Annal: 2001 Saturn Award for Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film

Results of the Saturn Award in the year 2001.

Film:Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Ang Lee

Hong Kong wuxia films, or martial arts fantasies, traditionally squeeze poor acting, slapstick humor, and silly story lines between elaborate fight scenes in which characters can literally fly. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon has no shortage of breathtaking battles, but it also has the dramatic soul of a Greek tragedy and the sweep of an epic romance. This is the work of director Ang Lee, who fell in love with movies while watching wuxia films as a youngster and made Crouching Tiger as a tribute to the form. To elevate the genre above…

Film:Charlie's Angels

Charlie's Angels

McG

They’re beautiful, they’re brilliant and they work for Charlie. This is a sexy, high-octane update of the popular hit show, Natalie (Cameron Diaz), Dylan (Drew Barrymore) and Alex (Lucy Liu), alongside faithful lieutenant Bosley (Bill Murray), must foil an elaborate murder-revenge plot that could not only destroy individual privacy and corporate security worldwide, but spell the end of Charlie and his Angels.

Film:Gladiator (2000)

Gladiator

Ridley Scott

A big-budget summer epic with money to burn and a scale worthy of its golden Hollywood predecessors, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator is a rousing, grisly, action-packed epic that takes moviemaking back to the Roman Empire via computer-generated visual effects. While not as fluid as the computer work done for, say, Titanic, it’s an impressive achievement that will leave you marveling at the glory that was Rome, when you’re not marveling at the glory that is Russell Crowe. Starring as the heroic general Maximus, Crowe firmly cements his star status both in…

Film:The Patriot (2000)

The Patriot

Roland Emmerich

Aimed directly at a mainstream audience, The Patriot qualifies as respectable entertainment, but anyone expecting a definitive drama about the American Revolution should look elsewhere. Rising above the blatant crowd pleasing of Stargate, Independence Day, and Godzilla, director Roland Emmerich crafts a marvelous re-creation of South Carolina in the late 1770s (aided immeasurably by cinematographer Caleb Deschanel), and Robert Rodat’s screenplay offers the same balance of epic scale and emotional urgency that elevated his earlier…

Film:The Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm

Wolfgang Petersen

It’s Halloween, 1991. Near Gloucester, Massachusetts, the six members of the Andrea Gail, a swordfishing boat, head out to sea for their last trip of the season. Unbeknownst to them, a shockingly brutal storm is slowly gaining steam. Before the National Weather Bureau has a chance to inform the crew of the impending danger, it’s too late. The resulting battle with three merging weather fronts—an unheralded natural disaster—is grueling and tragic. Based on the true-life best selling novel by Sebastian Junger.

Film:Traffic (2000)

Traffic

Steven Soderbergh

Featuring a huge cast of characters, the ambitious and breathtaking Traffic is a tapestry of three separate stories woven together by a common theme: the war on drugs. In Ohio, there’s the newly appointed government drug czar (Michael Douglas) who realizes after he’s accepted the job that he may have gotten into a no-win situation. Not only that, his teenage daughter (Erika Christensen) is herself quietly developing a nasty addiction problem. In San Diego, a drug kingpin (Steven Bauer) is arrested on information provided by an informant (Miguel Ferrer) who…

Film:Unbreakable

Unbreakable

M. Night Shyamalan

When Unbreakable was released, Bruce Willis confirmed that the film was the first in a proposed trilogy. Viewed in that context, this is a tantalizing and audaciously low-key thriller, with a plot that twists in several intriguing and unexpected directions. Standing alone, however, this somber, deliberately paced film requires patient leaps of faith—not altogether surprising, since this is writer-director M. Night Shyamalan’s daring follow-up to The Sixth Sense. While just as assured as that earlier, phenomenal hit, Unbreakable is the work of…

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