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55 Best Action Movies Streaming [August 2022]

Action is perhaps one of the broadest genres after the almost all-encompassing "drama." There are so many different kinds of action movies that it can sometimes be difficult to know what counts (or doesn't count) as an action movie. In our look at the best action movies on streaming, we've taken a big umbrella approach to the genre.

From superheroes to superspies, from high-concept science fiction and fantasy to true stories, there's something here for everyone wanting to get their heart and fists pumping while sitting on the couch. So whether you're looking for something to watch with your grandparents or your kids or totally solo, you'll be able to find a crowd-pleaser.

Updated on August 1, 2022: Streamers like Netflix, Hulu, Prime, and Shudder make regular changes to their catalogs each month. We'll be updating this list regularly to reflect those changes, so be sure to check back each month for more great action!

Akira - Hulu, Tubi

"Akira" is often cited as one of the most influential anime movies, and it's easy to see why. The movie follows a biker gang and the government as they both try to find a member of the gang who was exposed to a military experiment that grants him superhuman abilities. It's beautifully animated and brings the post-apocalyptic Neo-Tokyo to life with incredible detail that draws the viewer into the world of the movie. The action scenes — which range from motorcycle chases and shootouts to a jaw-dropping, body horror-inspired finale — are all equally thrilling and gorgeous.

  • Starring: Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama
  • Director: Katsuhiro Otomo
  • Year: 1988
  • Runtime: 125 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Ambulance - Peacock

Michael Bay's "Ambulance" is his best movie in years. The simple premise — bank robbers hijack and make their getaway in an ambulance that's then chased all over Los Angeles — allows Bay to focus on delivering riveting action scene after riveting action scene without too much attention to plot development. But that doesn't mean we don't care about the characters, as all the actors in the ambulance do a fantastic job of making their characters feel like fully realized people even when they're driving down the L.A. River being chased by a helicopter. It's a joy to watch and a movie that gets the action started within the first 20 minutes and never slows down.

  • Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eiza González
  • Director: Michael Bay
  • Year: 2022
  • Runtime: 136 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%

American Ultra - Netflix

"American Ultra" begins when stoner Mike Howell has a very strange conversation with a woman at the convenience store where he works, and shortly thereafter, he's attacked by assassins sent to kill him who. And to Mike's great surprise, he defeats handily. 

It turns out that the woman was a CIA agent and that Mike is a dormant CIA asset who has serious fighting abilities, but now, another CIA operative is trying to wipe out every last member of the program Mike belonged to. Good thing Mike has a dedicated girlfriend by his side, Jason Bourne skills, and a ton of weed. "American Ultra" plays its somewhat wild premise straight, but it's also very much a comedy. And it features fantastic lead performances from Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart, who both fully commit to the comedy and action of the movie.

Big Trouble in Little China - Hulu

"Big Trouble in Little China" is the third theatrical collaboration between director John Carpenter and actor Kurt Russell, and it's quite different from the "The Thing" and "Escape from New York" because it's straight-up silly. The story follows truck driver Jack Burton and his friend Wang Chi on a quest to rescue Wang's fiancee from the sorcerer Lo-Pan. It's an all-out action comedy that delivers on both the action, as Wang and a number of his friends are talented martial artists and total heroes, and comedy, as Jack thinks he's the main character but is a bit of a buffoon who's way in over his head.

Birds of Prey - HBO Max

"Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)" isn't just one of the best movies to come out of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), it's hands down the best action movie to come out of the DCEU. The story of Harley Quinn joining forces with Huntress, Black Canary, Renee Montoya, and Cassandra Cain to take on crime lord Black Mask delivers on multiple levels. It's a team-up movie that shows the women's individual stories and how they come together, a superhero/villain story with great costumes and well-used superpowers, and a hard-hitting action flick with hand-to-hand combat scenes that are downright exhilarating and incredibly colorful.

Blade - HBO Max

Based on the Marvel Comics superhero, "Blade" follows the titular daywalking human-vampire hybrid vampire hunter as he takes on the ferocious bloodsucker Deacon Frost. Released in 1998, "Blade" precedes "The Matrix” as a highly stylized action movie that brings together hand-to-hand combat, gunfights, and head-to-toe black leather outfits. Plus, it was the first movie that proved Marvel could find success with cinema. It's got a straightforward story, but far from being a bad thing, it just means that the style is allowed to shine, and there are few movies that are simply as cool as "Blade" — from its opening blood rave to Wesley Snipes' awesome one-liners.

