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 January 2021.
Updated on January 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: Angels & Demons, Jurassic Park III, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Peppermint, Quigley Down Under, Ava, Triple 9, Mud, Den of Thieves, and Blue Streak.
Enter the Dragon (1973)
No real film fan can talk about great action movies without bringing up the greatest martial artist in Hollywood history — Bruce Lee.
Enter the Dragon was a 1973 Bruce Lee movie, arguably his most popular before his death and the final one before he passed away.
Lee plays a martial artist who sets out to help capture and bring down the drug dealer whose gang caused his sister’s death. He ends up entering a kung-fu competition to get into the headquarters of the gang.
In 2004, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
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.
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
One year after Robert Downey Jr. completed his comeback in Hollywood with Iron Man, he took on a second franchise in Sherlock Holmes.
While not as popular as the MCU, Sherlock Holmes was still a huge box office success and resulted in a sequel, although a third movie has yet to arrive as Downey finished his commitments for Marvel first.
Sherlock Holmes had Downey star as the eccentric detective while Jude Law took on the role of Watson. The two end up hired by a secret society to stop a mysticism who wants to gain control of Britain.
Jurassic Park (1993)
Jurassic Park is back on Netflix, and one of the best action movies of the last three decades is available to stream just in time for Christmas.
The movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, features a world where a company has used dinosaur DNA to recreate an island full of dinosaurs they plan to use as an amusement park.
They then invite a group of scientists to explore the island. When someone tries to steal the scientific data, they unleash the dinosaurs, and everyone on the island ends up in a fight for their lives.
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
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.
Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg teamed up for the fourth time for the action movie Mile 22.
This film has Wahlberg star as James Silva, a man who leads a deniable strike team called Overwatch. The movie has Silva and his team sent in to escort an Indocarr police officer out of the country in exchange for information he can provide the United States.
It is a 22-mile trip from his pickup location to the airplane waiting for him.
Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead), Ronda Rousey, and John Malkovich co-star, while Iko Uwais received acclaim for his performance.
Casino Royale (2006)
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.
Pineapple Express (2008)
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 visits 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, including a hilarious hitman in Danny McBride.
Mad Max (1979)
Mad Max is the movie that introduced Mel Gibson to the world.
For Mad Max: Fury Road fans, 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 Australian highway patrol’s best trackers 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)
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 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).
6 Underground (2019)
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.
Spencer Confidential (2020)
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.
Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
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 in 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)
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 Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comics.
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.
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