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Action Movie Recommendations


Since it’s not October yet and I can’t talk about horror movies, I figured that I might as well discuss one of my other favorite genres to watch, action. It’s kind of hard to classify something as a pure ‘action’ movie sometimes, as a lot of movies with action could also fit into other genres. Some of the movies in this list could definitely be called Sci-Fi or dystopian films first, but they can all definitely still be put in the action genre. I’ve also decided to exclude superhero films, as I could think of several that would be among my favorite action movies, and I wanted more variety. The entries aren’t in a specific or ranked order, just a collection of the ones I really enjoy.


Bullet Train (2022)

A lot of people didn’t enjoy last year’s Bullet Train, but I thought it was an absolute blast from beginning to end. Many don’t really care for David Leitch’s exaggerated style, but I quite enjoy it. Bullet Train is a fantastic blend of comedic moments, charming and well-performed characters, violent action, and a somewhat interesting storyline. I wouldn’t necessarily call it an amazing movie, but it’s simply a really fun time. I saw this last year on National Cinema Day when tickets were only $2, and it was a really nice way to end 2022’s blockbuster season. It’s very easy to put on and have fun, and makes for a really fun experience with a couple of friends. Aside from how much fun I had with Bullet Train, the action scenes are actually very well done; Leitch knows how to direct action, and some fights in this film rival his best choreography. Plus, Bullet Train gifted us with the greatest and most developed character in all of fiction, the Water Bottle. The emotional journey you are taken on with this Water Bottle cannot be matched by any other film.


Atomic Blonde (2017)

Moving on to another David Leitch movie, I do tend to prefer Atomic Blonde to Bullet Train for a few reasons, most notably its atmosphere. Unlike Leitch’s other works, this film takes itself fully seriously, and commits to being a spy-thriller with heavy action elements. I was expecting another Bullet Train or Deadpool 2, but what I got was a John Wick film done right. As you might notice, the John Wick series is absent from this list, as I’m not the biggest fan. I’ve only seen the first two, and while I did enjoy the stylized action, I found the films to be extremely lacking in every other aspect. Atomic Blonde provides action just as good as a John Wick movie, and actually gives you characters to latch onto and a story to get invested in. It’s not a masterpiece or anything, but this is an overall really solid effort. The 80’s synth-neon atmosphere is mixed with this cold and unforgiving world of espionage, violence, and desperation. I thoroughly enjoyed this film throughout its entire runtime, but the standout moment is, of course, the staircase battle. It’s a lengthy, brutal, and frantic one-take shot that keeps you on the edge of your seat for ten minutes before transitioning into an incredibly well done car chase. This is one of my favorite action scenes of all time, and I’ve seen few other action films utilize the one-take as well as this one does. Extraction and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 have nothing on this, and those scenes are still incredible. A lot of people found Atomic Blonde to be overall very mediocre, but I could not disagree more. I am very much looking forward to David Leitch’s future films, which will probably be more similar to Bullet Train, but maybe someday, we’ll get another Atomic Blonde.


Predator (1987)

While a good chunk of the franchise is a complete disaster, the original Predator is still a great time. I rewatched this recently, and had forgotten how much fun it was; it’s the peak of buff-men-in-jungle action movies. First Blood wishes it could be Predator. Arnold really gets to do his thing here, spewing constant one-liners and aimlessly firing large rifles at the jungle. It’s pretty hard to not enjoy Predator; the film is essentially an hour and fifty minutes of bulky guys yelling, shooting guns, and iconic one-liners. As a big Arnold Schwarzenegger fan, I think that he’s definitely been in one or two better movies, but Predator has what is easily my favorite performance of his.


