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Best Kurt Russell Films


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1
Big Trouble in Little China 1986,  PG-13)
Big Trouble in Little China
"It's all in the reflexes." Big Trouble in Little China is a hilarious comedy/adventure from writer/director John Carpenter. Kurt Russell stars as the lead, Jack Burton, delivering an outstanding performance that's incredibly fun. The story follows a loud mouth, cocky truck driver who gets entangled in a world of Chinese mysticism and dark magic while trying to help out a friend. John Carpenter does a masterful job at slowly drawing the audience into a fantasy world and filling it with rich and colorful characters. And the music is especially well done, perfectly capturing the eerie and mystical tone of the film. With hints of satire and a lot of fun action, Big Trouble in Little China delivers an immensely entertaining cult comedy.
2
Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story 2005,  PG)
Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story
"When you ran, the ground shook, the sky opened and mere mortals parted..." Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story is a compelling and heartwarming film that's incredibly uplifting. The story follows a family that's brought together by their efforts to save a racehorse with a broken leg. Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning lead the cast, and are supported by Kris Kristofferson and Elizabeth Shue. But, it's really Fanning's outstanding performance that carries the film; she has great chemistry with Russell and comes off as incredibly sincere. Additionally, the film is especially well-crafted. While it may appear a little formulaic on the surface, Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story is a wonderful family film with a lot of heart.
3
Backdraft 1991,  R)
Backdraft
Director Ron Howard crafts an exciting and riveting thriller in Backdraft. The story follows two feuding brothers who grow up to be Chicago firefighters that are faced with an arsonist that is carrying out targeted assassinations. An all-star cast has been assembled for this film, and includes Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, Scott Glenn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rebecca De Mornay, and Robert De Niro. The fire sequences are amazing; bringing the audience right into the scenes, to the point that you can almost feel the flames. Additionally, Hans Zimmer delivers a powerful score that enhances the suspense and intensity of the film. Backdraft has a compelling story and is a spectacular action film that never lets up.
4
Vanilla Sky 2001,  R)
Vanilla Sky
"Open your eyes." Vanilla Sky is a controversial psychological thriller from director Cameron Crowe. The film follows media mogul David Aames as he struggles to discern reality from fantasy while awaiting trial for murder. The cast is led by Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Kurt Russell, and Jason Lee, who all give stellar performances. Tom Cruise is especially impressive, and gives what may be his most daring and challenging performance yet. However, one of the issues with the film is how cerebral and existential it is, and it takes more than one viewing to fully grasp. But the rich texture of the film also gives it a surrealness that works aesthetically. Additionally, the soundtrack is especially well done and helps to convey the spirit of the film. The ambitiousness of Vanilla Sky interferes with some of the storytelling, but overall it's an impressive film that delves into some fascinating areas.
5
Tombstone 1993,  R)
Tombstone
The western thriller Tombstone tells the story of one of the seminal events in the history of the West. The film follows Wyatt Earp as he attempts to settle down with his bothers in the boom town of Tombstone, but forces conspire against him and lead Earp to mount a posse to chase down a renegade group of criminals known as the Cowboys. An all-star cast has been assembled for the film, and includes Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn, Sam Elliott, and Charlton Heston. All the performances are excellent, and the level of detail in the costumes and sets are amazing. Additionally, the score is particularly powerful and really enhances the film, and gives it a lot of energy. Some aspects of the film are underdeveloped, but Tombstone is an exceptionally good western with a compelling story and exciting action.
6
The Thing 1982,  R)
The Thing
Master of Horror John Carpenter delivers an intense and terrifying tale in his classic film The Thing. The story follows an Antarctic research station that is infiltrated by a shape-shifting creature. Kurt Russell teams up with Carpenter again, and delivers another great performance. The creature effects are especially good, and are remarkably frightening and horrific. And, the themes of paranoia are captured exceptionally well by Carpenter's directing. The score is also quite powerful, and does an amazing job at heightening the suspense and intensity of the film. The Thing is a dark and nihilistic film that strikes terror and fear into the heart of the audience.
7
Miracle 2004,  PG)
Miracle
Miracle tells the story of one of the greatest moments in Olympic history. The film follows the U.S. Olympic hockey team as they train for the 1980 Winter Olympic Games, and go up against the Soviet team; which dominated the sport and were considered the best hockey team in the world. Kurt Russell stars as Herb Brooks, the coach the U.S. team, and gives a brilliant performance. For the most part the film follows the typical Cinderella sports story formula, but it's especially good at bringing out the intensity and passion that the players have for the game. Additionally, the film does an excellent job at providing the context in which this Olympic game happened and why it meant so much to so many. Based on a remarkable true story, Miracle delivers a compelling and riveting film that will inspire you to believe.
8
Poseidon 2006,  PG-13)
Poseidon
Poseidon is a high energy action/thriller that's full of adventure. When a rogue wave capsizes a cruise ship a fierce struggle for survival begins. As a disaster film, Poseidon relies heavily on special effects; and the effects are amazing. But the film's not all effects, Kurt Russell, Josh Lucas, and Emmy Rossum all deliver solid performances and create interesting, compelling characters that enrich the story. The Poseidon Adventure is a hard film to live up to, but this remake is every bit as suspenseful and thrilling. Poseidon is a fun and exciting film that's entertaining from start to finish.
