The 15 Best Action Movies on Netflix Right Now
By Jake Rossen
If you're craving a sensory experience, nothing beats an action film. In addition to a varied selection of horror, sci-fi, documentaries, and dramas, Netflix also curates a solid library of explosive titles. If you’re in the mood for some kinetic thrills, check out 15 of the best action movies you can stream right now.
1. Bullet Train (2022)
Brad Pitt and Aaron Taylor-Johnson headline this colorful spectacle about a Japanese bullet train stuffed with assassins, most of which have the affable "Ladybug" (Pitt) in their sights. The film is based on the 2010 novel Maria Beetle by author Kotaro Isaka, though it didn't get an English translation until 2021.
2. Road House (1989)
Patrick Swayze is Dalton, a philosophical bouncer who tries to corral a wild bar while falling for physician Kelly Lynch. Producer Joel Silver thought it might become "the best drive-in movie ever made." Close: It's the best endlessly-rewatchable '80s fight fest ever made.
3. The Quick and the Dead (1995)
Sam Raimi assembled an incredible cast (Sharon Stone, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe) for this stylish Western about a woman out for revenge during a gunfighting tournament. Stone claimed she paid DiCaprio's salary after hearing the studio was lukewarm about hiring him.
4. RRR (2022)
Don't let the three-hour running time dissuade you from checking out the best action movie of the year. In this runaway Telugu language hit from India, buddies Komaram Bheem (N.T. Rama Rao Jr.) and Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) team up to oppose British Raj rule. While the two revolutionaries really existed, their exploits in this over-the-top epic are entirely fictional. The "Tollywood" hit has become the most-watched film from India on Netflix to date. It was also the most expensive film in the country's history at $69 million. From CGI tigers to explosive dance numbers, it's all on the screen.
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5. Top Gun (1986)
Tom Cruise feels the need for speed in this '80s staple that pits his daredevil flying ace against rivals, instructors, and the charms of Kelly McGillis. The Navy used the popularity of the film as a recruiting tool.
6. Skyfall (2012)
Daniel Craig stars in what's arguably his best Bond outing. This time, 007 searches for the culprit of a series of attacks on MI6. It remains the highest-grossing Bond film of all time.
7. Gamer (2009)
Gerard Butler is stuck in a game in which players control real people. The studio considered titles like Game God and Citizen Game before settling on Gamer.
8. The Old Guard (2020)
Greg Rucka adapted his own comic about immortal mercenaries, led by Charlize Theron's Andy. A sequel has already been shot.
9. The Ice Road (2021)
Liam Neeson continues his middle-age action hero ways in this clever thriller about a trucker who agrees to tackle a dangerous job transporting rescue equipment across frozen terrain to free trapped miners running out of air. Neeson said he prepared for the role by tailing along with a truck driver and "by watching a couple [episodes] of Ice Road Truckers."
10. Extraction (2020)
Chris Hemsworth stars in this Netflix original about a mercenary combing Bangladesh for the kidnapped son of a drug dealer. Joe Russo (co-director of numerous Marvel films, including 2019's Avengers: Endgame) wrote the script. And while you may think it was a venture outside of the comic book world, it really wasn't: The movie is based on the Ciudad comic Joe Russo co-wrote with brother, Anthony Russo, and Ande Parks that was illustrated by Fernando León González.
11. Triple Frontier (2019)
A tight-knit squad of ex-military operatives decide to round up their own pension plan and steal the cash of a drug lord hiding out in South America. The heist puts the soldiers (Ben Affleck, Pedro Pascal, and Oscar Issac among them) into convoluted territory, both literally and morally. According to director J.C. Chandor, Tom Hanks was originally attached to the movie but felt he had ultimately aged out of the story.
12. The Debt Collector (2018)
With screen senseis Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal in the twilight of their careers, the martial arts leading man is on the wane. One of the few to keep the genre alive is Scott Adkins. Here, he's a martial arts instructor forced to take up duties as a bill collector for an organized crime outfit. The plot, however, is irrelevant: Watch it for Adkins and his go-for-broke fight scenes. (Despite his physicality, the actor got his start in British soap operas like Holby City and EastEnders).
13. Den of Thieves (2018)
There aren't many people for Gerard Butler to trust in this twisty action saga of cops who cross paths with a team of professional bank thieves. A sequel following Butler's journey into Europe to track the heist ring is in development.
14. Wheelman (2017)
Frank Grillo stars in this claustrophobic action-thriller about a getaway driver who leaves the dirty work to the criminals who retain his services. When things go awry during a bank heist and a mysterious caller begins ordering him to reroute the money, Grillo is left to navigate the streets—and an increasingly dangerous double-cross—by himself. Like the movie, the production itself moved fast: After Grillo read and liked the script, the film was shooting within the month.
15. Ip Man (2008)
Donnie Yen shows off both his acting chops and his martial arts prowess in this fictionalized study of Ip Man, Bruce Lee's instructor. When a Japanese general terrorizes a Chinese community, Yen springs into action. The film launched a franchise: In 2016's Ip Man 3, Yen faced off against Mike Tyson and accidentally broke the former boxer's finger by blocking a strike with his elbow.
A version of this story ran in 2019; it has been updated for 2023.