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Action movies don’t always stand the test of time, and even the most bullet-riddled action blockbusters can feel dated after just a decade. Which is probably why so many of the highest rated action and adventure movies on Netflix streaming are barely more than a few years old.
Just like previous lists of highest rated comedies and sci-fi movies, I looked at action movies that had a million votes or more to ensure each movie’s rating was equal to its competitors. I also didn’t include action films that might have fallen into the western and martial arts genres, because as good as many of those movies are, those genres are deserving of a list all their own — so no IP Man here.
What was perhaps most surprising about putting this together was the lack of Hollywood’s biggest action stars: no Arnold, Ford, Stallone, Cage, or Wills appearances. Personally, I think it’s an atrocity that Terminator 2 got bumped by a Jason Statham movie, but alas, the Netflix users have spoken.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl 4.1 stars out of 17,130,515 ratings.
Nowadays Johnny Depp is all about some Disney money, but pre-2003 the actor was glued to Tim Burton’s hip and favored indie roles. And while the Pirates franchise has been a ship adrift for the last couple of films, the original story of Captain Jack Sparrow going up against a crew of ghostly swashbucklers has proven itself to be an incredibly popular Netflix fan favorite. Rotten Tomatoes 86, IMDB 8.1
The Boondock Saints 4.1 stars out of 6,635,133 ratings.
Death Wish may not be on Netflix streaming, but The Boondock Saints is a more than an adequate alternative when it comes to vigilante films. The story of Irish brothers who set out to rid Boston of organized crime — the best way they know how, with lots of bullets — was panned by movie critics for being “too Tarantino.” Like so many cult favorites though, audiences disagreed and the movie has climbed up the action movie ranks. Rotten Tomatoes 20, IMDB 7.9
Olympus Has Fallen 4.1 stars out of 2,523,960 ratings.
If Will Smith movies have taught us anything, it’s that audiences love to see The White House get blown up. Director Antoine Fuqua takes a tip from Independence Day, but instead of relying on space aliens to do his dirty work, he gives terrorists all the credit. Gerard Butler must save the President from North Korean terrorists who have taken over The White House and placed the country in jeopardy. Probably most shocking thing about the movie is that Morgan Freeman is in it and does not play the U.S. President. Rotten Tomatoes 68, IMDB 6.5
End Of Watch 4.1 stars out of 2,362,320 ratings.
Yes, End of Watch includes the incredibly grizzly image above and is a predicable cop drama in many ways, but its documentary-style camera work and tense action sequences keep the movie from getting boring. I didn’t like it quite as much as Training Day, but David Ayer’s story of two rookie L.A. cops who cross paths with a Mexican drug cartel is one of the better police thrillers currently streaming on Netflix. Rotten Tomatoes 86, IMDB 7.7
Act Of Valor 4.1 stars out of 2,241,579 ratings.
Here’s the thing about Act of Valor, if you’re hoping for Oscar-worthy acting — which is an unrealistic hope for most action movies — you’re going to be disappointed. In terms of military action sequences, the movie masterfully delivers on that end. Most of the soldiers in the movie aren’t actors, but active-duty Navy SEALS who embark on a mission to rescue a CIA agent that has been kidnapped by terrorists. Rotten Tomatoes 73, IMDB 6.5
Skyfall 4.1 stars out of 2,164,673 ratings.
Considering that there have been 23 James Bond movies so far, the franchise should be as boring as dirt at this point, but 2012’s Skyfall proved that a good Bond film was still possible after the disappointing Quantum of Solace. Craig does a fine job as 007 who’s on a mission to track down the villain who attacked MI6, but the real scene stealer is Javier Bardem. Rotten Tomatoes 86, IMDB 7.8