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These days, we don't go for propaganda via posters or showy military parades. No, if you want the populace subdued, you'd better dress up your message with some high-wire kung fu and guys running in slow motion from fireballs.

Some fine examples of thought control via the kick-ass action movie:

On Deadly Ground

The Plot
Steven Seagal IS Forrest Taft, an ex-CIA badass who puts out oil-well fires for a living. How does he put them out? He blows them the fuck up, that's how! But, when his Big Oil employer (Michael Caine) kills Forrest's best friend so that the company can keep letting faulty equipment start deadly oil fires and so they can rip off the local Eskimos in some complicated way, Forrest becomes slightly curious. So, his boss tries to blow him up too.

One Eskimo spirit journey later (he fights a fucking bear) ...

... Forrest is finally ready to kill some fuckers and blow up some shit for the environment.

The Message
Big Oil is Bad. Let's Kill the Fuckers.

Think of it as An Inconvenient Truth II: This Time It's Personal. Of course, Seagal is so ahead of his time that he had the idea more than a decade before Al Gore decided that a slideshow about global warming would be a cool thing to put in a movie. Seriously, the movie ends with our hero giving a 3.5-minute speech (we timed it) about the need for alternative-energy sources.

Significant Quote
"How many of you out there have heard of alternative engines? Engines that can run on anything from alcohol to garbage or water. Or carburetors that can get hundreds of miles to the gallon. Or electric or magnetic engines, that can practically run forever. You don't know about them because if they were to come into use, they'd put the oil companies out of business... Big Business is primarily responsible for destroying the water we drink, the air we breathe and the food we eat. They have no care for the world they destroy, only for the money they make in the process." -Forrest Taft

Bonus Message
Eskimos rock, even if we can't tell them apart from the Chinese.

Yeah, But Do They Still Blow Some Shit Up?
Motherfucker, they blow shit up in the first scene. And, the explosions just keep getting bigger from there. For somebody who cares so much about the environment, this Taft guy sure burns a lot of fossil fuels. Add in some solid fight scenes, excellent shoot-outs and enough blood to fill the dolphin tank at Sea World and kill all the fucking dolphins, and you've got one hell of a crazy, dumb action flick.

Shooter

The Plot
"Marky" Mark Wahlberg IS Bob Lee Swagger, a badass former Marine scout sniper who lives in a log cabin in the woods with his dog and his copy of the 9/11 Commission Report. But, when the government shows up at his door and asks Bob Lee to help them save the president's life, Bob Lee puts aside his burning hatred of the government and agrees to give them a hand.

Two bullet wounds later, Bob Lee is on the run from a conspiracy that involves the U.S. Senate, Big Oil, the FBI, the Philadelphia Police Department and just about everybody else. It's just too bad for all those conspiring bastards that they picked the baddest motherfucker on the planet to conspire against.

The Message
There's Only One Way to Deal with a Politician, and It Ain't Due Process.

You know those vigilante movies where some murdering scumbag is set free by the legal system and somebody has to take the law into his own hands to bring the bastard to justice? Well, Shooter takes the same stand on right-wing politics, as in: If the legal system can't bring right-wing politicians to justice, then it's time for every one of those money-grubbing bastards to get a lead injection.

Yeah, we're thinking the Secret Service has a list of everyone who has ever seen this movie.

Significant Quote
"This is a country where the Secretary of Defense can go on TV and tell the American public, oh, that 'This is about Freedom, it's not about oil!' And, nobody questions him 'cause nobody wants to hear the answer, 'cause it's a lie! There's only so many places at the table, gunnie. Now, are you on the inside, or are you on the out?" -Senator Charles Meachum (He's the villain, in case that wasn't clear)

Bonus Message
And, it's all because of those fucking oil pipelines. Where's Forrest Taft when you need the man?

Yeah, But Do They Still Blow Some Shit Up?
You better fucking believe it. And when shit blows up, shit blows up big. Plus, you get some kung fu and a nice combination of gunfire and gore that adds up to some of the awesomest bullet hits in movie history. One guy gets his arm shot off; his entire fucking arm!

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Red Dawn

The Plot
Patrick Swayze IS Jed Eckert, some dumbass in a pickup truck. When Jed's small Midwestern town is invaded by the combined forces of the Cuban and Russian armies, it's up to Jed to lead a small group of teenagers up into the mountains to hide like little bitches. When the commies decide to kill the families of all those little bitches, though, they awake a sleeping midget. We mean that figuratively, by the way. What we mean literally is that Jed and his band of teenagers turn to guerrilla warfare as their only recourse against the mighty communist alliance that holds their town in an unnecessarily iron fist. Who wouldn't?

The Message
Now, Can You Maybe Understand the Plight of the Brave Afghani Freedom Fighters?

They gave us one hell of a political allegory, a "What if it happened to you?" case that drops the 80's Soviet's invasion of Afghanistan right smack in the center of the American Midwest. Where Afghanistan had the Mujahideen insurgents to fight off the reds, America has a high-school football team called the Wolverines. If you can't identify with these kids at least a little bit, then you probably kick bald eagles and use Old Glory to wipe the borscht from your chin.

Man, insurgents are so fucking cool.

