch after a Christmas dinner.

Detonation of cushion

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Writer/director Shane Black must love Christmas, because it’s another film that gets some action during the holidays. Actually, this film starts with Robert Downey Jr. stealing a toy from a toy store! Thus begins a litany of events in which Downey (with the help of Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan) integrates a murder mystery against the backdrop of Christmas and Hollywood. Besides being one of the funniest, wildest and most inventive Christmas movies ever, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is also a damn good movie. Robert Downey Jr. is the perfect actor for this film and the holiday season with his brilliant dialogue and Shane Black action scenes.


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In this strange Christmas action film, Mel Gibson plays a role that Martin Riggs never knew. Gibson has clearly reached a point in his career where he can play Santa Claus and nothing more. His attitude is sinister, which makes sense because he has a company he’s trying to protect…. I mean, Gibson really is Santa Claus! Meanwhile, a young man wants him dead because he doesn’t like the gift he got from the old Saint Nick. Add Walton Goggins as the man who is trying to kill him, the U.S. Army also needs his services, and Fatman is probably the only Christmas action movie that could (or should) be released in 2020.

Reindeer species

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In this sexy Christmas action movie Ben Affleck plays a dead man so he can have sex with a dead ex-girlfriend (Charlize Theron). All this makes sense as long as the casino theft is not linked to Affleck as an ignorant participant. As you can imagine, fresh out of prison, he certainly doesn’t want to go back and, well, it’s the holidays, isn’t it? Reindeer games are certainly not the gold standard of the Christmas action genre. But it is in this genre that he breaks with many Christmas conventions, gives viewers sex to watch, and is directed by none other than the legendary John Frankenheimer. He’s made a candidate from Manchuria when you’re 25. December wants to see something else.

Evan Jacobs of Movieweb
Longtime employee of Movieweb who uploaded one-minute film reviews to the web via AOL for YouTube or social media. I make tons of live videos that you can find on Amazon & Vimeo. The DVDs are back and I love it!

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