Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

30 Movies Like John Wick You Need To Watch Before You Die

The "John Wick" franchise has been a juggernaut since the first film came out in 2014. The massive critical and audience hit meant star Keanu Reeves, writer/creator Derek Kolstad, and director Chad Stahelski could continue Wick's story if they wanted, and they did, adding "John Wick: Chapter 2" in 2017, and "John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum" in 2019. While there were plans to film the fourth and fifth chapters back-to-back, unforeseen circumstances led to a change in schedule. The fourth installment is expected to be released in 2022, while the fifth's release is yet to be announced. A TV prequel, "The Continental," is reportedly being developed for Starz.

In addition to Reeves, the franchise features Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, and John Leguizamo in recurring roles. The story is simple: A legendary assassin comes out of retirement when the son of a mobster attacks him, murders his puppy, and steals his car. Okay, it's a little more complicated: The puppy was a gift from his now-deceased wife and the car is, well, freaking awesome. What sets the actioner apart from others is the detailed world-building. The Continental has counterparts worldwide and is neutral, sacrosanct ground. The office handing out assignments uses old-fashioned telephone switchboards. There are specialized markers, tickets, and other touches that fully immerse the audience in the assassin's world.

If you like your action pictures with self-contained worlds and a bit more flair, here are 17 other movies like "John Wick" you need to watch before you die.


Released in 2006, "Crank" stars action stalwart Jason Statham as Chev Chelios, an assassin who is betrayed by an upstart hitman who wants to take his place. While sleeping, Chelios is injected with a poison that affects the production of adrenaline, gradually killing him. Chelios must keep his adrenaline running high in order to survive long enough to find an antidote or at least get revenge. Anything less than hard-charging activity and his heart will stop for good.

Statham was already an expert at this type of role, and it's fun to watch him basically rampage across Los Angeles doing everything he can to keep his heart pumping, including a very public sexual encounter with his girlfriend, Eve, played by Amy Smart. There are fights galore as Chelios seeks out the man who poisoned him, and each one tops the next as Chelios must up the stakes himself in order to stay alive.

First-time directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, who also wrote the script, pace the film like a wild video game, with each action more outrageous than the next. A cute after-credits scene puts a nice button on the whole film. A sequel called "Crank: High Voltage" was released in 2009.

Kill List

The 2011 film "Kill List" adds psychological horror to its crime tale for a creepily intense experience. Directed by Ben Wheatley, who co-wrote the script with Amy Jump, "Kill List" stars Neil Maskell as Jay, an ex-soldier who's become an assassin and is haunted by a past mission. Jay unwittingly winds up in a blood contract for a mysterious client with a list of people he wants Jay and his friend, Michael Smiley's Gal, to murder. Things do not go according to plan.

More twisted than twisty, "Kill List" layers on occult symbolism and darker themes than the usual tale of a hitman pursuing a target — or in this case, multiple targets. Neither Jay nor Gal seem to notice the strange behavior of Gal's girlfriend, nor do they seem to realize something's seriously amiss — beyond the usual "client is unhappy with the service" trope of hitman dramas — when they decide to bail out of the contract and bizarre things begin happening. "Kill List" starts like a crime thriller and ends more like "The Wicker Man." Fans of Wheatley's latest slice of cosmic horror, 2021's "In the Earth," will definitely want to seek out this under-seen gem.


Director Michael Mann's stylish thriller from 2004, "Collateral," casts Tom Cruise against his usual heroic type as a hitman named Vincent with a job to do and no transportation to finish it. He commandeers a cab driven by Jamie Foxx's mild-mannered Max and forces him to drive all over Los Angeles so he can complete his kills.

At first, Max thinks he's got a rich fare, as Vincent offers him a lot of money to make several stops; since Max wants to open his own driving service, he agrees. It only takes one body dropping for Max to realize he's made a terrible error in judgment, but it's too late, as Vincent forces Max at gunpoint to continue being his driver. The interaction between the two is filled with tension, all bathed in neo-noir lighting and exhibiting Mann's interest in what makes men tick. The conversations between the two are significant and layered, as Vincent's intelligent-but-cold demeanor comes up against Max's warmer personality, even though both men share the trait of being detail-oriented. Both Cruise and Foxx stretch as actors, making "Collateral" well worth a view. Jason Statham has a cameo in the beginning as well.

