The 10 Best Action-Comedy Movies to Watch Now

The 10 Best Action-Comedy Movies to Watch Now

May 17, 2024

Share:

twitter
facebook
reddit
pinterest
link

Action and comedy are two genres that don’t look like they should go hand-in-hand—one is intense, one is meant to provide relief—but it’s precisely this push and pull between them that makes for some of the most entertaining films you could see. Even better is when a movie successfully combines the two: having humorous images and situations built into the fighting, and having an intensity to the jokes that might as well feel like a punch to the stomach. In this list below, we’ve put together some little-known but highly-rated action-comedies that manage this balance better than many popular mainstream examples out there.

1. Polite Society (2023)

best

8.2

Country

United Kingdom

Director

Female director, Nida Manzoor

Actors

Akshay Khanna, Ella Bruccoleri, Eunice Huthart, James McNicholas

Moods

Action-packed, Funny, Heart-warming

Kill Bill meets Bend It Like Beckham in this wild ride about a martial arts-obsessed British-Pakistani teenager who views her older sister’s impending marriage as a catastrophe to be averted at all costs. Aspiring stuntwoman Ria (Priya Kansara) can’t stomach the idea of free-spirited Lena (Ritu Arya) giving up on her creative dreams to marry a nauseatingly perfect man — not least because art school dropout Lena is her hero for refusing to conform to their community’s traditional ideas about respectability and success.

Polite Society makes room to sensitively explore Ria’s disappointment and the loneliness of rebellion, but writer-director Nida Manzoor doesn’t stop there, throwing in a sharp allegory disguised as a zany twist. Rather than upending our expectations for upending’s sake, the surprise metaphor refigures the movie as perceptive cultural commentary on the age-old devaluation of women as mere vessels for the next generation. What’s more, Manzoor takes the analogy full circle to thoughtfully imagine how this kind of dehumanizing misogyny might have affected previous generations, suggesting that the real villains lie offscreen. Movies as inventive and intelligent as this don’t come around often, but one that’s this funny, visually bold, unabashedly feminist, and full of stars-in-the-making is rarer still.

2. True Romance (1993)

best

8.1

Country

France, United States of America

Director

Tony Scott

Actors

Anna Levine, Anna Levine Thomson, Anna Thomson, April Freeman

Moods

Funny, Thrilling

True Romance is a wildly entertaining and twistedly enjoyable crime film, directed by Tony Scott (Top Gun) and written by a young Quentin Tarantino. It stars Christian Slater as a young nebbish comic book store employee named Clarence who falls in love with a prostitute named Alabama (Patricia Arquette), and sets his mind to rid her of her indebtedness to a volatile pimp named Drexel (Gary Oldman). The story eventually finds them absconding to California with a suitcase full of cocaine, with the intention of selling off their illicit cache to a Hollywood bigwig in order to pursue their dreams of freedom and opportunity. Replete with a remarkable cast of famous names and familiar faces (including Brad Pitt, Christopher Walken and even Val Kilmer as the ghost of Elvis), True Romance is a true 90’s-era classic. It showcases Tarantino’s trademark witty dialogue throughout, enmeshed with the savage humor and jarring violence that he has become so well known for. It’s very much an homage to Hollywood classics such as Bonnie and Clyde and Badlands (including a rousing score by Hans Zimmer inspired by George Tipton’s score for Badlands), and ultimately serves as one of Tarantino’s most underrated career accomplishments.

3. Trollhunter (2010)

7.8

Country

Norway

Director

André Øvredal, André Øvredal

Actors

André Øvredal, Anton Yelchin, Eirik Bech, Glenn Erland Tosterud

Moods

Funny, Weird

Filmed as a “found footage” of a Norwegian college film crew investigating local poachers, this movie really surprised me. To be fair, I didn’t really know what to expect. But I definitely didn’t expect to like this movie as much as I did. The pacing is on point. The suspense hits you at just the right times. There are a few drops of humour trickled throughout to keep a smile on your face. And that’s how my face stayed when the credits rolled.

4. Logan Lucky (2017)

7.7

Country

United States of America

Director

Steven Soderbergh

Actors

Adam Driver, Alex Ross, Alex ter Avest, Ann Mahoney

Moods

A-list actors, Funny, No-brainer

Two brothers played by Channing Tatum and Adam Driver decide to rob a local NASCAR event, the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina.

They put together a team to help them, with Daniel Craig as the demolition expert and Katie Holmes as the gateway driver. Other big names behind this project are actors Seth MacFarlane and Hilary Swank; and director Steven Soderbergh, who is best known for Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Thirteen, and Magic Mike.

The main characters are cheerful and just goofy enough to be completely unpredictable. Their heist is as chaotic as it is random, which inevitably leads to many funny moments. The performances by the whole cast are amazing, Daniel Craig is almost unrecognizable.

A friend once described this movie as Ocean’s 7 Eleven, and it’s hard to come up with a better line.

5. Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)

7.7

Country

United States of America

Director

George Armitage

Actors

Alan Arkin, Ann Cusack, Barbara Harris, Belita Moreno

Moods

Character-driven, Funny, Grown-up Comedy

Of the many violence-inflected black comedies that Pulp Fiction spawned, Grosse Pointe Blank ranks among the best. Though it’s patently inspired by Tarantino’s magnum opus — John Cusack plays a sardonic, amoral hitman, and the film features bursts of stylized violence and a retro soundtrack — it never feels derivative. The film finds its own identity as a quirky romcom when Cusack’s character, Martin Blank, returns to his hometown for a 10-year high-school reunion on the advice of his terrified therapist (Alan Arkin).

