40+ Best Action Movies on Netflix To Kick Your Watchlist Into High Gear

It can become quite easy to be bored by the overwhelming selections on Netflix of documentaries and comedies. Sometimes you just want a movie that gets your blood pumping. Maybe you’re in the mood for a good old-fashioned car chase. Perhaps a superhero story of great heroes and villains that duke it out with astounding powers. Or maybe you’re in the mood for a kung fu picture where fists and kicks fly so high and hurt so bad. Netflix has a little bit of everything when it comes to action, including the latest from Marvel and the classics of the 20th century. Here are some of our choices for the best action movies that Netflix has to offer.

Black Panther (2018) – IMDB Score 7.3/10

Nominated for Best Picture of 2018, Black Panther is perhaps one of the most profound and distinct entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Picking up with the character since his first appearance in Captain America: Civil War, we get to learn more about Black Panther and the history of his hidden kingdom, Wakanda, while also discovering its messy lineage that led to the villain Killmonger. The film comes loaded with plenty of superhero action sequences, the most superior being a gambling den brawl in Korea that soon transforms into a high-tech car chase.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018) – IMDB Score 8.5/10

The ultimate superhero crossover event, Infinity War brings together ten years of Marvel movies into an action-packed finish. The intergalactic warlord Thanos is seeking the Infinity Stones to reshape the universe in his own vision and it’s up to the Avengers to stop him including the likes of Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Captain America, Rocket, Thor, Black Panther, and too many others to list here. All of them join forces to combat Thanos and his evil forces in plenty of set pieces where Rocket can sling guns next to Bucky and Spider-Man can keep up with Iron Man. It also ends on a very somber note for being the first of a two-part story.

Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018) – IMDB Score 7.1/10

If Avengers: Infinity War is a little too dark, Ant-Man and The Wasp is the perfect chaser film to put a smile back on your face. Taking place before Infinity War, Scott Lang must secretly become the size-shifting hero of Ant-Man once more to help Hank Pym pluck his wife from the subatomic universe she has been trapped within for decades. Scott now teams up with Hank’s daughter Hope in her hero outfit of The Wasp, allowing her to shift in size, fly, and shoot blasters. Much like the previous film, it’s another fast-paced adventure of great humor and astounding special effects.

Casino Royale (2006) – IMDB Score 8/10

Daniel Craig made his debut as James Bond in 2006’s Casino Royale. And what a debut it was. Bond tackles a financier of global terrorists and combats his evil organization in exhilarating scenes of chases, fights, and poker games. Directed by Martin Campbell, the film not only set the tone for Craig’s fierce nature but also a new Bond for the 21st century that’s all the more exciting, bringing all the gadgets and sexiness along with the new ample dose of grit.

Incredibles 2 (2018) – IMDB Score 7.7/10

Who says action films can’t be animated? Pixar proved as much with their 2004 superhero hit The Incredibles and they prove it once more with Incredibles 2. The superpowered Incredible family finds themselves on the cusp of being accepted back into society but it’ll be up to Elasti-Girl to be the face of heroes while Mr. Incredible will have to raise the kids at home. Much like the last film, there’s a good balance of comic book action and relatable family humor, this time expanded with more set pieces, more characters, and more superpowers.

The Terminator (1984) – IMDB Score 8/10

Arnold Schwarzenegger is absolutely terrifying as the seemingly unstoppable T-800 robot assassin. He sent back in time to prevent the rebellion of humans in the future by slaughtering the unsuspecting waitress of Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). It’s up to the time-traveling warrior Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) to save her in a dark and violent battle of man versus machine.

The Crow (1994) – IMDB Score 7.6/10

The Crow came as a darker superhero during the era of Batman in the 1990s and still holds up as a gorgeous and gutsy comic book action movie. Brandon Lee plays the titular hero who rises from the dead to get revenge on a corrupt city that led to his demise. With its fantastic production design and explosive violence, it’s an exciting picture of a grim hero, made all the more bittersweet when realizing this would be Brandon Lee’s last film as an accident on set led to his untimely death.

Enter the Dragon (1973) – IMDB Score 7.7/10

The most iconic of Bruce Lee martial arts pictures, Enter the Dragon stars Lee as a man on a quest to capture a drug dealer. It’s also a quest for revenge as the dealer’s gang has murdered his sister. The only way to get close to this leader is to fight in a kung fu competition of fierce competitors. Directed by Robert Clouse, the film boasts some legendary action sequences and also features a large and bold cast that includes the likes of John Saxon and Jim Kelly.