The Mechanic

Although Charles Bronson already had a long and varied career as a supporting actor, it was his output in the 1970s that cemented him as a lead action star. In 1972's "The Mechanic," Bronson stars as Arthur Bishop, a well-regarded mechanic — slang for assassin — who suffers anxiety and depression because of his stressful life. Michael Winner, with whom Bronson would frequently collaborate, directed. Bronson's real-life wife, Jill Ireland, also appears in the film.

As in "John Wick," Bishop works for a secret society with its own rules that must be followed lest he face dire consequences. After killing Keenan Wynn's Harry McKenna, one of the organization's bigwigs, Bishop meets McKenna's son, Steve, played by '70s heartthrob Jan-Michael Vincent. Bishop realizes that Steve has the right temperament to be a mechanic, what with him being rather sociopathic, and begins taking him along on assignments without the organization's permission. Turns out Steve is a very good learner, so much so that Bishop may not only have the organization to worry about.

"The Mechanic" was remade in 2011 with Jason Statham and Ben Foster in the Bishop and Steve roles, respectively, which was successful enough to yield a sequel, "Mechanic: Resurrection," in 2016. It's hard to beat the original, though, for both its portrayal of the mechanics of assassination and its human elements.

Léon: The Professional

Written and directed by French filmmaker Luc Besson, "Léon: The Professional" was originally released in 1994 as just "The Professional" in the US. The film is in English and stars Jean Reno as Léon, a "cleaner" who winds up teaching the tools of his hitman trade to 12-year-old Mathilda, played by Natalie Portman. It's a little problematic, yes, but the revenge action aspects of the film are top notch.

Mathilda and her family live in the same apartment complex where Léon resides. Mathilda's father runs afoul of Gary Oldman's DEA agent, Norman Stansfield, and she returns home one day to find her family slaughtered. Léon takes her in before she's discovered and she is the one who requests murder lessons so she can avenge her family. The pair form an odd bond as he schools her in weaponry and tactics, and she plots to take on Stansfield all by herself.

Portman is a tiny powerhouse of emotion and magnetism, and her performance augurs the greatness to come in her adult career. Reno is also quite good, and any time Oldman plays evil it's worth seeing.

The Accountant

In 2016's "The Accountant," Ben Affleck plays Christian Wolff, an intensely quiet man with "high-functioning autism" who is good with numbers. He uses his special set of skills performing internal audits to uncover embezzlement, usually for unsavory types involved in criminal enterprises. "The Accountant" also features Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jean Smart, and John Lithgow.

Wolff goes about his business and manages his triggers the way his father taught him. Unfortunately, his father, who was in the military, believed the best way to protect Wolff from the world was to expose him to sensory overload in order to numb him to it, and to teach him and his brother, played as an adult by Jon Bernthal, martial-arts and other forms of self-protection, making Wolff rather deadly when crossed.

"The Accountant" spurred conversation around representation of neurodiversity in film, but the action in this thriller is above-average and Affleck's steely-yet-vulnerable portrayal of a man with a brutally strict moral code deserves to be seen.

Atomic Blonde

Charlize Theron stars in director David Leitch's high-octane feature, "Atomic Blonde," which was released in 2017 and is based on the graphic novel series "The Coldest City" by Antony Johnston. Theron plays Lorraine Broughton, a deadly MI6 agent sent to Berlin in 1989 to retrieve The List, a stolen compendium of names of all the spies operating there, before everyone is exposed. James McAvoy, Sofia Boutella, and John Goodman also star.

"Atomic Blonde," with its saturated hues and exceptional stunt work, drew many comparisons to "John Wick" when it was released — which makes sense, given that Leitch worked on that film, too. Though set in the world of spies, there's plenty of fighting and bullets flying, along with cat-and-mouse interactions between Broughton and McAvoy's spy, Percival, as Broughton tries to figure out who, if anyone, she can trust. Anchored by Theron's killer performance and boasting a pulsating soundtrack, "Atomic Blonde" makes a good double-feature with any of the "Wick" films.

