Movies

The Best Action Movies on Netflix Right Now

Extraction

Director: Sam Hargrave

Writer: Joe Russo

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Rudhraksh Jaiswal, Randeep Hooda, Golshifteh Farahani, Pankaj Tripathi, and David Harbour

It’s no wonder that the action in the Netflix original film Extraction is spectacular given that director Sam Hargrave’s background is as the stunt coordinator for films like Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame. Scripted by Endgame co-director Joe Russo, Extraction is a hardened (and extremely violent) actioner that follows a disillusioned mercenary who is tasked with escorting a young kidnapped boy out of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Along the way, he grows fond of the boy and grows into his role as protector. The action is outta control in this one, and Chris Hemsworth gives a solid lead performance while Hargrave does some very fun stuff with the camera. Gritty and graphic with a unique visual flair, Extraction will definitely get your blood pumping. – Adam Chitwood

Total Recall

Director: Paul Verhoeven

Writers: Ronal Shusett, Dan O’Bannon, and Gary Goldman

Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside, and Ronny Cox

If you’re in the mood for a great throwback 80s/90s sci-fi actioner, you cannot possibly go wrong with Total Recall. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a construction worker who suddenly finds himself thrust into the world of espionage involving a colony on Mars. It’s crazy and weird and funny and thrilling, and Schwarzenegger is perfectly cast. Get your ass to Mars! – Adam Chitwood

The Old Guard

Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood

Writer: Greg Rucka

Cast: Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Harry Melling, Veronica Ngo, Matthias Schoenaerts, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Charlize Theron is one of the best action stars working today, showcasing tremendous physical skill and positively withering gazes in films like Mad Max: Fury Road and Atomic Blonde. In Netflix’s The Old Guard, Theron gets to put those talents to work in a compelling comic book adaptation, starring as an ancient leader of an immortal band of assassins. Directed by Love & Basketball and Beyond the Lights filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood in her first big blockbuster action turn, The Old Guard doesn’t just offer explosive action set-pieces and kinetic fight scenes (though it definitely has those), it brings something much rarer to the genre: the recognition that violence and killing are brutal, disgusting work and that there’s a toll that comes with taking a life. In short, it has humanity and empathy, qualities that give the pulse-pounding thrills a bit more heft without derailing your good time at the movies. And yes, I’ll admit, I also love that Theron just kicks so much ass. It’s a fine needle to thread, but Bythewood pulls it off, and she even brings her signature touch for romance into the fold.

Stardust

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Writers: Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman

Cast: Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Jason Flemyng, Mark Strong, Rupert Everett, Peter O’Toole, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Robert De Niro

Filmmaker Matthew Vaughn has found success with colorful, somewhat subversive films like Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, and most recently the Kingsman movies, but if you’re a fan of the director’s work or just in the mood for a really fun fantasy film, his 2007 Neil Gaiman adaptation Stardust is highly recommended and sorely underrated. This is a fairy tale by way of Gaiman and Vaughn’s particular sensibilities, as Claire Danes plays a star who falls to Earth and is found by a young man named Tristan (Charlie Cox), kicking off an adventure that includes Michelle Pfeiffer as a witch and Robert De Niro as a flamboyant pirate. It’s fun, it’s weird, it’s sweet, and it’s delightfully strange. – Adam Chitwood

Free Fire

Director: Ben Wheatley

Writers: Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley

Cast: Armie Hammer, Sharlto Copley, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Jack Reynor, Sam Riley, and Noah Taylor

What if an entire movie took place during a Mexican Standoff? That’s essentially the premise of Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, which is a violent, R-rated good time. Set in the 1970s, the film begins with a meet-up between IRA members and an arms dealer, but complications ensue, backs are stabbed, and weapons are unloaded. There’s an undercurrent of dark humor to the entire proceeding that makes the film far more fun than you may be expecting, and performers like Sharlto Copley and Brie Larson are more than up to the challenge of letting their comedic sensibilities shine. If you’re looking for an action movie that’s a little offbeat, a little different, give this one a shot. – Adam Chitwood

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