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30 Best Action Movies On HBO Max [August 2021]

HBO Max entered the streaming fray in May 2020, and despite being over a decade behind some of the biggest names in the business, the platform has become one of the top apps for streamers. It's is still building up its catalog of original content, but boasts a wide variety of films and television series for your viewing pleasure. Not only does HBO Max have the entire "Lord of the Rings" catalog as well as the films of the DCEU, but it's also home to all 10 seasons of "Friends" and fellow sitcom smash "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."

From comedies to thrillers, HBO Max has it all — including a vast selection of some of the greatest action movies of all time. The streaming giant is a great destination if you're a fan of the genre, as it currently hosts stellar action flicks loved by critics and fans alike. We've scoured through the streamer's July 2021 catalog and pulled the 30 best action films of the bunch, so if you're wondering what to watch tonight, look no further.

Updated on August 2, 2021: When it comes to movies with car chases, fist fights, and insane stunts, HBO Max is constantly changing its catalog. In order to keep things current, we'll be updating this list each month so you can stay informed on all the crazy action happening over on HBO Max.

Assault on Precinct 13

After the LAPD ambush a street gang, killing several of its members, the criminals vow to exact revenge on the police department. The surviving gang members make a blood oath and subsequently attack a police station which is hours from being decommissioned. A patrol officer, a secretary, and two prisoners fight off the bloodthirsty gang with very limited weapons and resources as their precinct comes under heavy fire.

  • Starring: Austin Stoker, Darwin Joston, Laurie Zimmer
  • Director: John Carpenter
  • Year: 1976
  • Runtime: 90 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

Beverly Hills Cop

Detroit detective Axel Foley heads to California when he learns his friend has been murdered. Once in Beverly Hills, Axel starts to uncover the dangerous secret's behind his childhood pal's death and discovers it's a part of a bigger conspiracy. This fast-talking, wisecracking officer antagonizes two local detectives into helping him when he discovers a drug ring run by a local crime boss.

  • Starring: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton
  • Director: Martin Brest
  • Year: 1984
  • Runtime: 105 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

Birds of Prey

After the events of "Suicide Squad," Harley Quinn finds herself a single woman as she and the Joker have broken up. When one of Gotham's biggest crime lords targets a pickpocketing teenager who holds a precious gem, Harley teams up with a group of tail-kicking ladies in order to protect the girl.

Black Hawk Down

Based on the real-life events of the Battle of Mogadishu, "Black Hawk Down" follows a United States military raid in Somalia that goes terribly wrong. Approximately 100 U.S. soldiers were dropped into the country by Black Hawk Helicopters with the directive of capturing two lieutenants of the local warlord. Two Black Hawks are subsequently shot down, and the stranded soldiers must fight for their lives while taking heavy fire as they're cut off from receiving aid.

  • Starring: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore
  • Director: Ridley Scott
  • Year: 2001
  • Runtime: 144 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%

Blade

One of the first R-rated superhero films ever made, "Blade" follows the titular comic book antihero who's half-human, half-vampire. Blade is determined to wipe all vampires from Earth and fights on the side of mortals. He is also being hunted, as his blood is needed in order to summon La Magra — the blood god. One swift sword strike at a time, Blade takes out dozens of bloodsuckers as he tries to save the human race. "Blade" might not have been a hit with the critics, but it's a fan favorite.

  • Starring: Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson
  • Director: Stephen Norrington
  • Year: 1998
  • Runtime: 120 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 56%

The Dark Knight

The second film in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" trilogy, this Batman flick is regarded as one of the best superhero films of all time. Bruce Wayne finds himself tracking down the Joker, a criminal hellbent on creating anarchy in Gotham who pushes Batman to his absolute limits by taking one of the people he cares about most in the world.

  • Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Maggie Gyllenhaal
  • Director: Christopher Nolan
  • Year: 2008
  • Runtime: 152 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Demolition Man

Police officer John Spartan's first run-in with criminal Simon Phoenix doesn't go as planned when a busload of hostages are killed. Both men are subsequently cryogenically frozen and placed in a Cryo-Penitentiary. Well into the future, when Phoenix is thawed for a parole hearing, he escapes into a crime-free world. The only man able to take him down is Spartan, who is also thawed out and sent on a mission to bring Phoenix back in.

  • Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, and Sandra Bullock
  • Director: Marco Brambilla
  • Year: 1993
  • Runtime: 115 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 60%

The Dirty Dozen

Set during the events of World War II, "The Dirty Dozen" follows Major Reisman, a no-nonsense military leader charged with interviewing a slew of military prisoners who have committed serious crimes — including murder and rape — and are currently serving death sentences. Major Reisman trains the 12 men he's chosen, and the group parachutes across enemy lines into Germany to take out a group of Nazi officers.

  • Starring: Lee Marvin, John Cassavetes, Charles Bronson
  • Director: Robert Aldrich
  • Year: 1967
  • Runtime: 149 minutes
  • Rating: TV-14
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%

Dunkirk

Set during the Battle of Dunkirk in the Second World War, this Christopher Nolan war epic follows British and French soldiers as they're trapped in the port town while being shot down on by German planes. In an effort to get their men home, Britain has civilian boats travel to rescue the stranded men, as two Royal Air Force fighter pilots take on the daunting task of defending their people in treacherous airspace.

  • Starring: Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Harry Styles
  • Director: Christopher Nolan
  • Year: 2017
  • Runtime: 106 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

The Fast and the Furious

The film that kickstarted a billion-dollar franchise shows the story's humble beginnings. LAPD officer Brian O'Conner infiltrates the underground racing scene in Los Angeles as he tries to learn who's behind a string of truck robberies. He befriends Dominic Toretto and falls for his sister Mia, eventually realizing that his new pals are the ones behind the thefts — but he's torn as he starts to enjoy his new second life.

  • Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez
  • Director: Rob Cohen
  • Year: 2001
  • Runtime: 1 hour 47 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 54%

The Foreigner

Ngoc Minh Quan loses everything when his daughter is killed in a terrorist attack. His only purpose in life is to track down the terrorists responsible, leading him to an Irish government official with former ties to the IRA. Both men's mysterious pasts come into play as Quan gets swept up in a cat-and-mouse game with the Irishman. "The Foreigner" is one of Chan's highest-rated films of the last decade, and his excellent chemistry with Pierce Brosnan is reason enough to tune in.

  • Starring: Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan, Ray Fearon
  • Director: Martin Campbell
  • Year: 2017
  • Runtime: 114 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 66%

The Fugitive

Richard Kimble finds himself on the run after his wife is murdered and he's named the prime suspect. As the U.S. Marshals bear down on him, Kimble must stay out of their reach as he tries to find the real murderer. "The Fugitive" is one of Ford's most watchable films, a tense thriller that pits the leading man against an incredibly charismatic Tommy Lee Jones, playing the main marshal sent to bring Kimble back. In fact, Jones won an Oscar for his delightful performance, and trust us, when these two face off, you'll most definitely care. 

Independence Day

When aliens make their way to Earth, the human race is left wondering what to do as the invaders' ships position themselves over major cities. The alien aircrafts decimate these major cities, including New York, Los Angeles, and Moscow, and humans are forced to find a way to take down their new enemy, who is impervious to their lesser weapons. Scientist David Levinson hatches a scheme to take down the invaders and partners up with Captain Steve Hiller to follow it through.

  • Starring: Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman
  • Director: Roland Emmerich
  • Year: 1996
  • Runtime: 144 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%

Jurassic Park

In this classic blockbuster, a massive new theme park boasts cloned dinosaurs as exhibits for paying customers. All you have to do is fly out to an exotic island, and it's like you're back in prehistoric times. However, after a grisly incident with a park employee, the industrialist behind it all invites experts in paleontology and mathematics to analyze his park ... with them eventually giving it a big thumbs down after a power outage lets all the dinosaurs loose. It's not your traditional action flick, but the insane dinosaur chases will get your adrenaline pumping as if you were watching a "Mission: Impossible" film.

  • Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Year: 1993
  • Runtime: 126 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

The Mummy

In the fictional Egyptian city of Hamunaptra, a mummy is awoken during an archeological dig. The High Priest Imhotep was mummified alive 36 centuries ago and now searches for his long-lost love in an attempt to resurrect her. He wreaks havoc across the city and kills as he sucks the souls out of his victims, giving him a more lively appearance. Adventurer Rick O'Connell, Egyptologist Evelyn Carnahan, and her brother must stop the mummy from fulfilling his mission of setting 10 plagues on Egypt in addition to finding his lover.

  • Starring: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah
  • Director: Stephen Sommers
  • Year: 1999
  • Runtime: 124 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 61%

Lethal Weapon

Two cops are paired together — and per movie tradition, they have entirely different approaches to doing their job. Unstable Martin Riggs joins veteran LAPD detective Roger Murtaugh on the hunt to find the murder of a banker's daughter. During their investigation, they find out it's a part of a bigger scheme involving drug smuggling and prostitution, and the duo ends up forming a playful bond with one another as they avoid death at every turn.

Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

Following the events of "Mad Max," when drifter Max Rockatansky stops a violent motorcycle gang in dystopian Australia, Max finds himself on the run again looking for gasoline. He happens upon a refinery, which vicious motorcyclists and their warlord have overrun. In order to obtain the protected gas, Max must aid the helpless locals as they transport it across the highway, all while being chased by the dangerous gang.

  • Starring: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Emil Minty
  • Director: George Miller
  • Year: 1981
  • Runtime: 94 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Point Break

When a group of bank robbers known as the Ex-Presidents attracts the attention of the FBI in California, the bureau sends in rookie agent Johnny Utah to infiltrate the local surf community, where they believe the robbers are members. Upon taking the assignment, Johnny needs to learn to surf and is trained by local waitress Tyler, who subsequently introduces Johnny to Bodhi, the leader of an accomplished group of surfers. As Johnny and Bodhi get closer, the former's objective becomes more difficult as it becomes clear that his new friend isn't what he seems.

  • Starring: Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, Gary Busey
  • Director: Kathryn Bigelow
  • Year: 1991
  • Runtime: 121 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 70%

Ready Player One

Based on the book of the same name by Ernest Cline, "Ready Player One" is a visual feast and pop culture fan's dream. Taking place in the real world as well as a digital one, the story follows gamer Parzival as he attempts to find the Easter egg left behind by the creator of OASIS, an immersive virtual reality. Whichever gamer finds the secret hidden in this incredible world will win the creator's fortune and take control of OASIS.

  • Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Year: 2018
  • Runtime: 139 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 72%

Rush Hour

Hong Kong Inspector Lee and L.A.P.D. Officer Carter become an unlikely duo who come together to find the kidnapped daughter of the Chinese Consul in Los Angeles. One of the great action comedies, "Rush Hour" sees a hilarious back and forth between the protagonists as their cultures clash. Full of famous one-liners, it spawned two sequels, which are also available on the platform.

Seven Samurai

A decrepit village in 16th century Japan finds itself constantly looted by local bandits. Helpless, the locals enlist the help of a samurai named Kambei, who says it's necessary to hire six more samurai in order to protect their village. He recruits the remaining members, and not only do the samurai help protect the villagers, they also teach them how to fight.

  • Starring: Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Yoshio Inaba
  • Director: Akira Kurosawa
  • Year: 1954
  • Runtime: 206 minutes
  • Rating: TV-14
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Sherlock Holmes

Legendary detective Sherlock Holmes and his counterpart Dr. John Watson track down Lord Blackwood, a notorious occult serial killer. Pronounced dead after hanging by Watson, Lord Blackwood mysteriously resurrects himself and goes on another spree. Holmes and his pal are tasked with finding the alleged sorcerer a second time as Lord Blackwood threatens to take down all of England.

  • Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams
  • Director: Guy Ritchie
  • Year: 2009
  • Runtime: 128 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%

Speed

This fast-paced thriller sees S.W.A.T. officer Jack Traven attempt to save hostages on board a moving bus with a bomb that's set to detonate if the bus travels below 50 miles per hour — and if any hostages are removed as the bus is moving, it will also be remotely detonated. Running out of gas and pavement, Jack works against time to figure out how to save everyone on board, including the passenger at the wheel.

  • Starring: Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Dennis Hopper
  • Director: Jan de Bont
  • Year: 1994
  • Runtime: 115 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

The Suicide Squad

After 2016's critically derided "Suicide Squad," we all worried we might never see the ragtag bunch of baddies on the silver screen again. Well, fear not — James Gunn is here, and he's bringing back some fan-favorites ... along with a whole lot of blood. Based on the DC Comics antihero group of the same name, "The Suicide Squad" sees some new rogues join forces with Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, and Rick Flag as they travel down to South America in order to stop the mysterious "Operation: Starfish." This new film absolutely blows away the 2016 flick with stellar performances from the A-list cast. Gunn manages to mix comedy, drama, and violence into one cohesive film, and the result is a good, gory time.

Tenet

Easily the most complex film on our list, "Tenet" follows a nameless hero charged with saving the planet from an impending WWIII. The Protagonist navigates the world of espionage and time inversion — a concept that'll have you scratching your head. In order to stop a powerful Russian oligarch, our hero must work alongside him and master time manipulation (not to be confused with time travel). It's an audiovisual spectacle that deserves a watch or two.

Twister

Stormchaser Dr. Jo Harding is a dedicated professional who tracks deadly tornados to plant measuring devices inside them and collect data. Her husband, Bill Harding, is desperately trying to finalize their divorce so he can marry his new lady friend, but the three find themselves chasing tornados in a deadly string of storms across Oklahoma. Jo's passion for her work puts her in some scary scenarios as she and her husband face the ultimate twister, which could cost them their lives.

  • Starring: Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Carey Elwes
  • Director: Jan de Bont
  • Year: 1996
  • Runtime: 1 hour 54 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 60%

Training Day

In the film that earned him his second Academy Award, Denzel Washington plays rogue LAPD narcotics detective Alonzo Harris, charged with training officer Jake Hoyt on his first day. Jake learns that his new partner does things his own way as he watches him abuse suspects, mishandle evidence, and brazenly flout the rules. As Alonzo tries to take Hoyt under his wing, the newbie avoids getting dragged into the corrupt life, eventually causing a major confrontation.

V For Vendetta

In 2028, the world is in complete disarray, and the United Kingdom has become a police state run by fascists. A masked vigilante known as V takes it upon himself to fight back against the government with terrorist tactics. V saves a young woman, and the two eventually form a partnership to attempt to take those down who have turned Britain into a dystopia.

  • Starring: Natalie Portman, Hugo Weaving, Stephen Rea
  • Director: James McTeigue
  • Year: 2006
  • Runtime: 132 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%

A Walk Among the Tombstones

Haunted by his past, former NYPD detective Matt Scudder works as a private eye, one who's commissioned by a local drug dealer to find his wife's murderers. After accepting the job, Scudder finds himself wandering deeper and deeper into darkness as the men he's after are two of the most vicious killers you'll ever see on the screen. "A Walk Among the Tombstones" is one of Neeson's highest-rated action flicks of the last decade, even outperforming the smash hit "Taken" on Rotten Tomatoes. And if you only know David Harbour as the cranky yet adorable police chief in "Stranger Things," well, you better brace yourself.

The Warriors

Gang leader Cyrus attempts to unite all rival gangs in New York in order to outnumber the police force so they can control the city. At a meeting where the plan is explained, Cyrus is shot and killed, his murder blamed on the leader of the Warriors, Cleon. An innocent Cleon is subsequently killed, and his gang members must escape back to their neighborhood while being hunted down by police officers and the city's other gangs.

  • Starring: Michael Beck, Dorsey Wright, James Remar
  • Director: Walter Hill
  • Year: 1979
  • Runtime: 92 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%