The Killer

When director/writer John Woo's "The Killer" was released in 1989, one of its taglines was "One vicious killer. One fierce cop. Ten thousand bullets." Though we can't verify the veracity of that last part, there are certainly plenty of shell casings littering the scenes in Woo's hard-boiled tale of a killer named Ah Jong, played by Chow Yun-Fat. Jong's own moral code dictates he take one last assignment in order to secure funding to help a woman he accidentally hurt during one of his hits. On his tail is Inspector Lee Ying, played by Danny Lee.

"The Killer" is filled with Woo's trademark sentimentality, shoot-outs galore, and white doves moving in slow motion, which would become a recurring motif in Woo's other films. Though "The Killer" contains gnarly action and gore, there's also Woo's preoccupation with spirituality and humanity. Jong may be a hitman, but he also only kills his targets and other criminals, going out of his way to protect children and other bystanders. Ying notices this and the two men bond after an ambush in which the Triad gang is attempting to eliminate Jong. Jong may be a vicious killer, but his morality sets him above the other gangsters Ying seeks to arrest. The ballet-like action sequences alone make "The Killer" worth seeing, but the connection between Jong and Ying move it up to another level, not to mention its influential place in the action movie pantheon.


Written by "John Wick" scribe Derek Kolstad and directed by Ilya Naishuller of "Hardcore Henry" fame, 2021's "Nobody" is a wild ride filled with mayhem, murder, and a kitty-cat bracelet. Starring Bob Odenkirk as seemingly mild-mannered Hutch Mansell, "Nobody" wastes no time getting to the good stuff, i.e., fighting, shoot-outs, and stuff blowing up real good. Clocking in at a lean 92 minutes, the film is fast-paced and even a bit touching.

Mansell lives a quiet life with his wife, Becca, played by Connie Nielsen, and two kids. He's bored with his job — just like an ordinary nobody. Even when his home is invaded by two robbers, Mansell does nothing but give them what they want. However, he hunts them down and after an unrelated altercation on a bus, is targeted by a Russian mobster for revenge. The problem? Mansell is no ordinary man. For that matter, neither is his father, who's played by Christopher Lloyd.

During a Twitter watch party for the premiere of "Nobody," Naishuller tweeted, "If you approach the character as if he's addicted to violence and has kept himself in check for 15 years, then the film will really click for you." Odenkirk's Mansell is wound up tightly and once he's unleashed, there's no stopping him, just like Wick. "Nobody" is a film "John Wick" fans will enjoy.

El Mariachi

Released in 1992, "El Mariachi" is Robert Rodriguez's feature film debut. He wrote and directed the tale of an unnamed man, played by Carlos Gallardo, who is the victim of mistaken identity. At the same time as he's come to town with his guitar to pursue his dreams of becoming a mariachi, a criminal named Azul, played by Reinol Martinez, with a similar guitar case — albeit one full of guns and other weapons — breaks out of jail to get revenge on a drug kingpin. The hitmen sent after Azul don't know what he looks like, only that he has a guitar case and wears black. Uh oh.

The young mariachi-to-be manages to escape, only to wind up at a bar where the drug lord's love interest, Consuelo Gómez's Dominó, works. The mariachi also falls in love with her, unwittingly becoming part of a love triangle. You could almost write a ranchera about it.

Rodriguez's kinetic style and dramatic flair propel the tragic tale of a man who wanted nothing more than to be a musician, only to have his dreams shattered in the worst way. The Spanish-language "El Mariachi" was made on an ultra-low budget — $7,000. Two sequels featuring Antonio Banderas taking over the role of El Mariachi, 1995's "Desperado" and 2003's "Once Upon A Time in Mexico," comprise Rodriguez's Mexico Trilogy. A TV show based on the original film was also produced in 2014. It had one season of 71 episodes.

Kill Bill: Volume 1

Originally intended as one four-hour film, Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" was split into two features, with the first chapter, "Kill Bill: Volume 1," released in 2003. "Kill Bill: Volume 1" stars Uma Thurman as The Bride, an assassin left for dead at her wedding after her former associates massacre everyone in the church. She proceeds to wreak harrowing revenge on everyone involved on that fateful day. Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen, and David Carradine also star.

Tarantino's love of Asian action films, rapid-fire dialogue, and bloody, bloody violence are on full display as the Bride rehabilitates herself after her terrible ordeal and methodically hunts down the assassins who destroyed her happiness. As in "John Wick," the society of assassins has a code they follow, which the Bride apparently violated. The first "volume" is highly stylized and focuses on the Bride's rehabilitation after lying in a four-year coma, and how she finds and dispatches two of the other Deadly Viper Assassination Squad members. "Kill Bill: Volume 2" was released in 2004, wherein the Bride finishes what she started.

