The best action movies on Netflix right now

If we’re lucky, most of us will never have to scale a skyscraper or dodge bullets — but that doesn’t mean those things aren’t dang cool to watch. Great action movies give us the kind of adrenaline rush that other movies just can’t. With the massive onset of superhero movies over the past few years, the action genre is more crowded than ever, and they’re not all worth your time. Although Netflix has a great collection of action flicks, we’ve gone ahead and sorted through the duds for you. If you’re in the mood for an action movie night, check out our updated list of the best action movies on Netflix.

We’ve also curated a guide to the best action movies on Amazon Prime, the best action movies on Disney+, and the best action movies on Hulu if you’re looking for additional recommendations.

Recently added to Netflix

The Mask of Zorro (1998) new

The Mask of Zorro
Genre Action, Adventure
Stars Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones
Directed by Martin Campbell
pg-13 136m
After being imprisoned for 20 years, Don Diego de la Vega (Anthony Hopkins) — better known as the master swordsman, Zorro — learns that his nemesis Don Rafael Montero (Stuart Wilson) is back on the scene. Escaping prison, Don Diego returns to his old headquarters, where he soon realizes he is too old to defeat his former nemesis. Instead, he trains Alejandro Murrieta (Antonio Banderas) to don the mask and become his successor.

Sucker Punch (2011) new

Sucker Punch
Genre Action, Fantasy, Thriller
Stars Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone
Directed by Zack Snyder
pg-13 110m
Girlpower cranks it into overdrive in this high-octane, imaginative, action-packed fantasy about a young woman named Babydoll (Emily Browning) who finds solace from her true life inside an asylum by retreating into a fantasy world of her own design. There, she fights for freedom alongside four other women — all of whom are bound together to escape a terrible fate. Thanks to a fantasyland arsenal at their disposal, they take on everything from samurais to serpents for their survival.

Gunpowder Milkshake (2021)

Gunpowder Milkshake
Genre Action, Thriller, Crime
Stars Karen Gillan, Lena Headey, Chloe Coleman
Directed by Navot Papushado
r 114m
As a child, Sam (Karen Gillan) was abandoned by her mother, Scarlet (Lena Headey), when her life as an assassin overwhelmed her. In the present, Sam follows her mother’s footsteps as an assassin. However, Sam betrays her contract when she uses stolen money to pay the ransom for Emily (Chloe Coleman), a young girl under her protection. As rival assassins and criminals pursue Sam and Emily, Scarlet re-enters her life at an inopportune moment. If either mother or daughter wants to survive, they will have to work together. And as the title of Gunpowder Milkshake implies, there’s a lot of gunplay in this movie.

Léon: The Professional (1994)

Léon: The Professional
Genre Crime, Drama, Action
Stars Jean Reno, Natalie Portman, Gary Oldman
Directed by Luc Besson
r 111m
It’s probably a good thing that a sequel to Leon: The Professional has never materialized. It would be hard to live up to the original. Jean Reno headlines the film as Leon, an assassin who unexpectedly bonds with a young girl named Mathilda Lando (Natalie Portman) after the death of her family. Corrupt DEO operative Norman Stansfield (Gary Oldman) is behind the murder of Mathilda’s family, and she tries to take vengeance into her own hands. However, it soon falls to Leon to rescue Mathilda and deal out some justice of his own.

Last Action Hero (1993)

Last Action Hero
Genre Adventure, Fantasy, Action, Comedy, Family
Stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austin O'Brien, Bridgette Wilson
Directed by John McTiernan
pg-13 130m
Contemporary critics would have you believe that there are no redeeming factors in Last Action Hero. And yet it’s still a surprisingly fun ‘90s action romp with Arnold Schwarzenegger as both Detective Jack Slater and himself. A young boy named Danny Madigan (Austin O’Brien) is given a magic movie ticket that allows him to enter the cinematic world of Jack Slater. After Danny is assigned to be Jack’s new partner, they are forced to contend with a villain, Benedict (Charles Dance), who uses the movie ticket to escape the film and enter the real world. And to kill Jack once and for all, Benedict decides to take out the actor who plays him: Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Fearless (2006)

Genre Drama, Action
Stars Jet Li, Sun Li, Dong Yong
Directed by Ronny Yu
pg-13 103m
If you love martial arts movies, you can’t miss Fearless, one of Jet Li’s finest and final films. After a tragedy, a martial artist (Li) moves to a remote village to heal and rediscover himself. When he returns to the city, however, he’s soon caught up in a duel to the death to reconcile his past with his present and defend his country’s honor.