The Wild Bunch (1969) – IMDB Score 8/10

One of the most brutal Westerns of its time, The Wild Bunch features a band of outlaws hoping to bring their careers in robbery to an end. But when they’re betrayed by a former comrade as their latest heist is a setup, they find themselves with their backs against the walls in Mexican territory. The film already has an astounding cast worth watching in their lawless actions but the final shootout is one of the most violent and intense showdowns of any Western ever filmed.

Watchmen (2009) – IMDB Score 7.6/10

Zack Snyder’s take on Alan Moore’s classic comic book may not be as affluent with the commentary on deconstructing superheroes but it does deliver when it comes to action and darkness. An alternate 1985 finds superheroes reshaping history, leading to plenty of brutal and disturbing fight sequences of heroes being murdered and struggling to do the right thing in a world that has gone mad.

The Dirty Dozen (1967) – IMDB Score 7.8/10

Considered one of the greatest films about a pack of anti-heroes, The Dirty Dozen tells the gritty story of a U.S. Army major bringing together convicts to form an elite fighting force to kill Germans in France. If they serve, they’ll have reduced sentences. Well, if they survive the battles ahead that is.

District 9 (2009) – IMDB Score 7.9/10

You don’t always need the biggest budget for amazing special effects. District 9 is a perfect example of using a budget wisely for the story of aliens imprisoned on Earth trying to get home. Sharlto Copley plays a field agent of the alien camps that soon comes to learn more about the aliens and soon fights for their right to go home in explosive action of weapons both automatic and energy based.

Hellboy (2004) – IMDB Score 6.9/10

A devil from the underworld tries to settle down on Earth with his kindly adoptive father. After shaving off those horns, the titular devil turns to a life of good by working for a secret organization bent on stopping mystical and paranormal threats. Ron Perlman plays the tough-as-nails devil and uses his massive fist and gun to take down all manner of dangerous creatures that threaten the world.

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – IMDB Score 8.5/10

You don’t get more classic with action than Indiana Jones. Inspired by the old adventure film serials, the film finds Harrison Ford playing the archeologist turned treasure hunter when trying to beat the sinister Nazi forces to the legendary Ark of the Covenant. But Indy may be in over his head when he finally happens upon the Ark, leading to one of the most disturbingly violent climaxes of any PG-rated adventure film.

The Dark Knight (2008) – IMDB Score 9/10

Considered by many to be the best Batman movie ever made, if the box office is anything to go by, The Dark Knight finds Batman (Christian Bale) going up against the villain of The Joker (Heath Ledger) and his chaotic means of wreaking havoc on Gotham City. As the last performance of Ledger, his Joker is a very distinct character in a Christopher Nolan film that is already brimming with plenty of spectacles, including some impressive set pieces shot in glorious IMAX.

National Treasure (2004) – IMDb Score 6.9/10

Imagine that Nicholas Cage had been cast as Indiana Jones, and you pretty much have National Treasure. Cage plays a historian who ends up needing to steal the Declaration of Independence in order to protect an ancient treasure hidden by the Knight Templar, as the map to its location is on the back of the historic document. Jones without the Nazis, he battles with bad guys within the establishment itself, and of course, he’s an American patriot. Cheesy but good fun.

The Losers (2010) – IMDB Score 6.9/10

Another graphic novel adaptation, this American film features an all star ensemble cast includeing Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Salanda, Chris Evans and Idris Elba. Playing an elite US black ops team, while on mission in Bolivia things go horrible wrong and the team is responsible for the deaths of a number of children because of someone called ‘Max’ at head command. A few months later, Salanda’s character shows up with an unusual proposal, and a chance for them to get revenge on the mysterious Max.

Deja Vu (2006) – IMDb Score 7.1/10

Is there anything that Denzel Washington can’t do? Known for his dramatic acting chops, he also makes one hell of an action star. Washington plays a New Orleans detective invited to be part of the team investigating the explosion of a military boat off the city’s coast. He is introduced to government technology that allows them to see four days into the past. How can they use this technology to solve the mystery.

Black Hawk Down (2001) – IMDb Score 7.7/10

This now-classic war film from Ridley Scott follows the 1993 raid by U.S. Military in Mogadishu, that aimed to capture an important faction leader, but ended in a firefight in the streets of the city. The film has a large ensemble cast including Ewan McGregor, Josh Hartnett and Eric Bana, almost all completely unrecognisable as they inhabit the role of marines under fire. But don’t watch this movie for the characters, watch it for the visceral and unrelenting experience of battle.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014) – IMDB Score 6.2/10

This spy thriller is a reboot of the Jack Ryan series based on the Tom Clancy models, with Chris Pine succeeding Alex Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck in the role of Ryan. This is an origin story of how Ryan goes from military recruit, to normal CIA operative, to super spy! While this firm doesn’t reinvent anything about the genre, it is an enjoyable watch for anyone who enjoys the genre. Strong supporting performances from Kenneth Branagh and Keira Knightly.