In Bruges

While most of these films are deadly serious, "In Bruges" proves it's possible to have an action film that's hilarious as well as propulsive. Released in 2008 and written and directed by Martin McDonagh, "In Bruges" is a pitch-black comedy that features Colin Farrell as hitman Ray, Brendan Gleeson as Ray's fellow hitman and mentor, Ken, and Ralph Fiennes as Harry, their boss. Ray and Ken are in hiding because Ray botches a hit, accidentally killing a child. Harry is absolutely livid about it — killing a child violates the hitman's code.

Ray and Ken cool their heels in Bruges, a city in Belgium, where Ray is bored and Ken is delighted. Harry wants Ken to dispatch Ray because of the violation of the code, but Ken's not keen on that plan. Harry doesn't appreciate Ken's disobedience, so he heads to Bruges himself. It's only a matter of time before things come to a bloody head.

The humor comes from Harry's intransigence in deviating from the code, despite acknowledging that what happened with the child and Ray was a complete accident, as well as some of the characters Ken and Ray meet while hiding out. McDonagh, also known for 2012's dark comedy, "Seven Psychopaths," as well as 2017's "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" — which nabbed acting Oscars for Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell — is able to tease the humor from Ray's bleak predicament, infusing the story of a bunch of killers and reprobates with heart as well.

La Femme Nikita

Not all contract killers do it by choice. Some are forced into the life, as happens to Nikita in "La Femme Nikita." The French film, released in 1990, stars Anne Parillaud in the title role, and was written and directed by Luc Besson.

Parillaud's Nikita is a debauched teen who murders a police officer during a botched robbery. After being jailed, however, she is chosen by "the Centre" to be reborn as an assassin or they will kill her. Nikita chooses life as a contract killer. Turns out she is very good at it, too. Legendary French actress Jeanne Moreau plays Nikita's handler/mentor, Amande, while Jean Reno plays Victor, a "cleaner."

"La Femme Nikita" is worth seeing for Parillaud's performance, as Nikita is transformed from a junkie to a femme fatale, not to mention a female assassin who's both a little terrifying but also sympathetic. The film has been remade twice, once as "Black Cat" in 1991 and again as "Point of No Return" in 1993. The latter remake stars Bridget Fonda in Parillaud's role. The film has also been adapted twice as a television series, 1997's "Le Femme Nikita" and 2010's "Nikita."


Mathilda from "Léon: The Professional" is not the only young assassin on this list. In 2011, Saoirse Ronan played the title role in "Hanna," about a 15-year-old girl whose father teaches her the ways of the hitman. Seems Hanna's father, Eric Bana's Erik, used to be in the CIA and is being hunted by the agency because he knows too much. Erik wants to ensure Hanna's safety, and schooling her on being an assassin is apparently the only way he knows how. He does have one ulterior motive, though — he wants her to kill Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett), the CIA agent who is after him. Well, he has another motive, and it has to do with the dangerous secret he knows about Hanna.

"Hanna" twists and turns as the young assassin decides to go after Marissa herself and winds up discovering just what it is her father has been hiding from her all those years. The film marries action with coming-of-age drama. Ronan shows her early promise as an actress, and is very good as Hanna comes into her own, while Blanchett is full of menace. Director Joe Wright keeps the tension up and the pacing tight as Hanna avoids the CIA while heading straight into a reveal that shakes up everything. A TV series based on the film, also called "Hanna," had its first season in 2019 and is expected to begin its third season in 2021.

The Assassination Bureau

"The Assassination Bureau Limited," known as "The Assassination Bureau" in the US, was released in 1969 and is a darkly comedic look at assassins, but without the bleakness of "In Bruges." The film, which is based on an unfinished novel by Jack London, stars Oliver Reed as Ivan Dragomiloff, Diana Rigg as Sonya Winter, and Telly Savalas as Lord Bostwick.

Winter is a journalist and women's rights activist who discovers a secret organization of assassins, aptly titled The Assassination Bureau Limited. Instead of exposing them in her capacity as a journalist, Winter decides to have the head of the Bureau, Dragomiloff, killed, thinking this will dismantle the whole enterprise. This is a comedy, after all. An exposé would be too simple.

