Total Recall: Best Joel Silver Productions

We count down the best-reviewed work of the Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows producer.

87%

4. The Matrix

At the unlikely intersection of sci-fi, noir, and "whoa," The Matrix postulated a future world in which sentient machines harvest energy from people housed in vast pod farms, with only a remarkably adept kung fu student named Neo (Keanu Reeves) standing between the human race and indefinite servitude. Taken as a whole, the trilogy might be uneven, but the Matrix movies blended sleek futurism, messy cyberpunk, and good old-fashioned action thrills with an original audacity that hasn't been seen since. "If there has to be a quintessential film for the end of the millennium," wrote Kevin N. Laforest of the Montreal Film Journal, "this is it."

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84%

3. Lethal Weapon

Movies had been making cash out of the male buddy dynamic for decades before Lethal Weapon came along, so it would be a mistake to call it groundbreaking, but it was still one of the more influential (and successful) action flicks of the late '80s. Of course, that influence was partially felt through turkeys like Tango & Cash -- not to mention Weapon's three uneven sequels -- but let us focus here on the positive: Gibson and Glover have the easy chemistry of two old friends, Richard Donner's direction is at its sleekest, Shane Black's script combines laughs and thrills in equal measure, and Gibson's mullet was never more exquisite. The role of mentally unstable cop Martin Riggs wasn't really anything new for Gibson (Time's Richard Schickel cracked that the movie was "Mad Max meets The Cosby Show"), but it put him squarely in his wheelhouse, and introduced filmgoers to one of the more interesting and complex characters in the genre. "From a distance, Lethal Weapon might appear generic," wrote James Berardinelli of ReelViews, "but a closer look reveals something special."

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95%

2. 48 Hrs.

The movie that launched Eddie Murphy's film career, Silver's box office reign, and arguably the entire "buddy cop" genre, Walter Hill's 48 Hrs. overcame a stint in turnaround and countless rewrites to become one of 1982's biggest hits. A number of Murphy's most memorable silver screen bits are here, including his impassioned rendition of the Police's "Roxanne" and the classic scene where he stuns a bar full of rhinestone cowboys into submission; in fact, you could argue that the template for his entire early film career -- and the "classic" Murphy whose disappearance we bemoan so frequently -- was molded from the impression left by the wisecracking Reggie Hammond. It's temping to wonder what might have been if 48 Hrs. had been made as the Clint Eastwood/Richard Pryor vehicle it started out as, but as Roger Ebert noted, this is a film that transcends its rather limited set of ingredients because of its stars: "The movie's story is nothing to write home about. It's pretty routine. What makes the movie special is how it's made. Nolte and Murphy are good, and their dialogue is good, too -- quirky and funny."

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92%

1. Die Hard

Later installments in the series may have taken the title a little too seriously, but when Die Hard debuted in 1988, it represented a return to reality of sorts for the action thriller genre. Unlike increasingly bulbous action heroes like Stallone and Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis looked like a fairly average guy -- and he acted pretty much the way you'd expect a good cop to act if he were trapped in a skyscraper with a pack of terrorists, which is to say he was bleeding, confused, and frightened for most of the movie. Audiences, meanwhile, were thoroughly entertained -- and so were critics like the New York Times' Caryn James, who wrote, "The scenes move with such relentless energy and smashing special-effects extravagance that Die Hard turns out to be everything action-genre fans, and Bruce Willis's relieved investors, might have hoped for."

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In case you were wondering, here are Silver's top 10 movies according RT users' scores:

1. Die Hard -- 91%
2. V for Vendetta -- 88%
3. Predator -- 83%
4. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang -- 83%
5. The Matrix -- 81%
6. Sherlock Holmes -- 81%
7. Lethal Weapon -- 81%
8. Lethal Weapon 2 -- 75%
9. The Matrix Reloaded -- 74%
10. RocknRolla -- 72%


Take a look through Silver's complete filmography, as well as the rest of our Total Recall archives. And don't forget to check out the reviews for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

Finally, here's a star-studded tribute to Silver, who was named 1990 Producer of the Year by the National Association of Theater Owners:

Comments

Dave J

Dave J

I only liked his action films and his drama ones not so much!

Dec 14 - 04:16 PM

Movie Monster

Bentley Lyles

The only Silver productions I've only seen The Matrix Trilogy, V For Vendetta, Speed Racer, and Sherlock Holmes. Plan to see Die Hard and Predator soon. Speaking of Bruce Willis, the GI Joe: Retaliation trailer was epic. It'll probably get bad reviews but it already looks better than Rise of Cobra. They got the Zombieland writers behind it so let's see how that turns out. Head on over to my profile and click on my Insidious review. Click on Marc L.'s comment and find his blog entitled "Like my script so far?". He plans to pitch it Joel Silver.

Dec 14 - 04:55 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

You haven't seen Predator or Die Hard and you're talking about action movies?!?!? Get off the computer and see them immediately, man! So many action movies have stolen from or been inspired (different sides to the same coin, right?) by those flicks. Predator is really almost two action flicks in one. The first half is like every other action movie from the '80s with really buff commandos killing guys, and then it sort of devolves into a horror flick, and finally climaxes in an awesome showdown at the end, where who's the predator and who's the prey keeps shifting. Brilliant movie.

Dec 14 - 06:25 PM

DKUK

Derrick Wong

haha.... 'get off the computer'...In fact, stop everything and WATCH THOSE GODDAMN MOVIES.....

Dec 14 - 09:15 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

It's hard to appreciate the impact of a movie like "Die Hard", except if you can remember that before it came out, Bruce Willis was just a chubby, smug TV funnyman. Afterward, he became the coolest guy on the planet.

Dec 15 - 04:56 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

LOL, I still remember my older brother squinting at the screen while I was watching it and saying in awed tones "Is that the dude from Moonlighting?"

Dec 15 - 05:43 AM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

He and Cybil Shepard did have a lot of chemistry but he was just this super dorky dude who I would have never imagined would end up being THE Bruce Willis. Would be kind of like seeing Christopher Walker for the first time ever in Hairspray and then seeing him be a badass in...well,everything else.

Dec 15 - 11:06 PM

bamb0o-stick

Jonathan Y

Die Hard is worth it now just to watch all the antiquated technology shown in the film. The touch screens, cell phones, CB radios, portable TVs, the list goes on. Other than that Die Hard is such a classic movie, the action is just timeless. I recently got the Quadrilogy for $20 on Blu-ray and loving every second of explosions in it.

Dec 15 - 07:08 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Not sure if I could admit that I've never seen Predator or Die Hard. Those movies are sooooooooooooooooo good.

Dec 15 - 02:39 PM

dethburger

dethburger hates Flixster

My favorites in order...

Die Hard
The Matrix
48 Hrs
v for vendetta
Predator
Lethal Weapon
The Warriors
Streets of Fire
Commando
Demolition Man

Dec 14 - 05:11 PM

Swampfox

Pat Marion

Demolition Man is such an awesome movie. I used to watch that movie 3 times a week when I was younger. It's so awesome seeing Wesley being the bad guy. The humor in that movie cracks me up.

Dec 15 - 12:34 PM

dethburger

dethburger hates Flixster

Sandra Bullock looked pretty nice in those skin tight pants too.

Dec 15 - 06:25 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

I've always been mixed on V for Vendetta, but Hugo Weaving is superb in it. I'm surprised the second Matrix film is rated so high, because other than the great highway chase/fight, it was severely lacking the magic of the first movie. On the other end of the spectrum, I am baffled that Predator is rated so low; one of the finest action flicks out there. Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, and 48 Hours are classics, and deservedly so. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is one of the most unique films Silver has produced, and is criminally unknown to most people.

Dec 14 - 06:21 PM

justjoustin

Joshua G

I like V for Vendetta, it's an enjoyable film. I find it interesting the flak it cops for trying to be "this" or "that". I actually find it interesting how few films go there.

I agree Hugo Weaving is fantastic, as is Stephen Fry & the use of "Cry Me A River" by Julie London.

Great action flick.

Dec 15 - 12:56 AM

King  S.

King Simba

Yeah, I'll agree it lacked the magic of the first film, but as far as action movies go, it was pretty damn entertaining, though I don't think it should be rated higher than V for Vendetta (though that has more to do with V being underrated by critics in my opinion than Matrix Reloaded being overratted)

Dec 15 - 03:39 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I didn't like the action sequences in "V". The violence in the book was no-nonsense and brutal. I think the film tried to glam it up a bit, fitting the typical 'young male' demographic need for flash and elaborate fighting. Actually, that's part of the weakness of the "Matrix" movies. I don't usually sit through the entire shootout at the end of the first one. It gets boring to me.

Dec 15 - 05:00 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Hmmm, I thought they did a wonderful job blending the two styles. If you watch closely V isn't doing anything overly elaborate with his fighting style (He kills like 12 guys in 15 seconds in the showdown at the end) it's just the way it's filmed that makes it look so stylish with the Matrix film tricks and such. I though the brutality was still conveyed especially in the Frye sceen when he gets bagged by Creevy and lets face it, a graphic novel format leaves a lot of room for interpretation.

