Tackling such a criterion can prove a bit trickier than one might think, as it spans different genres from science fiction to fantasy, Westerns, war films, superheroes and horror. So why not name any kind of movie from such genres? Would Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan or Spider Man 2 count, or maybe The Fellowship of the Ring and Tombstone? In my opinion, no. The concept of “pulp adventure” can incorporate a great many different genres and subgenres but at the same time maintains a certain signature set of forms. First of all, it’s crucial to understand that the idea of a pulp adventure film largely derives from three interrelated sources of the 1930s and 1940s era: 1) pulp magazines; 2) radio dramas; 3) the B-serial format loosely referred to as "poverty row" pictures where lesser film studios cranked out a steady stream cheaply made genre entertainment. Separately or combined, this cliffhanger style of narrative emphasized action, mystery, romance or any generality of high excitement thrills (often cheap or exploitive) within a short running time and, consequently, at a brisk pace. By the 1950s episodic television replaced both radio and Saturday Matinee-like chapters that accompanied feature films while the printed pulps gave way to more specialized reading material such as adult 'Men’s Magazines' and the DC/Marvel superhero comic books for kids. Still, the enthusiasm for pulp adventures would eventually thrive again largely (though not exclusively) through the cinematic medium, with varying degrees of expense, quality and success. The most familiar storied content and characteristics include period settings (typically interbellum or Western), treasure hunting, traveling to-and-through exotic locations, swashbuckling, crime fighting, worldly mysticism and space opera. Below is a countdown list of films that I consider the best of pulp adventures. Feel free to add (or dispute) as you like. The more the merrier. 27. Sheena (1984) - Hey, don't knock it until you've tried it. Tanya Roberts, at her peak, gets naked, bathes. And this is a PG movie! 26. Firewalker (1986) - Chuck Norris and Louis Gossett Jr. team up as bickering buddies hunting treasure in contemporary Central America. It's a low-grade Cannon Films production but actually has a lot of B-movie charm to it, and also features what is arguably the most comedic and enthusiastic performance from a usually stoic Norris. 25. Tarzan and the Lost City (1998) - Casper Van Dien is cast in the titular role with a chiseled mug and the ever elusive Jane March is, as always, just plain hot. There are some neat locations coupled with cornball visual effects and a good deal of action including some impressive stunt work. It’s basically a live action Saturday morning cartoon. Good for kids. 24. King Solomon’s Mines (1985) - Another from the Cannon Films collection, this time aping (even parodying) the Indiana Jones popularity for all its worth. The classic literary character Alan Quartermain is re-imagined Indy-like with a cheeky Richard Chamberlain in the role, accompanied by a young and energetic Sharon Stone. It’s a jokey affair with a lotta noise and ruckus. Good fun. 23. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) - No doubt, ambitious in its visual-digital design and wonderfully inspired by many a vintage comic-strip wonders, namely retro-futurism. The story is largely generic and the CGI backdrops are two-dimensionally limited, but the imagery succeeds nonetheless as flights of fancy and the lead characters played by Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law are high-spirited. 22. The Mummy / The Mummy Returns (1999) / (2001) - A solid B-movie with an A-movie budget. Nothing more. It’s well polished and competently directed, but not brilliantly directed. The story is meat 'n' potatoes adventure narrative but lacks thematic wit. That’s okay. It’s still plenty fun enough to pass the time. Frankly, I don’t see any issues concerning the sequel, particularly any dip in quality. To me it just feels like more of the same, just bigger and with more outrages set pieces. Rachel Weiz, in particular, was the casting high point. 21. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) - To my surprise, Evans was perfect as the younger, wide-eyed and slightly naïve Steve Rogers. The movie looked great, with nice cinematography and production design. Some of the visual effects were a bit cheesy here and there but that only added to the overall charm for me. The origin storyline was rather refreshing in that Rogers was never angsty or self-absorbed, but already a noble hearted hero from the start; his physical transformation and further integration into the war effort made for some good storytelling that was, at worst, easy entertainment and, at its best moments, truly captivating. The action was clear and well-staged, if not a bit cartoonish, which is only fitting given the material. 