The 15 Most Underrated Action Films of the 1990s
The 1990s was a fascinating decade for film. For one thing, computer technology evolved dramatically during the decade, from relatively hokey or highly-stylized “cyber” special effects that held sway in the 1980s, to some crazy CGI heading into the 2000s. A lot of what we now take for granted in that department was spurred by George Lucas who, for the creation of the Star Wars prequel films, pushed a whole new era of digital filmmaking into existence.
For action films, the field became more interesting, offering neo-noir masterpices like La Femme Nikita', pulp hits like Point Break, and sci-fi extravaganzas like Terminator 2. Meanwhile, directors like John Woo were pushing the boundary for hard-core, over-the-top action that would inspire some of the greatest action films of later decades. Other masterpieces, like Léon: The Professional (1994) aimed at a stylized emotional story told through an action script, striking gold in so many unexpected ways and ultimately becoming both recognized works of genius and cult favorites.
But there were other films, too, as there always are, that fell through the cracks. What’s sad is that some of these films were really solid in their own ways — some just for a particular cast, or a solid script, but others because of some total factor that made them shine as a complete entity. Maybe they premiered at the wrong time, or the studio didn’t give them the coverage they needed, but these little action films never saw the same recognition as some of the others that the 1990s spawned.
Let’s dive on in and see what’s been missed and forgotten.