Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985, dir. George Miller & George Ogilvy)

Max Rockatansky encounters a fledgeling civilisation in the desert. The third (though chronologically fourth, after Fury Road) Mad Max flick is glossier, talkier and generally lighter than its predecessors, but nevertheless works as a hugely detailed action fantasy riffing on Peter Pan and Riddley Walker while delivering a fantastic chase sequence.

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.

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.

The Martian (2015, dir. Ridley Scott)

An astronaut is marooned alone on Mars; he develops a plan to survive. Smart, funny and upbeat space peril movie with winning ensemble performances, clean visuals, and a diligent script from the Andy Weir bestseller. A thoroughly professional and entertaining job all round.

Ad Astra (2019, dir. James Gray)

An astronaut finds that his long-lost father may be alive on a deep-space vessel now threatening Earth. Defiantly odd Freudian space opera, part First Man, part 2001 wannabe, part Moonraker. And all the better for it, even though the story doesn’t stack up. Glorious-looking throughout, and with mesmerising sound design and soundtrack.

Rambo: Last Blood (2019, dir. Adrian Grunberg)

A Vietnam veteran seeks revenge on the cartel that kidnapped a daughter figure. Hints of a more elegiac contemporary Western linger, but the released cut is a lumpy body-count flick with linear plotting and an oddly perfunctory attitude to the staging of its many kills. Best thing is the end credits, which strike the right tone.