Dragomiloff, like others on this list of films, has a strict moral code he feels the Bureau should follow and which it most certainly has not. So he decides to play into Winter's plan by modifying it. If the Bureau can assassinate him, so be it, but he will be gunning for them first.

Unfortunately for Dragomiloff, there's another layer to this tidy conspiracy, as Lord Bostwick also wants the other Bureau elders eliminated for his own financial gain, not to mention the power he would have by taking over the Bureau himself. It's intentionally ridiculous and complicated, and a fun watch as well.


Chan-wook Park's "Oldboy," released in 2003, is a Korean rumination about vengeance and the toll it takes. Done in the neo-noir style, the film follows Oh Dae-su, played by Choi Min-sik, who is held captive for 15 years, never knowing the why of his imprisonment nor the who behind it. After he is just as mysteriously released, he finds he's still imprisoned in a way. He's lost years of his life, his family is dead or missing, and his captor can still torment him. It takes a while for him to figure out that the inciting event occurred deep in his past, and that the past has a way of haunting everyone involved.

The story is complex and very twisted, pointing out how ultimately hollow revenge is. Unlike other films where revenge is coded as something to cheer for, it is deeply sad and empty here. Park's neo-noir trappings are a perfect fit for the material, which is based on a Japanese manga by Garon Tsuchiya, and the ending hits hard. "Oldboy" has been remade twice: a Bollywood version in 2006 called "Zinda" and an American version in 2013 with its original title. The latter was directed by Spike Lee, but did not enjoy the same critical success as Park's film.

A Better Tomorrow

Director John Woo's groundbreaking 1986 Hong Kong action film, "A Better Tomorrow," is considered the film that turned Chow Yun-Fat into a superstar in Asia. Chow plays Mark, a member of the criminal Triad along with his friend, Sung Tse-Ho, played by Ti Lung. This version of the Triad are counterfeiters, and both Mark and Tse-Ho are in the Triad's upper echelon. Tse-Ho's brother, Kit, played by Leslie Cheung, is a cop, however. Tse-Ho wants to go straight, but as usually happens when a criminal says they will do one last job, things go haywire and Tse-Ho goes to prison. Once released, Tse-Ho discovers Mark is no longer a Triad bigwig and that Tse-Ho's former apprentice, Waise Lee's Shing, is the boss. Tse-Ho is estranged from Kit, who is obsessed with bringing down the Triad. 

Woo mines the tension between Tse-Ho's dedication to his brother and his allegiance to his best friend while meditating on what makes a family, albeit with a healthy dose of his trademark bloodshed. The relationships between Tse-Ho, Kit, and Mark are the emotional heart of the film. One sequel, "A Better Tomorrow 2," was released in 1987, and a prequel, "A Better Tomorrow III: Love & Death in Saigon," in 1989. The latter was directed by Tsui Hark after he and Woo had a falling out. A Hindi version, "Aatish," was released in 1994. There's also a 2010 Korean version and a 2018 Chinese remake, "A Better Tomorrow 2018."

Deadpool 2

When you get a "John Wick" alum like director David Leitch and pair him with Marvel's "Merc with a Mouth," you get an action-comedy experience spewing with blood and explosive action at nearly every turn. "Deadpool 2" sees the titular assassin for hire try to save a young mutant who's being hunted by a futuristic soldier and have some fun along the way. The first "Deadpool" movie delivered plenty of wild action that saw plenty of bloodshed come at the hands of our hero (Ryan Reynolds), but "Deadpool 2" takes things to a whole other level of wild madness. 

There are intense fights that see Deadpool stretch the limits of his immortality and one incredible high-speed car chase sequence full of bloody blows, hilarious carnage, and even Deadpool trying and failing to repeat his dual sword spin from "X-Men Origins: Wolverine." Plus, the luck of Domino (Zazie Beetz) causes tons of explosive moments and the way she can cause people to die without really doing much is both hilarious and jaw-dropping. "Deadpool 2" is far from just being another "Deadpool" movie as it not only boasts some hilarious moments and cameos, but also some stellar-looking action that's as gory and red as Deadpool's suit. 

