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30 Best Action Movies On HBO Max [December 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 November 30, 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%

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 Book of Eli

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Eli wanders the desolate wasteland protecting an item he holds most dear. He might be blind, but he's a ruthless fighter who can take down any adversary with ease. Once a powerful warlord discovers what Eli is carrying, he makes it his mission to bring it into his possession. He doesn't know that Eli will fight for the death for it, and the finale's big reveal will leave your jaw on the floor. Critics didn't love the film too much, but audiences rated it much higher for Denzel Washington's performance as Eli, as well as Mila Kunis for her supporting role.

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%

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 Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

J.R.R. Tolkein's 1937 novel "The Hobbit, or There and Back Again" is a short, casually presented fairy tale. But when Peter Jackson — who took Tolkein's "The Lord of the Rings" and turned it into one of the biggest and most satisfying film epics of all time — got a hold of "The Hobbit," he brought the scale, grandeur, and action, presenting a second, prequel Middle-Earth trilogy. 

The first installment, "An Unexpected Journey" spends an agreeably long time in the well-realized Shire, the home of the tiny human-like hobbits, where Bilbo Baggins leads a quiet and happy life of little drama. But then he's enlisted by his dear friend, the great wizard Gandalf, to go on a quest and help a group of dwarves reclaim their kingdom and treasure. Along the way, Bilbo will face dangers and delights, including fantastical lands, orcs, goblins, gigantic birds, dragons, and swamp monsters.

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%

The Italian Job

There are few action subgenres more fun than the heist team-up movie, wherein a charismatic leader assembles a group of quirky individuals with particular skills to pull off an almost impossible theft of some unbelievably valuable treasure. In "The Italian Job" — an amped-up, American-style remake of the relatively reserved 1969 movie of the same name — one heist falls apart when criminal team member Steve goes rogue during a robbery, killing his safecracker and taking off with all of the gold promised to the whole squad. The rest of that group — from the leader and the daring driver to the explosives guy and the computer wiz — then vows revenge and plans to steal back the ill-gotten loot.

  • Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton
  • Director: F. Gary Gray
  • Year: 2003
  • Runtime: 111 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%

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%

Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2

Both available to stream on HBO Max, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 of "Kill Bill" can be viewed back to back to make one cohesive film. The story follows the Bride, an elite member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, who becomes pregnant with the leader Bill's baby and leaves the murderous life behind. She's tracked down by Bill and other members of her squad and shot in the head. When she awakes from a four-year coma, she seeks revenge on her former team members and lover.

  • Starring: Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, David Carradine
  • Director: Quentin Tarantino
  • Year: 2003 / 2004
  • Runtime: 110 minutes/ 137 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 85% / 84%

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: Fury Road

Set in the post-apocalyptic future, "Mad Max: Fury Road" follows the story of Imperator Furiosa as she rebels against her ruler, Immortan Joe, in a world where everyone is fighting for resources. As she helps the five brides of the tyrant escape the citadel where they reside, they're joined by a loner named Max, who's been kidnapped to provide blood for a war boy in the fortress. As the group travels to Furiosa's homeland to find refuge, they're followed by Joe and his men in a chase across a desolate wasteland.

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%

Oblivion

In 2077, humans have lost a war to aliens, and the survivors now live off-planet on a distant colony. Only a few people remain on Earth, including Jack Harper, who monitors and maintains safety drones with his partner Vika. After a spacecraft crash lands on Earth, the only survivor is a woman who Jack has dreamed of before. She turns his world upside down, and he now questions everything he's ever known and becomes the key to saving humanity as he knows it. Critics were split on "Oblivion," but Tom Cruise's performance as Jack Harper was praised nonetheless. The film is a sci-fi hidden gem with an incredible soundtrack and score composed by M83. 

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

One of the greatest films in Japanese — nay, cinematic — history, "Seven Samurai" is one of the all-time action flicks, a movie that's gone on to influence everything from "The Magnificent Seven" to "The Mandalorian." The plot finds a decrepit village in 16th-century Japan at the mercy of bandits. Helpless, the locals enlist the help of a samurai named Kambei, who says it's necessary to hire six more warriors. Our hero then goes about recruiting an eclectic bunch of samurai, from a stoic swordsman to an eager kid to a hot-headed wannabe. Together, they must defend the village at all costs, leading to some of the most beautifully shot action sequences you're ever going to see.

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

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%

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.

Those Who Wish Me Dead

When a teenager witnesses a murder, two assassins track him down to silence him for good. While running through the Montana wilderness, he happens upon smoke-jumper Hannah who's stationed in a lookout tower. An expert in the field of survival, Hannah is the boy's only hope at escaping the assassins, but a raging fire puts a wrench in her plans. The film is just as much of an action flick as it is a thriller and boasts one of Angelina Jolie's best performances of the last several years.

  • Starring: Angelina Jolie, Jon Bernthal, Nicholas Hoult
  • Director: Taylor Sheridan
  • Year: 2021
  • Runtime: 100 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 61%

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.

Transformers

High school student Sam Witwicky's world is turned upside down when he finds out his new car is an alien robot named Bumblebee. Soon after, Earth becomes a battleground for these aliens — known as the Autobots and Decepticons — as they fight for possession of the powerful, cosmic AllSpark. Despite being a fraction of their size and without their technological advances, Sam proves it's not the size of the dog in the fight as he aids his new Autobot buddies and tries to save the day. Despite getting knocked down by critics, "Transformers" was a blast for moviegoers and is often considered the best out of the six films currently in the series.

  • Starring: Shia LeBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel
  • Director: Michael Bay
  • Year: 2007
  • Runtime: 144 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 58%

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: 113 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 60%

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.

Watchmen

When Alan Moore wrote the graphic novel "Watchmen," it shook up the superhero universe, taking masked heroes down a darker, more cynical path. This revisionist spin on costumed crusaders got the big screen treatment in 2009, courtesy of Zack Snyder, who used his penchant for gorgeous slo-mo and over-the-top action to create a true superhero spectacle. As for the plot, "Watchmen" is set in an alternate reality where a superhero group investigates the murder of one of their own. They uncover a damning conspiracy along the way as they try to avoid the same fate their former teammate.

  • Starring: Billy Crudup, Malin Akerman, Jackie Earle Haley
  • Director: Zack Snyder
  • Year: 2009
  • Runtime: 162 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 65%