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The 10 Best Action Movies On Netflix Right Now

Columbia Pictures

Last Updated: September 20th

“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.

Related: The 30 Best Movies On Netflix Right Now, Ranked

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.

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Hellboy (2004)

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.

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For more of the best streaming picks on Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, subscribe to our What To Watch newsletter.

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.

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Armageddon (1998)

No binge of overblown ’90s action movies would be complete without a sampling from Michael Bay, and Armageddon is one of his best thanks to its lovable ridiculousness and implausibility. As the other “we have to stop the world-ending meteor” movie of 1998 — it arrived a bit after Deep Impact — this is the one that is packed with some of the biggest names of the decade. Despite some of the actors saying that they only did the movie for the paycheck and Bay himself saying he wishes he could redo the error-filled third act, it has a bloated charm to its mess. This is largely due to Steve Buscemi’s appearance, which was contractually obligated in every movie of the ’90s.

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Hot Fuzz (2007)

The second of Edgar Wright’s “Cornetto Trilogy,” Hot Fuzz acts as a send-up of all the over-the-top action films that came before it, from Bad Boys II to Point Break. When loner super cop Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) gets reassigned to a much safer town, all he can do is eat ice cream and chase a dastardly swan with his new partner (Nick Frost) until the bodies start piling up. Pegg proves that he can be a master of comedic characters, contrasting the slackers of Shaun Of The Dead and The World’s End with this by-the-book policeman-officer. While parodying the clichés, Fuzz doesn’t rely solely on bits or callbacks to tell a layered story, with the charming chemistry between Pegg and Frost at the center of it. Plus, it gives us a contender for one of the funniest scenes in all British comedy.

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Ip Man (2008)

In a town filled with aspiring martial artists, the best of the best is Ip Man, a father and husband who just wants to keep his quiet way of life even in the midst of the Japanese occupation of China. In discovering that sometimes fighting is the only way to keep the peace, Ip inspires many by taking a stand during war-torn times. As a subtle reflection on war mixed with a healthy dose of fast-paced, mesmerizing combat, Ip Man is actually based on the real life of Yip Man, the grand master who trained Bruce Lee.

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Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl (2003)

Dead men may tell no tales, but Gore Verbinski told a pretty good one with the first Pirates Of The Caribbean. As Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and his crew of the damned try rid themselves of their curse, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) pursue in hopes of rescuing the damsel Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley). While the sequels became a little too outlandish, Black Pearl allows Depp and Rush the freedom to produce unique, memorable characters and enough scenery to chew for days. The end of the second act may drag a bit, but it’s still a fun adventure that justly made Knightly a household name.

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Captain America: Civil War (2016)

It was a tough job for Anthony and Joe Russo to follow up Winter Soldier — one of the best entries in the MCU — but they put forward an admirable entry with the next Captain America film. When governmental oversight looms over the Avengers, lines are drawn and sides are taken, led by Cap and Tony Stark. With a deep bench of source material and character arcs to flesh out (a problem that has only expanded with Infinity War), Civil War tells an exciting superhero tale that still manages to mix in that espionage element that’s critical to Captain America’s success. Who would have thought you could do so much with a hero whose main attribute is a shield? And kudos to Netflix for adding this to their library in such a timely fashion.

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Oldboy (2003)

Oh Dae-su, a man imprisoned for 15 years, searches for answers in this Korean director Park Chan-wook’s adaptation of the Japanese manga. Part film noir, part revenge story, Oldboy tells a raw tale of a smart but confused average Joe, and the action sequences reflect that. There’s no highly choreographed martial arts, no sword-swinging spectacle. Just a lot of brutality. The sucker punch of an ending will linger with you, nearly as much as the tense hallway fight that’s synonymous with Oldboy.

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V For Vendetta (2005)

In a dystopian future, mysterious, masked V (Hugo Weaving) starts an uprising against a controlling British rule, his only friend being the seemingly timid Evey (Natalie Portman). Despite existing almost entirely behind a Guy Fawkes mask, Weaving puts forth tremendous heart in the role, even as a superhuman vigilante with lots of knives. Although Alan Moore disliked V For Vendetta about as much as he dislikes every adaptation of his works, the film was the last widely praised Wachowski movie, as they used their love of strong violence and allegory to bring the political graphic novel to life.

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For more of the best streaming picks on Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, subscribe to our What To Watch newsletter.


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The 10 Best Action Movies On Netflix Right Now

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