Compared to the greased-up, musclebound machismo of the 80s -- which stands as the apex of the action genre -- the 90s stand as an undoubtedly strange time for action movies.
By 1990, the genre's biggest names had begun transitioning into lighter fare. The resulting vacancy atop Action Hero Mountain created a unique battle for the throne amongst new wave martial artists (Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal), 80s holdovers (Kurt Russell, Bruce Willis), brooding-but-violent hunks (Antonio Banderas, Will Smith) and, somehow, Nicolas Cage.
As a result, action movies became much more diverse than ever before. Directors started to explore the genre's nooks and crannies, and felt increasingly unafraid to get weird with it. At the same time, production values exploded, the sheer number of action movies ballooned, and audiences were inundated with blockbusters seemingly every week.
Due to the overwhelming amount of unique action flicks hitting the shelves, some were bound to slip through the cracks. In between the world losing their collective mind over Terminator 2 and The Matrix, some really excellent shoot-em-ups and blow-em-to-hells came and went without much fanfare. (Or, sometimes, absolute disdain.)
Whether misunderstood or overlooked, these deep cuts deserve better than the kick to the crotch they got from critics and/or audiences.