Table of Contents
There is nothing like a good action movie on Netflix. The perfectly choreographed fight scenes that let you feel every punch and kick on screen; the shootouts that see bullets and bodies hitting the floor; the sheer rush of adrenaline you get from watching the protagonist triumph over all odds, no matter how bruised and bloodied they get.
For those with Netflix, there is quite a selection of great action movies to pick from. This includes both the streamer’s original films and a collection of hidden gems and action classics. Here is the cream of the butt-kicking crop.
The Best Action Movies on Netflix Right Now
Scott Pilgrim VS The World
Over the years, plenty of comic books have made the jump from the page to the silver screen. And one of the most memorable adaptations is Scott Pilgrim VS. The World. Utilizing a mix of his own unique style and some cutting edge special effects, Edgar Wright managed to bring Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novel to life. Sound effects literally leap off the screen, and there are moments that resemble actual comic book pages. Speaking of comic book stars, Scott Pilgrim features a veritable range of actors who’d go on to star in other comic book adaptations – Mary Elizabeth Winstead would later go on to star in Birds of Prey and of course there’s the future Captain Marvel herself, Brie Larson. It’s also the rare adaptation that will appeal to newcomers and longtime fans alike.
Ben Affleck, Oscar Issac and Pedro Pascal have been the talk of the town due to their recent roles – Pascal in The Last of Us and The Mandalorian, Issac in Moon Knight, and Affleck returning to the director’s chair with Air. A Netflix original movie, Triple Frontier, managed to unite the trio together as former soldiers looking to seize $75 million in cash from the location in South Africa. This being an action movie, the group learns that there is more cash than expected – and not everyone’s on the same page regarding their ill-gotten gains. With the addition of Garrett Hedlund and Charlie Hunnam, this film boasts a solid ensemble as well as some well staged shootouts. It’s definitely worth a watch.
Murphy’s Law puts forth the theory that if something can go wrong, it more than likely will. David Leitch puts this theory to the test in his latest action thriller Bullet Train, and the result is carefully choreographed chaos. Brad Pitt stars as unlucky assassin Ladybug, who takes a simple job moving a briefcase full of cash on a bullet train in Tokyo. But Murphy’s Law soon kicks in as a collection of assassins have all boarded the train – and Ladybug gets caught in the middle! Not only does the film feature Leitch’s expertly crafted action sequences (the battle in the refreshment car being an example) but it also has one of the most engaging ensembles in an action film. From Hiroyuki Sanada as an aged Yakuza member to Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry as a scene-stealing pair of brothers, Bullet Train is packed with talent.
The Woman King
It’s rare for a action-packed period piece, let alone one with a predominately Black cast, to be greenlit. Yet The Woman King not only made it to theaters, but it continues to cement Gina Prince-Bythewood as one of the most dynamic action directors working today. Based on the real life story of the Agojie army, the film literally opens with an intense action sequence featuring the Agojie ambushing and slaughtering would-be slavers. And like Bullet Train, the film is packed with talent – chief among them Viola Davis, who delivers a tour de force performance as the Agojie’s leader Nanisca. It makes for a great double feature with Prince-Bythewood’s Netflix original The Old Guard.
When most people think of comic book movies, the caped crusaders of the Marvel and DC universes usually come to mind. But the medium spans multiple genres, and 2 Guns should be a clear example of that. Based on the BOOM! Studios comics of the same name, the film centers on Robert “Bobby” Trench and Michael “Stig” Stigman, a pair of criminals tasked with retrieving $3 million from a bank vault. However, they soon find that there’s nearly $40 million in the vault…not to mention the fact that both Bobby and Stig are secretly undercover agents. If you’re a fan of Bad Boys or Lethal Weapon, this movie has plenty of the high-octane shootouts and caustic chemistry that made those films a standout.
Movies based on video games have either resulted in entertaining romps (see the Sonic the Hedgehog movies) or dreadful slogs (see the Assassin’s Creed movie). Uncharted falls toward the former, thanks to Tom Holland. Holland brings his boyish charm and a bit of grit to the role of treasure hunter Nathan Drake, and is undoubtedly the strongest link in the partnership between himself and Mark Wahlberg’s Victor Sullivan. Add in a delightfully unhinged Antonio Banderas and a few inventive setpieces including a fight against gravity itself, and this is one game you won’t want to be over.
Day Shift (2022)
Vampire hunters have been a staple of action films. Who can forget the first time they saw Blade take out a nightclub full of vampires, or Buffy Summers staking the undead on a weekly basis? Day Shift puts a new spin on the subgenre, painting vampire hunting as a job – and Jamie Foxx’s Bud Jablonski is less concerned with saving the world than he is with making rent and getting his daughter the braces she needs.
Director JJ Perry brings his stunt experience from the John Wick and Fast & Furious films to his first ever film, resulting in some insanely inventive action sequences – a battle in a bowling alley has just the right amount of absurdity and bloodshed. Add in Dave Franco as a neurotic bureaucrat and Snoop Dogg as a vampire hunter (yes really) and you have a recipe for a great time.
The Gray Man (2022)
Joe and Anthony Russo are best known for their four film streak in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, beginning with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and ending with Avengers: Endgame. Now they’ve turned to the espionage genre with The Gray Man. Based on the novel by Mark Greaney, it follows Court Gentry/Sierra Six (Ryan Gosling), a highly skilled operative for the CIA who becomes embroiled in a game of cat and mouse with the psychopath Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans).