The Revenant (2015) – IMDB Score 8/10

Leonardo DiCaprio stars in this demi-biographical film about explorer Hugh Glass, who in the early 19th century guided fur hunters into unknown territory to secure their goods. When Glass is attacked by a bear, the team feel that they must mercy kill him, and continue on. But descent among the group means that not everything that it seems, and Glass survives both the bear attack and his murder to seek revenge. Also, this film has Tom Hardy, what more to say.

Sicario (2015) – IMDB Score 7.6/10

This film starring Emily Blunt, Benicio del Tori and Josh Brolin follows an FBI agent tasked with bringing down a brutal Mexican drug cartel. Blunt’s character is the heart of the film as she sees things people should ever had to see, but also learns that things aren’t black and white, and that knowing who to trust is a challenge. She is perfectly complemented by del Toro, who lurks through the movie and keeps you guessing. This flick was nominated for three academy awards, and is well worth the two hours.

Pacific Rim (2010) – IMDb Score 8.3/10

A science fiction action romp, this movie is a bit more than your normal alien destruction film thanks to the direction of Guillermo Del Toro. It also has an interesting cast including Idris Elba, Ron Pearlman and Charlie Hunnam. But yes, an interdimensional portal brings giant aliens to the Earth, which our brave soldiers must defeat by using ships built like giant battle robots.

Salt (2010) – IMDB Score 6.4/10

Angelina Jolie plays the eponymous star of this film. A CIA agent, she is accused by a walk in of being a Russian agent. She escapes in order to prove her innocence, but it turns out that she is not who she seems. However, neither are many of the other people surrounding her in the CIA, and now she must fight to save her new country and free herself from the past. An excellent supporting performance from Liev Schreiber.

Jack Reacher (2012) – IMDB Score 7/10

While they may be formulaic, sometimes you just can’t beat a good Tom Cruise action film. In this movie he plays the eponymous Reacher, who is an ex-military cop brought out of retirement to investigate and find a military sniper suspected of killing five people. Of course, not everything is at it seems and Reacher turns the tables on the people trying to use him. There are some very clever action sequences that are worth watching.

The Age of Shadows (2016) – IMDB Score 7.1/10

A Korean police captain in the Japanese police force is given a special assignment to infiltrate the armed resistance fighting for Korean Independence. He approaches Kim Woo-jin, the leader of the resistance and although the two men stand of opposite sides, they become close friends and reveal their inner thoughts. Information is being leaked to both sides and the men are thrown into a confusion of secret enmity and conciliation. Now the men must figure out how to stop a train that is filled with explosives from passing the border and getting to Seoul.

The Bank Job (2008) – IMDB Score 7.2/10

Terry is a car dealer with a dodgy past and a new family who is trying to avoid major scams. He is living a normal life now but when he is offered a lead on a foolproof bank hit, it’s hard for Terry to turn it down. Terry accepts the job but what he doesn’t realize is the treasure he is about to steal is full of dirty secrets that will send him into a deadly web of corruption and illicit scandal that spans London’s criminal underworld. Now Terry must figure out how to get away from a heist that has gone wrong and return to his family. This action drama stars Jason Statham at the beginning of his career, showing his range as an actor and charisma.

Batman Begins (2005) – IMDB Score 7.2/10

Young Bruce Wayne is raised privileged and wealthy but after both his parents are murdered by a mugger, Bruce is filled with rage and bent on revenge to find the man who killed his parents. Eventually Bruce finds discipline with the help of Henri Ducard, a member of the League of Shadows, who guides him in the study of martial arts and the way an ordinary man can hone his senses in a superhuman way. After seven years, Bruce returns to Gotham to bring peace and safety back to the city by becoming Batman, a masked fighter for justice. Bruce must face a shady psychiatrist who join forces with the criminal underworld and put an end to his plan before it is too late for Gotham.

Cloverfield (2008) – IMDB Score 7.0/10

A powerful and decisive force descends on New York City and four people put their lives on the line in a rescue mission. After a massive explosion rains debris across Manhattan, chaos erupts, and destruction begins. The group is on a mission to find their friend Beth and escape New York before more terrorism hits their city and makes it impossible to leave. J.J. Abram teams up with Drew Goddard and Matt Reeves to deliver this awesome supernatural action movie.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2001) – IMDB Score 7.8/10

Taking place in the early 19th century, a martial arts master Li Mu Bai is retiring from his trade and entering a life of meditation even though he has yet to avenge the death of his mater who was killed by Jade Fox. His 400-year-old sword is pasted down to his friend Yu Shu Lien so she can deliver it to Sir Te but the sword is quickly stolen and Yu is now in pursuit of it. This film is filled with martial art sequences that were choreographed by The Matrix’s Yuen Woo Ping and promises an action packed two hours.

