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Hidden Gems On Netflix All Action Fans Need To See

A great action film is a marvelous thing. The very best don't just boast an airtight plot and compelling thematic undertones — they also have good editing, innovative fight choreography, and razor-sharp martial arts skills. The classics of the genre are incredible to behold ... however, most fans have already watched them dozens, if not hundreds, of times. Has the well run dry? Or are there new action films out there, ready to impress aficionados?

Indeed there are: Netflix is chock-full of excellent action films you've almost certainly never heard of before. Some are revenge-minded beat-em-ups. Some are thrilling explorations of organized crime and its consequences. Some are dazzling showcases of martial arts you never knew existed. All of them are sure to put you on the edge of your seat. Strap in, grit your teeth, and get some bandages handy, because we're taking a look at Netflix's hidden action gems. 

The Big 4

A deft mix of action and comedy, "The Big 4" comes by way of Indonesian writer-director Timo Tjahjanto, whose work in the horror genre has appeared in American productions like "V/H/S/94" and "The ABCs of Death." Arriving on Netflix at the tail end of 2022, "The Big 4" stars Abimana Aryasatya (who voiced the Devil himself in Tjahjanto's "May the Devil Take You"), Lutesha Sadhewa, Arie Kriting, and Kristo Immanuel as a group of deadly assassins.

The story is kicked off by Detective Dina (Putri Marino), whose father is killed under mysterious circumstances. Determined to find out what happened to him, she investigates his death herself and is led to a remote location where she discovers four highly trained killers. There, she learns that her father wasn't the man she thought he was. In fact, he was actually the group's leader, responsible for recruiting these four lost souls and turning them into ruthless killing machines. Now that she's knee-deep in her father's former underworld, Dina becomes the target of those who opposed him. Thus, she must join the four in their fight.

"The Big 4" didn't get much attention in the mainstream press, but it did earn high praise from those who tuned in; it enjoys lofty critic and audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes. Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com gave it three stars, and wrote, "'The Big 4' [is] a shoot-'em-up with its director's unmistakable flair for the ridiculous."


American audiences might know Olga Kurylenko best as the villainous henchman Taskmaster in Marvel's "Black Widow," or as Bond girl Camille Montes in "Quantum of Solace." In 2021, she starred in "Sentinelle," a foreign action movie that puts her in the leading role. But rather than hailing from Kurylenko's native Ukraine, this film was produced in France. It's written and directed by Julien Leclercq, who previously helmed Jean-Claude Van Damme's "The Bouncer" in 2018.

Set amid military operations in Syria, "Sentinelle" stars Kurylenko as Klara, a French soldier who is traumatized — physically and emotionally — after witnessing the death of a child suicide bomber. Back in her native France, she works as part of a counter-terrorism task force engaged in Operation Sentinelle. But Klara has become addicted to painkillers and now resorts to the black market to get her fix. When her sister is brutally beaten and left in a coma by a gang of Russian criminals, Klara is frustrated by the response of local police captain Catherine Muller (Carole Weyers). Using her military training and unwavering guts and guile, Kara sets out for revenge on her own.

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Lost Bullet

2020 French action thriller "Balle Perdue" — "Lost Bullet" — was written and directed by Guillaume Pierret. It stars Alban Lenoir as Lino, a seasoned thief whose specialty is using customized getaway cars. But after a heist goes sideways, Lino is caught by authorities and quickly finds himself behind bars. To avoid jail time, he strikes a deal with Detective Charas (Ramzy Bedia) and goes to work for the local police. As part of his agreement, Lino gets his own garage, where he modifies police squad cars to serve as vehicular battering rams against deadly gun runners. 

The deal for his freedom is threatened, though, after a dirty cop named Areski (Nicolas Duvauchelle) kills Charas and frames Lino, forcing him on the run. Now, Lino must fight to clear his own name, prove he's not a killer, and save himself from a life in prison. Unfortunately, this means forcing his way past Areski's men, who have been eliminating anyone with knowledge of Charas' death. Lino is at the top of their hit list.

A wildly raucous time, "Lost Bullet" was a hit with critics, and did well enough on Netflix that two years after it was released, it spawned "Lost Bullet 2." A third film is said to be in the works (fueled by the ending of the sequel), making this one a bonafide action franchise.


Before he wrote and directed "The Big 4," Timo Tjahjanto penned the 2016 Indonesian action film "Headshot." It never got much of an American release, but, thanks to Netflix, it can be easily seen by international audiences. Putting a clever twist on the typical gang war story, "Headshot" centers around a man known only as Ishmael (Iko Uwais), a name he adopts after waking from a coma with no memory of his identity. Hunted by a dangerous criminal syndicate for reasons he doesn't understand, Ishmael must work to protect not just himself, but also Ailin (Chelsea Islan), the doctor who's been caring for him since he was first brought to a hospital in critical condition.

The story may recall "The Bourne Identity," but "Headshot" has its own style and tone that makes it something distinctly different. Though some have criticized the movie's nearly two hour runtime as overdoing it, those looking for non-stop action, first-rate martial arts, and buckets of blood spilled in all directions won't be disappointed. As for the critics? Well, you can queue it up on Netflix knowing that Simon Abrams of RogerEbert.com raved, "'Headshot' is at least more thoughtful — and sometimes more viscerally satisfying — than many contemporary action films."


Martial artist and stuntman Scott Adkins may be most famous for doubling as Deadpool in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," but in 2019's "Avengement," he gets to play a smart-mouthed vigilante himself. His name is Cain Burgess, and he's a professional martial artist who seeks out his brother Lincoln (Craig Fairbrass) for a loan to start his own business. Unfortunately, this means getting involved in his brother's criminal schemes. Before long, Cain finds himself imprisoned in London's HMP Belmarsh, which is infamous for its merciless brutality and seasoned killers. 

Forced to fend off repeated attacks in prison, Cain grows hardened and eventually becomes a killer himself. Soon, he discovers the reason for the non-stop attacks: There's a bounty on his head. He arranges to help a local detective's investigation in exchange for getting released. When he gets out, though, Cain slips free of police custody and goes on a blood-soaked quest for revenge against everyone who has wronged him, starting with Lincoln. 

While Adkins brandishes a double-barreled shotgun in the climactic showdown, he mostly uses his fists to take down baddie after baddie. So, if you're looking for some bare-knuckle bruising with distinctive British flair, "Avengement" will satisfy your lust for action and blood.


The brainchild of Vietnamese crossover star Ngo Thanh Van, 2022's "Furies" is a rollicking female-centric revenge flick. Van, who is best known to American audiences as Veronica Ngo, has appeared on screen in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" (as Rose Tico's doomed sister Paige) and "The Old Guard" alongside Charlize Theron. "Furies" is actually a prequel to the 2019 film "Furie," and takes something of an unconventional route. Rather than exploring the early days of that film's hero, it focuses on the movie's villain, Thanh Sói.

Set on the streets of Vietnam in the late 1990s, "Furies" centers around Bi (Đồng Ánh Quỳnh), a young woman orphaned after her mother was killed while saving her from a rapist. Bi is taken in by Lin Hoang (Van), who has been rescuing sexual assault survivors and training them as part of a vigilante group called the Wild Daisies. Together, they roam the streets hunting down men who prey on the city's women. Lin has her sights set on "Mad Dog" Hai, a criminal kingpin who traffics girls into his brothels.

With visceral violence and plenty of blood to spare, "Furies" was met with rave reviews from critics, with Variety even comparing it to classic Hong Kong action movies. 

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