9
Executive Decision 1995,  R)
Executive Decision
Executive Decision is a strong thriller that delivers an intense and compelling adventure. When Oceanic Flight 343 is hijacked by Islamic terrorist an elite Special Forces team is sent to covertly intercept the flight, and retake it before the terrorists crash it into Washington D.C. The film has an impressive cast that includes Kurt Russell, Steven Seagal, Halle Berry, and John Leguizamo. Additionally, the action sequences are shot especially well, and the film is able to build and maintain a high level of suspense and intensity. However, there are some problems with the directing, and some of the dialog comes off as stale and cliched. While there are flaws with the film, Executive Decision is a riveting action/adventure that's fun and exciting.
10
Escape from New York 1981,  R)
Escape from New York
The John Carpenter cult classic Escape From New York is a dark and gritty action film with a unique vision. In a dystopian future the island of Manhattan is turned into a maximum-security prison controlled by the inmates, but when Air Force One crashes into the prison the military turns to notorious criminal Snake Plissken as their only hope to sneak onto that island and rescue the President. Kurt Russell, Isaac Hayes, Donald Pleasence, and Ernest Borgnine for a strong cast and deliver good performances. Russell in particular does an excellent job; creating a captivating anti-hero that became one of the most iconic film characters of the '80s. Additionally, Carpenter's directing is quite vivid, and creates a fascinating aesthetic and atmosphere that enhances the story. Escape From New York is a compelling and edgy thriller that has become a sci-fi classic.
11
Tequila Sunrise 1988,  R)
Tequila Sunrise
Tequila Sunrise is an entertaining crime thriller that's full of mystery and intrigue. Two former friends, Lt. Nick Frescia and Mac McKussic, find themselves on opposite ends of the law, and engage in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse when Frescia gets wind that McKussic will be making a major drug deal. Mel Gibson, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Kurt Russell form a solid cast and give strong performances. The story is written fairly well and does a good job at building the suspense. Yet, there are some parts of the film (including the last act) that don't work, and come off as a bit forced. Still, Tequila Sunrise is an engaging neo-noir drama with a compelling story and interesting characters.
12
Stargate 1994,  PG-13)
Stargate
From director Roland Emmerich comes Stargate, an epic sci-fi adventure that spawned one of the biggest franchises of the genre. The film follows the discovery of a mysterious Egyptian artifact that turns out to be a portal to another world, and the expedition sent through to make contact. Kurt Russell and James Spader lead the cast and give solid performances. While the plot and concepts are interesting, the film's pacing is a bit labored and it doesn't quite tell as epic a story as it promises. The special effects are somewhat dated, but still manage to deliver exciting and thrilling action sequences. Even with its flaws, Stargate holds up as a fun and entertaining film with a thrilling adventure.
13
Sky High 2005,  PG)
Sky High
Sky High is a fun and entertaining satirical comedy about the life of superheroes. The film follows a group of high school freshmen that are children of superheroes, and sent to Sky High to learn how to use their developing superpowers. The cast includes Kurt Russell, Kelly Preston, Danielle Panabaker, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Bruce Campbell; who all give solid performances. The story is fairly well written and does a good job at bringing the high school experience into a superhero setting. And while thereā(TM)s a fair amount of camp and cheesiness, it works for style of the film. Full satire and cartoonish comedy, Sky High delivers an entertaining family film.
14
Tango & Cash 1989,  R)
Tango & Cash
Tango & Cash is a typical '80s action film that's quite entertaining, but relies too much on cliches. Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell, Jack Palance, and Teri Hatcher make for a solid cast, and deliver fun performances that work for this style of film. The story follows two L.A. cops that get framed by a drug lord for a crime that they didn't commit, and have to break out of prison in order clear their names. The action is shot pretty well, and thereā(TM)s a lot of humor written into the film. However, the plot's rather ridiculous and isn't executed that well. While there's plenty of fun to be had with Tango & Cash, it's little more than a stereotypical buddy cop film.
15
Soldier 1998,  R)
Soldier
Kurt Russell is a one man army in Soldier. When an obsolete soldier is marooned on a remote planet, he must stand up against a group of elite super soldiers sent to eradicate the population. Russell does a solid job at portraying this character, but he's hard to relate to and his emotionlessness is alienating. However, Jason Isaacs creates a delightful villain that's a lot of fun to watch. The action is pretty good but the special effects don't holdup especially well. Soldier has s few story and character issues, but ultimately comes through with a lot of good action.
16
The Fox and the Hound 1981,  G)
The Fox and the Hound
Disney's The Fox and the Hound is a fun family film that's full of adventure. It's the story of a fox cup named Todd and a hound dog pup named Cooper who form an unlikely friendship, which is put to the ultimate test when Cooper is trained up to be a hunting dog. Some impressive voice talent has been assembled for this film, including Mickey Rooney, Kurt Russell, Sandy Duncan, and Corey Feldman, who all do good work. However, and animation isn't too sharp and lacks the vibrancy of previous Disney films. And, the songs aren't that catchy or inspiring. There's a little bit of that classic Disney magic to The Fox and the Hound, but it's not one of their top tier films.
17
Unlawful Entry 1992,  R)
Unlawful Entry
Unlawful Entry is a psychological thriller with some chilling and frightening twists. After responding to a break-in at a suburban couple's home, an LAPD officer becomes obsessed with the wife and tries to make her his. The film stars Kurt Russell, Ray Liotta, and Madeleine Stowe; who all deliver good performances. And, the story is fairly well written, and does a good job at building suspense and terror. But there are parts of the film that are undeveloped, and the film style is a bit dated. Though Unlawful Entry is pretty much a by-the-numbers thriller, it's still compelling and exciting.

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