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Action Movies That Are More Gory Than Most Horror Films

Horror overwhelmingly gets all the attention for bringing gore to the screen, and there's a good reason for that as some horror movies have been so extreme that they've even been banned. But here we'd like to shift our attention to some action movies that deliver more gore than most (not all) horror films. Since the 1980s, action movies have grown more intense, more brutal, and, of course, bloodier, leading to some of the most incredibly memorable moments of gore in all of film coming from the action genre.

The action movies offering up this gore aren't even necessarily action-horror hybrids — though "Predator" and the "Resident Evil" series certainly serve up their fair share of gore — and come from all kinds of different subgenres. Whether they're superhero, science fiction, or period piece stories, these movies find new and often horrifying ways to destroy and/or use the human body. But since action movies aren't limited by gore needing to be scary, their use of extreme violence can feel good and even triumphant, while still disgusting.

So with all kinds of gore on the table, a variety of action movie subgenres to pick from, and a wide net for both, let's take a look at some action movies that are more gory than most horror films.

The following article includes descriptions of extreme — but fictional — violence and gore.


"Wanted," loosely based on the graphic novel of the same name by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones, centers on Wesley (James McAvoy), who feels stuck in his dead-end office job, his relationship with his cheating girlfriend, and pretty much every other aspect of his life. But one day, a beautiful woman named Fox (Angelina Jolie) comes into his life and tells him that he's actually a superpowered assassin whose father was just murdered — and he's the killer's next target.

Wesley is then introduced to an organization of secret assassins who take their orders from a mystical loom and are capable of manipulating bullets to do things they shouldn't be able to do, like turn corners. "Wanted" then shows us Wesley's training and follows him on some missions before its big finale.

Throughout the movie there are massive wounds incurred from gun shots and knife fights, but the most memorable gore sequences, for better or worse, are more creative than simple bullet wounds and cuts. The first comes in the film's opening 10 minutes and tracks a bullet slowly bursting out of the front of a man's skull before the movie stops and reverses it, showing the blood splatter and bullet traveling back into the man's head. The second comes in the finale, where a character shoots a hole in an enemy's face at close range, then shoves the barrel of his gun into the bullet wound and moves the now dead body around as a human shield.

The Night Comes for Us

Indonesian director Timo Tjahjanto has made some of the most exciting horror movies of the 21st century, and has contributed segments to two of the series of "V/H/S" anthology films. But he's also brought his trademark chaotic style to action movies. "The Night Comes For Us" is the best of the action entries Tjahjanto has made yet, and one of the goriest.

The movie tells the story of Ito (Joe Taslim), an enforcer for the Six Seas Triad, who decides to leave his life of crime and violence behind when he finds a young girl named Reina (Asha Kenyeri Bermudez), the only survivor of a massacre he participated in. Of course things aren't so simple, and the Triad sends assassins after Ito and the girl.

"The Night Comes for Us" is a high-octane action movie that kicks into gear early on and never really stops. It's full of thrilling setpieces that deliver on not just action but some stomach-churning gore as well. There are several knife fights throughout the movie that leave combatants bleeding and sometimes missing fingers and larger limbs. Someone is beaten to death with a billiards ball, and the film shows the aftermath in great detail. In addition, several explosions lead to body parts, and parts of body parts, flying through the air over the course of the movie.


When "Logan" hit theaters in 2017, the movie broke records as one of the highest-grossing R-rated movies ever made and the highest-grossing movie in the "Wolverine" series. It rightfully earned all its success as one of the most emotional, intelligent, and, yes, violent superhero movies in the genre's history.

The film follows the titular Logan, aka Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), years after the other "X-Men" movies as he becomes embroiled in a quest to get a young mutant girl safely across the Canadian border while she's pursued by the agents of an evil corporation that wants to experiment on her. It's a touching and often beautiful movie as we see Logan bond with the young Laura (Dafne Keen) and bicker with his old friend Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), but the action scenes are downright vicious.

For the first time — since this is an R-rated movie — we see the damage that Logan's claws can do to a body, and nothing is held back. The claws strip flesh from bodies, splatter blood across the screen, and impale villains everywhere from the stomach and chest to the skull. The film's finale expands to include a group of mutant children whose powers we see used to great and sometimes gory effect, particularly when a villain's arm is frozen and then shattered.


Any one of director Paul Verhoeven's sci-fi action movies could have landed on this list. There's the absurd level of "bug" violence in "Starship Troopers," and some amazing practical effects in "Total Recall." But we think "RoboCop" is both the best and bloodiest of them all.