  • Starring: Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson
  • Director: Stephen Norrington
  • Year: 1998
  • Runtime: 120 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 57%

Black Panther - Disney+

While we'll sadly never get to see Chadwick Boseman in another solo outing as T'Challa, we'll always have 2018's "Black Panther." It's the rare Marvel Cinematic Universe movie that doesn't require significant knowledge of the other installments and instead centers on its own story of a king who's challenged for the throne by his militant cousin. The action throughout is a joy to watch as we see car chases in Korea and battles on the plains of the fictional country of Wakanda with some warriors riding rhinos. But what really makes "Black Panther" special is how it engages with serious topics of Blackness and colonial history.

Casino Royale - Amazon Prime, Netflix

"Casino Royale" didn't just introduce a new Bond in Daniel Craig, it fully reinvented the character and literally went back to the beginning. The movie opens with Bond completing a mission that earns him double-0 status and then follows him through his first mission as 007 to stop a terror-funding financier by beating him at poker. It's kind of amazing how much tension director Martin Campbell wrings out of the card-playing scenes in "Casino Royale," but the real treat is, of course, the action. The movie offers an incredible parkour sequence that does just as much to thrill as it does to introduce us to the kind of man this new Bond is, as well as a stairwell fight that's become the stuff of Bond legend.

Castle in the Sky - HBO Max

"Castle in the Sky" is one of the best fantasy action movies that's both for kids and about kids. When young orphan Pazu sees a girl falling slowly from the sky one night and catches her, he sets himself in the middle of an incredible adventure full of airships, ancient myths, giant robots, and, you guessed it, a castle in the sky. The story follows Pazu and Sheeta as they attempt to find the fabled land of Laputa, but they have to contend with the villainous government agent Muska, who wants to find Laputa and use its mystical powers for evil. "Castle in the Sky" is a thrilling adventure movie, full of exciting action that's sure to please viewers of every age looking for something fun and out of this world.

  • Starring (Japanese dub): Mayumi Tanaka, Keiko Yokozawa, Kotoe Hatsui
  • Starring (English dub): James Van Der Beek, Anna Paquin, Cloris Leachman
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Year: 1986
  • Runtime: 124 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

A Chinese Ghost Story - Amazon Prime

"A Chinese Ghost Story" is one of the most unique movies ever made. It combines horror, action, romance, and comedy in a beautifully shot and decorated movie world. The story centers on Ning Choi-san who one night meets the beautiful Nip Siu-sin and immediately falls for her. The only problem is that she's a ghost who is bound to serve an evil tree demon, so Ning resolves to save her from this fate. The movie is full of amazing action set-pieces and often mixes the action with its silly and endearing sense of comedy, but it never loses site of the romance at its core.

  • Starring: Leslie Cheung, Joey Wong, Wu Ma
  • Director: Ching Siu-tung
  • Year: 1987
  • Runtime: 95 minutes
  • Rating: NR
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%

Commando - Starz

"Commando" is certainly one of the best Arnold Schwarzenegger action movies, and in fact, it may be the most Arnold Schwarzenegger action movie. The story centers on Johnny Matrix whose daughter is kidnapped by a dictator who uses her to force Johnny to commit a political assassination for him. Of course, Johnny won't take that lying down and instead launches a rescue mission that leads him on an investigation and ultimately into a battle with an entire army. It's a straightforward story with awesome '80s action scenes that treat Arnold as an absolute god of combat, and he's entirely up to performing the role.

Crank - fuboTV, Showtime

"Crank" is a modern classic. The ridiculous premise of a man who has to keep his heart rate up because otherwise he'll die of poisoning means that the movie can't slow down because if it does, the lead character will die. 

Chev Chelios is a hitman who's been poisoned, but he doesn't know by whom, so he begins to investigate, and at any point where his heart rate begins to lower, he brings it up in a variety of ways, whether that be drugs or starting a fight with whoever is around. "Crank" is an all out thrill-ride that's sure to please any action fans looking for something that will leave them breathless.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Amazon Prime, HBO Max

"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" tells the story of two warriors – Li Mu Bai and Yu Shu Lien — who find themselves up against Jen Yu, a young noblewoman who steals a legendary sword. It's an incredibly romantic movie for an action movie, and the central desire between the young thief and her bandit lover drives the entirety of the plot. That plot includes a lot of fighting though, as Jen must fight her way through obstacles on her way to her beloved, and director Ang Lee brings together an incredible team of martial artists and choreographers to deliver a movie that's as beautiful for its fight scenes as its romantic story.

