15 Best Action Movies on Netflix

15 Best Action Movies on Netflix

June 7, 2024

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Action movies can get a bad rap for being shallow or brainless (which isn’t always a bad thing), but there really is an artistry to getting action right—making sure it flows coherently, looks beautiful, and carries narrative or emotional weight. On Netflix you can find a huge number of action films, though many of them might only be good for a quick fix or a background watch. So for this list below, we’ve put together a number of lesser-known movies that we believe have gripping, well-made action, while also still being strong films in one’s own right.

11. Uncut Gems (2019)

7.9

Country

South Africa, United States of America

Director

Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie

Actors

Abel Tesfaye, Adam Sandler, Alexander Gilkes, Andrea Linsky

Moods

Action-packed, Dark, Intense

A crazy, anxiety-inducing thriller that turns Adam Sandler into a thrill-generating machine, which in its own speaks volumes about the rhythm of this movie. It follows a jeweler who gets himself in trouble with what feels like all of New York – a gang, Kevin Garnett (the NBA player), other jewelers, his family, odd twins that appear out of nowhere – everyone. This all happens in the backdrop of him feeling he has “hit big” and is on the verge of receiving a lot of money.

If you watched Good Time, you know what to expect from directors Safdie brothers: excruciating tension that keeps building up when you thought it wasn’t possible. And that might be the only problem with Uncut Gems; the tension doesn’t feel that different from Good Time, and having watched one you can guess where the other one is going.

12. RRR (2022)

7.9

Country

India

Director

S. S. Rajamouli

Actors

Ahmareen Anjum, Ajay Devgn, Alexx O'Nell, Alia Bhatt

Moods

Action-packed, Intense, Mind-blowing

Set in 1920s India, RRR follows two revolutionaries who strike up an unlikely bond and fend off the British regime from their home. In their epic journey to protect their people, they encounter a number of setbacks that prompts them to put their incredible combat skills on full display. 

Despite its three-hour run, RRR never drags, thanks in large part to its breathtaking action sequences and eye-popping visuals. It may contain all the familiar beats of a blockbuster, but RRR is notably grounded in its central, political theme of anti-colonialism, the sincerity of which keeps the film’s big heart beating palpably throughout. 

13. Wingwomen (2023)

7.9

Country

France

Director

Female director, Mélanie Laurent

Actors

Adèle Exarchopoulos, Annick Roux, Aurélien Gabrielli, Camille Verschuere

Moods

Action-packed, Character-driven, Dramatic

An all-female action comedy that doesn’t get self-serious about the way it’s subverting the genre — Wingwomen feels like a breath of fresh air. It wisely grasps that plot isn’t paramount for a movie like this, and so it joyously dunks on cerebral scenarios with its unabashedly silly story convolutions, like when its professional thieves take a brief pause from their momentous One Last Job™️ to sail to Italy and exact bloody, flamenco-delivered revenge on the gangsters who killed their beloved rabbit. Exotic Mediterranean location-hopping isn’t the only way Wingwomen milks Netflix’s finance department for all it can get, either: director-star Mélanie Laurent also packs in all manner of stunts, from spectacular base-jumping sequences to dramatic drone shootouts. 

For all its breezy style, though, there is real heart here, and not the kind that feels crafted by an algorithm. It’s true that a late twist unwisely uses the movie’s embrace of implausibility for emotional ends, but otherwise, the relationship between its professional thieves — ostensibly platonic but very much coded otherwise (a la Bend It Like Beckham) — has surprisingly sincere warmth. Thanks to the cast’s natural chemistry and characters that feel human despite the ridiculous plot, Wingwomen is much more moving than you might believe possible for a Netflix action-comedy.

14. Spy Game (2001)

7.7

Country

France, Germany, Hong Kong

Director

Tony Scott

Actors

Adrian Pang, Amidou, Andrew Grainger, Balázs Tardy

Moods

Action-packed, Instructive, Thrilling

Robert Redford and Brad Pitt make quite the ensemble in this edgy game of espionage. With performances as strong as their jawlines, this action-packed rescue mission will keep you in suspense! Be sure to keep up with all the witty banter and interesting plot twists shifting between flashbacks and present-day scenarios. Keep in mind that this isn’t your average spy movie, with a more realistic approach and a character-driven storyline, most of the flash happens cinematically.

15. The Pig, the Snake and the Pigeon (2023)

7.5

Country

Taiwan

Director

Wong Ching-Po

Actors

Ben Yuen Foo-Wah, Chen Yi-wen, Cherry Hsieh, Ethan Juan

Moods

Action-packed, Character-driven, Dramatic

Gangster films have an issue of glorifying organized crime, and in some ways The Pig, The Snake, and The Pigeon does the same. There are excellent, action-packed fight scenes that makes Ethan Juan as Chen Kui-lin look so damn cool, and the journey Chen takes as a stern criminal out for his legacy definitely romanticizes the character, but it’s so compelling to see him contemplate the purpose of his life through confronting those like him, who tend to move for the ideas of love and spiritual detachment. There are some moments when the pacing falters, but The Pig, The Snake, and the Pigeon delivers on its ending and reimagines the gangster as something to remember.

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