Hardcore Henry

The "John Wick" franchise is all about dishing out some innovative action on the big screen and no film is more fitting to that vision than "Hardcore Henry." Told entirely in first person, the film follows Henry (who's played by multiple people including director Ilya Naishuller) as he wakes up in a laboratory to a pretty rough predicament. Not only does Henry possess cybernetic abilities, but also his memory has been wiped and his supposed wife, Estelle (Haley Bennett), is kidnapped by a psychopath hellbent on destroying the world. Now, Henry is in a race against time to learn the truth and ends up in some brutal conflicts along the way. 

The first-person perspective makes "Hardcore Henry" feel like you're watching a cinematic video game and Henry racks up quite a killstreak in his adventure. There are plenty of wild moments of intense bloodshed and a sequence that'll never make you hear Queen's classic song "Don't Stop Me Now" the same ever again. There's no denying that "Hardcore Henry" shows the same kind of ambition and creativity with its action that the "John Wick" films do, possibly even more, and it features a story with some intriguing lore that keeps you hooked in between all the action. "Hardcore Henry" is a must-watch for action enthusiasts and it provides an experience, unlike anything you've seen before. 


There's a gritty action-thriller that some Netflix subscribers might be sleeping on, and that film is "Kate." The film sees Mary Elizabeth Winstead play the titular assassin as she finds herself poisoned just as she's about to embark on her final mission. Now, she's forced to abandon her mission and — with the help of the young girl (Miku Martineau) whose father she killed on a previous mission — go on a revenge path to find out who set her up.

"Kate" is led by a thrilling performance from Winstead, who excels at bringing out Kate's hardened demeanor and incredible physical ability. The film's fight scenes aren't afraid to let the titular assassin loose on those trying to stop her and it can definitely have its bloody moments. Sure, the film also features a betrayal you could see coming from miles away and some aspects of other films seen on this list. But it all comes together for a fun action-packed watch and Netflix subscribers shouldn't miss out on "Kate."

The Man from Nowhere

South Korea has become a thriving area in the world for interesting and ambitious films, and "The Man from Nowhere" is one of the best action films to come from there in the last decade. The film follows a quiet pawn shop owner (Won Bin) with a traumatic past who's ensnared in a violent war between gangs after his only friend is taken. Just from the premise and tone alone, "The Man from Nowhere" has all the "John Wick" vibes fans want in their action flicks, and it's got all the brutality too.

The film features no shortage of blood-fueled action and with its main character willing to do whatever it takes to save his friend, "The Man from Nowhere" spares no mercy in dishing out its cold vengeance. It also features Bin in a much darker role than what he's usually known for, so it's a great way for fans of his to see him in a new light. "The Man from Nowhere" is a perfect gateway film for those looking to delve into South Korea's thriving film scene, and won't disappoint in the thrilling experience it provides.

The Night Comes for Us

Another international gem that action fans will certainly want to check out is the 2018 Indonesian thriller, "The Night Comes for Us," which is just primed and ready to be seen on Netflix. The film sees crime enforcer Ito (Joe Taslim) turn his back on everyone to save a young girl. This leads to him becoming a wanted man by virtually everyone -– especially a young prospect named Arian (Iko Uwais) looking to earn some power of his own -– and putting him in a fight for survival. "The Night Comes for Us" is a classic action premise done differently through its stylish action that'll leave you stunned by its brutality.

There are plenty of bone-snapping hits and blood-spewing slashes that'll certainly make any viewer's stomach turn, and a factory fight scene full of incredible choreography and violent actions. It's also a blast to see Ito and Arian's feud grow throughout the film and once they clash, it feels like two badass titans fighting for supremacy. Action fanatics will undoubtedly be wowed by what "The Night Comes for Us" has to offer and will be very pleased to find two incredible action stars in Taslim and Uwais, who they'll instantly obsess over.

The Raid: Redemption

Since we're already talking about Iko Uwais and Joe Taslim, there's no way we couldn't mention "The Raid: Redemption" since it's the film that cements both of them, mainly Uwais, as action stars and is just plain incredible to watch. The film sees Uwais play Rama, a rookie member of a special forces team set to perform a raid on a dangerous drug lord. When the raid takes a nasty turn and most of Rama's team is wiped out, he's forced into a gruesome fight for his life as he works to kill the drug lord. Those that have seen "The Raid: Redemption," or its sequel, "Raid 2," know that these films pack a brutal punch.