  • Starring: Chow Yun-fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi
  • Director: Ang Lee
  • Year: 2000
  • Runtime: 120 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

The Dark Knight - HBO Max

There have been a good amount of Batman-related movies released since "The Dark Knight," and while each of those have their merits and some are outright great, the 2008 Joker vehicle remains the best cinematic outing for the Bat. The movie follows Batman's clash with the Clown Prince of Crime, a villain who's risen in response to Bruce Wayne's crusade against crime simply to perform the role of an ideal antagonist — a chaotic symbol to Batman's symbol of order. This thematic clash and Heath Ledger's Oscar winning performance as the Joker make "The Dark Knight" not just the best Batman movie — or even one of the best action movies — but simply one of the best movies of all time.

Deadbeat at Dawn - Tubi

One of the best movies made on a tiny budget by a group of friends, "Deadbeat at Dawn" tells the story of gang leader Goose whose girlfriend is killed by members of a rival gang just as he's trying to leave his life of crime behind. The movie's focus on the grimy world of street gangs combined with its low budget gives it a real sense of danger as we watch Goose and his friends seek revenge. That's especially true in the movie's finale, as actors perform seriously dangerous stunts without any regard for their safety but with a commitment to making the most exciting movie they could.

Death Race 2000 - Tubi

"Death Race 2000" literalizes the morbid "hit someone with your car for 100 points" joke in a movie that focuses almost entirely on the absolutely ridiculous "Transcontinental Road Race." Based on the short story "The Racer" by Ib Melchior, the movie centers on racers Frankenstein and Machine Gun Joe who are each determined to win the race, which awards drivers points for a variety of tasks including taking down pedestrians with their souped-up vehicles. It's a silly movie but one that has fun with its ridiculous premise and is wildly entertaining from start to finish.

The Dirty Dozen - Netflix

Before "The Suicide Squad" or "Inglourious Basterds," there was "The Dirty Dozen," a gritty action thriller that follows a cynical major forced to whip 12 Army prisoners into shape. Why? Because the brass is about to send them on an extremely dangerous mission behind enemy lines during World War II, and they'll all get pardons ... if they survive. For the most part, the movie is never overly serious (things do get pretty intense near the end), and instead of a dour war movie, it's much more of a lighthearted, fun action movie with an all-star cast that's essentially the 1960s action version of "Ocean's Eleven."

  • Starring: Lee Marvin, John Cassavetes, Charles Bronson
  • Director: Robert Aldrich
  • Year: 1967
  • Runtime: 149 Minutes
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

Django - Tubi, Pluto TV

While Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" is a fantastic revenge action Western, we want to highlight the original spaghetti Western "Django" movie that launched a series of official and unofficial sequels throughout the late '60s and '70s. The movie follows the titular Django, who finds himself in the middle of a conflict between Mexican revolutionaries and Confederate soldiers near the U.S.-Mexico border. It's a loose remake of Akira Kurosawa's "Yojimbo" but turns the action up to the max and was considered shockingly violent when it was released in 1966. It's not so shocking anymore, but it's still an absolute thrill ride.

  • Starring: Franco Nero, Lorendana Nusciak, José Bódalo
  • Director: Sergio Corbucci
  • Year: 1966
  • Runtime: 91 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Doctor Strange - Disney+

Perhaps the least like its Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) franchise siblings, "Doctor Strange" is a story more focused on world-building and perception-altering magic than on super strength or any other superpower. And that's exactly why we're highlighting it here. The story follows arrogant superstar surgeon Stephen Strange who, after a career-ending car accident, discovers a world of mysticism in his quest to heal. Over the course of the movie, Strange is trained in sorcery and ultimately comes into conflict with a group of "zealots" who've betrayed the established magical order. The action in the movie is more awe-inspiring for its incredible breaking and bending of reality than any punches or kicks, and that makes it a truly one of a kind action movie.

  • Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams
  • Director: Scott Derrickson
  • Year: 2016
  • Runtime: 116 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

Dragon Ball Super: Broly - Starz

A lot of anime movies based on existing TV shows require significant knowledge of the show's history, lore, and characters, but "Dragon Ball Super: Broly" functions as a fantastic entry point into the storied "Dragon Ball" franchise. The story, loosely based on a 1993 non-canon direct to video "Dragon Ball Z" movie, centers on heroes Goku and Vegeta who are attacked by the titular Broly after he's been recruited by the evil lord Frieza to defeat the heroes. That simple story allows the film to focus almost the entirety of its back half on a large-scale fight between these characters that may well be the best fight in all of "Dragon Ball" history.

