The Best Action Movies on Netflix Right Now

Looking for a little adrenaline jolt to your Netflix viewing? We’ve got you covered. Below we’ve curated a list of the best action movies currently available to stream on Netflix, from the more adventure-tinged playful flicks to big-budget superhero movies to straight-up kung fu films. It’s the perfect antidote to the same-old same-old, and Netflix has a pretty swell and diverse library of action films to spice up your night.

So behold, below are the best action movies on Netflix.

Bad Boys

Image via Sony

Director: Michael Bay

Writers: Michael Barry, Jim Mullholland, and Michael Richardson

Cast: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Tea Leoni, Theresa Randle, Joe Pantoliano

Michael Bay’s feature film debut still holds up as one of his best and most grounded films. Make no mistake, the filmmaker established his babes, brawn, and big guns m.o. from the get-go with this 1995 action comedy, but compared to the full-on bombast that would follow in films like Armageddon and the Transformer franchise, Bad Boys still has identifiable roots in the buddy cop action comedy. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence make a commanding comedic duo as the two bickering, wise-cracking Miami cops who get tasked with protecting a witness wind up dodging bullets. Laugh out loud funny with style and explosive set pieces, Bad Boys is the quintessential 90s action movie. — Haleigh Foutch

The Bourne Ultimatum

Image via Universal Pictures

Director: Peter Greengrass

Writers: Tony Gilgroy, Scott C. Burns, and George Nolfi

Cast: Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, David Strathairn, Joan Allen, Scott Glenn, Egar Ramirez, Paddy Considine, Albert Finney, Daniel Bruhl

You can always count on a Bourne movie for some of the best fight scenes and chase sequences in the biz, and The Bourne Ultimatum is arguably the best of the bunch. Matt Damon returns for the third film in the franchise as the titular secret agent whose amnesiac investigations keep rubbing him up against the wrong government agencies. When his own government tries to kill him, he takes the fight to them, uncovering yet another sinister conspiracy. Bourne’s daredevil stunts and Paul Greengrass’ signature shakey-cam make for some dizzying displays of ass-kicking — the Bourne vs. Desh fight is a franchise best — while clever sequences like the train station assassination use editing and cat-and-mouse to build breathless tension. The Bourne franchise is a premiere destination for all things that punch, kick, and ride chase motorcycles through big cities and in that regard, Ultimatum certainly doesn’t disappoint, pitting Bourne against the deadliest series of trained assassins yet. — Haleigh Foutch


Image via Warner Bros.

Writer/Director: Michael Mann

Cast: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight, Tom Sizemore, Ashley Judd, Amy Brenneman, Natalie Portman

Michael Mann perfected the heist movie with his 1995 thriller Heat. Impeccably paced and tightly scripted, Heat is all lean muscle thanks to Mann’s unadorned approach to action, nuanced character portraits and an on-screen showdown for the ages between two acting legends. Al Pacino and Robert De Niro both starred in The Godfather Part II, but they never shared the screen until the iconic diner scene in Heat, an intellectual and machismo battle of equals played in quiet stillness over a cup of coffee. Their rich dynamic — the obsession of two workaholics on opposite sides of the law — is the spark that fuels Heat, making it a tense and bracing watch, even in its quietest moments. Of course, there’s also that famed shootout sequence, a near ten minutes of pulse-pounding perfection set in the streets downtown Los Angeles. It’s one of the best pieces of action filmmaking in movie history. –Haleigh Foutch

13 Assassins

Image via Toho

Director: Takashi Miike

Writer: Daisuke Tengan

Cast: Kôji Yakusho, Goro Inagaki, Yusuke Iseya, Takayuki Yamada, Arata Furuta, Sôsuke Takaoka

Since making his feature filmmaking debut in the mid-90s, Takashi Miike has directed more than 100 movies. Yep, you read that right — that’s 100 films in just over two decades, which means it’s no small badge of honor to say that 13 Assassins is easily one of the best, most essential films in Miike’s wildly prolific career. A remake of Eiichi Kudo’s 1963 samurai film, 13 Assassins is an unusually old-school, straightforward throwback for Miike, following an inexperienced gang of Samurai on a suicide mission to take down a barbaric feudal lord. 13 Assassins is a whirlwind of swordplay and combat spectacle that culminates in a stunning battle royal designed to top the already-legendary climactic showdown from the original film. Miike takes the forty-plus-minute set-piece to the next level with his signature torrents of bloodshed and an intricate ingeniously-staged series of set-pieces. No matter how far Miike swings in 13 Assassins, he always articulates his action with piercing clarity, delivering one of the best (and almost certainly the bloodiest) Samurai spectacles of all time. –Haleigh Foutch