RRR (2022)

RRR is an Indian film that I never would have heard of if not for the internet, and I’m very thankful I was informed of its existence. There’s nothing I love more than a movie that knows it’s extremely over-the-top and goes with it. This was the first Indian film I ever watched, and it was the perfect one to start with. It’s three hours straight of pure Bollywood excitement, and does not allow you to get bored. During fight scenes, the characters are essentially superheroes, and perform superhuman feats. The action often goes on for fifteen or more minutes at a time, giving you plenty to look forward to in between scenes of dialogue (although those are still very entertaining). But, of course, I cannot talk about RRR without mentioning its Oscar-winning dance number with the song ‘Naatu Naatu’. This is definitely my favorite part of the movie, and perfectly captures the energy the film holds throughout its lengthy runtime. It’s very easy to love RRR; you can see how much passion went into it, and its uncontainable energy is infectious.


Mission: Impossible- Fallout (2018)

There are several Mission: Impossible films that could go on this list (essentially anything after the second), but Fallout is my favorite. I love this franchise a lot, but none of them are quite the same as Fallout. We all know that Tom Cruise is a little crazy, but there’s no denying that he knows what needs to go into a good action film. There’s really nothing to criticize here; the best action in the series, the best Mission: Impossible villain that’s not Phillip Seymour Hoffman, fantastic cinematography, and my favorite plotline of the franchise. I really enjoy the stories of every entry, but Fallout‘s just has a certain feel of desperation that the others don’t. This probably could have been the finale to the entire series, but since Tom Cruise doesn’t give up that easily, we got two more, and the one that’s come out so far was almost as good as Fallout. It’s not a very uncommon opinion that Mission: Impossible is the best blockbuster franchise at the moment, and Fallout is the perfect Mission: Impossible movie. What other movie ends with a high-stakes helicopter chase while multiple nukes are being defused? Very few films can match the coolness factor of Fallout, which is definitely partially due to Tom’s stunts. He’s never failed to deliver impressive and dangerous stunts, but nothing quite matches the ones found here. The only one that might be more impressive is the motorcycle jump from Dead Reckoning Part One, and that’s only because he literally jumped off a cliff while riding a motorcycle. It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like Mission: Impossible, and I believe that Fallout is one of the greatest action films ever made.


Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

Terminator 2 is both a near-perfect action and sci-fi film. I love the first Terminator a lot, but Judgement Day  outclasses it in every way. There are a lot of stories about the dangers of artificial intelligence and the consequences it could lead to, and I think that this film handles it a lot better than many others while still blending in great action sequences. It has a feeling of constant desperation, knowing that the T-1000, the most powerful machine we know of, is always on their tail. While the rest of the series is mediocre to downright terrible, the first two Terminator films still stand as gems of both 80’s and 90’s blockbusters, and are considered classics for a reason.


Aliens (1986)

Just like Judgement DayAliens is a sublime action and sci-fi movie. It replaces the harsh, atmospheric terror of the original with tense action that holds a constant feeling of dread. There are really quite a few comparisons that could be made to Terminator 2; both are directed by James Cameron, both are sequels that surpass the original, both are sci-fi action films that are different from but still fit tonally with their predecessors, and every other sequel in both franchises cannot even begin to compare to the first two. Like many other people, Ellen Ripley is easily one of my favorite movie characters, and she really shines here. While I still love her character in the original, she gets a lot of development in this one, being pushed to an even higher limit than she has before, and also going through a motherhood character arc. We get a lot more lore surrounding the series, too, showing a lot more of the Xenomorph’s life cycle and how they reproduce (before Prometheus and Alien: Covenant existed and made things a whole lot more complicated). This is a personal favorite, and another that will be held as a classic for many more years to come.


Dredd (2012)

Dredd is one of those movies that’s almost universally loved, but still seems to fly under the radar for many. The constant violence mixed with an oppressive Cyberpunk setting set to a synth soundtrack makes for a really fantastic movie; it takes itself fully seriously, and never feels too exaggerated. Karl Urban gives a really convincing performance as the no-nonsense Judge Dredd, who gets trapped in the middle of a powerful gang’s territory while training a new rookie. He’s a perfect choice for the role, especially after Sylvester Stallone was cast in the original. I like Stallone, but it’s fair to say he’s not the best actor. I’m still baffled as to why this never received any kind of sequel, whether it’s another movie, a TV show, or a video game; it was successful enough to warrant a follow-up of some sort. It would be untrue to say that Dredd is an unpopular film, but it certainly doesn’t receive the recognition it deserves. I believe that it will someday be considered a cult classic of sorts (if it’s already not) and gain the dedicated audience something like this needs.


