The 10 best action films on Netflix right now
(Credit: Lionsgate)
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The 10 best action films on Netflix right now

You are a filmmaker. How might you start your movie? With an exciting bit of action that grabs the viewer’s interest? Or with something more slowly paced that gradually builds up involvement?

Well, maybe if it were real-life, we’d have gone with the latter. However, when we’re dealing with the movies, we’d love to get into the action of things right away. Getting stuck into the business means an intense start; giving you the teaser for all the excitement that is to come. It builds up an expectation from the audience for something to happen later, that would probably have us gasping for breath, or perhaps like in Safdie’s Uncut Gems; build-up for a blistering nerve-wracking (and totally anxiety-inducing) experience.

While the genre of action might not get the critical love it deserves, there’s nothing quite like a good old action movie. Mind-boggling stunts, fascinating characters, high-speed car chases, ammunition, race against time for the greater good: Action films have all the requirements to make for a truly entertaining experience. Since there isn’t much is happening right now, why not look around for the best action flicks on Netflix and stream it?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered here. We took upon it ourselves and looked through the humongous stacks of films on Netflix to get the best entertaining action movies out there. No more waiting; fasten your belts and enjoy the ride!

Ten best action films on Netflix:

10. Non-Stop (Jaume Collet-Serra – 2014)

The go-to man when it comes to action flicks, Liam Neeson plays Bill Marks, a Federal Air Marshal who must find a killer on an international flight after receiving texts saying someone on board will be executed every 20 minutes until financial demands are met. Also starring Julianne Moore and Michelle Dockery, Non-Stop marked the second collaboration between Jaume Collet-Serra and Liam Neeson after Unknown.

On the possibility of a sequel taking place, producer Joel Silver stated that it will not be happening on a plane again. “I need to think of a way to put them in an equal situation. But when I make a sequel I like to replicate the experience, not replicate the movie. I’m not going to put them on a plane again, of course. He has a touch of Sherlock Holmes in that he has to figure out what’s going on and then he has to figure out how to solve it. I think that character’s a great character and we’ll try to figure something else to do.”

9. Body of Lies (Ridley Scott – 2008)

Directed and produced by the great Ridley Scott, Body of Lies stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, and Mark Strong in the lead roles. Set in the Middle East, it follows the attempts of the CIA and Jordanian Intelligence to catch “al-Saleem”, a terrorist.

The screenplay, based on the novel of the same name by David Ignatius, examines contemporary tension between Western and Arab societies, and the comparative effectiveness of technological and human counter-intelligence methods.

Scott’s direction and visual style were praised by critics, but they criticised his formulaic handling of the story and use of conventions from the spy genre, such as surveillance shots from high-altitude spy planes. Scott explained the theme: “It’s about Islam, where we are and where we’re not, and it’s a very interesting, proactive, internalised view of that whole subject.”

8. The Italian Job (F. Gary Fray – 2003)

A fast-paced heist-caper, The Italian Job stars an ensemble cast including Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, Jason Statham, Seth Green, Mos Def and Donald Sutherland. An American remake of the 1969 British film, the plot follows a motley crew of thieves who plan to steal gold from a former associate who double-crossed them.

Despite the shared title, the plot and characters of this film differ from those of its source material; Gray described the film as “a homage to the original.” As for the all-important action sequences, Gray wanted the film to be as realistic as possible; accordingly, the actors did most of their own stunts, and computer-generated imagery was used very sparingly.

7. Beverly Hills Cop (Martin Brest – 1984)

The first iteration in the Beverly Hills Cop series starred Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley, a street-smart Detroit cop who visits Beverly Hills, California to solve the murder of his best friend. Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Ronny Cox, Lisa Eilbacher, Steven Berkoff and Jonathan Banks all appear in supporting roles.

An immediate blockbuster upon release, Beverly Hills Cop shot Murphy to international stardom, and won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Motion Picture and was nominated for both the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1985.

6. Kick-Ass (Matthew Vaughn – 2010)

As the poster boy of the do-it-yourself superhero generation, Kick-Ass, in fact, did kick some spectacular ass. Ridiculously funny, entertaining, and bloody; Matthew Vaughn’s satire of the modern superhero is the story of every other comic-devouring teenager out there.

Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), sets out to become a real-life crime-fighter, rechristening himself the titular ‘Kick-Ass’. He soon finds himself caught up in an even bigger fight when he meets the equally unique-named ‘real’ superheroes Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and his eleven-year-old daughter (Chloë Grace Moretz) Hit-Girl, who team up together in their quest to bring down the crime boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) and his son Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).

