Movies like "Die Hard" and directors like Christopher Nolan and John Woo prove that action movies CAN be intelligent and aesthetically beautiful.
For example, a great way to make an artistically beautiful firefight is to have the shootout in slow motion in the rain with classical music playing in the background. Don't forget to include the shot of shell casings falling alongside the rain drops (as per this great picture is).
Sorry if I seem like I'm rambling, but my dream is to be a filmmaker and I'll always be an action flick guy at heart.
It's a shame that John Woo isn't making Heroic Bloodshed films anymore.