20. Flash Gordon (1980) - Openly, shamelessly camp. And yet it somehow manages to be sincere at the same time. By the end of the second act, when Ming the Merciless offers Flash a subservient lordship, I’ll be damned if there’s not a genuine story being told. Visually, the film is a blast: all garish reds and golds. The set/costume design alone is worth the price of admission. Great cast and a classic rock-opera score by Queen. 19. The Phantom (1996) - The very prospect of a masked avenger in purple skin tights who rides a white horse named Hero with a sidekick wolf named Devil is almost too boyishly cool to pass-up. This is the kinda movie that features a Jungle Patrol, all-women air pirates, a volcano island super-lair and skulls that shoot lasers. I mean, c’mon! Billy Zane plays it cheery and straightforward; the rest of the cast barks their pulpy lines in earnest. 18. The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn (2011) - Essentially, this was little more than an exercise for Spielberg. The story, though solid, is not all that memorable, but the CGI/motion capture animation allowed the director the ultimate freedom of pure invention, to stage a near-continuous Rube Goldberg style action narrative. The virtuoso results are a sight for the eyes. 17. Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book (1994) - This all-but-forgotten gem from Stephen Sommers surpasses his Mummy films with less mayhem and goopy visual effects in favor of a heartfelt romance story between a grown Mowgli and the daughter of a British colonel. But there’s still plenty of ‘lost city’ adventuring to be had, with a dastardly villain and an assortment of the classic animal characters both friend and foe. Good score by Basil Poledouris, too. 16. Congo (1995) - Michael Crichton’s high concept sci-fi techno premise trimmed down to what feels like a theme park ride through vintage jungle pictures. Sure, it lacks the complexities of the novel, but the colorful venture though exotic Central Africa in search for an ancient diamond mine brings about all kinds of classic pulp thrills. Note the pitch-perfect, charismatic performance by Ernie Hudson as Munro Kelly, the classic ‘bwana man’ mercenary; Hudson, no doubt fully aware of the kind of movie he was in. 15. High Road to China (1983) - There’s an authenticity to this 1920s set romance-adventure, not so much concerning the actual period setting (though that’s handled well enough) but the movie itself, with its open matte, workmanlike filming style and Hawksian repartee between the two leads. Tom Selleck is the ace-pilot of fortune who escorts a rich heiress across the eastern orient to find her lost father. The production is almost TV-ish at times, which accentuates the whole serial feel. It ends with Selleck sporting a machine gun in an all-out battle against local warlords. 14. Hidalgo (2004) - The second of three on this list from director Joe Johnson, this time helming a Western-turned-cross-Arabian horse race adventure where, at one point, the hero must rescue an Arabian princess from a desert fortress, amongst many other exciting chapters involving well staged action scenes. Viggo Mortensen makes for a scruffy likable cowboy and his titular horse is given a lot of personality. 13. The Shadow (1994) - Don’t let its history as a box office disaster dissuade you from enjoying what is actually a visually creative crime fighting strip. There’s great art direction and the stylistic flourishes never cease. Baldwin assumes the role with equal parts cool and deliciously maniacal (his rendition of the signature Shadow laugh gets an A+) while John Lone plays the stereotypical villain with modern charm and Penelope Anne Miller looks hot slinking around in night gowns. The best feature, however, is Jerry Goldsmith’s kick-ass score. 12. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai (1984) - A physicist, neurosurgeon, test pilot, rock star... a samurai gunfighter with his own comic book... there’s nothing Buckaroo Banzai can’t do. If you haven’t seen this movie, really, no description or explanation can do it justice. I can only express my amazement at how unaffected the cast and overall tone is considering the material; all the makings of wacky parody and yet the movie plays it straight as an arrow. 11. Gunga Din (1939) - It’s a real guy’s movie about a trio of sergeants fighting off a horde of mad Thuggee vermin in British Colonial India. Just a big ol’ blast of excitement with horseback battle scenes that are nothing short of epic. Clearly, this one informed many kinds of adventure films that would follow throughout the decades; the most obvious one of course doesn’t even need mentioning.