From blockbusters to low-budget productions, from Hollywood movies to foreign films, Netflix has something for every kind of action junkie. Here are the 10 best action movies you can stream on Netflix.
Best Action Movies on Netflix
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You want action? How about the kind of gunfight that would show up in a handful of scenes in any other action movie, extended so that it’s essentially the entire film? That’s what director Ben Wheatley offers in Free Fire, a stylish 1970s-set crime movie about an arms deal gone wrong.
The criminals on either side of this botched transaction take their places around a large warehouse and attempt to obliterate each other in creative ways. Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, and Sharlto Copley, among others, bring some charm and depth to the characters, but it’s really all about the shootout.
Frank Grillo stars as the nameless title character in Wheelman, and he spends nearly the entire movie behind the wheel of a car. In the aftermath of a bank robbery, the getaway driver (Grillo) tries to figure out who double-crossed him, while keeping his daughter safe and outrunning (and outdriving) various pursuers. Grillo’s grizzled charm makes the wheelman easy to root for, and director Jeremy Rush keeps the action lively even when it’s contained to a single vehicle.
French action movie Sentinelle is a lean thriller about a traumatized soldier (Olga Kurylenko) seeking revenge for an attack on her sister. Klara (Kurylenko) returns from the Middle East only to encounter more danger at home in Nice, where her sister is raped and beaten by a powerful Russian gangster.
Director Julien Leclercq delivers a simple but brutal story of vengeance, and Kurylenko brings a haunted, mournful quality to her performance as a trained operative pushed too far.
Jason Momoa stars as the title character in Braven, about a logger who must protect his family from a gang of drug dealers determined to get to contraband that they’ve hidden inside his cabin. It’s a basic setup that allows for down-and-dirty action, including Braven hurling a flaming ax at a bad guy’s face. What more could you ask for?
The long-running James Bond series got a new lease on life when Daniel Craig took over the lead role for Casino Royale. Craig brings grittier energy to the veteran super-spy, and Casino Royale takes Bond back to his earliest days, stripping him of most of his elaborate gadgets and focusing on spycraft and self-contained action sequences.
The biggest star in B-movie action over the past decade or so has been English actor Scott Adkins. The Debt Collector is a great showcase for Adkins’ signature blend of martial-arts prowess, intimidating screen presence, and sardonic humor. Working with director and frequent collaborator Jesse V. Johnson, Adkins plays a trained fighter who reluctantly puts his skills to use convincing deadbeats to pay what they owe to a shady underworld figure.
The real-life Chinese martial-arts master Ip Man has become a pop-culture favorite in recent years, as well as the subject of numerous movies and TV series, but only one has been directed by legendary filmmaker Wong Kar-wai. The visually stunning The Grandmaster stars Tony Leung as Ip Man as he reflects back on his life and many battles.
Based on the comic book series by Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez, The Old Guard is Netflix’s take on the big-budget superhero movie. The film features a team of immortal warriors led by Charlize Theron’s Andromache. The centuries-old heroes operate in secret until the emergence of a new immortal forces them to confront the modern world, with lots of kicking, punching, and explosions along the way.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the defining action star of the 1980s and ’90s, takes a sci-fi turn in Total Recall, from vulgar auteur Paul Verhoeven. Based on a Philip K. Dick story, Total Recall stars Schwarzenegger as a man who gets a memory implant about a vacation to Mars and discovers that he may be a brainwashed secret agent (or is just being brainwashed to think that he is).
Liam Neeson’s late-career resurgence as an action hero has included several collaborations with director Jaume Collet-Serra, including Unknown. The movie stars Neeson as a doctor who is in Berlin for a conference, who wakes up to discover that his entire life seems to have been erased. He must fight against a shady conspiracy to discover who he really is and why nothing he took for granted is actually what it seems.