Joe Gibson is a Very Serious Cinephile living in Austin, T. He can be found on twitter @Karatloz and on Letterboxd (a highly recommended follow) here: http://letterboxd.com/zoltarak/. Joe watches pretty much more films in a given year than any human I know. He is a machine!
As anyone who remembers going to a video store knows, the term "action-adventure" is a broad one, encompassing a lot of different kinds of movies. For my list I tried to leave out those that fit into other neatly established categories - war movies, kung-fu movies, police movies, westerns, etc. - but hopefully what's left will be entertaining enough. Thanks again to Brian for letting me participate.
TARZAN'S DESERT MYSTERY (1943)
One thing that has always struck me about the Tarzan character is the gulf in scope between the novels and comics featuring the character, and the movies. The Tarzan of the page explores massive lost cities of gold, travels to the center of the Earth, gets shrunk down to half his size, etc., while Johnny Weismuller and company pretty much just run around, swing on vines, and punch people. Tarzan's Desert Mystery is a rare exception, albeit a modest one, as it features a GIANT SPIDER at the end. Jane's absent for this one, but it's wonderful all the same.
THE JUNGLE BOOK (1942)
The Jungle Book is one of the few Disney animated movies I can say I really appreciate as an adult, but I sometimes wish it had never been made so this movie would have its rightful place as the definitive screen depiction of Mowgli's adventures. Sabu is perfectly cast as Mowgli, and the movie itself is a full-scale color riot: Not just greens (although there are naturally a lot of greens), depicting the jungle as a glittering rainbow of colors. Maybe the 20th century killed magic, but it was alive in 1942.
MYSTERIOUS ISLAND (1961)
This is more of an underrated Harryhausen movie, but I don't figure we'll be seeing an "Underrated Ray Harryhausen" feature from this site anytime soon (the title pool is just too limited). It's well-paced and interesting even when there are no giant animals roaming about, thanks to an engaging POW-on-the-run plot and the late, great Herbert Lom as the exiled Captain Nemo.
A truly weird movie - I'm not sure if Excalibur delivers any of the expected action-adventure goods to a satisfactory degree (that certainly depends on the viewer), but it's got loads of fantasy-calendar atmosphere and plenty of just plain weirdness. This is a John Boorman film after all.
RED SUN (1971)
Red Sun might not be "underrated" as much as just "rated," because it doesn't quite live up to its incredible cast. Then again, how could it? Ursula Andress, Alain Delon, Charles Bronson, and Toshiro Mifune are all in the old west doing ... something. It's not important what they do, since if you're reading this blog you probably already know you have to see this movie if you haven't already.
I knew I had to get some Walter Hill in here, so I chose Trespass. The line on this seems to be "Treasure of the Sierra Madre in the 'hood," and in this case that's pretty accurate. But instead of Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, and Tim Holt, we have Bill Paxton, Bill Sadler, and Ices T and Cube.
ADVENTURES OF DON JUAN (1948)
An action-adventure list without Errol Flynn would be unthinkable for me. Truth be told, it's been a while since I've seen Adventures of Don Juan, but my memory of it as an exciting swashbuckler that gently parodies the movies that made Flynn famous a decade or so earlier. The movie's sense of humor extends to Flynn's real-life romantic adventures, which started out as infamous and went downhill from there. Also reunites Flynn with frequent costar Alan Hale!