While most movies come and go without viewers giving them a second thought once they end, a choice few are so unique or inventive they end up influencing the entire genre. Die Hard went on to inspire pretty much every action movie made in the nineties, with Under Siege, Speed and The Rock all being variations of “Die Hard in X location.”
Not everything exists in a bubble, though, and while some films may get the credit for making something popular, that doesn’t mean they got there first. Sometimes an obscure or cult film will have beaten them to the punch by years, but they were completely overshadowed by the success of the later movie.
That’s not to say those movies were ripped off either since; it's just that the later movie pulled off the idea with more success. This list will look at some movies that aren’t as innovative as fans might think, and shine a light on their little-known predecessors.
In recent years the geriaction genre has really come into its own, where classy dramatic actors are hired to play badass action heroes, despite being well into their fifties. The success of Liam Neeson in Taken soon lead to other actors, including Kevin Costner in Three Days To Kill, Sean Penn in The Gunmen and even Helen Mirren in RED.
These movies typically feature a retired assassin or spy called out of action, usually to seek revenge. While Taken is credited with kicking off this subgenre, it really started with Man On Fire. That movie had Oscar winner Denzel Washington as an over the hill bodyguard, cutting a bloody path through the villains that snatched the girl he was hired to protect.
He’s a fifty plus alcoholic, skilled in the use of firearms and explosives. Hell, he even makes a couple of threatening calls. Man On Fire also gave Washington a second wind playing action roles, going on to star in Deja Vu and The Equalizer.