The Best Action Movies on Netflix Right Now

The Best Action Movies on Netflix Right Now

Looking for a fast-moving car chase? Aerial acrobatics? How about a bit of fisticuffs? Or a tiger eating a dude? Look no further: Netflix has what you need.The best action movies streaming on Netflix right now run the gamut: You can catch a high-minded thriller that uses action to underline plot, character, and message; or a hyper-stylish beat-em-up with cinematography and choreography that make art of violence; or you can just watch a lot of stuff blow up real good. No judgments! The only criteria is that the movie provides a fair share of fast-paced action thrills.

Damsel (2024)

Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things, Enola Holmes) is virtually the face of Netflix at this point. In her latest movie, she plays the title’s damsel, Elodie, who agrees to marry a handsome prince, as young damsels did back in medieval times. Only she discovers that it’s a trap, and she’s actually meant to serve as a sacrifice to satisfy an ancient magical debt to a dragon. Luckily, our distressed damsel is far more resourceful than her would-be in-laws might have guessed. Angela Bassett, Robin Wright, and Shohreh Aghdashloo round out the cast of this fun action fantasy.

RRR (2022)

A fast-paced action movie should almost certainly not be as long as RRR, but there is not one single dull moment in this nearly three-hour Bollywood film. Likewise, a historical drama that touches on the national trauma brought on by the British Raj and depicting two real-life revolutionaries who died as martyrs to the cause of independence shouldn’t be this much pure fun, but somehow the context only makes it more satisfying. Find me a more thrilling moment in the movies than the bit where a truck full of wild animals is forcefully unleashed upon a sedate gathering at a British politician’s compound, or when a meet-cute between the two main characters involves wild acrobatics over and around a bridge. If American action epics insist on being this long, they could learn a thing or two or three from RRR’s refusal to ever sag.

Kill Boksoon (2023)

Gil Bok-Soon (Jeon Do-yeon) is just a working single mom struggling to relate to her teenage daughter. Or, at least, that’s how it looks. It turns out that the company she works for, M. K. Ent., is in the assassination business, and Bok-Soon is their top-rated killer—she’s also in a slightly awkward relationship with one of her co-workers. It’s not a comedy, but the movie has fun playing up its parallels between a typical corporate job and Bok-Soon’s gig, while also offering up some impressively well-defined characters. What’s at least as important as all of that, though, is the plethora of spellbinding action sequences and brilliant fight choreo.

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

On a relatively small budget, Beverly Hills Cop became an instant blockbuster, turned Eddie Murphy into an international superstar, and even earned an Oscar nomination for its screenplay. This was the golden age of the buddy comedy, and few succeeded on the same level. Murphy plays Axel Foley, a Detroit cop moonlighting in sunny California to solve an old friend’s murder. He reluctantly teams up with Judge Reinhold’s bumbling Detective Billy Rosewood, and action-packed antics ensue. It’s success led to a trilogy and a 2024 legacy sequel, Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F. And that soundtrack!

Godzilla Minus One (2023)

Even given the success of Hollywood’s recent stabs at the franchise, the best Godzilla movies still come from Japan, a fact made crystal clear by this emotional roller-coaster, set in the aftermath of World War II. With clear-cut and inventive action set against a story involving human characters who we genuinely care about, this isn’t just the best recent kaiju movie…it may be the best ever.

The Equalizer (2014)

2014’s The Equalizer was the first of two ongoing, largely unrelated, takes on the original 1980s TV series—a new CBS show starring Queen Latifah premiered in 2021. Given the success-to-failure ratio of reboots, finding success with two of them is no small feat, and it doesn’t hurt the film version reunites Denzel Washington with Training Day director Antoine Fuqua. The setup is straightforward—former marine and intelligence officer Robert McCall is drawn out of retirement when a young woman he meets at a diner turns out to be connected to a world of sex trafficking and Russian oligarchs—but the plot is really secondary. This one’s all about watching Denzel getting violent, action-packed revenge.

The Old Guard (2020)

Greg Rucka wrote the screenplay for this adaptation of his graphic novel about a mercenary special ops team made up of impressively long-lived humans with unexplained regenerative powers. Charlize Theron leads the cynical group of warriors in a movie that effectively blends superhero tropes with military action. The lack of superpowers that don’t have to do with healing helps differentiate it from Marvel and DC flicks, foregrounding skillfully choreographed fight sequences that don’t feel like complete fantasy.

Kill Bill: Volumes 1 and 2 (2003/2004)

Quentin Tarantino’s two-part martial arts spectacular pays brilliant homage to the classics of the genre, with Uma Thurman as a nameless (at least initially) vengeful bride out to kill everyone who destroyed her happiness (specifically: her one-time fellow assassins, played by Lucy Liu, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, Vivica A. Fox, and David Carradine). With brutal, beautiful fighting and colorful, over-the-top set-pieces, it’s a heightened and bloody experience with real emotional resonance.

