Unfortunately, it's too late to rescue Iron Man 2, but here's a tip for future action movies: Directors, if you want to inject your big-budget shoot-'em-up with some kickass jams, don't rehash the rock and hip-hop tracks you've seen in other films. Here are five songs that haven't been used in a film* that also show you've got a bit of musical taste. Hell, I'll even tell you the scenes to use the songs in. You can thank me with a cut of your film's box office.
1. “Get It On,” Grinderman
Scene Hero's theme song
This is the new Theme From Shaft waiting to happen. What badass action star doesn't want a song with lyrics that describe him thusly: “He drank panther piss/And fucked the girls you're probably married to.”
2. “Fried My Little Brains,” The Kills
Scene Introducing the Bad Guy(s)
Of course, this song requires an intro brimming over with sinister tension. Think of the Joker's opening scene during the bank robbery in The Dark Knight. Or the big heist in Michael Mann's Heat.
3. “Ready To Die,” Andrew W.K.
Scene Beating up Bad Guy's anonymous lackeys/stopping nameless thugs
Although I'm a proponent of soundtrack songs not commenting on the actions their underscoring, I'm making this track my exception to the rule. It's jaunty tempo strikes just the right tone for the Hero to dispatch those pesky underlings s/he has to fight early on in any good action movie in order to establish his/her take-no-shit cred. Plus, this song can double as a rousing anthem for your feel-good sports movie.
4. “Loverman,” Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Scene Hero and Bad Guy(s) prepare for the Big Fight
Two Nick Cave songs in the same list (Grinderman is his side project)? Sue me. It's not my fault he knows how to put together atmospheric tunes. He does have a couple soundtracks under his belt, you know? On top of these suggestions, I could have thrown in There She Goes, My Beautiful World as a good action movie's bittersweet end credits theme. And don't get me started on his cover of Stagger Lee.
5. “Wish,” Nine Inch Nails
Scene The Big Fight
How this song hasn't appeared on an action movie soundtrack is beyond me. It's the prototypical fight song, a sonic assault of guitar thrashes to the head that builds up, releases, then builds up again to unleash a final orgy of musical violence. Pick your favorite cinematic Big Fight, and you'll find you can score it with this song. The lobby shoot-out from The Matrix? Absolutely! The showdown between Bruce Lee and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Game of Death? You bet! The two-on-one lightsaber battle from Phantom Menace? Sure! Moe slapping Larry and Curly across the face in a Three Stooges short? No doi, haircut!
BONUS PICK: Girl Talk
Fuck music labels trying to sue for copyright infringement! Transformative work, baby! Fuck the Girl Talk haters! You're a super-cool action movie director who doesn't listen to other people! Fuck Michael Bay! He's using Linkin Park, Staind and Nickelback–fucking Nickleback–on his soundtracks!
All you need to do is convince a studio to back you. Studio heads are known for making bold, ballsy decisions without regard to the bottom line, right?
* I used IMDb.com and Soundtrack Collector to see if these songs had been used on a movie soundtrack. So if any of these tracks have already lost their soundtrack virginity, blame them for the mistake.