  • Starring (Japanese dub): Masako Nozawa, Ryō Horikawa, Ryūsei Nakao
  • Starring (English dub): Vic Mignogna, Christopher Sabat, Christopher Ayres
  • Director: Tatsuya Nagamine
  • Year: 2018
  • Runtime: 101 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%

Escape from New York - AMC+, Shudder

Kurt Russell and John Carpenter are one of movie history's greatest actor/director duos, and "Escape from New York" is one of the best movies in either of their filmographies. The film takes place in the near future of 1997 (remember the movie's from 1981) and follows the eye-patched, cynical convict Snake Plissken on a mission to save the kidnapped president inside the island of Manhattan, which has been turned into a maximum security prison. It's an undeniably ridiculous premise and the movie knows that, but it plays itself entirely seriously which just makes it more fun.

Fast Five - fuboTV, Peacock

While it's the fifth entry in the delightfully action-packed "Fast & Furious" franchise, "Fast Five" is actually a great entry point to the series and perhaps the best of them all. The story centers on heroes Dominic Toretto and Brian O'Conner, who bring together a team to pull off a heist in Rio de Janeiro. The team is made up of characters from all the previous movies, but many of them are meeting each other for the first time in "Fast Five" so it works as a perfect introduction for the audience as well. "Fast Five" is also the first movie in the series to move the focus away from street racing to big action set-pieces and it's all the better for it — especially with the introduction of Dwayne Johnson's Luke Hobbs, a DSS agent hell-bent on bringing our heroes to justice.

Godzilla vs. Kong - HBO Max

The simplicity of its title shows that "Godzilla vs. Kong" knows what its viewers want and will deliver it to them. The story brings the two titans together when humans force Kong to guide them to the Hollow Earth, the home of the monsters. Soon enough, Godzilla — not a big fan of Kong's — attacks the naval carrier the humans are using to transport the giant ape. But that's just their first fight, and the movie offers much more than just one monster battle. "Godzilla vs. Kong" shows the titular monsters in a number of bouts that each offer something different, and it might even offer more than just two monsters.

  • Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall
  • Director: Adam Wingard
  • Year: 2021
  • Runtime: 113 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%

Hellboy II: The Golden Army - Peacock

"Hellboy II: The Golden Army" is still the best "Hellboy" movie to be released, and it's hard to see it being unseated. The story follows Hellboy and his Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense colleagues as they attempt to stop the elf prince Nuada from raising the titular Golden Army and launching an attack on humanity. The movie is full of great action sequences and creature designs that make it a truly awe-inspiring movie to watch. And if you need a little more prestige to convince you to check out this comic book inspired creature feature, it was also nominated for the Oscar for Best Makeup.

  • Starring: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones
  • Director: Guillermo del Toro
  • Year: 2008
  • Runtime: 119 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

The Incredibles - Disney+

If you're looking for an action movie to watch with the family, then why not an action movie about a family? "The Incredibles" centers on the Parrs, a family where each member has a different superpower. Too bad they have to keep it quiet, as being a superhero has been outlawed. Of course, things take a turn once family patriarch Mr. Incredible is drawn into a plot by the scheming Syndrome. The result is a movie about family bonds and learning to revel in what makes you special, and that's a lovely message for any movie. "The Incredibles" also happens to be a super fun action flick that's equally inspired by "James Bond" movies and superhero comics from the 1960s. 

  • Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowel
  • Director: Brad Bird
  • Year: 2004
  • Runtime: 116 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

John Wick - Peacock

15 years after "The Matrix," Keanu Reeves re-teamed with his stunt double from those movies, Chad Stahelski, who'd moved from working as a stuntman to the director's chair where he brought his years of expertise as a stunt performer in front of the camera. "John Wick" is a simple story of a man who seeks revenge on the son of a powerful Russian gangster because that son killed his dog. That set up gives way to some of the best action scenes of the 21st century in a movie that was supposed to be a one-off but is so good that it birthed a franchise.

  • Starring: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen
  • Director: Chad Stahelski and David Leitch
  • Year: 2014
  • Runtime: 101 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

Kill Bill: Volume 1 - HBO Max

While Quentin Tarantino may be best known for his crime and Western movies, he also stands as one of the best and most iconic action directors of our time for creating "Kill Bill." The two-volume story follows a woman introduced simply as "the Bride" on her quest to, well, kill Bill and his team of assassins that she used to belong to. The first movie centers on the Bride's quest to find O-Ren Ishii, one of the original team members who's since become a Yakuza clan boss, and follows her travels to Japan. The movie includes one of the most memorable fight scenes in action movie history when the Bride single-handedly takes on O-Ren's "Crazy 88" bodyguard team.

