Netflix is one of the best premium streaming services, with thousands of movies to choose from. That list includes some of the best action movies ever made, with lots of thrills, spills and high-adrenaline sequences. However, there are also a lot of so-called action movies on Netflix that don’t fulfill our need for cool characters, massive stunts and big explosions. That’s why we have picked the 10 best action movies on Netflix that you can currently stream.
As you can see, there’s quite a variety, from current super-hero epics to modern day crime dramas and some truly classic films, action or otherwise.
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Editor’s note – This list will be updated as films leave, and other films debut, on Netflix
Avengers: Infinity War
The Marvel Cinematic Universe took 10 years, and 19 movies, to reach just the first part of its concluding story. Released in 2018, Avengers: Infinity War pits nearly all of the superheroes of the MCU, including Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Black Panther, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and more against the Mad Titan, Thanos. This guy is collecting the six Infinity Stones so that when he has them all, he can snap his fingers to kill off half the universe’s population (it’s all in a good cause, at least according to Thanos). The Avengers want to stop him from making the big snap, and we get to see some of the biggest superhero action sequences of all time, and it all leads up to . . . well, we won’t spoil it.
Watch this movie in preparation for checking out the second half of this story, Avengers: Endgame, when it hits movie theaters in late April.
In addition to this great action movie on Netflix, the service has some other MCU movies to check out, like Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2, Thor: Ragnarok, Ant-Man and the Wasp and our next selection.
Black Panther was the biggest U.S. box office movie in the U.S. in 2018, and it just won three Academy Awards, and it’s certainly one of the best movies on Netflix. What makes this movie different than other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, or indeed any other superhero movie is that it not only establishes Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa as a worthy character but it also brings us the advanced African country of Wakanda. Yes, we have seen other worlds in MCU films, but Wakanda is unique in that it has highly advanced technology, but still clings to very traditional leadership roles, and it wants to also remain isolated from the rest of the world. It’s this kind of setup that’s at the heart of the movie, as Michael B. Jordan’s character of Killmonger wants to not only claim the throne of Wakanda but also wants to use its tech to strike back at the rest of the world for its history of oppressing black people.
Black Panther shows us a villain in Killmonger who might have some good reasons for his actions, while the leadership of Wakanda might have some ethical problems. It’s this reversal that really makes the movie different than the normal superhero epic. Oh, and it has some awesome action sequences and fights, too.
This 1984 film is truly one of the best action films on Netflix. Indeed, this film, co-written and directed by James Cameron, established a new high in how action movies are filmed and paced. Arnold Schwarzenegger portrays the cyborg Terminator, who time travels from a nuclear holocaust future to the present. His mission: to kill the mother of the human resistance leader that has managed to defeat the AI that started this mess. Cameron almost never lets up with the action, and he’s helped by Schwarzenegger’s performance as a killing machine who will never stop, even when it looks like he’s been beaten. It’s a must see for any action movie fans.
Netflix also has one of the inferior sequels to this movie for streaming, Terminator Salvation, if you really want to see more of the future world, plus watch Christian Bale’s performance as John Conner.
If you are an action movie fan on Netflix, but also want some humor, you have to check out this 2007 British film from director Edgar Wright. Simon Pegg co-wrote the film and stars as London Police Sergeant Nicholas Angel, who is so good at his job, his superiors want to get rid of him because he makes them look bad. As a “reward” for his hard work, Angel is shipped out of the big city and to the small country town of Sandford, where he quickly discovers that there’s a very dark secret in this community that only he and his partner Danny, played by Nick Frost, can discover and stop. Along the way they meet some interesting characters, including former James Bond Timothy Dalton, who plays a grocery store manager who wants to do more than be “a slasher . . . of prices”.
Hot Fuzz is the rare action comedy that can hold its own with the best straight action movies, while also being a love song to the entire genre.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
The 1981 film may have officially renamed as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, but we all know the true title of this film. Harrison Ford seems born to play the role of Indiana Jones, an archeologist who risks life and limb to find the greatest historical relics in the world. In this debut film of the series, directed (as all of them are) by Steven Spielberg, Jones has been recruited to find The Ark of the Covenant in 1936 before the Nazis get a hold of the container where the Ten Commandments were kept. This was described as a homage to the Saturday afternoon serials of the 1930s but in truth, this film blows all of them away in action, humor, and entertainment.
Netflix also has the three other films in this series for streaming currently; Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
The Mummy (1999)
There have been many films named The Mummy over the decades, but none of them are as entertaining as the 1999 version from writer-director Stephen Sommers. In many ways similar to the Indiana Jones movies, with with a bit more humor and action, this first film in the series stars Brendan Fraser as an adventurer who gets caught up in an expedition to find the City of the Dead in Egypt. He managed to help resurrect Imhotep, an evil and ancient Egyptian priest who wants to not only bring the world to his knees but also to bring back his lost love as well. Arnold Vosloo plays the title character with a mix of power and arrogance that’s a perfect foil for Fraser’s over-the-top Rick O’Connell.
Before you go see the new Hellboy movie reboot later in April in theaters, don’t forget to watch the original 2004 movie adaptation of Mike Mignola’s comic book creation, one of the best action movies on Netflix. Directed perfectly by Guillermo del Toro, the first Hellboy movie stars Ron Perlman as the title character. A demon-like creature who sounds like he was born in New York City rather than in Hell, Perlman’s performance is excellent, and the movie is the perfect mix of comic book action and supernatural themes.
Kill Bill Volume 1/Volume 2
Yes, we are cheating a little bit with our “top 10” best action movies on Netflix list. The truth is that the two Kill Bill films (the first came out in 2003, and the second in 2004) are really just one big long action epic from writer-director Quentin Tarantino. This film, which is heavily influenced by classic martial arts movies (including Enter the Dragon) centers on The Bride, the assassin character played in both films by Uma Thurman, who is attacked and left for dead by her formed team of killers. She managed to come back from her injuries and the film chronicles her journey to take out those team members one at a time, with the final film showing her last battle with her former leader Bill.
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The movies have some incredible action sequences, including a final battle in Volume 1 as The Bride takes on an entire Japanese yakuza clan single-handed.
1999 was supposed to be the year of Star Wars, with the release of Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. As it turned out, 1999 was actually the year of The Matrix. Written and directed by the Wachowskis, this tale came at exactly the right time. The internet was just starting to explode in the mainstream, and the movie took that interest and expanded it into a future where all of humanity was unknowingly hooked up to machines, believing they were in a dream world set in the present day. Only a relative few freedom fighters know the truth, and they believe that Keanu Reeve’s character of Thomas Anderson, also known as Neo, is their savior; the man that can defeat the machines at their own game.
With anime-inspired action and visual effects that had never been done before (“Bullet time” became a legend), The Matrix is still one of the best sci-fi action movies of all time and one of the best action movies on Netflix. Netflix also has its two bigger, but not better, sequels to stream: The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.
Based loosely on the Top Cow/Image comic book mini-series by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones, this 2008 action fest centers on Wesley Gibson, played by James McAvoy. He lives an uneventful life as an accountant in an office until he suddenly learns he’s actually a skilled assassin who has been recruited by a mysterious organization called The Fraternity. He’s told by the group’s leader, Sloan, played by Morgan Freeman, that they are ordered by “fate” to kill people to help make a better world. As Wesley goes through his training and is aided by another assassin, played perfectly by Angelina Jolie, he begins to learn that not everything is what it seems.
There are some amazing shoot outs and over-the-top sequences in Wanted, and the action never really lets up until the end. It’s certainly one of the best action movies on Netflix.
What action movies on Netflix would you put on your own top 10 list? Let us know in the comments!