Image via Netflix

Director: Jeremy Rush

Writer: Jeremy Rush

Cast: Frank Grillo, Garret Dillahunt, Caitlin Carmichael, Shea Whigam, Wendy Moniz

Frank Grillo should be one of cinema’s leading action stars. Cut from 1970s cloth, Grillo is an old-school everyman tough guy; a real blue-collar badass. Grillo can grimace and load a gun with the best of ‘em, but unlike the dominant figures in the Western action hero tradition, Grillo is also a trained martial artist who brings impressive physical command to his street-smart charisma. With Wheelman, Grillo takes on a different kind of challenge for an action star — a performance told almost entirely in close-up, from the confines of a single vehicle. That doesn’t leave a lot of room to throw punches or fire heavy artillery, but Grillo and writer-director Jeremy Rush make the most of the minimalist set-up, turning out a gripping, wisely calibrated B-movie about one high-octane night of crime that blasts off from the word go and never taps the brakes. — Haleigh Foutch

Captain America: Civil War

Image via Marvel

Directors: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo

Writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, Tom Holland, Daniel Brühl, Frank Grillo

The folks at Marvel Studios created concept of the modern cinematic universe, and in the years since, they’ve perfected the art of making sure that universe is always expanding. After two Avengers movies, heading to the galaxy and back again, and a glimpse at the quantum realm, Marvel delivered the most epic conflict of the MCU to date by keeping it earth-bound and pitting our beloved heroes against each other in Captain America: Civil War. Captain America and Iron Man come to blows in the loose adaptation of Mark Millar‘s benchmark graphic novel series, and while the film never quite matches the Earth-shattering consequences of the comic, it was a game-changer for the MCU, introducing Tom Holland‘s Spider-Man and setting the stage for Phase 3. Written and directed by the team behind The Winter Soldier, Civil War is packed with stunning action set-pieces that feel ripped from the pages of Marvel’s best comics. — Haleigh Foutch


Image via Paramount

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Writers: Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn

Cast: Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Robert De Niro, Peter O’Toole, Sienna Miller, Michelle Pfieffer, Ben Barnes, Henry Cavill, Mark Strong, Rupert Everett

Adapted from Niel Gaiman‘s enchanting and delightful novella of the same name, Matthew Vaughn’s Stardust is a classic, swashbuckling fantasy adventure bubbling over with charm. Charlie Cox stars as Tristan Thorn, a lovesick young man who dares to cross over to a magical land in order to capture a fallen star and win the love of his village beauty. There’s just one problem — the fallen star takes the form of a headstrong young woman (Claire Danes) and a trio of wicked witches are hot on their trail, eager to carve out her heart. They don’t often make adventure movies like they used to these days, but Stardust is a brilliant throwback in the vein of The Princess Bride that delivers on all fronts and stands as one of the best Neil Gaiman adaptations yet. — Haleigh Foutch

Tropic Thunder

Image via DreamWorks Pictures

Directed by: Ben Stiller

Written by: Justin Theroux

Cast: Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Jay Baruchel, Steve Coogan, Danny McBride, Bill Hader, Nick Nolte, and Matthew McConaughey

If it’s an action movie that’ll also tickle your funny bone you’re looking for, Ben Stiller’s 2008 action comedy Tropic Thunder is a great choice. The film takes on self-important Hollywood by chronicling the production of a big budget Vietnam War film that marks key career turns for its stars. Ben Stiller is a huge action star trying to recover from a misstep into drama territory; Jack Black is an Adam Sandler/Eddie Murphy-esque comedy actor with a severe drug addition; and Robert Downey Jr. is a lauded Australian performer known for going intensely method. Chaos ensues when the actors find themselves in real danger, which they think is simply their director making things as “real” as possible. The comedy is swell, but the scope of this movie is genuinely big as Stiller doesn’t skimp on the “action” part of the action-comedy genre. Explosions and belly laughs ensue. – Adam Chitwood

Hot Fuzz

Image via Universal Pictures

Director: Edgar Wright

Writers: Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright

Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton, Paddy Considine, Olivia Colman, Rafe Spall