"Robocop" follows police officer Murphy (Peter Weller) in near-future Detroit, where crime runs rampant and a private company, Omni Consumer Products, has just taken control of the police department. When Murphy is fatally wounded while on a mission, Omni Consumer Products uses his body to create RoboCop, a new cyborg police officer that's able to meld the best of human and machine to create the perfect law enforcer.

Murphy's transformation scenes are actually pretty minimal, mostly just showing us the character before and after, but the violence that RoboCop and his enemies dole out throughout the movie is astounding. From gun barrages that seem to last for minutes, littering the screen with blood splatter, to a scene in which a character is doused in toxic waste before being smashed to pieces by a speeding car, "RoboCop" is a great movie with some incisive social commentary, but it's also one of the nastiest action pictures of the 1980s.

The Raid 2

Even though there are only two movies, "The Raid" series (which could have but didn't go on to include a third installment) made an indelible impression on action cinema at the start of the 2010s. The films highlight the Indonesian Pencak Silat styles of martial arts and bring some of the most thrilling and devastating fight sequences ever made to the screen.

"The Raid 2" expands the simple story of the first film to include an epic narrative about gang warfare and struggles for power without ever moving away from the characters who actually engage in the fights at the ground level. The film follows Rama (Iko Uwais) as he goes undercover with an organized crime syndicate to prove collusion between the syndicate and a police chief.

"The Raid 2" stands above "The Raid" in terms of gore only because there is more variety in its types of violence. The movie's epic scale means that there are all kinds of fight scenes and brutal gore over the course of its more than two-hour runtime. There are major wounds from all kinds of guns. Bones are broken by hands, baseball bats, and hammers. And one of the final fight sequences begins in a spotless kitchen only to end with the walls painted red with blood from the fight that takes place there.

Kill Bill Vol. 1

Almost every single one of Quentin Tarantino's films includes significant scenes of violence. But we think one of his movies stands above the rest as the goriest movie in his filmography, and it also happens to be one of the few pure action movies he's made.

"Kill Bill Vol. 1" follows The Bride (Uma Thurman) on her quest for revenge on the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, who left her for dead at her wedding after she left their ranks. The film shows The Bride making her way to Japan, tracking down old squad member O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu), and attacking O-Ren and her gang. That attack takes up what feels like half the movie, as she is set upon by a group known as "The Crazy 88" and cuts them down one by one. The sequence is one of the, if not the, bloodiest in Tarantino's filmography, and it almost didn't make it to theaters because of it, leading the director to change the originally full color sequence to black and white (via Far Out).

But it's not just that centerpiece that makes "Kill Bill Vol. 1" more gory than most horror films. At one point The Bride demands answers from a character who initially refuses, until the Bride cuts off her arm and says she'll take another limb every time she doesn't get an answer. In the film's finale, The Bride slices off the top of another character's head as if she's scalped them, but instead of removing the skin from their skull, she simply takes the entire thing.


"Rambo" picks up the story of the legendary John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone, who also directs) two decades after "Rambo III." But the character and franchise's time away from the big screen don't mean they've lost any of their edge; in fact, "Rambo" (2008) is the most vicious and visceral movie in the entire series.

The story follows Rambo as he becomes involved in defending villages from a sadistic Major in the Burmese military government during the Saffron Revolution. The movie shows the incredible cruelty of this character and his men throughout: we see a man's crucified body being eaten by pigs, the soldiers destroy a village with bombs, fire, and rifles, and images of people exploding into pieces. What makes it even more difficult to watch is that the film includes real news footage of this kind of violence.

But there's also a good amount of gore doled out by the good guys. Blood covers the camera after Rambo shoots a villain in the face. The titular hero literally rips a man's throat out, another character smashes someone's face in with a rock, and a third uses a .50 caliber sniper rifle to explosively shatter enemy skulls from afar. In this film, the violence comes from all sides.

13 Assassins (2010)

It's no wonder that Takashi Miike's "13 Assassins" includes some incredibly graphic violence. The controversial director is known for bringing uniquely horrifying images to the screen, and that doesn't change just because "13 Assassins" is a period piece action movie.

The film, a remake of the 1963 film of the same name, follows a group of samurai who have been hired to kill the sadistic feudal lord Naritsugu (Gorō Inagaki). Naritsugu is the half-brother of the Shogun, so he has been able to enact his cruelty without penalty all his life. But now the Shogun seeks to promote him to a council member, something the Shogun's advisers know will lead to civil war because of all the other lords Naritsugu has offended. So assassins are hired to kill Naritsugu before he is promoted.

The assassins plan to lure Naritsugu to a town that they have converted into a death trap, and when the villainous lord arrives, the movie turns into an all-out bloodbath. Almost the entire back half of the film is a battle sequence with characters being sliced, stabbed, and dismembered by katanas, to say nothing of the arrows and bombs.

