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From Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to Ant-Man and the Wasp to The Raid: Redemption to… Pineapple Express (?) and beyond, there are a lot of good action movies to choose from on Netflix…
Are you looking for the best action movies on Netflix right now? Sometimes your search can be in vain with all the different digital choices to stream! Fortunately, the service has plenty from the genre — pop culture blockbusters, adrenaline pumping fight films, robust animated adventures and shootout dramas galore… if you know where to look for them. And that’s where we come in with our monthly updates on the best new movies on Netflix.
See, here you’ll find the best action movies on Netflix right now. There are plenty of different awesome new releases that are on Netflix right now, including many of the top recent action movies from 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015, as well as many of the all-time greatest classics, underrated b-movies, all-ages adventure and ultraviolent action. They all await you in our picks to watch for the hottest action movies on Netflix! So don’t bother to search any further. Just log-in because it’s time to watch…
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Please note: This list pertains to U.S. Netflix subscribers. Some titles may not currently be available on international platforms.
Best Action Movies on Netflix Right Now
James Franco and Seth Rogen are always an entertaining pair, especially in this stoner action movie that casts them as two marijuana-loving goofballs who have the misfortune to walk in on a murder. Early on, you can argue over whether Pineapple Express qualifies as more comedy than action movie, but that question is rendered moot by the blood-soaked second half. This movie takes two great tastes – Judd Apatow-produced raunchy comedies and violent shootouts – and proves they can go great together.
The wuxia sub-genre of martial arts movies is characterized by a historical setting, stories involving conflicts between love and duty and graceful, even balletic displays of fighting prowess. You’ll find all three of these in abundance in this classic film from 2000. One of the most popular martial arts movies in the West, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon revolves around the hunt for a legendary blade called the Sword of Destiny, a weapon that bestows great power but also brings with it only pain. The fight scenes in this one are epic, but the twin love stories are equally enthralling.
Long ago, Jackie Chan proved what a winning combination kung fu and slapstick humor can be. Few modern martial arts movies honor that legacy as well as Stephen Chow’s Kung Fu Hustle. This comedic gangster movie is basically a live-action cartoon. It manages to parody countless classic movies even as it delivers some hard-hitting fight scenes. The fact that Kung Fu Hustle features so many beloved actors from ’70s kung fu cinema is just icing on the cake. (Available 3/15/19.)
The sequel to Ant-Man is an inventive and lighthearted heist movie, in which The Wasp drags Ant-Man into an elaborate adventure involving a journey to the Quantum Realm, a building that gets stolen in the middle of a car chase, and lots of little, giant, clever action sequences. The Ant-Man movies are probably the most charming MCU movies, and the great ensemble cast and unique set pieces make this one stand out.
When a SWAT team goes after a powerful crime lord, they get trapped inside a building with seemingly countless killers, all of whom want them dead. Once Gareth Evans’ astounding action-thriller gets going it never lets up. It’s an exhausting series of breathtaking fight scenes, each one impressive and brutal. The Raid: Redemption raised the bar for action cinema, and most filmmakers are still struggling to catch up.
The most epic live-action superhero crossover ever plays like a big budget, action-packed version of Robert Altman’s Nashville, complete with dozens and dozens of important characters, each of whom slip into each other’s stories on their own path to victory or tragedy. It’s the kind of sprawling superhero movie that would never have been possible, or even comprehensible, for mainstream audiences to appreciate 10 years ago, and it represents a vast uncharted landscape of superhero cinema in the future. And it’s also thrilling, funny, captivating action filmmaking to boot!
Ridley Scott’s Oscar-winning war epic, about a daring rescue attempt following a botched mission in Mogadishu, isn’t about sweeping global politics or man’s inhumanity to man. It’s about the moment, in the middle of a firefight, where nothing matters but the people next to you. Scott captures the incredibly complex shootouts, geography, tactics and large ensemble cast with a deftness that can only be admired, and somehow makes the chaotic Black Hawk Down seem easy to follow. It’s not the most insightful war movie ever made, but it’s one of the most thrilling.
George Lucas and Steven Spielberg collaborated on the classic Indiana Jones movies, taking the cheesy action movie tropes of their childhoods and translating them to the big screen using every new, exciting, expensive technique at their disposal. The first film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, is about as good as action movies ever get, with lovable characters and dastardly villains all searching for the same magical treasure, getting into one giant and unforgettable set piece after another. The sequels are mixed, but mostly great: Temple of Doom resorts to insulting stereotypes but also features probably the most breathtaking action sequences in the franchise’s history; Last Crusade has iconic set pieces and the fantastic Sean Connery as Indie’s stuffy father, but the jokey tone robs the series of its gravitas; and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is pretty dumb from start to finish, but at least it’s never dull.