Martin is experiencing professional disillusionment as part of the quarter-life crisis that often takes hold when one realizes it’s been a whole decade since high school. His profession puts a darkly comic spin on that convention, but the film doesn’t treat that element entirely flippantly. Unlike Martin — and so many of the film’s Pulp Fiction-inspired brethren — Grosse Pointe Blank isn’t nihilistic, but quite sincerely romantic. Its hybrid nature and surprising heart come to the fore in Martin’s renewed relationship with the girlfriend he jilted at prom: Debi (Minnie Driver), now a ska-loving radio DJ. Cusack and Driver have sparkling chemistry, which makes the sincerity with which their characters grapple with the possibility of a second chance at happiness all the more absorbing to watch.

6. Starship Troopers (1997)

7.7

Country

United States of America

Director

Paul Verhoeven

Actors

Aaron Stielstra, Amy Smart, Anthony Ruivivar, Armand Darrius

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Funny, Gripping

When citizenship and rights can only be achieved through federal service, you have no choice but to militarize. Johnny Rico is young, impressionable, but noble; in other words, he is an archetypal hero even if he initially enlists just to be close to his girlfriend Carmen (Denise Richards). From then on, Starship Troopers unfolds as a high-strung high school drama, but in the middle of a space colonization. During one such mission, a highly evolved insectoid race, Arachnids, proves to be the most dangerous enemy to human supremacy and the fight is on. What’s interesting about Starship Troopers is that it shows how a well-oiled propaganda machine works and for that reason, it was accused of indoctrination and army endorsement. Even more, it was dubbed fascist, instead of the fascist satire it claimed to be. But today, it’s indisputably a cult film and a great introduction to the Paul Verhoeven’s work in Hollywood.

7. Midnight Runners (2017)

7.6

Country

South Korea

Director

Joo-hwan Kim, Kim Joo-hwan

Actors

Bae Yoo-ram, Byeon Woo-seok, Cha Si-won, Cho Joon

Moods

Action-packed, Funny, Intense

Midnight Runners is a hilarious and action-packed buddy comedy that delivers both laughs and thrills in equal measure. The film follows two police cadets who find themselves embroiled in a dangerous conspiracy after witnessing a kidnapping. The chemistry between the two leads is electric, and their banter and antics provide some of the film’s funniest moments. However, it also has its share of intense and suspenseful scenes, as the cadets race against time to save the victim and uncover the truth. Midnight Runners is a highly entertaining and enjoyable film that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

8. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022)

7.6

Country

United States of America

Director

Tom Gormican

Actors

Alessandra Mastronardi, Björn Freiberg, Caroline Boulton, Cesare Taurasi

Moods

A-list actors, Action-packed, Funny

Surprisingly heartwarming and enjoyable, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent turns its over-the-top premise into a tribute to the one and only Nicolas Cage. Playing an unfulfilled and broke version of himself, Cage’s next gig is an appearance at eccentric billionaire Javi Gutierrez’s (Pedro Pascal) birthday party. They strike up an instant bond over their love of film. However, the CIA suspects Gutierrez’s involvement in a political kidnapping, forcing Cage to investigate his friend. The film brilliantly employs those 90s-esque action tropes that Cage’s movies are known for – the car chases, the sunglasses, and the eccentric characters. Cage himself fully commits to the premise, but Pedro Pascal adeptly matches his energy with his easy-going charm. Their moments together and their shared love for cinema makes this a great watch.

9. Merry Little Batman (2023)

7.5

Country

United States of America

Director

Mike Roth

Actors

Brian George, Bumper Robinson, Chris Sullivan, Courtenay Taylor

Moods

Action-packed, Easy, Funny

While it might not be the most inspired story featuring the titular caped crusader—nor is it a particularly Christmas-y tale—Merry Little Batman still stands out just for how bright and warm its versions of these characters are. In this Gotham, crime is literally pushed aside for once, and that odd sense of holiday isolation takes over for the heroes and villains of the city. It’s all pretty silly when you give it more thought, but the film wholeheartedly embraces its tone, resulting in a Home Alone-esque adventure that moves briskly and is loaded with great visual gags and throwaways zingers. It could stand to have a more substantial emotional center, but for what it is, this is consistently entertaining holiday viewing for all ages.

10. Chinese Odyssey 2002 (2002)

7.5

Country

Hong Kong

Director

Jeff Lau Chun-Wai

Actors

Athena Chu, Chang Chen, Eric Kot Man-Fai, Faye Wong

Moods

Dramatic, Easy, Funny

While produced by Wong Kar Wai, Chinese Odyssey 2002 isn’t a moody, melancholy drama that we’re used to. Instead, the Ming Dynasty-set adventure directed by Jeffrey Lau comically spoofs plenty of the beloved genres that captivated Chinese audiences– wuxia epics, musical dramas, and historical romances. The ludicrous crossdressing plot is played in such an over-the-top way, with Lau visually delivering his jabs, with a narrator providing droll commentary on the events, and with intercuts of faux interviews and excerpts from everyone, even including the disgruntled innkeeper spying on the crossdressing princess and the confused restaurant owner. It’s actually quite impressive how the ridiculous plot leads to such a wholesome, moving conclusion.

Comments

Add a comment

Curated by humans, not algorithms.

agmtw

© 2024 A Good Movie to Watch. Altona Studio, LLC, all rights reserved.