Gladiator (2000)

Genre Action, Drama, Adventure
Stars Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen
Directed by Ridley Scott
r 155m
Ridley Scott’s Roman epic tells the tale of Maximus (Russell Crowe), Marcus Aurelius’s (Richard Harris) favorite general, and the man he entrusts to hand Rome back to the Senate after Aurelius’s fast approaching death. But when Aurelius’s son Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) discovers the plot, he murders his father, strips Maximus of rank, and sends him to the gladiator arena to die. But Maximus won’t go quietly.

Midnight Run (1988)

Midnight Run
Genre Adventure, Comedy, Crime, Action
Stars Robert De Niro, Charles Grodin, Yaphet Kotto
Directed by Martin Brest
r 126m
Buried beneath the mountain of movies on Netflix is Midnight Run, an ’80s action-comedy starring Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin. De Niro plays bounty hunter Jack Walsh, a man who has been hired to escort a former mob accountant, Jonathan “The Duke” Mardukas (Grodin), to a court date in Los Angeles. That’s easier said than done, because the Duke has made a lot of enemies. That includes his ex-crime boss, Jimmy Serrano (Dennis Farina), from whom he stole millions of dollars in an embezzlement scheme. Jack also runs afoul of FBI Special Agent Alonzo Mosely (Yaphet Kotto), which means that the law and the mob are chasing both Jack and the Duke across the country.

Spectral (2016)

Genre Science Fiction, Thriller, Action
Stars James Badge Dale, Emily Mortimer, Gonzalo Menendez
Directed by Nic Mathieu
pg-13 109m
Spectral was one of the early Netflix original films, and it poses an unusual problem for its lead character, Clyne (James Badge Dale). As a DARPA scientist, it’s Clyne’s job to investigate when U.S. soldiers in Moldova encounter ghost-like apparitions that can not be killed, harmed, or easily seen. After meeting up with General Orland (Bruce Greenwood) and his men, as well as CIA officer Fran Madison (Emily Mortimer), Clyne discovers that the apparitions are a man-made threat. But knowing this and finding a way of stopping them are two different things. And nothing seems to slow down their rampage.

Underworld (2003)

Genre Fantasy, Action, Thriller
Stars Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Michael Sheen
Directed by Len Wiseman
r 122m
It’s vampires vs. werewolves in this massive fantasy action series. All five of the Underworld movies are currently available on Netflix, and although they’re not all winners, they’re still a lot of fun if you’re looking for some good old-fashioned fantasy gore. For centuries, vampires have been at war with Lycans, a clan of werewolves that rose out of bondage and aimed to destroy vampire supremacy. Selene (Kate Beckinsale) is a Death Dealer, a member of an elite vampire unit designed solely to kill Lycans. In the first film, she catches word of Lycan leader Lucian’s (Michael Sheen) pursuit of human doctor Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman) and captures Corvin before Lucian can get his hands on him. Corvin’s work and heredity, however, have cataclysmic potential for the conflict, putting Selene in the middle of a mass conspiracy that could change the war forever.

Army of the Dead (2021)

Army of the Dead
Genre Action, Adventure, Horror, Crime
Stars Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick
Directed by Zack Snyder
r 148m
Zack Snyder got his start with his remake of Dawn of the Dead, but Army of the Dead is all his. After Las Vegas falls to the zombie plague, casino owner Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada) wants to recover his lost millions from a vault before Sin City is nuked off the face of the Earth. That’s where Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) comes in. He’s an ex-mercenary who is convinced by Tanaka to put a team together and try to make it in and out of Vegas before the bombs drop. However, the mission is complicated when Scott’s estranged daughter, Kate Ward (Ella Purnell), insists on coming along. And none of Scott’s team is prepared for what they’ll find in the ruins of Vegas.

The Old Guard (2020)

The Old Guard
Genre Action, Fantasy
Stars Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts
Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood
r 125m
In a year largely without theaters, this comic book adaptation has stepped up to fill the blockbuster void. Charlize Theron headlines The Old Guard as Andy, a warrior who was once Andromache of Scythia. Andy and her fellow immortal mercs are exposed by ex-CIA spook James Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor). However, Andy’s quest to reclaim her secrets is complicated by the emergence of Nile Freeman (KiKi Layne), a Marine who becomes the first new immortal in a long time. Andy reluctantly takes Nile under her wing as previously unknown enemies close in on them. We could be looking at a franchise here, as Theron herself told Variety that a sequel script is complete with filming to begin in early 2022.

