Action movies are great, but the best of the bunch — with the exception of Robert Rodriguez’s Spy Kids films — aren’t appropriate for children. That’s because what wraps the most heart-pounding action-flick moments are adult narratives full of swearing, sexy-times and essentially unnecessary side plots. But while dads might be hesitant to hit up The Fate of the Furious with their spawn, the internet makes it easy to extract the best fights, chases, and suspenseful moments from decidedly adult fare.
Here are eight top examples of excised action — sans blood, boobs, adult language and gunfire — that will help introduce kids to the wonder of action films.
Way of The Dragon
In the ‘70s and ‘80s every kid wanted a pair of nunchucks. Sadly, the chain-linked sticks of death have fallen out of fashion. (Weird, right?) This clip from Way of the Dragon will not only inspire nunchuck love, it’ll introduce kids to the awesomeness of martial arts master Bruce Lee. Start the clip at 44 seconds to avoid an errant “bastard.”
Also available on Netflix. Scene occurs between 50:15 to 53:53
Vin is the driving force behind the Fast franchise, but he’s also star of the silly and marvelous XXX, in which he leads a team of adrenaline junkies on missions (or something). Really, the plot is extraneous. It’s all about big dumb stunts, like the bridge jump. Stop the clip after the car explodes to avoid children hearing Vin call somebody a “dick.”
Though, to be fair, that guy is a total dick.
Also available on Netflix. Scene occurs between 7:10 to 9:13.
For some reason, the whole spy-dangling-from-the-ceiling trope is now common in kid’s cartoons. The problem is, kids don’t get the reference. They don’t know about Peak Cruise. So get them into the original. The clip need only be prefaced with this brief explanation: “They’re good guys that have to take something but they can’t touch the floor, raise the temperature, or make a sound.”
Kids understand the lava game.
Full scene available on Hulu. Begin at 59:40 to when Ethan throws the gas cannister.
Gone in 60 Seconds
The original version of this car heist film is a little less flashy than the modern Nicolas Cage number. But the car chases are still super good and weirdly heightened by the bizarre free-jazz ‘70s soundtrack. This clip features the infamous yellow Eleanor, a growly 1971 Ford Mustang that is the only car to receive a starring credit at the end of a film. Stop the clip at 6:04 to avoid gunfire.
Also available on Amazon Prime. Scene occurs between 55:10 to 59:45
Children must be taught about the Bluesmobile. “It’s got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it’s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks,” explains Elwood Blues. “It’s a model made before catalytic converters so it’ll run good on regular gas.” And run it does, tearing the hell out of a mall and pretty much everything else.
Now, watch the clip then watch it again, recreated shot for shot with LEGO bricks by Bricktease.
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi face off in an epically flowing acrobatic martial arts battle that uses about a half dozen weapons. This is a kung-fu film master class comes complete with high flying wire work and glowering close-ups. The clip is only currently free on YouTube, but Ang Lee’s film is largely kid friendly.
Charlie’s Angels Full Throttle
Everyone’s third or fourth favorite crime fighting trio takes a trip to the motocross track in this incredibly stupid, but exciting clip. There are plenty of awesome dirt bike jumps, Drew Barrymore in a jumpsuit, and a Chemical Brothers song. This movie was clearly directed by a can of Mountain Dew. Stop the clip at 2 minutes to avoid gunplay and a stabbing with a boot knife.
An action clip list would not be complete without Jason Statham. Here we see the bald, brutal brit as he’s suddenly stripped of his car. But our hero proves that he can drive anything with wheels, including a BMX bike with some sick pegs. Who knew the Transporter could do such sweet bunnyhops? Note: There is a gun, but no one fires it.