The films on this list are action movies. Sure, they might stray into thriller, drama, sci-fi and other categories, but at their core they are all about explosions, bullets and pithy dialogue. You know, all the things we want when we watch an action movie. And what would a list like this be without such names as Stallone, Gibson, Diesel, Smith, etc?
The films we have assembled here are an eclectic bunch. Which is as much a statement about the action movie genre as it is about Netflix. So sit back, buckle in and get ready to be taken on a wild ride. As we stated, action films cut across so many different genres and sensibilities. Whatever your taste there’s bound to be something on this list that hits you. Hard.
Lethal Weapon (1987)
Is there any better buddy/action movie than Lethal Weapon? I know people are going to have a hard time with this question. However, as good as something like Tango & Cash is, what tops Mel Gibson and Danny Glover doing their collective things as Riggs and Murtaugh? Sure, the plot of this film is pretty pedantic (sorry, Shane Black… your best script was Kiss Kiss Bang Bang). Yet, it is done in such a strong way by the venerable Richard Donner that everybody involved elevated this thing. Also, use your Netflix scrubber and watch the scenes of Gary Busey’s bad guy. Talk about transforming yourself for a role! Watch here.
Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)
And if the first Lethal Weapon doesn’t kick your ass than Lethal Weapon 2 surely will. Again, the plot is pretty pedestrian. However, the story centers around some South African baddies and that was something that hadn’t really been on screen, in an buddy/action film, before. This movie ups the action ante. It is filled with so many good scenes, so many bullets, that one has to ask themselves, “How did Riggs survive?” Again, thanks to Netflix we can count the bullets and figure it out. Watch here.
Alright, apparently this film has been hated on the internet. What a surprise, right? Well, Will Smith, Joel Edgerton and Director David Ayer have essentially merged Training Day with Alien Nation, to make one of the most interesting films of 2017. It probably isn’t going to win any awards. It most likely will continue to be vilified. However, Bright is getting a sequel and in it’s own way, continuing to allow Netflix to put it’s thumb in the eye of all the cathedrals of cinema. And with 27% on the Tomatometer that means that 20-30 years from now this film will be classic! Watch here.
Kung Fu Yoga (2016)
Jackie Chan leads this action/adventure fest that boasts a really bad title. With a name like Kung Fu Yoga, it would be very easy not to take this film seriously. It follows two professors that set about finding a lost treasure and find themselves on an adventure beyond their wild dreams. Of course with Jackie Chan involved, you know that there is going to be a far share of butt-kicking action to make this a film that you never dream of deleting from your Netflix que. Watch here.
When xXx debuted in 2002 it seemed like Vin Diesel was going to be THE action star to beat. Now? Unless he’s driving a car doing things that are virtually impossible, not too many people want to see his movies. That said, you want to see xXx. Why? Well, there’s the idea of seeing Xander Cage fulfill all his promise as he fights people with “PlayStation” tactics. Don’t even get me started on the scene of him trying to outrun an avalanche! Sure, xXx is silly. Yes, it is filled with explosions and gun battles that no mortal could survive. However, you’re still thinking of Vin Diesel as mortal. And that’s YOUR problem. Watch here.
National Treasure (1999)
Does it really matter what the plot of this Nic Cage action/adventure fest is? Sure he’s on the hunt to find some incredible Templar thing in National Treasure, but the real fun is seeing him solve problem after problem. Yes, they are trying to ape Raiders of the Lost Ark. Sure, there’s a lot that happens in this film that feels just a bit too coincidental. If nothing else, by offering this film Netflix has reminded us just how amazing a producer Jerry Bruckheimer is. And in an odd way, after streaming this film, you might just get really excited for Top Gun: Maverick, Bad Boys 4, and even National Treasure 3! Watch here.
Death Sentence (2007)
Kevin Bacon has never been better than he was here in this Death Wish-like film. Death Sentence sees Kevin Bacon deal with a major loss. From there he decides that he must protect his family at all costs. Okay, this action/thriller from director James Wan is a hypnotic parable about how an eye for an eye leaves us all blind. Netflix has really given users a gem as Bacon is mesmerizing in his portrayal of man who will stop at nothing for the ones he loves. Watch here.
Check Point (2017)
America is being invaded and Bill Goldberg along with Kenny Johnson are going to protect us. This is the plot of Checkpoint. Alright, Netflix isn’t really breaking the mold here but there’s something interesting and unique with this film. The idea of homegrown terrorists might seem like a wild idea but in today’s day and age anything’s possible. In that regard this film almost (I said ALMOST) plays as a documentary. Also filling out this cast are Fred Williamson and William Forsythe. Need we say more? Watch here.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Chris Pratt and the team are back for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. This rollicking action movie can also take credit for making cassette tapes cool again. Okay, while this is an action film with all the requisite battle scenes, explosions and fun quips, it’s also the story of a family trying to stay together. Even more than that, it is a sci-fi coming of age story about the history of Star-Lord. Director James Gunn (is there a more perfect name for an action movie director?) delivers the fun and the visceral all in one excellent pop culture fell swoop. Watch here.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Being lauded as better than The Last Jedi, Rogue One is so much more than action film. At the same time, it is bristling with action. With scenes of Felicity Jones and Diego Luna avoiding certain peril (and then embracing it), we also get a Star Wars movie without a title crawl AND an battling image of Darth Vader the likes of which we’d never really seen before. Add to this the action scenes that are mixed within and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story really ups the ante for not just the Star Wars saga but the action genre overall. Does Netflix know how to pick em? Watch here.