Dec 15 - 05:49 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

I thought the shootout at the end was fantastic. That scene is pretty much the boilerplate for every action movie that followed The Matrix for the next 10 years. From the lobby to the office to the helicopter to the roof top to the subway to the grimy abandoned building was action gold.

Dec 15 - 02:43 PM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

My first thought seeing the list was "What universe is this where Predator is rated lower than Matrix Reloaded?". Just getting to the highway scene, that is semi salvageable and doesn't have the raw action of the first Matrix, is a drag; the movie is all kinds of bad and trying to be super complex, but coming off as a lazy attempt to cash in on the success of the first. And the third...well that was just the Wachowski's swimming on gold and not giving a shit anymore.

Dec 15 - 11:09 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

You haven't seen Predator or Die Hard and you're talking about action movies?!?!? Get off the computer and see them immediately, man! So many action movies have stolen from or been inspired (different sides to the same coin, right?) by those flicks. Predator is really almost two action flicks in one. The first half is like every other action movie from the '80s with really buff commandos killing guys, and then it sort of devolves into a horror flick, and finally climaxes in an awesome showdown at the end, where who's the predator and who's the prey keeps shifting. Brilliant movie.

Dec 14 - 06:25 PM

DKUK

Derrick Wong

haha.... 'get off the computer'...In fact, stop everything and WATCH THOSE GODDAMN MOVIES.....

Dec 14 - 09:15 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

It's hard to appreciate the impact of a movie like "Die Hard", except if you can remember that before it came out, Bruce Willis was just a chubby, smug TV funnyman. Afterward, he became the coolest guy on the planet.

Dec 15 - 04:56 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

LOL, I still remember my older brother squinting at the screen while I was watching it and saying in awed tones "Is that the dude from Moonlighting?"

Dec 15 - 05:43 AM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

He and Cybil Shepard did have a lot of chemistry but he was just this super dorky dude who I would have never imagined would end up being THE Bruce Willis. Would be kind of like seeing Christopher Walker for the first time ever in Hairspray and then seeing him be a badass in...well,everything else.

Dec 15 - 11:06 PM

bamb0o-stick

Jonathan Y

Die Hard is worth it now just to watch all the antiquated technology shown in the film. The touch screens, cell phones, CB radios, portable TVs, the list goes on. Other than that Die Hard is such a classic movie, the action is just timeless. I recently got the Quadrilogy for $20 on Blu-ray and loving every second of explosions in it.

Dec 15 - 07:08 AM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

DIE HARD, 48 HRS, PREDATOR 2, LETHAL WEAPON, LETHAL WEAPON 2 . . . STREETS OF FIRE!!!!!!

THE WARRIORS (CYRUS!!!)

CYRUS!!!! CYRUS!!! CYRUS!!!!! STICK IT TO THE MAN, BRO.

Can you count, suckers?
I say the future is ours...
...if you can count.
- Come on, Cyrus. We're with you!
- Go ahead, bro!

Look what we have here before us.
We've got the Saracens sitting next to
the Jones Street Boys.
We've got the Moon Runners,
right by the Van Courtland Rangers.
Nobody is wasting nobody.
That...is a miracle.
And miracles is the way things ought to
be.
- Yeah!
- All right.
I heard that!
You're standing right now with nine
delegatesfrom a hundred gangs.
And there's over a hundred more.

That's over a thousand hard-core members -
counting affiliates,
and more not organised, but ready
to fight.
There ain't but three hundred police in the
whole town. Can you dig it?
Can you dig it?
Can you dig it?
Now, here's the sum total; one gang could run this city. One gang!
Nothing would move without us allowing it to happen.

We could tax the crime syndicates, the police,
because we got the streets, suckers.
Can you dig it?

The problem in the past has been The Man turning us against one another.
We've been unable to see the truth, because we've been fighting for ten square feet of ground - our turf, our little piece of turf.

That's crap, brothers.
The turf is ours by right because it's our turn.
All we have to do is keep up the general truce.

We take over one borough at a time. Secure our territory,
secure our turf, because it's all our turf.

BANG!
(CYRUS GETS SHOT!)
------
CYRUS is gunned-down by a gun given to a gang member (David Patrick Kelley) by The Man!

STICK IT TO "THE MAN" . . .

The Man's Day is just about OVER . . . .

We have to UNITE to KILL The Man.

