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The best action movies on Netflix (October 2020)

Netflix action movies
Raiders of the Los Ark and Mad Max on Netflix. Pic credit: Paramount and Warner Bros.

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 October 2020.

Updated on October 2: Every month, Netflix drops several movies from its service and replace 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.

Once you are finished with those, here are some other action movies that just hit Netflix but missed our list: Hardcore Henry, Zathura, and Real Steel, Ghost Rider, Poseidon, WarGames, Colombiana, Batman: The Killing Joke.

Casino Royale (2006)

Netflix: Casino Royale
Daniel Craig in Casino Royale. Pic credit: Sony

Daniel Craig came into the James Bond franchise and revitalized the entire property.

Casino Royale was his first movie in the series and it took the character back to his origins. It also led Craig into turning in the biggest box office successes in the franchise.

In Casino Royale, Bond is a brand-new 007 and is sent to take down an international financer of terrorism. However, he is sent to battle him at a poker table.

This movie led to two sequels with a third coming later in 2020.

Superman Returns (2006)

Superman Returns
Brandon Routh in Superman Returns. Pic credit: Warner Bros

The often forgotten Superman movie hit Netflix in October 2020 with Superman Returns.

The film, directed by X-Men director Bryan Singer, stars Brandon Routh in a story that was set up as a direct sequel to Superman II, ignoring the two lesser films that followed.

In the movie, Superman had flown back to try to find Krypton, only to discover it was destroyed. When he returns to Earth, Lois Lane had moved on and has a child and Lex Luthor is back to play the role of the villain.

The movie was considered a disappointment when it came out due to the lack of action, playing more like a drama featuring Superman, but it is much better than people remember and deserves a second look.

Pineapple Express (2008)

Netflix: Pineapple Express
Seth Rogen, James Franco and Danny McBride in Pineapple Express. Pic credit: Sony

In 2008, David Gordon Green directed the action-comedy thriller Pineapple Express.

The best way to describe this movie is Cheech and Chong on the run from the mafia.

Seth Rogen is a process server who goes to visit his drug dealer (James Franco) for some marijuana. The two head out together to serve a man (Gary Cole).

However, when they see Cole and a police officer gun down someone in his home, they end up on the run from the police and criminals, which includes a hilarious hitman in Danny McBride.

A Knight’s Tale (2001)

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

While this is a light-hearted, almost comedic movie, A Knight’s Tale is one of the best films of Heath Ledger’s career.

Before he took on the role of Joker in The Dark Knight and tragically lost his life a short time after that, Ledger starred in this ironic period piece.

Ledger is a squire for a jousting master named Sir Ector. To try to win the prize, he took the identity of his late master and set out with two other squires to try to win the tournament.

Along the way, they meet a fictional version of the real-life poet Geoffrey Chaucer, who agrees to introduce them, WWE-style. The movie adds in some music that was not of its time and created one of the most entertaining medieval tales in cinema.

Mad Max (1979)

Mad Max
Mel Gibson in Mad Max. Pic credit: Warner Bros.

Mad Max is the movie that introduced Mel Gibson to the world.

For fans of Mad Max: Fury Road, one of the best movies of the last decade, here is where it all began.

In the movie, Gibson is Max Rockatansky, one of the best trackers of the Australian highway patrol in a dystopian future where biker gangs rule the streets.

When Max loses his family to a murderer from one of the gangs, he loses his sense of morality, steals the tracker car, and heads out to kill everyone involved.

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 ended up as 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).

Underworld (2003)

The best action movies on Netflix (July 2020)
Kate Beckinsale in Underworld. Pic credit: Screen Gems

Len Wiseman created an excellent action horror movie in 2003 with Underworld.

While critics like to make fun of the movie and it hasn’t received the best reviews, it was a load of fun and garnered several sequels — and one prequel — building the exciting world.

Vampires and werewolves have been fighting for years, and when the first movie starts, the vampires are living in luxury with the werewolves living underground. Kate Beckinsale is Selena, a Death Dealer who hunts down and kills werewolves.

However, nothing is as it seems as the war becomes personal. Both the prequel and immediate sequel are also available on Netflix.

6 Underground (2019)

The best action movies on Netflix (July 2020)
The cast of 6 Underground. Pic credit: Netflix

Michael Bay created some of the most over-the-top action movies in the history of cinema, from Bad Boys and Armageddon to Transformers.