Hardcore Henry (2015)

A movie that not enough people have heard of, Hardcore Henry is quite possibly the dumbest film on this list, which is not a bad thing. If you ever doubted that a first-person movie could ever work, think again. This is essentially eighty minutes of mindless video game action mixed with some occasional dialogue. It knows exactly what it is and goes with it. The thing is, the action scenes are fantastically choreographed, making for a very entertaining watch. The violence can be very mindless, the characters are some of the most uninteresting and forgettable I have ever seen in a movie, and the story does not make a shred of sense, but does that really matter? If you watch Hardcore Henry, you know exactly what you’re getting into. I was a little bored towards the beginning, but once it reaches the twenty-minute mark, it reaches pure insanity and doesn’t look back. Similar to Dredd, I think this would make for a really fun video game; it has all of the traits of one. I hope we see a sequel for this one someday- there are almost unlimited possibilities with what you could do.


Baby Driver (2017)

I’ve already discussed Baby Driver a good few times, but I cannot make this list without bringing one of my favorite movies of all time. This has the best car action of any film I’ve ever seen; the way Baby seemingly manipulates cars to move how he wants them to is mesmerizing. It also contains my favorite film soundtrack of all time, and utilizes them in a genius way, mixing the beats of the songs with things that are happening on screen. The energy in this film is contagious, and it gets me excited with every rewatch. I first had the pleasure of viewing Baby Driver in July of 2022, and I have since seen it five more times; it seems to climb the ranks of my top 10 with every revisit. It’s difficult to articulate exactly why this one is so perfect; everything about it just flows so well. The pacing is immaculate, keeping things consistently exciting; even when it’s just a dialogue scene, there’s always music playing in the background that lines up with what characters are saying. Edgar Wright is one of my favorite directors, and I believe that the style of every film he’s made has culminated into this one masterpiece of a film.

Kill Bill (2003-2004)

Kill Bill was split into two different volumes, but I count them as one movie, since Tarantino does. While the second half is pretty much just a western, the one action scene it has is amazing, and the first part is essentially a kung-fu movie with a lot of swords. I’ve only seen one other Tarantino film, but I imagine that Kill Bill will stay towards the top of the list. While I enjoy every film on this list for a lot of different reasons, I do believe that Kill Bill is the best pure action film ever made. Everything about this film is of the highest quality: the story is engaging, yet goofy while not going too far with its exaggeration. Vol. 2 dials down the goofiness a lot and focuses on telling a more serious story, while still having plenty of hilarious moments. The characters are all extremely charming and lovable (even the evil ones), which is further improved by the performances, as you can tell that everybody is having a really fun time. The action scenes are the absolute perfect balance of campiness and genuinely mind-blowing martial arts stunts. Every time I see a clip of a fight from Kill Bill, I can’t help but watch. My favorite fight scene of all time occurs at the end of Vol. 1; the last half hour is essentially one massive onslaught of enemies that The Bride must defeat. This is a very obvious recommendation, but Kill Bill‘s greatness cannot be understated.


Where to watch everything (As of September 22nd, 2023):

Bullet Train- Netflix, available for rental on Prime, Vudu

Atomic Blonde- Only available for rental on Prime, Vudu, or Apple TV+

Predator- Max, available for rental on Prime, Vudu, or Apple TV+

Die Hard- Hulu, available for rental on Prime, Vudu, or Apple TV+

RRR- Netflix

Mission: Impossible (Series)- Paramount+, available for rental on Prime, Vudu, Apple TV+

Terminator 2: Judgement Day– Only available for rental on Prime, Apple TV+

Aliens– Hulu, available for rental on Prime, Vudu, Apple TV+

Dredd– Netflix, available for rental on Prime, Vudu, Apple TV+

Baby Driver– Only available for rental on Prime, Vudu, Apple TV+

Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2- Streaming on Prime, available for rental on Vudu, Apple TV+

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