From blockbusters to low-budget productions, from Hollywood movies to foreign films, Netflix has something for every kind of action junkie. Here are the ten best action movies you can stream on Netflix.
Table of Contents
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.
Jackie Chan is best known for his goofy, almost slapstick-style stunts. But The Foreigner casts him in a different kind of role as a grieving father out for revenge in an intense, grim action thriller. Pierce Brosnan stars as an Irish politician who’s targeted by a Chinese immigrant restaurant owner (Chan) with specialized military skills, a man who holds the politician responsible for the terrorist bombing that killed his daughter.
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.
Before the Fast & Furious movies and The Mandalorian, Gina Carano was just an MMA fighter hoping to make the leap to the big screen. Fortunately, director Steven Soderbergh saw her potential. The prolific filmmaker cast Carano in Haywire as a former secret agent betrayed by her own agency. Soderbergh brings the same sophistication to action that he brought to his Oscar-winning dramas, playing to Carano’s strengths as a soft-spoken but deadly force.
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.
Before director Guy Ritchie got his hands on the legendary detective, Sherlock Holmes wasn’t known as an action hero. But Ritchie and star Robert Downey Jr. turn their version of Sherlock Holmes into a Victorian-era action movie, giving the title character (and his colleague Dr. John Watson, played by Jude Law) as much prowess in hand-to-hand combat and explosives as in deductive reasoning.
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.