  • Starring: Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox
  • Director: Quentin Tarantino
  • Year: 2003
  • Runtime: 110 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

Lady Snowblood - Criterion Channel, HBO Max

Meiko Kaji is a beloved Japanese star for her appearances in a variety of genre movies in the 1970s, and "Lady Snowblood" may be the best of those. The film, based on the manga series of the same name by Kazuo Koike and Kazuo Kamimura, follows the assassin Yuki as she attempts to find and kill the criminals who raped her mother and murdered her father. It's a simple premise that gets more complicated as the film goes on, but from start to finish it's one of the most stylish and beautifully made revenge movies of all time. In fact, it was a huge inspiration on "Kill Bill."

  • Starring: Meiko Kaji, Toshio Kurosawa, Masaaki Daimon
  • Director: Toshiya Fujita
  • Year: 1973
  • Runtime: 97 Minutes
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

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Mad Max: Fury Road - HBO Max

"Mad Max: Fury Road" is one of the few movies that can safely be described as an "instant classic." The fact that it's a legacy sequel to a franchise that hadn't produced any new movies in more than two decades just makes that more impressive. But when you watch "Fury Road" it's easy to see why it became such a phenomenon. The movie follows the titular Max as he joins a group of women seeking to escape the despot Immortan Joe. The movie is almost all action but doesn't skimp on emotional and thematic heft either, taking on gender and class issues in its post-apocalyptic wasteland. The action scenes are mind-blowing — largely done with practical effects — and Charlize Theron's Imperator Furiosa is a hero for the ages.

  • Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult

  • Director: George Miller

  • Year: 2015

  • Runtime: 120 minutes

  • Rating: R

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

The Matrix - HBO Max, Tubi

"The Matrix" tells the story of hacker Neo who is one day told his whole world is an illusion and that, in reality, humanity is at war with machines who wish to keep them enslaved. This philosophical set-up offers some big questions about reality that the movie seriously engages with, but it never becomes dry or overly intellectual because between (and sometimes during) the thematic conversations, "The Matrix" delivers action scenes that literally changed the course of action movie history – from its gun-fu battles to its kung-fu showdowns. It's a must see for any action fans interested in the genre's history and for anyone who just wants to see high-flying kicks, massive shoot-outs, and the now-iconic "bullet time" cinematography.

  • Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss
  • Director: Lana and Lily Wachowski
  • Year: 1999
  • Runtime: 136 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

The Night Comes for Us - Netflix

"The Night Comes for Us" mixes the chaotic and hard-hitting martial arts action of "The Raid" with the slick, neon lit aesthetic of "John Wick" to deliver a one-of-a-kind action thrill ride. The story centers on Ito, an organized crime enforcer who saves a young girl he was supposed to kill. As a result, they're now both being hunted by Ito's former gang. The simple set-up allows the movie to focus on delivering almost non-stop action that includes some wonderfully over-the-top sequences like a fight in a butcher shop where animal carcasses are used as weapons and a fight in the back of a fast-moving van.

  • Starring: Joe Taslim, Iko Uwais, Julie Estelle
  • Director: Timo Tjahjanto
  • Year: 2018
  • Runtime: 120 minutes
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

Nobody - HBO Max

"Nobody" follows a very simple story — seeming everyman but really former government assassin Hutch Mansell gets into a fight with some goons on a bus one night and one of them happens to be the brother of a Russian gangster. If that sounds similar to the plot of "John Wick," that makes sense. "Nobody" is written by "John Wick" scribe Derek Kolstad. But far from feeling overly similar to that other great action movie, "Nobody" focuses on Hutch's relationship with his family — his wife and children but also his father and brother — and it highlights a seriously self destructive streak in the lead character that gives him some real depth.

  • Starring: Bob Odenkirk, Connie Nielsen, RZA
  • Director: Ilya Naishuller
  • Year: 2021
  • Runtime: 91 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%

The Northman - Peacock

No one expected the director of the super small-scale horror movies "The Witch" and "The Lighthouse" to deliver a movie with some truly epic fight scenes, but Robert Eggers has made a truly killer action film with his tale of Viking revenge, "The Northman." The story follows Amleth who, after years as a marauding berserker, returns to his quest for revenge against the uncle who killed his father. The movie includes some amazing action that's visceral and brutal as Eggers uses tracking shots to show the full scale of the violence. The stand-out scenes are an assault on a village by Amleth and his fellow berserkers and a final fight in a volcano — that's right, inside a volcano.

  • Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy
  • Director: Robert Eggers
  • Year: 2022
  • Runtime: 136 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

Pacific Rim - HBO Max

"Pacific Rim" is Guillermo del Toro movie that highlights the director's love of monsters. The story is quite simple: Giant, vicious beasts known as "Kaiju" have begun to cross over into our world from a dimensional tip in the Pacific Ocean, so humanity creates giant robots known as "Jaegers" — piloted by two people a piece — to fight back. Despite this focus on giant monsters and robots, "Pacific Rim" maintains a surprisingly impactful human story amid all the oversized action. And the action is truly oversized in the best way as the monsters and robots engage in fights that level cities and use massive cargo ships as weapons.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl - Disney+

The first "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie remains the best for a lot of reasons. The (relatively) small-scale story of a cursed ship and the crew's quest to break the ghostly spell allows the characters to shine. And with a cast as good as this one, centering on the characters and their great banter makes for a delightful watch. But "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl" also delivers the action, from an acrobatic sword fight through a blacksmith's shop to battles with immortal cursed pirates to some good old-fashioned boat battles, resulting in a movie full of fun and memorable action set-pieces.

Point Break - HBO Max

Before he became Neo or John Wick, Keanu Reeves was Johnny Utah in "Point Break." Utah is a young FBI agent who goes undercover with a group of surfers and adrenaline junkies who may just also be responsible for a spate of bank robberies throughout Los Angeles. But things get more complicated when Johnny grows to care for Bodhi, the leader of the surfers, and struggles with his own sense of morality and justice. The movie is memorable for the relationship that develops between Utah and Bodhi, as well as its many thrilling action scenes that range from shootouts to skydiving.

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

Police Story - Criterion Channel, HBO Max

Jackie Chan is a beloved for his incredible acting and martial arts talent in front of the camera, but he's also one of the best directors of action-comedies the world has ever seen. For proof, watch "Police Story," which follows Chan's Ka-Kui, a cop tasked with protecting the beautiful Salina who's going to testify against a crime lord in court. The movie offers a lot of exciting and hilarious action scenes as gangsters attack the duo, but it also delivers some hilarious jokes about Ka-Kui's girlfriend thinking he's pursuing Salina. It's a light movie that's sure to put a smile on anyone's face, and it includes some stunning stunts that may just put your jaw on the floor.

A Prayer Before Dawn - fuboTV, Kanpy, Showtime

The rare action movie that's based on a true story, "A Prayer Before Dawn" is based on Billy Moore's autobiographical book "A Prayer Before Dawn: A Nightmare in Thailand" and tells the story of his time in a Thai prison where he discovers competitive Muay Thai. A British boxer, Billy is able to learn the new style of fighting and eventually catches the eye of the prison's warden, who then enrolls him in a national prison competition. "A Prayer Before Dawn" is an inspiring biopic, a harrowing prison drama, and a thrilling action movie all at once. It's not for the faint of heart as there are significant disturbing moments in the prison, but it's absolutely worth seeking out for action fans who like their action movies to be brutal.

  • Starring: Joe Cole, Cherry Miko, Panya Yimmumphai
  • Director: Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire
  • Year: 2017
  • Runtime: 118 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Princess Mononoke - HBO Max

"Princess Mononoke" tells the story of Ashitaka, a young man who leaves his village to investigate why a demon attacked and to seek a cure for the curse the demon placed on him. But things become much more complicated when he finds himself at the center of a conflict between the people of an industrial town and the gods of the nearby forest. "Princess Mononoke" offers some fantastic, beautiful animated action, but what makes it really special is the way that it treats its environmental story with nuance and doesn't characterize any of its characters as purely good or evil.

  • Starring (Japanese dub): Yōji Matsuda, Yuriko Ishida, Yūko Tanaka
  • Starring (English dub): Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Minnie Driver
  • Director: Hayao Miyazaki
  • Year: 1997
  • Runtime: 133 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

The Professional (aka Léon: The Professional) - Hulu, Netflix

"The Professional" is a simple movie — a girl's family is killed by an evil DEA agent, and she's taken in by a professional hitman who then trains her. That simple story leads to a movie that's as full of heart as it is great action scenes. The relationship that develops between the young Mathilda and assassin Léon is sweet and heartwarming despite the fact that it depicts a tween learning how to use guns. That heart is what lends the action its stakes, and here, the action is absolutely thrilling not only because it's so fun to watch but also because we care about the characters.

Promare - HBO Max, Hoopla

There aren't too many action movies about firefighters, but then again, there aren't too many firefighters like the ones in "Promare." The film centers on Galo Thymos, a member of a firefighting team that responds to fires but not just any fires — fires created by superhumans known as "Burnish" who have pyrokinetic abilities. But over the course of the movie, Galo learns that maybe the Burnish aren't as dangerous or villainous as he's been led to believe. It's a story of overcoming prejudice and fighting unjust authority, but what really makes "Promare" so special is the incredible animation from famed anime studio Trigger that combines 3D and 2D animation to create a world and action sequences that are like nothing else.