The movie boasts a star-studded cast including Ana de Armas and Bridgerton breakout Rege-Jean Page, and action sequences that feel like a cross between The Winter Soldier and the Fast & Furious franchise. Case in point: A shootout in Prague escalates to include a runaway train that crashes headfirst into a building.
If I told you half of the things that happen in RRR, you probably wouldn’t believe me – and I wouldn’t blame you. Throughout the film’s three-hour runtime, co-writer/director S. S. Rajamouli keeps finding new ways to top himself. In perhaps one of the film’s most insane sequences, one of the main characters picks up a flaming piece of machinery and uses it to punch a tiger. And there’s also a dance off! Simply put, this is an action film that’s more than earned its rave reviews and one that has to be seen to be believed.
Code 8 (2019)
Stories of a superhuman race walking among mankind have grown in popularity over the years, whether it’s caped crusaders or films that walk off the beaten path like Push or Jumper. Code 8 follows in the latter films’ footsteps, following electricity manipulator Connor Reed as he gets swept up in a nest of criminal activity. The series boasts a pair of superhero veterans in Robbie and Stephen Amell, who previously starred on The Flash and Arrow respectively. Code 8 also features clever use of superpowers in addition to electromagnetism, including, telekinesis, and cryokinesis – which makes for some intense fight scenes.
Fistful of Vengeance (2022)
The Netflix Original Series Wu Assassins remains severely underrated, and a genius concept. Mixing mysticism, martial arts, and a predominantly Asian cast sounds like a recipe for success, but the series didn’t find its audience. Thankfully, that may change with the release of Fistful of Vengeance, which acts as a follow-up to the series’ first season. Not only does the film feature the return of Wu Assassins stars Iko Uwais, Lewis Tan, & Lawrence Kao but it features what may be some of the best martial arts sequences in a modern-day action film, courtesy of director Roel Reiné. Give it a watch if you loved Mortal Kombat or Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and keep your eyes peeled for Halo on Paramount+ as Reiné is set to direct episodes of the video game adaptation.
The Take (2016)
Idris Elba’ latest films dig deep into the well of genre fare, including The Suicide Squad and Sonic The Hedgehog 2. Netflix currently hosts one of his most underrated films, The Take, which even cracked its Top 10 list! Originally titled Bastille Day, the film follows CIA agent Sean Briar (Elba) and pickpocket Michael Mason (Richard Madden) as they race to stop a group of corrupt police officers from stealing half a billion euros from the French national bank under the guise of a terrorist attack. The film features shootouts and fights that have Elba using his muscle and height to pummel opponents into submission.
The Harder They Fall (2021)
The Harder They Fall is a throwback to classic Westerns and a great movie in its own right thanks to director/co-writer Jeymes Samuel. Samuel said that he grew up watching Westerns and it shows: from the opening title to the shootout in the final act, there is plenty of Stetson and six shooting action to go around, and horses charging through the dusty plains. And that’s not even counting the film’s stacked cast, which includes the talents of Jonathan Majors, Regina King, and Delroy Lindo; Idris Elba is also a revelation as the villainous Rufus Buck.
The Old Guard (2020)
The world of comic books has led to a plethora of live-action film and TV projects, most notably from Marvel and DC Comics. However, indie publisher Image Comics has also dipped its toe into this pool, with the best effort being The Old Guard. Based on the miniseries by Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez, the film follows a group of immortal mercenaries who find themselves on the run from a Pharma Bro who wants to harness their abilities for profit. Really all you need to know is that KiKi Layne is a born action star and Charlize Theron wields a massive battle axe (and looks great doing it).
Joe and Anthony Russo have made quite a career for themselves after their work at Marvel Studios, producing and directing multiple film and TV projects under their AGBO Films banner. One of the first projects they produced was the action film Extraction, starring Chris Hemsworth and directed by their longtime second unit director Sam Hargrave. As mercenary Tyler Rake, Hemsworth trades Thor’s hammer and golden locks for an action hero’s scowl and an assault rifle, engaging in gritty and gory action as he escorts a drug lord’s son through the city of Dhaka. The standout sequence is a 12-minute single take, as Rake moves thorough an apartment complex dispatching foes.
Ip Man (2008)
Donnie Yen is one of the greatest martial artists on the planet, and the Ip Man series puts his talents on full display. Based on the life of the Wing Chun grandmaster who eventually trained Bruce Lee, the first Ip Man features plenty of action sequences where Yen’s Ip Man defeats multiple opponents – including a scene where he takes on 10 black belts. Though the other men have the upper hand, they soon suffer massive injuries at the hands of Ip Man.
New Gods: Nezha Reborn (2021)
Mythology has been remixed over the years, leading to a wealth of stories on film and screen. One of the more recent tales is New Gods: Nezha Reborn, putting a superheroic spin on the titular god and the classic Chinese novel Investiture of the Gods. Protagonist Li Yunxiang even has somewhat of a standard superhero origin: he’s an ordinary young man who learns that he’s the reincarnation of a god, and even builds a suit of armor to contain his fire powers that looks like something a superhero would wear. Whether you’re fans of superheroes, mythology, or animation Nezha Reborn has something for everyone.
Best Movies on Netflix by Genre: