Alita: Battle Angel (2019, dir. Robert Rodriguez)

In a post-apocalyptic world, a reactivated cyborg finds she has advanced military capabilities. Generally solid though straightforward action-adventure, with manga and cyberpunk influences. Slightly hobbled by an excess of backstory and by awkward reliance on green screen, but well-designed, with some genuine imagination on display.

Gladiator (2000, dir. Ridley Scott)

A famed general, condemned to death in a coup, seeks revenge on Roman emperor Commodus for the murder of his family. Vivid and muscular historical drama, with excellent performances, solid action, and a keen visual sense. A Hollywood history; the inspirations are less actual events than the epics of the 1950s and early 1960s.

The Iron Giant (1999, dir. Brad Bird)

A boy befriends a massive alien robot. Smart, affecting and upbeat Cold War-era animation, varying the ET template enough to make this adaptation of Ted Hughes’ The Iron Man¬†successful in its own right. A good job done all around, with a positive message carefully dramatised.

Ice Station Zebra (1968, dir. John Sturges)

A US submarine is tasked with a rescue mission to the Arctic, in part as cover for a covert operation. Oddly talky Cold War drama, though with solid technical credits and some fun performances, not least from McGoohan. The relative lack of action is compensated for in part by some great model work and an anti-militaristic angle.

Monos (2019, dir. Alejandro Landes)

A group of Central American teenagers guard a kidnapped doctor. Part every jungle action flick ever, part Absurdist fable. Lord of the Flies meets The Emerald Forest with a seasoning of Predator, and more than a hint of Beckett. Hugely recommended, but not for everyone.

Bushwick (2017, dir. Jonathan Milott & Cary Murnion)

A student and an ex-Forces janitor cross a city during a martial law clampdown. Smart, political action thriller, shot as though in one take and in more-or-less real time. Maximises its low budget with good location work and a committed approach by its leads.

Crimson Tide (1995, dir. Tony Scott)

A submarine captain and his new second-in-command clash during a military crisis. Excellent testosterone-fuelled drama, making full claustrophobic use of naval service underwater tropes. Superior technical credits and a rousing score supplement the crew of capable character actors.