Significant Quote
"In time, this war, like every other war, ended. But I never forgot. And, I come to this place often, when no one else does. 'In the early days of World War III, guerrillas, mostly children, placed the names of their lost upon this rock. They fought here alone and gave up their lives so that this nation shall not perish from the earth.'"-Erica (A young Lea Thompson)

Bonus Message
Your handgun is not going to save your ass. At least in the sense that your "They can have my gun when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers" bumper sticker ...

... is just going to make you look stupid when the Russians parachute out of the sky with AK-47s, mow you down and actually do pry your gun from your cold, dead fingers.

Yeah, but Do They Still Blow Some Shit Up?
Yeah, they do that. Within the first few minutes, they fire a rocket launcher into a fucking high school. The rest of the movie is pretty much an escalating chain of rockets, bombs and grenades. Lots of gunfire, too, and a hell of a lot more blood than you'd expect from a movie with a PG rating.

Die Hard 2

The Plot
Bruce Willis IS John McClane, a badass cop with a history of killing terrorists by the truckload. And, when a disgraced Army Colonel takes the entirety of Dulles International Airport hostage to free a notorious Central American dictator/drug smuggler, McClane starts killing some motherfuckers. Then, he kills some more motherfuckers. And then, for a nice change of pace, he finishes it off by killing even more motherfuckers.

The Message
Oliver North Can Go Fuck Himself, And Manuel Noriega Can Sit And Fucking Watch.

They've got a real ripped-from-the-headlines thing going on here, or maybe more like ripped-from-the-headlines-then-severely-beaten-and-killed. Still, wouldn't it have been kick-ass if Ollie North (here represented by Col. Stuart, "the guy that got canned by Congress") had started up a rogue mercenary group after he was kicked out of the military, or if Noriega (represented by Gen. Ramon Esperanza, dictator of the extremely non-existant Republic of Valverde) did single-handedly hijack the plane that brought him to America for extradition? Wouldn't the news fucking rock if shit like that happened in the real world?

Significant Quote
"Hey, Colonel, blow me. How much drug money is Esperanza paying you to turn traitor?"
"I think Cardinal Richelieu said it best. 'Treason is merely a matter of dates.' This country's got to learn that it can't keep cutting the legs off of men like Gen. Esperanza, men who have the guts to stand up against Communist aggression."
"And lesson one starts with killing policemen? What's lesson two, the neutron bomb?"
"No, I think we can find something in between."-John McClane and Oliver North

Bonus Message
Reporters are a bunch of dicks.

...But one good zap with a stun gun can take care of that problem.

Yeah, But Do They Still Blow Some Shit Up?
Yeah, you could say that, what with this being Die Hard Fucking 2, the second-greatest Die Hard movie ever! Yes, a few objects do indeed explode, from three separate jet airplanes to a goddamn snowmobile.

There's also the usual kick-ass gunfights with plenty of machine guns and, strangely enough, some kung fu fighting, including a fight between Bruce Willis and Oliver North on the wing of a moving jet. Seriously.

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Kurtlar Vadisi Irak (Valley of the Wolves: Iraq)

The Plot
Necati Sasmaz IS Polat Alemdar, the badass leader of a badass Turkish Special Forces team. When American forces in Iraq arrest 11 Turkish soldiers (their own allies) and march them past the news cameras with bags over their heads, it's up to Alemdar and his team to restore their country's pride. When that doesn't work out so well, the increasingly angry Turks set their sights on the one man responsible for the entire Iraq War: Sam Marshall, some random goofball who holds no apparent rank or position and yet still controls the entire American army. Who the fuck is this guy?

The Message
Death to America.

That' pretty much it. These guys are definitely not Yankees fans. Since when is Turkey pissed off at us? And, don't try to tell us that it was that thing with the 11 guys with the bags over their heads (yeah, that actually happened) 'cause this obviously goes a little deeper than that. Jewish doctors stealing organs from Abu Ghraib detainees and mailing that shit out to Tel Aviv? Where the fuck did that come from?

On the bright side, these guys are just as strongly opposed to suicide bombings and video beheadings as they are against America. On the dark side, though, they actually blame America for engineering those suicide bombings and video beheadings. Shit.

Significant Quote
"Let me tell you what the difference between you and me is. You would not sacrifice 11 men. Meanwhile, you watch your country's fortune go to ruin. I would sacrifice 11,000 of my men if needed. You cannot abandon the 30 kids because of your feelings? I would kill every single one of them because of their feelings. I kill all who would ruin the peace. Unlike you, I am not here by coincidence. I am a peacekeeper assigned by God. A peacekeeper is God's child." -Sam William Marshall (Billy Zane)

Bonus Message
The Kurds are dimwitted thugs in league with the Americans.

We're sure that this has nothing to do with the campaign of ethnic cleansing that Turkey is running against the Kurds in their own country, though. It's probably just some wacky coincidence.

Yeah, but Do They Still Blow Some Shit Up?
We hate to say this, but yeah. They do a pretty damn good job of blowing shit up. And, we feel especially weird saying that the suicide bombing scene is particularly awesome. The big machine gun shoot-outs kick ass, too. Let's face it, this is a fucking jihad of awesome.

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