No More AC/DC! Five Songs That Should Be On A Blockbuster Action Movie Soundtrack

I spent Memorial Day taking my son to Iron Man 2, and while watching — or rather listening to — the movie, I became depressed. The original Iron Man soundtrack had Suicidal Tendencies and Ghostface Killah tracks. The sequel, though, is wall-to-wall Angus Young, which gave me a massive Batdance flashback. It also made me ask the question: Why does Iron Man 2 have a soundtrack that's exclusively (not counting incidental music from the Clash and DJ AM) AC/DC songs when there are so many ripe power tracks just waiting to be plucked from the Use Me in an Action Movie orchard?

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! 


If you're a really ballsy action director, you'll laugh at the idea of using single tracks in your film. You'll have the creative vision to realize that if you want a distinctive and inventive soundtrack, you'll hire Greg Gillis (a.k.a. Girl Talk) to score the entire movie. Why? Because it would be fucking awesome! Don't believe me? Close your eyes and think of Jason Statham while you listen to this:

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 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.

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