Stargate (1994)

Genre Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Stars Kurt Russell, James Spader, Jaye Davidson
Directed by Roland Emmerich
pg-13 116m
Stargate may not have come into its own until it became a TV franchise, but the original movie is still a lot more fun than critics gave it credit for. Kurt Russell headlines the film as Colonel Jack O’Neil, a father who is struggling to deal with the loss of his son. Jack soon meets Dr. Daniel Jackson (James Spader) as they are assembled for a top-secret trip through an alien stargate that may hold the key to Earth’s ancient history. What they find is a human civilization under the rule of the enigmatic Ra (Jaye Davidson). And if they ever want to get home, they’ll have to lead a revolution.

The Night Comes for Us (2018)

The Night Comes for Us
Genre Action, Thriller, Crime
Stars Joe Taslim, Iko Uwais, Asha Kenyeri Bermudez
Directed by Timo Tjahjanto
r 121m
The Night Comes for Us might legitimately be the goriest action flick in recent memory. Indonesian action films have an intensity that many of their American counterparts can’t match. Joe Taslim stars as Ito, an assassin for the South East Asian Triad. But when Ito is ordered to kill a young girl, Reina (Asha Kenyeri Bermudez), he turns against his masters. That’s why Ito’s former masters send his ex-friend, Arian (Iko Uwais), after both of them to finish the job. There will be blood … lots of it.

Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

Olympus Has Fallen
Genre Action, Thriller
Stars Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Finley Jacobsen
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
It may be dumb, but it’s fun enough that it’s spawned an entire franchise. When highly trained terrorists launch a bold daytime attack on the White House, the building is overrun and President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) and his staff are taken hostage. Fortunately, former presidential security officer Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) happens to be in the area. Now, Banning must locate Asher’s son before the terrorists do and rescue the president before the master plan can come to bear. No, it’s not original, but it’ll keep you entertained.

The Debt Collector (2018)

The Debt Collector
Genre Action
Stars Scott Adkins, Louis Mandylor, Michael Paré
Directed by Jesse V. Johnson
r 96m
A broke martial arts instructor takes a side gig as a debt collector for the mob in this zany action flick that might as well be an advertisement to get kids into MMA. Nonetheless, it’s a good time as the martial artist and his mob-appointed thug partner spend the weekend forcibly collecting debts and having silly amounts of fun doing it.

The King (2019)

The King
Genre Drama, History, War
Stars Timothée Chalamet, Joel Edgerton, Sean Harris
Directed by David Michôd
r 140m
For those who prefer their action with a more historical bent, The King is a smartly reimagined, modernized version of Shakespeare’s Henry V. It’s too bad Shakespeare lived before the age of cinema because, with gorgeous cinematography, incredibly broad set pieces, and harrowing depictions of medieval war, director David Michôd delivers a glorious war movie. Timothee Chalamet stars as young Henry V, an unaspiring heir who has the crown forced upon him after his father’s untimely death. Believing Henry weak and ineffectual, the Dauphin of France takes the opportunity to incite a war. But there’s more afoot than meets the eye. Robert Pattinson’s performance as the Dauphin alone is worth the watch.

Triple 9 (2016)

Triple 9
Genre Action, Thriller, Mystery
Stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Anthony Mackie
Directed by John Hillcoat
r 115m
Triple 9 divided critics and audiences, but it’s got a stellar cast with strong supporting turns by Norman Reedus, Michael K. Williams, Woody Harrelson, and Gal Gadot. And if you’re wondering what a triple 9 is, it’s an officer-down call that’s meant to serve as a distraction for a dangerous heist. Marcus Belmont (Anthony Mackie), Michael Atwood (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Gabe Welch (Aaron Paul), and their crew are blackmailed by a Mafia wife, Irina Vlaslov (Kate Winslet), to sabotage the case against her imprisoned husband. They elect to kill police officer Chris Allen (Casey Affleck) to cover their tracks. But they’ve picked the wrong guy, and not everyone on the crew is willing to go along with the plan.

Wheelman (2017)

Genre Action, Crime, Thriller
Directed by Jeremy Rush
Cast Frank Grillo, Wendy Moniz-Grillo, Caitlin Carmichael
Frank Grillo tends to play a lot of villains or supporting characters and has appeared in a wide range of TV shows and movies, from Law & Order and Billions to Avengers: Endgame. But in Wheelman, Grillo gets to take the lead as the unnamed getaway driver who finds himself in over his head after a double-cross. Someone set up the Wheelman for a deadly fall, and he’s not going to take it lying down. Throughout the course of the movie, we learn a bit more about the Wheelman’s past and his broken family life. But the real attraction here is the dynamic driving and action scenes, which Grillo pulls off with gusto.

