Mental Floss

The 12 Best Action Movies on Netflix Right Now

Jake Rossen
Oscar Isaac stars in 'Triple Frontier' (2019).
Oscar Isaac stars in 'Triple Frontier' (2019). / Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix

In addition to a varied selection of horror, sci-fi, documentaries, and dramas, Netflix also curates a solid library of action films. If you’re in the mood for some kinetic thrills, check out 12 of the best action movies you can stream right now.

1. 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.

2. The Hunt for Red October (1990)

Sean Connery headlines this political thriller based on the Tom Clancy novel about a Soviet submarine captain who wants to defect. The U.S. Navy fully cooperated with the film after seeing how Top Gun had a positive influence on recruitment.

3. 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.

4. Point Break (1991)

FBI agent Keanu Reeves goes undercover to bust a gang of surf robbers led by the philosophical Patrick Swayze in this cult classic. Charlie Sheen and Johnny Deep were considered for the Reeves role.

5. Eraser (1996)

Arnold Schwarzenegger winds down his action star heyday with this slick thriller about a government agent specializing in making witnesses "disappear" off the grid. While not your typical Oscar fare, it did receive a nod for Best Sound Effects. Warner Bros. recently launched a reboot of the film (minus Arnold).

6. 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."

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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).

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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 2022.