The Year of the Spies

2012 has been the year of action for Hollywood. EXEC takes a look at five of the best action flicks the year had to offer.

The Bourne Legacy

Reeking of a desperate attempt to keep a valuable franchise afloat, this disappointing fourth Bourne film is written and directed by the screenwriter of the preceding trilogy, a specialist in conspiracy thrillers. The idea is that the military-industrial complex, against which Eisenhower warned in his 1961 farewell address as president, has been running numerous experiments to produce super agents like Bourne to fight in the cold war and the “war on terror”. Having been exposed in The Bourne Ultimatum (partly by a Guardian journalist), the chilly super patriots running these projects must close down shop and terminate with extreme prejudice its staff and their creations. Prominent on the list is agent Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), a leading product of the clandestine programme Outcome, along with the now guilt-ridden research scientist (Rachel Weisz), who knows him only by a number.

Taken 2

Retired CIA official Bryan Mills is back. For all the Taken fans, the sequel is good news. Building up directly on the story from Taken – forcing a face-to-face confrontation between Mills and the fathers/brothers of the countless Albanian human traffickers that he killed in the first franchise outing. After his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace) and ex-wife Lennie (Famke Janssen) are abandoned by Lennie’s husband, Stuart (Xander Berkeley in the original film), Mills plans for the pair to meet him in Istanbul – after he completes a high-paying security job. However, when Kim and Lennie arrive, Murad Hoxha (Rade Šerbedžija), Chief of the Albanian Mafia, uses the family vacation as an opportunity for revenge – kidnapping Mills and his loved ones.

Skyfall

The twenty-third Bond film directed by Sam Mendes has Daniel Craig looking like he has never looked before. As James Bond (Craig) and the utterly gorgeous Eve (Naomie Harros) head to Turkey to investigate an attack on MI6, they realize that it is a part of an attack on M (Judi Dench). As M’s p[ast comes back to haunt her, this is a true test of Bond’s integrity and loyalty. A series of near hits and misses and some fantastic action sequences define the essence of the movie. But remember, that is not all there is to the movie. Indeed, Bond knows the rules of this game. He has been playing this game for long enough.

Argo

For all those who doubted Ben Affleck’s abilities as a director, Argo is the one movie you must watch. Tracing the life of CIA agent Tony Mendez, the dramatization of the CIA-Canadian secret operation of 1980 is not merely a testimony of a spy, but a film that captures the essence of courage, bravery and valour that every ‘real’ secret agent boasts of. With a rescue mission to handle, Tony turns to some trusted Hollywood contacts for help. Mendez creates the ruse and proceeds to Iran as its associate producer. However, time is running out with the Iranian security forces closing in on the truth while both his charges and the White House have grave doubts about the operation themselves.

Safe House

Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds star in the action-thriller Safe House. Washington plays the most dangerous renegade from the CIA, who comes back onto the grid after a decade on the run. When the South African safe house he’s remanded to is attacked by mercenaries, a rookie operative (Reynolds) escapes with him. Now, the unlikely allies must stay alive long enough to uncover who wants them dead. Weston and Frost escape and must stay out of the gunmen’s sight until they can get to another safe house. Action packed, it is a pleasure to see Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds enact some of the most explosive sequences to perfection.

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