With the film utilizing the traditional Indonesian martial art of Pencak Silat — which involves the entire body and different forms of striking and grapples — it's a visual masterclass of action. The fight scenes have that same kind of incredible flow that the "John Wick" films have and Uwais just looks like a masterful badass in every fight scene. With all the tension being built up as Rama gets closer to facing the drug lord, "The Raid: Redemption" is a total thrill ride and will leave you breathless after Rama takes down a seemingly endless number of foes. "The Raid: Redemption" is a modern classic of the action genre no fan should miss out on and adding in the second film makes for a killer double feature.

Bullet Train

With how many of David Leitch's movies get mentioned on this list, he's got to be considered a modern legend of the action genre, and his latest film, "Bullet Train," is a can't-miss action-comedy. The film brings viewers onto a speeding bullet train as the contents of a special briefcase connect a bunch of assassins and baddies together putting them in each other's crosshairs. As their ride progresses, snatch and grab agent Ladybug (Brad Pitt) feels that they're all a part of something bigger and tries to figure out how to get off the train before it's too late. 

"Bullet Train" is like Leitch took his experience from "Deadpool 2" and "John Wick" and mashed it together into a hilarious and action-packed original story. The cast has some hilarious interactions and lines with Pitt's Ladybug being one of the film's best characters as he delivers some gut-busting moments fueled by his bad luck. Even on a fast-moving train, the action is incredibly smooth and there are plenty of big and bloody moments between all these skilled shooters and fighters clashing. Best of all is that its story is really good and the great mystery that unfolds throughout is totally enthralling to watch and features some incredible storytelling. "Bullet Train" is the total package when it comes to action comedies and shows how strong Leitch is as a force in the action genre. 

Violent Night

"Die Hard" is no longer THE only action movie to watch around Christmas after a new challenger appeared in 2022 with some "John Wick" DNA in "Violent Night." The film is a Santa Claus action movie (yes, you read that right) that sees Saint Nick (David Harbour) take on a bunch of mercenaries on Christmas Eve after a young girl asks him to save her and her family. Now, you might think that having Santa as the main action hero would make "Violent Night" a little tame. Well, you'd be dead wrong since this Santa's Norse warrior backstory makes him not afraid to get his hands dirty. 

From stuffing grenades (which he defines as lumps of coal) down people's pants to using a chimney to deliver a gory mess of a finale, Santa brings the bloody goods this Christmas. There's even a sequence that sees him take down a whole army with a sledgehammer that makes him scary as hell and a vicious ode to "Home Alone" traps that adds some gruesome realism to keep the baddies at bay. "Violent Night" also has some good story beats that make it a great Christmas flick giving a good mix of sweet and bloody that action fans will totally adore. "Die Hard" might be considered the definitive action movie to watch on Christmas, but "Violent Night" gives it some stiff competition.  


There's no way that we can talk about movies with the vibes of a modern action franchise like "John Wick" without mentioning its spiritual predecessor, "Taken." Like "John Wick" did for Keanu Reeves, "Taken" launched Liam Neeson into a whole new era of his career that's more action-oriented. The film sees Neeson as Bryan Mills, an ex-CIA officer who finds himself entrenched in a dark criminal underworld after he goes to Europe in search of his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace), who has been kidnapped by human traffickers. "Taken" is the movie that Neeson is largely known for now and it's because he showed that you can be a badass at any age.

As Mills goes deeper into this cruel world of human trafficking, the suspense, thrills, and danger only heighten, forcing him to go to even more violent lengths to find his daughter. This was really the start of seeing older actors start new action franchises or return to their old stomping grounds and Neeson solidified himself as a daunting force on-screen.

Whether he had a gun in his hands or nothing at all, coming face to face with Mills might as well be the same as seeing Death, itself. He never shows mercy towards anyone and has some pretty inhumane ways of getting answers. "Taken" is definitely a gritty watch with some thrilling action that no one should miss. Plus, it's a pivotal part of Neeson's career and one of his most iconic performances to date. 