  • Starring (Japanese dub): Kenichi Matsuyama, Taichi Saotome, Masato Sakai
  • Starring (English dub): Billy Kametz, Johnny Yong Bosch, Crispin Freeman
  • Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi
  • Year: 2019
  • Runtime: 111 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

The Raid: Redemption - HBO Max

You've probably seen some of the stars of "The Raid: Redemption" before. Since this Indonesian action movie came out, members of its cast have appeared in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," "Mortal Kombat," "John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum," and a number of other action movies and franchises. And for good reason. "The Raid" has some of the best hand-to-hand action scenes ever put to film. The movie's simple story of cops going up a high-rise apartment building to arrest a crime lord and running into hordes of bad guys on their way up allows it to focus on creating incredible action that highlights the talent of its martial artist cast.

  • Starring: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Yayan Ruhian
  • Director: Gareth Evans
  • Year: 2011
  • Runtime: 100 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

Raiders of the Lost Ark - fuboTV, Showtime

A lot of action movies are great because of their epic punch-outs, but others are classics for their unique adventure set pieces. "Raiders of the Lost Ark," the first Indiana Jones movie from Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford, is one of the latter. The movie follows Jones in 1936 as he's recruited by U.S. intelligence to find and secure the mythical Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis. The adventure takes him across the world from Nepal to Cairo and Greek islands, with a new obstacle in every location. It's a fast-paced old-school adventure movie that offers some great thrills, serious scares, and a good amount of comedy.

Robocop - AMC+, fuboTV, Showtime

"Robocop" follows police officer Murphy who, after a near fatal run in with a gang of criminals, is turned into the titular Robocop — part man, mostly machine. The movie then centers on Robocop's exploits stopping crimes around a dystopian Detroit and his investigation into the gang that killed his former self. "Robocop" is a thrilling action movie full of big explosions and huge shootouts, but what makes it really stand out is the fact that it's also an incredibly potent satire of America in ways that are just as poignant today as they were when the movie was released.

  • Starring: Peter Weller, Kurtwood Smith, Nancy Allen
  • Director: Paul Verhoeven
  • Year: 1987
  • Runtime: 102 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

RRR - Netflix

"RRR" took the action movie world by storm for a reason. It tales the tale of two men on the opposite sides of the political aisle in early 20th-century India who become friends, only to find their friendship tested as they battle British colonialists. And in the middle of this bromance, you're going to witness some of the most amazing action scenes we've ever seen. From a one vs. hundreds fight scene to a sequence that includes loosing wild animals on a party, "RRR" delivers several absolutely astounding action set-pieces. And as it's a big Indian blockbuster, it also has some great song-and-dance numbers that sometimes overlap with the action.

  • Starring: N. T. Rama Rao Jr., Ram Charan, Ajay Devgn
  • Director: S. S. Rajamouli
  • Year: 2022
  • Runtime: 185 Minutes
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World - Starz

Based on the series of "Scott Pilgrim" comics by Bryan Lee O'Malley, "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" centers on titular hipster Scott Pilgrim who, after he begins dating the beautiful Ramona Flowers, must fight his way through her seven evil exes. It's a very silly premise, and the movie doesn't take itself too seriously, instead opting to pitch everything from its humor to its fight scenes at the level of a live-action cartoon or video game. It's a super fun watch that's helped along by an all-star cast including Chris Evans, Brie Larson, Aubrey Plaza, and Anna Kendrick.

  • Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin
  • Director: Edgar Wright
  • Year: 2010
  • Runtime: 112 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%

Shogun Assassin - Criterion Channel

"Shogun Assassin" is a strange movie. It's based on the manga "Lone Wolf and Cub" by Kazuo Koike, but more than that, it includes no original footage and is entirely made up of footage from the first two movies in the Japanese "Lone Wolf and Cub" film series with original English dubbing added. Far from becoming incomprehensible though, "Shogun Assassin" streamlines the story of samurai Ogami Itto, who was betrayed by his shogun, and his adventures wandering with his son Daigoro. The two are constantly under attack from assassins, and the film includes some of the most beautifully choreographed action in any Japanese genre movie from the 1970s.

  • Starring: Tomisaburo Wakayama, Kayo Matsuo, Akiji Kobayashi
  • Director: Kenji Misumi, Robert Houston
  • Year: 1980
  • Runtime: 85 minutes
  • Rating: R
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%

Sicario - Tubi

Denis Villeneuve is now the go-to guy for sci-fi epics, but early in his career, he made this brutally real action thriller centered on cartel violence at the U.S.-Mexico border. "Sicario" follows FBI agent Kate Macer, who's recruited for a special joint task force that quickly begins to engage in extralegal activity, and violence. It's an action movie that's difficult to watch because none of the violence portrayed in the movie can be said to be fun or energetic. But that's what makes "Sicario" one of the best action movies — it engages with the costs of a violent situation that's sadly all too real.