But the most disturbing and memorable part of the film actually arrives early on when we learn that Naritsugu has removed a young woman's arms, legs, and tongue purely for his sick amusement. It's a moment that would be the shocking high point of any horror movie, but instead it's found in this samurai action tale.

Hardcore Henry

"Hardcore Henry" is the rare action movie that can also be called an experimental film. The entire movie takes place from the first-person point of view of the titular Henry, played over the course of the film, via the New York Times, by a dozen different actors and crew members, including director Ilya Naishuller. Henry goes on a bloodsoaked rampage to save his wife from Akan (Danila Kozlovsky), an evil warlord with telekinetic powers intent on building an army of cyborgs to take over the world.

It's a ridiculous premise and that's fine, because it really only exists to get us to the action sequences, which start early and are almost non-stop through the end of the movie — and what action sequences they are. We see Henry shoot, stab (everywhere from the stomach to the eyes), and slash his way through seemingly endless enemies from his up-close and personal point of view.

The film's goriest moment comes towards the end, when Henry uses electrical wire to tear someone's head in half from the mouth. We don't just get to see this in close-up as Henry does it, but we also get to see the horrific aftermath as Henry lays down, exhausted, next to the top part of the severed head, getting a good glimpse of the teeth and skull that have been removed from the rest of the body.

Shoot 'Em Up

"Shoot 'Em Up" is honest about being a ridiculous movie from the start. Within the first few minutes, Clive Owen's Mr. Smith has shoved a carrot into a man's mouth and hit it so hard that it comes out the back of the man's head, before Smith delivers a perfect deadpan: "Eat your vegetables."

Smith kills the man because he and others were pursuing a pregnant woman with the intent to kill her. Thus begins the plot of the movie, which sees Smith attempt to care for the baby after the mother dies and discover why there are so many assassins being sent after the child.

The movie then takes us through a series of increasingly ridiculous shootouts during which Smith blows off body parts, uses a severed hand to trick the thumbprint-reading technology on a gun, and generally leaves his assailants in a state of disrepair. One of these shootouts takes place in the air as Smith and the men trying to kill him skydive, with one unlucky assassin pulled into the engine of a plane and shredded to death. At one point later in the film, to keep things light and fun, Smith kills a man by jamming a carrot into his eye — bringing his use of vegetables as weaponry full circle.

Alita: Battle Angel

Every other movie on this list is a hard R-rated film, but "Alita: Battle Angel" is rated PG-13 because apparently the MPAA is comfortable with extreme gore as long as it isn't human. "Alita: Battle Angel" is shockingly violent given its rating, as we see cyborg characters literally ripped apart throughout the movie.

Based on the manga "Battle Angel Alita" by Yukito Kishiro, the film tells the story of the titular cyborg (Rosa Salazar), who is discovered by the scientist Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) after years asleep. Alita befriends a young man named Hugo (Keean Johnson) who introduces her to Motorball, a mix of pure gladiatorial combat, roller derby, and capture-the-flag in which players have to gain control of a ball and maintain that control to the end of a track, all while fighting one another.

Those fights, though, aren't just pushing and shoving like in roller derby. The cyborg players of Motorball remove each other's cybernetic limbs and even decapitate one another through the course of the game. One of the players even explodes into pieces after coming around a turn too fast. But the non-Motorball fight sequences are even more vicious. These scenes are also full of limbs and heads being removed from cyborg bodies, but they bleed blue and green blood that covers the walls and the ground where they fight. In two of the most shocking scenes, a character is cut in half and another is thrown into a grinder. But they're not "real" humans, so it's all okay.


"Machete" is the first film to have grown into a feature after first being included as a fake trailer (itself based on a character introduced in "Spy Kids") in Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's "Grindhouse" double feature film. Of course, as an offshoot of "Grindhouse," "Machete" is heavily influenced by the same often silly and always incredibly graphic films of the original grindhouse era.

The film centers on the titular hero, a former Mexican Federale who now lives in Texas, as he is hired to kill a senator but then betrayed and framed for the murder for political reasons. The movie then follows Machete as he seeks revenge on those who sought to manipulate and use him.

It's an absurd movie that revels in ridiculous violence. From limbs and heads being removed by, you guessed it, a machete, to shotgun blasts blowing off people's heads, "Machete" is an all-out gorefest. The high point — if you want to call it that — of that gore comes not when a man's eye is gouged out, but when Machete slices open a man's stomach and then uses his intestine as a rope to swing from, while the still-living body acts as a grappling hook.