"Cut him open while he sleeps;
watch him drown in his own blood"

Dec 14 - 06:27 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

The Man couldn't suffer Cyrus to live and The Man silenced Cyrus. GANG POWER! GANG POWER! GANG POWER! (Stick it to The Man, TONIGHT!!!!!!!)

Dec 14 - 06:29 PM

Gordon Franklin Terry Sr

Gordon Terry

The Man couldn't suffer Cyrus to live and The Man silenced Cyrus. GANG POWER! GANG POWER! GANG POWER! (Stick it to The Man, TONIGHT!!!!!!!)

Dec 14 - 06:29 PM

DKUK

Derrick Wong

haha.... 'get off the computer'...In fact, stop everything and WATCH THOSE GODDAMN MOVIES.....

Dec 14 - 09:15 PM

Myron

Myron Kinsey

Great movies, love all of them (well some of them I just like such as V for Vendetta), but Silver has produced some magnificent films, most of them are classics as well.

Dec 14 - 10:51 PM

justjoustin

Joshua G

I like V for Vendetta, it's an enjoyable film. I find it interesting the flak it cops for trying to be "this" or "that". I actually find it interesting how few films go there.

I agree Hugo Weaving is fantastic, as is Stephen Fry & the use of "Cry Me A River" by Julie London.

Great action flick.

Dec 15 - 12:56 AM

LirianB

Lirian Berisha

The Matrix Reloaded

Dec 15 - 02:17 AM

King  S.

King Simba

Yeah, I'll agree it lacked the magic of the first film, but as far as action movies go, it was pretty damn entertaining, though I don't think it should be rated higher than V for Vendetta (though that has more to do with V being underrated by critics in my opinion than Matrix Reloaded being overratted)

Dec 15 - 03:39 AM

King  S.

King Simba

That guy has definetely produced some great action movies. Out of all of these, my favorite would be The Matrix (great blend of action, philosophy, science fiction and even a little bit of horror, all in a classical hero's journey story) closely followed by Die Hard.

Dec 15 - 03:44 AM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

It's hard to appreciate the impact of a movie like "Die Hard", except if you can remember that before it came out, Bruce Willis was just a chubby, smug TV funnyman. Afterward, he became the coolest guy on the planet.

Dec 15 - 04:56 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

LOL, I still remember my older brother squinting at the screen while I was watching it and saying in awed tones "Is that the dude from Moonlighting?"

Dec 15 - 05:43 AM

Manuel G.

Manuel Granados

He and Cybil Shepard did have a lot of chemistry but he was just this super dorky dude who I would have never imagined would end up being THE Bruce Willis. Would be kind of like seeing Christopher Walker for the first time ever in Hairspray and then seeing him be a badass in...well,everything else.

Dec 15 - 11:06 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I didn't like the action sequences in "V". The violence in the book was no-nonsense and brutal. I think the film tried to glam it up a bit, fitting the typical 'young male' demographic need for flash and elaborate fighting. Actually, that's part of the weakness of the "Matrix" movies. I don't usually sit through the entire shootout at the end of the first one. It gets boring to me.

Dec 15 - 05:00 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Hmmm, I thought they did a wonderful job blending the two styles. If you watch closely V isn't doing anything overly elaborate with his fighting style (He kills like 12 guys in 15 seconds in the showdown at the end) it's just the way it's filmed that makes it look so stylish with the Matrix film tricks and such. I though the brutality was still conveyed especially in the Frye sceen when he gets bagged by Creevy and lets face it, a graphic novel format leaves a lot of room for interpretation.

Dec 15 - 05:49 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

I thought the shootout at the end was fantastic. That scene is pretty much the boilerplate for every action movie that followed The Matrix for the next 10 years. From the lobby to the office to the helicopter to the roof top to the subway to the grimy abandoned building was action gold.

Dec 15 - 02:43 PM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

LOL, I still remember my older brother squinting at the screen while I was watching it and saying in awed tones "Is that the dude from Moonlighting?"

Dec 15 - 05:43 AM

bigbrother

Bigbrother .

Hmmm, I thought they did a wonderful job blending the two styles. If you watch closely V isn't doing anything overly elaborate with his fighting style (He kills like 12 guys in 15 seconds in the showdown at the end) it's just the way it's filmed that makes it look so stylish with the Matrix film tricks and such. I though the brutality was still conveyed especially in the Frye sceen when he gets bagged by Creevy and lets face it, a graphic novel format leaves a lot of room for interpretation.

Dec 15 - 05:49 AM

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