Last Updated: July 19th
“Action movie” means something different to everyone. The term runs the spectrum of CGI explosion-filled spectacles and highly choreographed fight scenes to movies with heroes who deliver cheesy one-liners right before the last rocket-powered grenade is fired. It can mean shutting your brain off, or it can mean complex stories that use action to benefit the plot.
Luckily, Netflix has most subgenres covered when it comes to good action films, whether you want kung fu, swashbuckling, or anything in between. That’s why we put together of the best action movies on Netflix streaming right now. So grab some popcorn and enjoy.
13 Assassins (2010)
Controversial director Takashi Miike’s remake of a 1963 film starts as a slow burn and builds to one of the longest, most elaborate sword battles you’ll ever see, complete with weaponized burning bulls. When the psychotic half-brother of the Shogun edges ever closer to assuming too much power in 1840s Japan, a group of samurai band together to assassinate him, shirking their honor for the good of the people. Despite being slightly based on true events, 13 Assassins retains Miike’s trademark uncompromising and slightly stylized brutality, but this is certainly more accessible than some of his well-known works like Ichi The Killer. Like the dying-out warriors of the time, they don’t make samurai films like this anymore.
If it’s atypical superhero faire you’re after, you can’t go wrong with Hellboy. After emerging from an otherworldly portal as a cute demon baby, Hellboy (Ron Perlman) searches for purpose while hunting down his fellow horrific monsters. Teaming up with a firestarter he’s got the hots for, the gun-toting unkillable devil faces off against magical Nazis and lots of tentacles. Like Iron Man with Robert Downey, Jr., Hellboy lets Perlman do what he does best: Deliver gruff dialogue while chomping on cigars. It doesn’t waste time with much of an origin story and lets the characters and punches speak for themselves.
No Country For Old Men (2007)
Joel and Ethan Coen love to tell stories about the hunt for treasure. When untold fortune is on the line, people tend to show their true, murderous colors. Adapting a novel by Cormac McCarthy the Coens’ No Country For Old Men tells that same tale in borderlands of Texas in 1980. When Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) swipes the loot of a botched drug deal, he’s pursued by a mysterious killer (Javier Bardem), an aging sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones), another killer (Woody Harrelson), and plenty of other gun-toting henchmen. The action is thrilling, but it’s the drawn out, score-less shots around those bullet-filled scenes that drive the film. While it’s packed with exceptional performances, Bardem’s chillingly ruthless work and blood- curdling haircut as Anton Chigurh in particular. It’s a McCarthy story seemingly made for the Coens, and the only movie that could outshine There Will Be Blood for the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars in 2008.