Sin City - HBO Max

Based on the comic series of the same name by Frank Miller, "Sin City," which Miller co-directed with Robert Rodriguez, is one of the most unique movies ever made. It's almost entirely black and white but not in the way that black and white movies are normally black and white. The light and dark here are ratcheted up to their absolute highest contrasts in every frame so that every image from the movie is striking. The movie follows a number of different noir-inspired crime stories that take place in Basin City, and each offers something different visually and in its action, from gun fights to fist fights to a ninja taking out a group of cops.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day - HBO Max

The first "Terminator" is a great movie, don't get us wrong, but "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" turns everything about that first movie up to the max. Here, we're introduced to teenage John Connor — the future savior of humanity — who's being hunted by a shapeshifting robotic assassin from the future. Fortunately, he's got a robo-body guard (also from the future) and his survivalist expert mom, Sarah Connor, on his side. "Terminator 2" manages to deliver almost non-stop large-scale action scenes — from motorbike chases to metal foundry shootouts — while also offering a surprisingly emotional story about John's relationship with his protector and mother.

Transformers - HBO Max

The first live-action "Transformers" movie remains a modern classic. The story follows the Autobots and Decepticons as they each attempt to get their hands on the AllSpark cube, which can bring life to machines. Caught in the middle is teenager Sam Witwicky — whose family history makes him key to the battle between these vehicular titans — as well as a team of soldiers whose base is attacked by a Decepticon seeking army intelligence. The movie's many threads come together surprisingly seamlessly, and it offers some of the best and most exciting action scenes to mix computer generated and live-action components in the same world.

  • Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, Megan Fox
  • Director: Michael Bay
  • Year: 2007
  • Runtime: 143 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 58%

Tron: Legacy - Disney+

A legacy sequel to 1982's "Tron," "Tron: Legacy" follows Sam, the son of long-lost computer programmer and video game creator Kevin Flynn, who receives a mysterious message from his father and is transported into the gameworld known as "The Grid." Once there, Sam must work with his father, who's been stuck in the game for decades, and a sentient algorithm to stop a malicious program that wants to invade the real world. The story follows from the original movie, but it's not required viewing to enjoy the super-stylized, neon-lit action that makes "Tron: Legacy" such a joy to watch.

  • Starring: Garrett Hedlund, Jeff Bridges, Olivia Wilde
  • Director: Joseph Kosinski
  • Year: 2010
  • Runtime: 128 minutes
  • Rating: PG
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 51%

Wanted - Netflix

"Wanted" is largely remembered as "the movie with the curving bullets," and honestly, that's not the worst quick selling point for the movie. The story follows Wesley Gibson, a regular guy working a boring job, who one night is approached by the beautiful Fox and told that he comes from a line of superpowered assassins, and he's now being targeted by his father's killer. The film then follows Wesley through his training with Fox as part of an ancient fraternity of assassins before taking some twists and turns that complicate Wesley's new life. The action scenes in the movie are frenetic and extremely stylish as the curving of bullets combines with some hard-hitting hand-to-hand and knife combat to deliver a delightful, adrenaline fueled-action flick.

Watchmen - HBO Max

The original graphic novel "Watchmen" by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons isn't exactly action-packed, but with the movie adaptation, director Zack Snyder manages to bring to life the heady themes of the book and add some fantastic action scenes for more flavor. The story centers on a group of ex-superheroes who investigate the murder of one of their old colleagues, an investigation that leads them to a major discovery. The movie engages with some serious concepts, such as human frailty, cosmic insignificance, and the cruelty of war, and the fact that it's able to do those ideas justice while also delivering heart-pounding action scenes is what makes it such a great adaptation and a great movie on its own.

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

Zack Snyder's Justice League

There's no denying that "Zack Snyder's Justice League” (or "ZSJL") has an intimidating runtime (4 hours is long), but the movie is so full of great characters, awe-inspiring action sequences, and surprisingly thought-provoking conversations that the time seems to fly by. The story follows Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince as they work to bring together a team of metahumans to take on the threat of Steppenwolf, an emissary of the even more dangerous villain Darkseid. Along with some of the most epic action scenes in any superhero movie, "ZSJL" has a real emotional impact thanks to the time it spends developing the members of the team as rich characters and offers a real thematic interest in faith and hope.