Equilibrium (2002) – IMDB Score 7.4/10

Living in Liberia there is peace among all and a system of rules that everyone must follow. Residents are not allowed to smile, cry, or read contraband books or they will be faced with a crime. Citizens also must take a daily dose of Prozium in order to keep everyone on an even keel. A Cleric, played by Christian Bale, hunts down citizens who don’t take their pills but one day he decides to skip his own dose and discovers a new world of sensation that gives him the passion to fight for the freedom of others.

King Kong (2005) – IMDB Score 7.2/10

Peter Jackson takes on this classic action drama that features a filmmaker and adventurer who is known for documenting wildlife in the remote and dangerous jungle. Carl Denham is set to visit Skull Island, an uncharted island, with his crew. Little does Denham and his crew know that Skull Island is a sanctuary for prehistoric life with dinosaurs and giant beast roaming the land. After arriving on the island one of the crew is kidnapped by the locals and now a rescue mission is on to try and find Darrow before the natives can offer her to Kong.

Logan’s Run (1976) – IMDB Score 6.8/10

Based on the novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, this movie is set in the 23rd century in the wake of a world that is filled with peace and pleasure where nobody grows old. Although they live in a utopian paradise once you reach the age of thirty the government kills their residence, but some want to live past the age of 30. These people are known as runners and they flee to a sanctuary to try and avoid the sandmen that are hunting them. Logan Five is deployed to try and find the Sanctuary once and for all but he soon learns that there is more to life and joins an underground movement member to try and flee the city.

The Mummy (1999) – IMDB Score 6.8/10

Set in Egypt, the high priest Imhotep has given an important assignment of preparing the dead for their journey to the afterlife. After falling in love with the Pharaoh mistress, Imhotep kills the Pharaoh and as punishment he is set to be buried alive and suffer the torment of an eternal life in a tomb. Fast forward to 1932, a set of adventure seekers are out to find a fortune and find a previously unknown burial site in Egypt. They begin to dig and disturb the tomb of Imhotep which causes the cursed priest to rise from his grave and wreck vengeance on humanity. Now the group must figure out a way to stop Imhotep before he destroys all of Egypt.

Sherlock Holmes (2009) – IMDB Score 7.6/10

Featuring Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock and Jude Law as Dr. John Watson, this movie is set in the 1890 where Holmes and Watson are hired by a secret society to stop a mysticism’s plot to expand the British Empire by using supernatural means. Watson is looking to settle down with his family and escape the crazy Sherlock but after murders begin happening the duo knows they must stop this force before officially retiring and starting a new life separate from each other.

Snowpiercer (2014) – IMDB Score 7.1/10

Most of the planet is killed off in a failed global-warming experiment and the final survivors are forced to board the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe. The train is divided into classes where the peasants form a revolt against the front of the train due to the inhumane conditions they are forced to live in. The train is headed for disaster, but everyone must stay on board or be frozen to death due to the ice age they are experiencing.

Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) – IMDB Score 8.5/10

This animated Spider-Man movie feature Miles Morales who is struggling to live up to the expectations of his father, police officer Jefferson Davis, who sees Spider-Man as a menace. Miles is bitten by a radioactive spider and soon begins to experience spider-like abilities. Miles is trained by an older Peter Parker and later discovers other Spider-Men from different universes. The hero’s all team up to try and stop Prowler and Fisk from destroying the city.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) – IMDB Score 7.1/10

Luke is trying to live a peaceful and solitary life, but it is upended when he finds Rey, a young woman who shows signs of the Force. Rey desires to learn the ways of the Jedi force and Luke is forced to make a decision that could ultimately change their lives. The First Order is being led by Kylo Ren and General Hux in an all-out assault against Leia and the Resistance for supremacy against of the galaxy. Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher reprise their most beloved roles in this new installment of Star Wars.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) – IMDB Score 7.9/10

Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard in order to stop Ragnarok, a new destruction of his home world that will end the Asgardian civilization. Hela, a new and powerful threat is ruthless and will do anything to rule Asgard and take it from Thor and the Asgardian civilization. Thor must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that will put him against his former ally and friend, the Incredible Hulk.

V for Vendetta (2006) – IMDB Score 8.2/10

Based on a graphic novel by Alan Moore, this action-packed movie takes place in an alternate vision of Britain which is a corrupt and abusive totalitarian government that has risen to power. Evey, played by Natalie Portman, is rescued by a vigilante named V who embodies the principles of rebellion from an authoritarian state. Becoming unlike allies, V and Evey try to stop the abusive government from their reign on Britain.

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