In 2019, Bay signed a deal to make a Netflix exclusive action movie, and that film arrived as 6 Underground, starring Ryan Reynolds.

Reynolds is a “ghost,” an anonymous vigilante who recruits five other people to give up their lives and disappear from the real world to bring down criminals and terrorists that seem to get away with their crimes.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

The best action movies on Netflix (July 2020)
Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Pic credit: Paramount Pictures

Arguably, the most celebrated action-adventure movie of all-time came in 1981 with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’ Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Ford stars as Indiana Jones, a university professor who moonlights as a treasure-hunting archeologist. In this movie, he is searching for one of history’s most elusive treasures, the Ark of the Covenant, which he wants to find before the Nazis who were sent to secure it for Hitler.

The sequels are also available on Netflix, with the second and third movies quality followups and the fourth an acquired taste.

Bright (2017)

The best action movies on Netflix (July 2020)
Will Smith and Joel Edgerton in Bright. Pic credit: Netflix

Will Smith stars in the Netflix original action sci-fi movie Bright, released in 2017 on the streaming giant.

Smith is Daryl, a human police officer whose partner is an orc named Nick (Joel Edgerton).

This world sees humans living with other races, including orcs and elves, although racism is still prevalent. There are also Brights, who can cast magic spells using rare wands.

When they find a young elf girl who can wield the wands, these two officers set out to protect her while Nick faces intense racism, and Daryl uncovers police corruption that threatens the world.

Spencer Confidential (2020)

The best action movies on Netflix (July 2020)
Mark Wahlberg and Winston Duke in Spenser Confidential. Pic credit: Netflix

In the ’80s, there was a popular detective TV show called Spenser: For Hire, starring Robert Ulrich. The series had a similar story every week, with Spenser solving crimes with his friend Hawk (Avery Brooks).

In 2020, Netflix brought Spenser back with an original action movie called Spenser Confidential.

Based on the novels by Robert Parker, Mark Wahlberg takes on a different version of Spenser. He is a former cop who lost his job and spent time in prison after beating up his captain for abusing his wife.

He is now out of prison and finds himself in the middle of another criminal case, with police corruption threatening his freedom once again. Winston Duke (Black Panther) portrays Hawk.

Bloodsport (1988)

The best action movies on Netflix (July 2020)
Jean-Claude Van Damme in Bloodsport. Pic credit: Warner Bros

The oldest action movie on this list that is airing on Netflix as of July 2020 is Bloodsport.

This is a classic B-grade action movie from ’80s action maestro Jean-Claude Van Damme and it might be the best action movie of his career.

In the film, Van Damme is Dux, a U.S. Army Captain who goes AWOL to compete in an illegal martial arts tournament in Hong Kong.

He makes friends with an American fighter named Ray Jackson, and when Ray is beaten viciously and hospitalized by Chong Li, Dux promises to avenge him.

Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

The best action movies on Netflix (July 2020)
The cast of Kung Fu Hustle. Pic credit: Columbia

The early 2000s saw the influx of Wushu martial arts movies, starting with the Oscar success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

While most of those movies are very serious affairs, there is one that takes the entire Wushu fighting and sends it into an absurd direction.

In Kung Fu Hustle, a gang heads into the slums to try to force some money from the tenants there, but they discover a tough-as-nails landlady who starts to destroy them all.

The entire fight scenes are overlaid with Loony Tunes style sound effects, and there is a ridiculous Road Runner-inspired chase scene.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

The best action movies on Netflix (July 2020)
The cast of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Pic credit: Universal

Edgar Wright has a spotless track record with his movies. After making the brilliant horror satire Shaun of the Dead and the pitch-perfect action cop movie Hot Fuzz, he turned his attention to an adaptation.

That movie was the comic book adaptation Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, based on the comics by Bryan Lee O’Malley.

Michael Cera was perfect in his role as Scott Pilgrim, an awkward teen who wanted to date Ramond Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

However, he learns he has to fight and beat her exes before she can date him, and they include fantastic performances from names like Brandon Routh, Chris Evans, and Jason Schwartzman.

Shawn S. Lealos has been a freelance writer for 25 years, starting with magazines and newspapers before moving to the internet. He has been published... read more
Shawn S. Lealos

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