Lists Recaps Reviews Interviews Explainers
News

The best action movies on Netflix (October 2021)

Army of the Dead and Extraction on Netflix
Army of the Dead and Extraction on Netflix. Pic credit: Netflix

When looking for an exciting action movie, Netflix has most fans covered.

The streaming giant has licensed many of the best action movies of the last 40 years, and that includes award winners, genre favorites, cult classics, and crowd-pleasers.

Sadly, many top action movies have left Netflix and will never return thanks to new streaming services like Disney+ bringing Star Wars and Marvel home and the new HBO Max doing the same for DC movies and Warner Bros entertainment.

With that said, Netflix has also been working hard over the last few years to bring its own action movies to the service – films that will never leave because they belong to Netflix and Netflix alone.

Here is a look at 15 great action movies to watch on Netflix as of this month.

Updated in October 2021: Every month, Netflix drops several movies from its service and replaces these movies with other films that are possibly even better than what came before. This month is no different, as some of our top choices are now gone from the streaming service.

The good news is that replacements have arrived, and we have replaced them with some new films that just hit the streaming service.

Desperado (1995)

Antonio Banderas in Desperado
Antonio Banderas in Desperado. Pic credit: Columbia Pictures

Robert Rodriguez made his first movie, El Mariachi, for a few thousand dollars he earned by offering to be a medical test subject. The movie was a small hit on the indie scene and earned him entry into Hollywood.

In 1995, Rodriguez got a chance to bring his mariachi into a bigger budget story and brought in a great cast in Antonio Banderas, Steve Buscemi, Cheech Marin, and Salma Hayek to prove he was a star director in the making.

The movie continued the story and was a massive hit, with a third movie coming in 2003 with Once Upon a Time in Mexico.

Leon: The Professional (1994)

Natalie Portman in Leon the Professional
Natalie Portman in Leon the Professional. Pic credit: Buena Vista

Natalie Portman started as a child actress and her breakout role came in the 1994 Luc Besson movie, Leon: The Professional.

The movie starred Jean Reno as a professional hitman. When a little girl in the building he lives has her family killed, he takes her in as a protege.

This puts him in the crosshairs of the corrupt Drug Enforcement Administration. The movie is a cult classic among 90s action movies and Portman became a major star.

A Knight’s Tale (2001)

Heath Ledger in A Knight's Tale
Heath Ledger in A Knight’s Tale. Pic credit: Sony

In 2001, director Brian Helgeland helmed the action-comedy A Knight’s Tale.

Heath Ledger starred as a peasant named William Thatcher who poses as a knight after his master dies. Under the guise of a true knight, he begins to win tournaments and falls in love, while also becoming an enemy of a rival knight.

The movie was unique in that it placed the story in medieval times but used modern music and modern references. It also included real-life characters, such as Edward the Black Prince (James Purefoy) and Geoffrey Chaucer Paul Bettany).

Clear and Present Danger (1994)

Willem Defoe in Clear and Present Danger
Willem Defoe in Clear and Present Danger. Pic credit: Paramount

Clear and Present Danger was the third Jack Ryan movie and the second with Harrison Ford in the role of the Tom Clancy government agent.

This was also the movie that brought Jack Clark to the big screen, played by Willem Defoe.

The movie has Ford’s Jack Ryan kept in the dark when his own colleagues are executing a covert war against a Colombian drug cartel, with the U.S. President’s blessing.

The Losers (2010)

The Losers movie
The cast of The Losers movie. Pic credit: Warner Bros

The Losers was a 2010 movie that was based on a comic book by Andy Diggle and Jock.

The movie had an elite black-ops team in the United States end up betrayed. They fake their own deaths and go into hiding.

However, when a woman offers one of them a chance for revenge, they team up again and realize the person who betrayed them might be trying to finish the job.

The cast was incredible, with the team featuring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, Columbus Short, and Oscar Jaenada. Jason Patric stars as the villain.

Inception (2010)

The best action movies on Netflix (July 2020)
The Christopher Nolan movie Inception. Pic credit: Warner Bros

In 2010, Christopher Nolan brought the world one of his mind-bending sci-fi action movies.

Inception starred Leonardo DiCaprio as part of a team that breaks into people’s minds and steals their memories.

He is offered a chance to have his full criminal history erased if he plants new ideas in the memory of a CEO of a major corporation.

The movie won four Oscars, while also picking up a nomination for Best Picture.

Mortal Kombat (1995)

The 1995 version of Mortal Kombat
The 1995 version of Mortal Kombat. Pic credit: New Line Cinema

In 2021, Mortal Kombat hit theaters, but 16 years prior, the video game was one of the first adapted to the big screen by director Paul Anderson.

Anderson, who went on to adapt Resident Evil and Monster Hunter, enjoyed early success with Mortal Kombat, which received poor reviews but commercial success. It has also become a cult classic.

The movie starred Christopher Lambert as the mysterious Rayden, as he called forth Earth’s greatest fighters for the Mortal Kombat tournament against warriors from the Outworld, looking to gain access to invade Earth.