The Harder They Fall (2021)

The modern western takes on the story of real-life Black American cowboy Nat Love (played by Jonathan Majors), and he’s joined by several other characters out of actual American history, played by the likes of Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Regina King, and Delroy Lindo. It’s not a history lesson, but western movies have never been particularly troubled by the idea of heightening the true stories of the old American west into something like mythology. Here, young Nat Love’s parents are killed by Elba’s outlaw Rufus Buck, sending Love on a lifelong quest for revenge. This leads to a series of brilliantly exciting shoot-outs, stunts, and chases that pay tribute to the classic movies of the western genre, while also nodding to modern fight choreography and staging.

The Night Comes for Us (2018)

A sort-of successor to The Raid series (including many of the same actors), this movie from Indonesian writer/director Timo Tjahjanto (May the Devil Take You, a great horror movie also on Netflix) tells the story of a Triad member forced to fight his way out of the organization. The movie is on the bloodier end of its genre; the action is brilliant and stylized, but there’s quite a bit more realism in terms of blood and gore. The concluding fight scene is an all-time great one, if you’ve got the stomach for it.

Kate (2021)

Though it’s lead by a French director and an American actor (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Kate stands apart in its anime-inspired, neon-lit, new-Tokyo aesthetic. There’s nothing new here, plot-wise, but that’s beside the point. Assigned to kill a yakuza assassin by her handler (Woody Harrelson), the titular assassin discovers that she’s been poisoned and has only 24 hours to live (i.e., 24 hours to get violent revenge). Imagine if the 1940s film noir classic D.O.A. were a martial arts action movie.

Baahubali (2015)

The two Baahubali movies might not have quite the rousing political appeal of RRR (they’re all from the same director, S.S. Rajamouli)—honestly, it’s hard to beat the thrill of watching snotty colonials being eaten by tigers—but, if anything, these movies are even bigger, grander, and more operatic in their interests. Roughly inspired by the ancient Indian stories of the Mahabharata and featuring endless sweaty shirtless men (and not a few women, although more often clothed) fighting people and animals, the first film includes a 45-minute battle sequence that’s topped by the sequel. There’s just enough plot and romance to propel the action, but they’re the kinds of movies that know exactly what we’re here for, and they’re not afraid to give it to you. Baahubali: The Beginning and Baahubali: The Conclusion are both on Netflix, in English-dubbed and subtitled versions.

Enola Holmes (2020)

Her brother Sherlock wasn’t above a bit of fisticuffs now and then, but it was his sister, Enola (Millie Bobbie Brown), we learn here, who really got to mix it up—with some help and training from their mother, Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter). Enola uses that combat training throughout the movie in fights involving fists, guns, knives, explosives, and a moving train or two as Enola searches for her missing mum while staying a step or two ahead of big bro (Henry Cavill). The sequel is just as fun.

Outlaw King (2018)

Chris Pine plays Robert the Bruce in this film that, unsurprisingly, takes plenty of liberties with the Scottish Wars of Independence of the 14th century. No matter. The film sees underdog Robert lead a guerrilla campaign against the future Edward II of England in a number of exceptionally (though believably) bloody Medieval battles. Spears and swords clash in a number of extended and expensive-looking sequences, making it look like a real-life (well, kinda) Game of Thrones.

Beckett (2021)

The film aspires to the paranoid, conspiracy-style of movies like The Parallax View, The Bourne Identity, or Enemy of the State, but the plot here is a little too thin to work on that level. Where Beckett excels, though, is in presenting a straightforward man-on-the-run action thriller. John David Washington stars as the title character, who finds himself getting chased through Greece, for reasons unclear to him, following an auto accident. Washington is fun to watch as he runs and gets shot at; the scenery is striking; and the movie does a good job of making Greece feel incredibly sinister, especially for a lead character who doesn’t know the language.

Da 5 Bloods (2020)

It feels strange to include Spike Lee’s thoughtful Vietnam War story—one that grapples with the experiences of Black American soldiers during that conflict as few (if any) movies have before. Nevertheless, part of the reason that it works as well as it does is that Lee’s film does all of that while also offering up plenty of impressively shot and choreographed action sequences. With a cast led by Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, and Clarke Peters, the movie finds four aging Vietnam vets returning to that country to recover the remains of their fallen squad leader—and also to dig up the gold bars they left behind. Set in two time frames, it plays as a war movie in the past and, often, a thriller in the characters’ present, as they’re hunted by mercenaries while they hunt their lost treasure.

Lead Image Credit: Netflix/Miramax/Sony


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