The 15 Best Action Movies on Netflix Right Now

·5 min read

When you want action and you want it now, turn to these crowd-pleasing punch-‘em-ups on Netflix, from the impossible gravity-defying stunts of “Inception” to Tom Cruise dramatically dangling, running, and gunning in the “Mission: Impossible” films, and maybe a few action flicks you haven’t seen before.

Mission: Impossible

Tom Cruise in “Mission: Impossible” (Paramount)
Tom Cruise in “Mission: Impossible” (Paramount)

Relive the thrills of Ethan Hunt’s precarious hacking-while-hanging from the first film in the franchise and one of our favorite installments of Tom Cruise Running Away From Things, in this case, a deadly wave of water after a huge fish tank at a restaurant is blown up.

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Tom Cruise in 2011’s “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.”
Tom Cruise in 2011’s “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.”

Climbing the insanely tall Burj Khalifa in yet another death-defying stunt and outrunning a sand storm? Just another day for Ethan Hunt.

Inception

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in “Inception” (Warner Bros.)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt in “Inception” (Warner Bros.)

Our mind is still blown by the stunning set pieces in Christopher Nolan’s 2010 elaborate heist movie, including the disorienting hallway fight in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt takes on determined dream assassins while, on another level, the van full of sleeping thieves falls in excruciating slow motion. You can hear Hans Zimmer’s shiver-inducing score just by looking at this photo.

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Spider-Man

Tobey Maguire and Willem Dafoe in “Spider-Man” (Sony)
Tobey Maguire and Willem Dafoe in “Spider-Man” (Sony)

Would we have so many great superhero films today if Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire hadn’t totally delivered with this still great comic- book movie? (And we’re not just talking pizzas, which happens to be Peter Parker’s day job.) Willem Dafoe’s cackling Green Goblin is suitably villainous, but we love the insanity of the unmasked Norman Osborn even more.

Spider-Man 2

Alfred Molina in “Spider-Man 2” (Sony)
Alfred Molina in “Spider-Man 2” (Sony)

One of the rare superhero sequels that improves upon the original with Alfred Molina’s sympathetic (but totally deranged) villain Doc Ock. Standout scenes include the brilliant surgery scene gone wrong, the standoff at the bank, and the train battle sequence, where New Yorkers, bless them, come together to protect Spidey at his most vulnerable.

Casino Royale

EON / MGM / Sony
EON / MGM / Sony

Daniel Craig’s terrific first outing as 007 is refreshingly back to business as he goes up against one of the best Bond villains ever, Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), and romances the elusive Vesper Lynd (Eva Green). Breathtaking parkour, a high-speed car chase (and crash), and that deadly stairwell fight highlight why this is one of our favorite films in the franchise.

Léon: The Professional

Jean Reno and Natalie Portman in “Léon: The Professional” (Columbia Pictures)
Jean Reno and Natalie Portman in “Léon: The Professional” (Columbia Pictures)

Jean Reno’s ultra-stealthy assassin takes out an entire room of bodyguards — and that’s just the opening to Luc Besson’s eminently rewatchable follow-up to “La Femme Nikita.” We love Natalie Portman learning how to “clean” (we’re still waiting for that grown-up Mathilda movie) and of course Gary Oldman’s sociopathic, Beethoven-loving cop and that (ahem) blowout finale.

Dunkirk

Tom Hardy in Dunkirk
Tom Hardy in “Dunkirk” (WB)

Christopher Nolan’s intense World War II epic about the 1940 Battle of Dunkirk, in which more than 330,000 British soldiers were left stranded on the beach without transport while being strafed by German airplanes, takes place on four fronts: On the beach with the increasingly desperate troops, at sea as British civilians rush to their rescue, behind the lines as military officers make the hard decisions, and in the air with Tom Hardy’s heroic pilot.

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RRR

Jr NTR in “RRR” (Sarigama Cinemas)
Jr NTR in “RRR” (Sarigama Cinemas)

This gonzo, 3-hour Indian action epic where two revolutionaries take on British colonizers (and a tiger!) in 1920s-era India has to be seen to be believed.

The Night Comes For Us

The Night Comes For Us
The Night Comes For Us (XYZ Films)

If you’re looking for action that is literally bone-breaking — and some of the bloodiest battles ever put on film — queue up this Indonesian crime flick from director Timo Tjahjanto. If you’ve got the stomach for it.

The Paper Tigers

Alain Uy in “Paper Tigers” (Well Go USA Entertainment)
Alain Uy in “Paper Tigers” (Well Go USA Entertainment)

Three middle-aged guys who were in the same same dojo when they were young team up to solve the murder of their Kung Fu master in this under-the-radar indie action comedy. Their martial arts skills are rusty and their newly patched friendship is rocky, but they can (eventually) still kick ass when they need to.

The Dirty Dozen

Dirty Dozen, Lee Marvin
Lee Marvin in “The Dirty Dozen” (MGM)

During World War II, Lee Marvin’s Army major is tasked with training a dozen convicted soldiers to infiltrate a Nazi stronghold. The colorful bunch of misfits and murderers include John Cassavetes, Jim Brown, Charles Bronson and Donald Sutherland. (Fair warning: Telly Savalas’s character is an unreformed rapist.) This Robert Aldrich film is a classic for a reason.

Ip Man

Ip Man (2008)
Ip Man (2008)

If you’ve only seen Donnie Yen in “Rogue One,” check out his “Ip Man” film series in which he stars as the real-life title character who later trained martial arts legend Bruce Lee.

The Harder They Fall

The Harder They Fall Regina King
Netflix

Regina King, Lakeith Stanfield, Jonathan Major and Idris Elba are badass outlaws and Delroy Lindo is legendary Black U.S. Marshall Bass Reeves in this riotous revisionist western from Jeymes Samuel (aka music act The Bullitts).

Triple Frontier

Triple Frontier
Charlie Hunnam and Ben Affleck in “Triple Frontier” (Netflix)

Retired special forces experts team up to rob a druglord’s millions in this high-stakes heist flick that brings together the dream team of Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Pedro Pascal, Charlie Hunnam, and Garrett Hedlund.

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