Birds of Prey

The DCEU didn't feature many hits worth watching, but "Birds of Prey" wasn't one of them, which provided one of the most action-packed and insanely fun DC movies of all time. The film puts a special spotlight on Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) as she's out on her own after she and the Joker split. Without the Clown Prince of Crime by her side, other villains like Black Mask (Ewan McGregor) see her as an open target and with the help of other female fighters floating around Gotham, Harley finds herself in the fight of her life. An R-rated action-comedy starring Harley Quinn should be filled with colorful chaos and wild storytelling. Luckily, "Birds of Prey" is that and so much more. 

With the eccentric and varying personalities of the film's main ensemble of female badasses, the film shifts between a lot of different feelings with its action. From grounded and gritty to explosively colorful jaunts, "Birds of Prey" has it all mixed with layers of blood and bone-cracking blows that are a staple to Harley. Director Cathy Yan shows an incredible vision with "Birds of Prey" letting the personalities and strengths of the characters bleed into the action, which ranges from fight scenes with big scope to an incredible finale car chase that sees Harley pursuing on roller skates. "Birds of Prey" is an ambitious action experience that action fans will adore and also features some comedic moments that make Harley truly come alive on-screen. 

Wrath of Man

Director Guy Ritchie is no stranger to delivering epic action on the big screen and elevated his vision with his 2021 heist film, "Wrath of Man." The film follows a man named H (Jason Statham) who joins a security force tasked with guarding armored cars during transports. Although he just seems like a generic new guy on the crew, he possesses some wild marksmanship skills and a mysterious personality that makes his fellow guards question his intentions. It turns out that H does have a looming revenge plan of his own in the works that involves a group of veterans looking to score some serious cash. 

"Wrath of Man" is easily a strong showcase of Ritchie's unique style of storytelling and character direction with the incredible performances from the ensemble cast and the twisty turns the story takes. However, it's the action of "Wrath of Man" that's even more noteworthy, especially with Statham leading the charge. Statham looks like a hardened badass in every scene with his mean mug and calculated demeanor driving all the excellently-choreographed action.

There's almost a rhythmic feel to some action moments that really bring some good energy to them and "Wrath of Man" is the kind of white-knuckle thriller that doesn't pull its punches. While it's also got Ritchie's distinct slice of comedy, "Wrath of Man" is a very character-driven action flick that'll definitely leave fans pleased with how good it is. 

Gunpowder Milkshake

Netflix's film library has become so vast and expansive that there are plenty of movies worth watching just flying under the radar. For action junkies, one of those movies is "Gunpowder Milkshake," which can be as fun and wild as its enticing name. The film sees hitwoman Sam (Karen Gillian) attempt to save a young girl (Chloe Coleman) from rival assassins with the help of her estranged mother, Scarlet (Lena Headey), and a trio of seasoned female assassins (Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett, Carla Gugino). Aside from it featuring a color palette that pops and some stellar gun fights that let blood and bullets fly across the screen, "Gunpowder Milkshake" also features an exceptional cast of modern female actors. 

Gillian and Heady as an assassin mother and daughter duo that doesn't always see eye to eye is always a treat. Also, the combination of Yeoh, Bassett, and Gugino as a group of female assassins is fantastic, and seeing them come together into a big blowout gunfight is incredible. "Gunpowder Milkshake" features a multi-generational cast of women that kicks butt and shows some serious skill that makes the action fun to watch. 


Hugh Jackman's final chapter as Wolverine — at least until "Deadpool 3" – not only delivered one of the best comic book stories ever to grace the screen, but also let the character off the leash to be a vicious force in action. The film sees an older Logan (Jackman) caring for an ill Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) while also trying to protect a young mutant named Laura (Dafne Keen) as she's hunted by a criminal organization. For decades, Wolverine had been stuck behind a PG-13 rating that kept him from really being the destructive force he can be with those razor-sharp claws. With its R-rating though, that was no longer the case for "Logan." 

Right from the opening scenes, it's clear that Logan isn't afraid to kill in a brutal fashion and do whatever it takes to survive. There are plenty of sequences throughout the film that shows him and Laura absolutely ripping people to shreds. It all fits perfectly with the more realistic depiction the film has of its characters and world and results in some of the bloodiest moments Logan has ever delivered on screen. Plus, who could forget that sequence in the finale where Logan is truly let loose and goes a tear through a forest filled with armed foes? It's just a terrifying display, but it's what makes "Logan" a thrilling watch as it depicts one of Marvel's most beloved heroes in a way that fans have been craving to see for years.