Filmmaker Edgar Wright certainly turned heads with his work on the beloved UK series Spaced and then broke out in a big way with the “zomromcom” Shaun of the Dead, but how to follow up that success? With a whip-smart twist on the action genre, of course. With Hot Fuzz, Wright captures the world of everyday police work with the same urgency and explosiveness as Michael Bay shoots his big chase sequences, resulting in a hilarious action film all its own that never delves into parody. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are excellent as the two lead policemen, but the entire ensemble truly shines as the film moves towards a delightful turn at the top of the third act. Kick back, relax, and enjoy the fun. – Adam Chitwood

Kill Bill Vol. 1 & Vol. 2

Image via Miramax

Writer/Director: Quentin Tarantino

Cast: Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen, David Carradine, Julie Dreyfus, Sonny Chiba, Chiaki Kuriyama

Uma Thurman has never done more rigorous or impressive work than her turn as Beatrix Kiddo, aka The Bride, in Tarantino’s martial arts homage Kill Bill. The first film follows The Bride’s bloody warpath to revenge after her assassin squad turned against her on the day of her wedding, and Vol. 2 dives deep into Kiddo, who she was before the betrayal and who she wants to be once her revenge is complete. Both films are packed to the brim with stunning action sequences, for which Tarantino recruited legendary martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo-ping and sword fight choreographer Tetsuro Shimaguchi. Kinetic, relentless, and consummately stylish, the Kill Bill movies are some of the most artful, intense action movies in cinema history because they’re pulled from the very DNA of that history. — Haleigh Foutch

Ip Man

Image via Mandarin Films

Director: Wilson Yip

Writer: Edmond Wong

Cast: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Lynn Hung, Siu-Wong Fan, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi

This 2008 martial arts essential stars Donnie Yen as Ip Man, the legendary Wing Chun master who went on to train Bruce Lee. A wealthy martial artist living the dream life, Ip Man’s life is thrown into chaos when the Japanese occupy his hometown during wartime. On the surfae level, Ip Man is in opportunity to watch one of the best living martial artists play one of the most famed Kung Fu masters of all time – and it certainly delivers on the fight scenes that come with that premise, including an instantly iconic Wing Chun vs. Black Belts set-piece. But Ip Man is also a fantastic character-driven period drama rooted in history and apparent affection for the martial arts genre, and Yen is extraordinary, not just for the athleticism and showmanship of his choreography work but for his charismatic, commanding performance. – Haleigh Foutch


Image via Buena Vista Pictures

Directed by: Michael Bay

Written by: Jonathan Hensleigh and J.J. Abrams

Cast: Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Will Patton, Steve Buscemi, William Fichtner, Owen Wilson, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Peter Stormare

This is the kind of action bombast where Michael Bay is at his best. The plot is lovably ludicrous—a team of oil drillers is sent up into space to put a bomb into the middle of an incoming asteroid so they can blow it up and save the Earth, a premise so silly that star Ben Affleck openly mocked it on the commentary track—but it works through Bay’s unabashedly hyped up tone. Everything is cranked to 11, from the sentiment to the set pieces to the comedy, and it somehow works. Armageddon may not be Bay’s best movie (that would be The Rock) or the most Bay movie (that would be Bad Boys II), but it’s quintessential Michael Bay. – Matt Goldberg

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Image via Lucasfilm

Directors: Gareth Edwards

Writers: Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy

Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Alan Tudyk, Wen Jiang, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen

The first of Disney’s planned anthology films, Rogue One: A Star Wars Storytravels back to a time between the original trilogy and the much-maligned prequel trilogy to tell a tale of rebellion. Nestled between the rise of the Empire as we know it and the improbable destruction of their space-based super-weapon is this contained story about a group of anti-heroes and their risky mission to obtain the Death Star blueprints. It’s this key piece of information that allows the rebellion to not only kick off in earnest but to thrive for generations.

Rogue One is part heist film and part war movie, as if Ocean’s Eleven and The Dirty Dozen came together in what’s arguably the best space drama ever to unfold. Edwards’ tale doesn’t succeed fully in either regard, but it does offer up plenty of fan service for the Star Wars faithful who want to see connective tissue strung together between existing films. It introduces a handful of colorful characters, including some referenced outside of the cinematic universe, but ultimately only uses them for this solitary film since the rebellion’s greatest victory also comes with their greatest sacrifices. - Dave Trumbore

The Way of the Gun

Image via Artisan Entertainment

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Writer: Christopher McQuarrie

Cast: Ryan Phillippe, Benicio Del Toro, Juliette Lewis, Taye Diggs, James Caan, Scott Wilson