Stephen Sommers’ 1999 remake of the classic Universal Monster movie The Mummy combined the classic scares with Indiana Jones-esque action iconography, and the result may not be “scary,” but it’s worth a few good shrieks. Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz are dashing protagonists, who accidentally awaken an ancient evil (a fantastic Arnold Vosloo) whose quest to resurrect his dead bride nearly dooms the world. Thrilling action and old-school monster movie tropes make this particular remake of The Mummy a treat for horror movie, action and comedy fans alike.
Before he won an Oscar for directing the horror fairy tale The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro brought his oddball sensibilities to Hellboy, an adaptation of Mike Mignola’s award-winning comic book series. Ron Perlman is perfect as the title character, a demon from hell who was raised by humans to protect us from supernatural forces. The plot is perfunctory but the monster effects are spectacular, the action is cool and the lead performances by Perlman and Selma Blair, as a firestarter who can’t trust herself, are easy to fall in love with.
Martial arts superstar Jet Li stars as Huo Yuanjia, a real-life master who challenged fighters from around the world to duels, and became a national hero in China. Jet Li has starred in many movies since Fearless, and some of them are great, but this film seems to be his final, truly great martial arts epic, teaching important lessons about the art form and letting the star completely cut loose in astounding fight sequences, directed by the great Ronny Yu (The Bride with White Hair). Fearless might not be Jet Li’s very best film… but it’s close.
Imagine the plot of The Bourne Identity, but with the fight scenes from The Raid. That’s the underrated action thriller Headshot, which stars Iko Uwais as an amnesiac who has to protect himself, and his psychologist, from an army of martial arts assassins who want him dead. Headshot arguably works even better on streaming, because the action is so stunning, and so merciless, you might need to pause the film just to catch your breath.
The biggest Marvel movie ever, and with good cause. Chadwick Boseman stars in Black Panther, a film that combines Afrofuturism with the superhero genre, giving audiences something they’d never seen before, on a scale that’s hard to imagine. Michael B. Jordan co-stars as one of the great MCU villains, and Letitia Wright steals all her scenes as a technological genius who puts Tony Stark to shame. This is the combination of classic heroism, bold cinematic style and meaningful themes that superhero fans yearned for. And they got it all.
The eight chapter in the Star Wars saga of trilogies is one of the most controversial, but also one of the most frenetically paced, intense and unpredictable. The Resistance is on the run from the fascistic First Order, forcing Rey (Daisy Ridley), Poe (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega) to separate and try every trick at their disposal – and learn a bunch of new ones – to save the day. The Last Jedi follows the basic framework of The Empire Strikes Back, with heroes divided, tragic reversals and unexpected revelations, only to transform itself in the last act into something new, a film that looks to the future instead of living entirely in the past.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) get sucked onto an alien planet, where Thor battles the Hulk and Loki’s allegiances are challenged (for the umpteenth time), in Taika Waititi’s quirky and imaginative Marvel Cinematic Universe adventure, with standout performances by Cate Blanchett and Tessa Thompson rounding out the impressive cast. The stakes are high, the action is spectacular, and every storytelling decision feels like it came screaming out of underrated 1980s space opera oddities like The Ice Pirates or Krull. (For the record, that’s a compliment.)
Before he became the universally acclaimed director of films like My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, Hayao Miyazaki directed The Castle of Cagliostro, a ripping adventure story about a charismatic thief named Lupin III who stumbles across a wild conspiracy involving counterfeit money and kidnapping. Miyazaki’s trademark vibrancy is already in full swing, and the movie still feels wondrous and timeless.
Uma Thurman stars as The Bride, a woman wronged by her assassin ex-boyfriend and his gang of vicious killers, who goes off on a massive, sprawling, bloody revenge spree over the course of two epic action movies that are packed with clever homages to grindhouse classics of all kinds. Thurman rules the screen here, and the fight scenes are some of the best of the decade.
The Hurt Locker is widely regarded as one of the finest war movies made in the post-9/11 era. Director Kathryn Bigelow explores the intense pressure faced by members of an explosive ordinance removal team during the Iraq War, with a cast that includes Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Christian Camargo, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse and Guy Pearce. The film dominated the 2010 Academy Awards, and for good reason. It’s incredibly well-made and a truly visceral experience.
So there you have it: what to watch on Netflix right now in the world of action movies. Check back here each month for new titles as Netflix adds them!
Note: This article is frequently amended to remove films no longer on Netflix, and to include more action films that are now available on the service.