Army of the Dead (2021)

Dave Bautista standing in the bones of bodies in Army of the Dead
Dave Bautista standing in the bones of bodies in Army of the Dead. Pic credit: Clay Enos/Netflix

On the outside, Army of the Dead looks like another Zack Snyder horror movie, but it is much more than that. While it has horror elements, it is as much an action movie as anything.

Dave Bautista leads the cast as a man putting together a term of mercenaries to go into Vegas and retrieve hundreds of millions of dollars for the former casino owner.

This came after a mysterious creature went into Vegas and turned everyone there into zombies before the government walled it off and planned to nuke the town.

With a ticking clock, the team heads in only to find the zombies are under the rule of the Alpha and his Queen, and while there is a small truce at the start, things go downhill when one member of the team makes a fatal mistake.

Stargate (1994) 

James Spader (left) and Kurt Russell in the film Stargate. Pic credit: MGM

The science fiction action movie Stargate hit in 1994 and was so successful that it spawned a long-running TV series.

The movie starred James Spader as Dr. Jackson, an archeologist who found a possibility to travel through a “Stargate” to another distant planet.

Kurt Russell stars as O’Neill, a special ops officer who agrees to the mission as he has no reason left to live after his son accidentally dies by shooting himself with O’Neill’s own gun.

Once there, they meet a group of humans who worship the god Ra, and then realize there might not be a chance to return to Earth.

Under Siege (1992)

Under Siege (1992)
Steven Seagal in Under Siege (1992). Pic credit: Warner Bros.

Before he ended up as a straight-to-video action star, Steven Seagal starred in a series of big screen action movies and the best-of-the-best has hit Netflix with Under Siege.

Seagal is a former Navy SEAL, now working as a cook aboard a battleship. Soon, he encounters a group of terrorist mercenaries who land on the ship via a food service helicopter, and has to fight them to save the ship.

While this is a Steven Seagal movie, the true star here is Tommy Lee Jones as the villain, an ex-CIA operative leading the terrorist group. He is completely over-the-top and it might be Jones most entertaining role.

Ip Man (2008)

IP Man (2008)
The Hong Kong film IP Man. Pic credit: Mandarin Films

IP Man is an autobiographical action film from Hong Kong that tells the life of Ip Man, a grandmaster who was the teacher of none other than Bruce Lee.

Donnie Yen stars as Ip Man and this first movie in the series focuses on the events that took place in his life in Foshan during the Sino-Japanese War.

The movie was a massive hit, although it was never released theatrically in the United States, and was nominated for 12 Hong Kong Film Awards.

Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

Olympus Has Fallen
Olympus Has Fallen. Pic credit: Millennium Films

Olympus Has Fallen is the first movie in a film trilogy, followed by London Has Fallen and Angel Has Fallen.

In this first movie, Gerard Butler is a former secret service agent named Mike Banning who left the job after saving the President from an auto accident but failed to save the First Lady.

However, when North Korean terrorists launch an attack on the White House, and everything seems lost, Mike returns with his knowledge of the White House to save the President again and uncover a wide-ranging conspiracy.

The Da Vinci Code (2006)

The Da Vinci Code
Tom Hank’s and Audrey Tautou in The Da Vinci Code. Pic credit: Sony

The Da Vinci Code is a 2006 Ron Howard movie based on the best-selling novel by Dan Brown.

Tom Hanks stars as Robert Langdon, a religious symbology professor, who becomes the top suspect when a Louvre curator is murdered. When he escapes, he teams with a cryptologist (Audrey Tautou) to solve the mystery of who killed the man and why.

This ends up leading to a quest for the Holy Grail and a long-lasting secret that the Catholic Church has been hiding for years.

The Old Guard (2020)

The Old Guard on Netflix
Matthias Schoenaerts and Charlize Theron in The Old Guard. Pic credit: Aimee Spinks/Netflix

In 2020, Netflix released a new action movie called The Old Guard, which was a fantastic new film for the streaming service.

Charlize Theron is Andy, the oldest immortal in a unit known as The Old Guard. These are all immortals who head out on missions to save people or stop the evil, with just the belief that what they are doing is right.

However, after years of fighting the good fight and beating evil people, they face their greatest threat — a pharmaceutical businessman who wants to capture them and extract their powers for his purposes.

Extraction (2020)

The best action movies on Netflix (July 2020)
Chris Hemsworth in Extraction. Pic credit: Netflix

Extraction is one of the most violent Netflix original action movies on the service today.

Chris Hemsworth (Thor) stars as a black ops mercenary who is hired to go to Bangladesh and rescue an Indian drug lord’s kidnapped son. The film, from that point on, is a non-stop action chase flick.

Netflix even joked about the death count in the movie, tweeting that Chris Hemsworth’s mercenary killed 183 people in the film, which is even more than someone like Rambo or an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie like Commando (81 people).

Leave a Comment