Hard-boiled, littered with profanity, Kick-Ass reached near-Tarantinian levels in terms of cinematic style: mixing laugh-out-loud moments, eccentric characters and meaningful violence with the remarkable craft.

5. Okja (Bong Joon-ho – 2017)

Bong Joon-ho’s Okja is about a young girl who raises a genetically modified super pig. An international co-production of South Korea and the United States, it stars an ensemble cast headed by South Korean child actress Ahn Seo-hyun, South Korean actors Byun Hee-bong, Yoon Je-moon, and Choi Woo-Shik, and Hollywood actors Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Steven Yeun, Lily Collins, Shirley Henderson, Daniel Henshall, Devon Bostick, Giancarlo Esposito, and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Director Bong Joon-ho visited a real Colorado slaughterhouse to prepare for the film’s own slaughterhouse sequence, an experience that converted Bong and producer Dooho Choi into temporary vegans. He has called Okja “a very shy and introverted animal. It’s a unique animal that we’ve not seen before.”

4. Kung Fu Panda ( Mark Osborne, John Stevenson – 2008)

One of the greatest animated movies of all-time, Kung Fu Panda tells the loving tale of a bumbling panda named Po, a kung fu enthusiast. When an evil kung fu warrior named Tai Lung is foretold to escape from prison, Po is unwittingly named the “Dragon Warrior”, who was destined to defeat him.

According to director John Stevenson, it was originally intended to be a parody of martial arts films, but he decided instead to make an action comedy wuxia film that incorporates the hero’s journey narrative archetype for the lead character.

A technological breakthrough during its time, the computer animation in the film was more complex than anything DreamWorks had done before.

Dan Wagner, the head of Character Animation has been quoted saying: “We’ve had some productions that were stressful, but this one ran very smoothly and DreamWorks is this production as a template on how they would like future productions to run. We lucked out, and there really was a sense of harmony in the animation. Even the production people. We all seemed like we were on the same page, believing in the film. That doesn’t happen very often. I tell animators, you will be working on dumpers for most of your career, but every once in a while you get a gem. Kung Fu Panda was a gem.”

3. John Wick (Chad Stahelski – 2014)

Commanding huge fandom lately, its story focuses on John Wick (Reeves) searching for the men who broke into his home, stole his vintage car and killed his puppy, which was the last gift to him from his recently deceased wife (Moynahan). 

Stahelski and Leitch’s approach to fight scenes drew upon their admiration for anime and martial arts films. The film used fight choreographers and gun-fu techniques from Hong Kong action cinema. The film also pays homage to works such as John Woo’s The Killer, Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Cercle Rouge and Le Samouraï,  John Boorman’s Point Blank, and the spaghetti western films.

The film was met with positive reviews, with critics labelling it as one of Reeves’ best performances and one of the best action films of 2014.

2. Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow – 2012)

Kathryn Bigelow’s 2012 American thriller dramatizes the nearly decade-long international manhunt for Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the September 11 attacks. This search leads to the discovery of his compound in Pakistan and the military raid that resulted in bin Laden’s death on May 2, 2011.

Jessica Chastain stars as Maya, a fictional CIA intelligence analyst, as the film received acclaim and appeared on 95 critics’ top ten lists of 2012. It was nominated in five categories at the 85th Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Chastain, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing, and won the award for Best Sound Editing, shared with Skyfall.

The depiction of so-called “enhanced interrogation” generated controversy, with some critics describing it as pro-torture propaganda, as the interrogations are shown producing reliably useful and accurate information. Acting CIA director Michael Morell felt the film created the false impression that torture was key to finding Bin Laden. Others described it as an anti-torture exposure of interrogation practices.

1. Blood Diamond (Edward Zwick – 2006)

Co-produced and directed by Edward Zwick and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly, and Djimon Hounsou, the title refers to blood diamonds, which are diamonds mined in war zones and sold to finance conflicts, and thereby profit warlords and diamond companies across the world.

Set during the Sierra Leone Civil War in 1991–2002, the film depicts a country torn apart by the struggle between government loyalists and insurgent forces. It also portrays many of the atrocities of that war, including the rebels’ amputation of people’s hands to discourage them from voting in upcoming elections.

The film received mixed reviews, with criticism focused on the film’s writing, but with the performances of DiCaprio and Hounsou receiving praise. However, the film was a box-office success, and received five Oscar nominations, including Best Actor for DiCaprio and Best Supporting Actor for Hounsou.

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Arkadeep Mitra

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