Stow your whine about your bad day in the cubicle farm as you safely slip into the world of the people who take the punches, explosions, and animal bites for their shiny counterparts. With these five movies about stuntmen you get to experience the bone crunching and car dodging without raising your insurance premiums so high you’ll have to give up on your dreams of owning a ferret ranch.
Easily one of the best movies on stuntmen, “Hooper” carries itself with sincerity, charm, and a good deal of drunken, brawling camaraderie that you’d want from a movie about the people who put their lives on the line for far less fame and glory. Burt Reynolds plays the starring role of a stuntman in the middle of his life, with a retired stuntman on one side and a new, up-and-comer on the other. Confronted with his own mortality, Hooper goes for it one last time as he makes peace with who he was and who he now needs to be in the rocket car scene.
Focused on the aftermath of a stunt, “The Fall” delves into a stuntman’s new dark focus on ending his life. During this journey he befriends a young patient and tells her an epic story of good and evil, and heroes and villains. Throughout it all, it keeps the pace of this movie strong and engrossing. As the little girl inserts herself into saving the storybook heroes from their desert torturers, the scene brings you deeper into the mind of the stuntman and their newly entwined lives.
“A Jin de gu shi”
It is hard to go wrong with a stunt woman movie that features Michelle Yeoh, Sammo Hung, and Sammo Hung’s almost sentient belly. “A Jin de gu shi” portrays a portion of the life of a rather fresh faced stunt woman, Ah Kam, encompassing everything from her film work to her relationships and from her sorrows to her joys. As Sammo Hung gives her a literal push into returning to her stunt roots after being gone for a while, her fall from the bridge is one heckuva great scene.
“The Stunt Man”
Made a stunt man through an act of manslaughter, and trapped by a director who takes the concept of a god complex to new heights, Cameron does his best to stay alive in “The Stunt Man.” The stunts as well as the emotional and mental manipulation from director Eli Ross, played by Peter O’Toole, grow in leaps and bounds creating a movie about stuntmen that features the one-two punch of great writing and great acting. As Cameron believes he’s saved himself and his girl the true twist of the scene takes off, making for a brilliant ending.
Although you won’t get any broken bones or blunt force trauma just from watching “Drive,” there will be plenty of mental trauma if you try to figure out why a guy with a good paying job as a stuntman, along with being a mechanic, lives in a slummy place and feels like risking his legal life on an illegal getaway business; bonus brain damage if you ponder why the cops response times pander to the script and not continuity. Hopefully the phrase “A poor man’s 'Transporter'” will give you all you need to know about this film as it seems to take the ideas within that trilogy and try to take itself seriously, which is just sad. The sit down scene at the beginning with Ron Perlman, Albert Brooks, and Bryan Cranston is potentially the only real bright spot of tense action in a movie that takes itself way too seriously and then not seriously enough.