Before he became Tom Cruise‘s go-to guy, Christopher McQuarrie made his directorial debut with the uneven but fearlessly full-on crime thriller The Way of the Gun. Ryan Phillippe and Benicio Del Toro star as two lowlife criminals who get in over their head when they kidnap a pregnant surrogate in the hopes of ransoming a small fortune from the wealthy biological parents. The film lags at points, but the rough material of McQuarrie’s talent for action is on full display every time The Way of the Gun veers into a new set-piece and the final shoot out is a downright all-timer. — Haleigh Foutch

Battle Royale

Image via Toei Company

Director: Kinji Fukasaku

Writer: Kenta Fukasaku

Cast: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Tarô Yamamoto, Takeshi Kitano, Chiaki Kuriyama, Takashi Tsukamoto, Sôsuke Takaoka

Battle Royale was doing YA dystopia before it was cool. Following a class of middle schoolers pitted against each other in a government-mandated battle to the death, Kinji Fakasaku‘s adaptation of the popular manga is brought up most often these days in comparison to The Hunger Games, which is a shame because it’s an extraordinary piece of filmmaking deserving of a fate much better than becoming a footnote to a popular phenomenon. Where The Hunger Games goes macro with a sweeping tale of warfare and propoganda, Battle Royale goes micro, focusing on coming-of-age melodrama and hyper-violent satire set during a single round of the twisted teenage gladiator games. Fukasaku pulls no punches and the film still packs a hell of a wallop nearly two decades later, full of twists and surprises, and searing moment of humanity amongst the blood-spattered pitch-black humor. — Haleigh Foutch

Boyka: Undisputed

Image via Millennium Films

Director: Todor Chapkanov

Writers: David N. White, Boaz Davidson

Stars: Scott Adkins, Teodora Duhovnikova, Alon Aboutboul, Julian Vergov, Paul Chahidi, Martyn Ford

Scott Adkins is a stunning physical performer and, without a doubt, one of the most impressive Western action stars in the business. Best known for his henchman roles in Doctor Strange and The Expendables 2, Adkins has also become a king of the DTV genre circuit, but few films have shown off his impressive combat artistry as well as the Undisputed series. Adkins’ Yuri Boyka, aka The Most Complete Fighter in the World, was first introduced as the villain in Undisputed II before earning his redemption in Undisputed III. For the series’ fourth film, Boyka: Undisputed, he continues further down the path of his heroic journey, to a much more complicated, pensive destination. After accidentally killing an opponent in the ring, Boyka assumes the responsibility of caring for the dead man’s wife. In the Undisputed tradition, the film is packed with breathless, bone-shattering fight scenes that serve as a showcase for the excellent athletes on screen, but it’s also a fantastic vehicle for Adkins, who gets to dive deep into the once one-note villain and explore the psyche of what it takes beyond physical prowess to earn his title as the Most Complete Fighter in the World. — Haleigh Foutch

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Image via Marvel Studios

Written and Directed by: James Gunn

Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Kurt Russell, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Elizabeth Debicki, Pom Klementieff, Bradley Cooper, and Vin Diesel

Yes, all Marvel movies are technically “action movies”, but if you’re in the mood for a space-set adventure, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 is a great pick. Writer/director James Gunn doubled down on the riskiness of the first Guardians movie by crafting a sequel that’s essentially a hangout movie, where the villain and plot don’t really become crystal clear until well over halfway into the flick. That allows you to sit back and soak up the eye-popping visuals, and indeed while this is very much a hangout movie, that doesn’t mean there aren’t also massive (and massively colorful) space battles and gun fights. – Adam Chitwood

Inside Man

Image via Universal Pictures

Director: Spike Lee

Writer: Russell Gerwitz

Cast: Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer, Willem Dafoe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kim

Spike Lee goes broad and accessible to terrifically entertaining results in Inside Man, an intricately plotted, endlessly entertaining 21st Century heist movie brimming with Lee’s signature command of New York City energy. Hinged on the cat-and-mouse dynamic between a NYPD hostage negotiator (Denzel Washington) and the cunning bank robber (Clive Owen) behind an elaborate heist, Inside Man boasts a finely tuned script that cleverly indulges and subverts the tropes of the heist genre simultaniously. But the film really thrives in the character dynamics, be it the respectful rivalry between Washington and Owen’s characters, the buddy cop beats between Washington and Chiwetel Ejiofor, or the contentious professionalism between the bank’s founder (Christopher Plummer) and his power broker (Jodie Foster). Sharp, fast-paced, and crackling with wit, Inside Man wraps it up with a fitting finale that leaves you equally satisfied and surprised. — Haleigh Foutch

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