Triple Frontier (2019)

Triple Frontier
Genre Action, Thriller, Crime, Adventure
Stars Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam
Directed by J.C. Chandor
r 125m
Netflix put together an all-star cast for Triple Frontier, with Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, and Pedro Pascal as a team of ex-Delta Force soldiers who reunite for a dangerous heist in South America. Affleck’s Tom “Redfly” Davis is the ringleader of the crew who convinces them to reunite in order to steal a fortune from a drug lord. However, Davis’ greed gets the best of him during the initial strike, leaving the team vulnerable as they attempt to escape the jungle with their newfound wealth and their lives. But the biggest threat to the team may come from within.

Burn Out (2018)

Burn Out
Genre Action, Thriller
Directed by Yann Gozlan
Cast François Civil, Olivier Rabourdin, Manon Azem
One of the benefits of Netflix is the ability to discover films that would have been under the radar without it. A case in point is Burn Out, a French thriller that stars Parisian actor François Civil as Tony Rodrigues, a semi-pro motorcyclist who finds himself outside of the law. To settle the debt of his ex, Leyla (Manon Azem), Tony agrees to be a courier for a drug dealer named Jordan (Samuel Jouy), which, of course, involves Tony zipping through traffic on his motorcycle at breakneck speeds. But when Jordan won’t allow Tony to end their arrangement, he has to call upon his friend, Miguel (Olivier Rabourdin), to make an even more dangerous play to escape.

Extraction (2020)

Genre Drama, Action, Thriller
Stars Chris Hemsworth, Rudhraksh Jaiswal, Randeep Hooda
Directed by Sam Hargrave
r 116m
As one of their first films following Avengers: Endgame, Joe and Anthony Russo re-teamed with Chris Hemsworth for Extraction, a Netflix original. This particular comic book adaptation is much more down-to-earth, however, as Hemsworth’s black-ops mercenary, Tyler Rake, is recruited for a mission to protect Ovi Mahajan (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), the son of a local drug lord. Hemsworth’s performance carries the movie, and first-time director Sam Hargrave delivers next-level action and stunt sequences. This is one of the best popcorn flicks of recent memory, and it didn’t even need a theater.

Total Recall (1990)

Total Recall
Genre Sci-Fi, Action
Stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, Rachel Ticotin, Michael Ironside
Directed by Paul Verhoeven
r 109m
Total Recall is Arnold Schwarzenegger at his finest. Paul Verhoeven’s wild sci-fi action ride casts Schwarzenegger as a 21st-century construction worker called Quaid who discovers that his memory is based on a memory chip that has been implanted in his brain. That chip is blocking his true identity: That of a secret agent who became a threat to the government. Infuriated by this betrayal, Quaid travels to Mars to piece together the final parts of his true identity while seeking vengeance on the man who implanted the chip. Total Recall is fast, furious, gratuitously violent, and a ton of fun — all while maintaining many of the provocative themes from the Philip K. Dick short story that inspired the film.

Ip Man (2008)

Ip Man
Genre Drama, Action, History
Stars Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Lynn Hung
Directed by Wilson Yip
Based on the life of martial arts grandmaster and Bruce Lee teacher, Ip Man, 2008’s Ip Man is one of the most successful martial arts films of the 21st-century. The film focuses on events in Ip’s life that supposedly took place during the Sino-Japanese War when Japanese forces occupied parts of China. When an occupying general challenges Chinese men to duels to prove Japanese superiority, Ip Man initially refuses to fight until he discovers the Japanese are going far beyond just hand-to-hand combat. Starring Donnie Yen as Ip Man, this beautifully choreographed film is a delight for fans of martial arts films and the entire trilogy is currently on Netflix. We’ve also found some of the best Bruce Lee movies to stream.

The Outpost (2020)

The Outpost
Genre War, Drama, History, Action
Stars Scott Eastwood, Caleb Landry Jones, Orlando Bloom
Directed by Rod Lurie
r 123m
In 2009, 53 American troops were attacked at the remote Combat Outpost Keating during the war in Afghanistan. The Outpost tells the story of these soldiers as they attempt to hold off an enemy force that has them severely outnumbered. More alarmingly, the army has stripped the small fortress of its resources, leaving the remaining troops in a very dangerous situation. The majority of the film takes place before the attack, and it paints a relatively realistic depiction of the lives of American soldiers caught up in a brutal war. But when the attack begins, The Outpost is elevated and becomes even more visceral as the soldiers face overwhelming odds while fighting for their lives. It’s a gripping battle sequence that makes this film an unforgettable experience.

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