The 25 best action movies on Netflix in April 2023


Scenes from 'Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,

Looking to fuel up your Netflix queue with some high-octane action?

Whether you're a fan of wild Westerns, high-swinging superheroes, cunning detectives, ravenous zombies, or hard-core assassins, Netflix has a movie pitch-perfect for every kind of adrenaline seeker. But scrolling through their app can be a chore when all you want to do is Netflix and chill. So, we've taken out the hard step, highlighting the most stunt-stuffed, battle-powered, high-speed films this streamer has to offer.

Here are the 25 best action movies on Netflix, streaming right now.

25. Zombieland

Woody Harrelson takes a swing — of his bat — to save Jesse Eisenberg in
Credit: Pariah/Kobal/Shutterstock

Horror-comedy got a double-tap of greatness with this 2009 romp, which imagines the zombie apocalypse as an amusement park packed with action, gore, and punchlines galore. Jesse Eisenberg stars as the meek yet wise Columbus, whose rules to survival have kept him safe since outbreak day went from potential hook-up to self-defensive homicide. Joining him on a rowdy road trip through a ravaged USA are hard-hitting Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), sassy Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), and snarling but scorching hot Wichita (Emma Stone). Can love and friendship blossom in this hopeless place? Does Bill Murray pop up for a kooky cameo? Find out by hitting play. —Kristy Puchko, Film Editor

How to watch: Zombieland is streaming on Netflix, starting April 1.

24. How to Train Your Dragon

Vikings! Dragons! Epic battles! How to Train Your Dragon has it all. This animated fantasy from DreamWorks is a high-flying delight, featuring exceptional animation that will transport you to the village of Berk and the starry skies above. Berk is at war with the dragons who constantly attack them, making killing a dragon a rite of passage for any Berk resident. However, for Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel), things are a little more complicated than that. He meets a Night Terror dragon named Toothless and develops a real bond with him, learning that dragons may not be as deadly as they appear. Will Hiccup be able to change years of brutal tradition? You'll have to ride along with him and Toothless in order to find out.*—Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: How to Train Your Dragon is streaming on Netflix, starting April 1.

23. The Bourne Identity

Breaking from the James Bond mold, this American-in-chaos thriller stars Matt Damon as an assassin with amnesia. With no memory of who he is but the muscle memory of an action hero, Jason Bourne must dodge bullets and enemies to rediscover himself. Along the way, he depends on a spunky stranger (Franka Potente), sparking a steamy romance that leads to one of the hottest haircuts ever captured on film. (Matt Damon — hot bod barber!) Director Doug Liman brings a unique brand of action to this nail-biter, unfurling fight scenes fast and furious, while his by-the-skin-of-their-teeth escape scenes will give you goosebumps. Robert Ludlum's Bourne novels inspired a string of exciting Bourne films. But this one remains the best, most thrilling of the bunch.* —K.P.

How to watch: The Bourne Identity is streaming on Netflix, starting April 1.

22. Spider-Man

The upside down kiss from
Credit: Moviestore/Shutterstock

I can't tell you how many times I watched my worn-out DVD of the first chapter in Sam Raimi's '00s Spider-Man trilogy, but suffice it to say, I can't remember many other 2002 films. Spider-Man introduces a perfectly earnest Tobey Maguire as trembling genius teen Peter Parker. He's pining away for his neighbor Mary Jane Watson (a superbly savvy Kirsten Dunst) and grieving while also developing superpowers from a fateful super spider bite. Meanwhile, he's fanning out over his best friend's dad, industrialist Norman Osborn (the exquisitely evil Willem Dafoe); little does Peter know his idol is also the villainous Green Goblin, who will soon be throwing Spidey around in many a nail-biting, cross-city battle.

We've moved through two other Spider-Men since Maguire's run, but Raimi's film wove unforgettable scenes into cinematic history — that upside-down rain kiss can't be beaten. In fact, the film has such iconic action shots in it that Spider-Man: No Way Home director Jon Watts included several in the now-infamous meet-up scene — watching Maguire dodge those Razor Bat pumpkins in 2002 and 2021 is sheer glee for fans. —Shannon Connellan, UK Editor

How to watch: Spider-Man is streaming on Netflix, starting April 1.

21. 21 Jump Street

It seemed highly unlikely that anyone could update a ludicrous TV show where grown-ass adult cops fight crime in high schools into anything resembling a good movie. Yet, somehow Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs helmers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's live-action debut was equal parts hilarious, smart, bro-ishly sweet (as all Channing Tatum flicks should be), and packed full of action.

With a goofily propulsive script by co-star Jonah Hill — back when he was still getting typecast as that Superbad dork — and Michael Bacall, and strong supporting performances by Dave Franco, Rob Riggle, Brie Larson, Holly Robinson Peete, and yes, Ice Cube, 21 Jump Street had its very own mid-aughts moment worth revisiting. And keep your eyes peeled for a now-controversial cameo. —Jenni Miller, Freelance Contributor

How to watch: 21 Jump Street is now streaming on Netflix.

20. Inception

Joseph Gordon-Levitt dancing down a spinning hallway in
Credit: Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock

Writer/director Christopher Nolan has elevated the action genre with sophisticated and spectacular films like Tenet and his Dark Knight trilogy. However, his most inventive action movie (so far) has been the reality-bending heist flick Inception. Suited up and set to stun, Leonardo DiCaprio heads a crew of specially trained thieves who scheme to commit corporate sabotage through a consciousness-invading technology. Simply put, they're going to break into the dreams of a powerful heir to bend him to their will. That is, if the dream worlds around them don't kill them first. Within this premise, Nolan created a metropolis that can fold into itself; a hotel that tumbles like a slinky; dark twists; tricky totems; and a finale that still has tongues wagging. Bringing bravado alongside DiCaprio is an all-star cast that includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Elliot Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Marion Cotillard, and Cillian Murphy.* —K.P.

How to watch: Inception is streaming on Netflix, starting April 1.

19. The Quick and the Dead

Sam Raimi is best known for stomach-churning horror (Evil Dead, Drag Me to Hell) or larger-than-life superhero adventures (The OG Spider-Man trilogy, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness). But between these phases of a funky filmography, the cult-adored director tried his hand at a Western with The Quick and the Dead. And it's a weird but wonderful watch.

Sharon Stone stars as a hardened wanderer known as "The Lady" who blows into the Old West town of Redemption with a dark secret and a snarl for fools. There, a fast-draw tournament spills blood and drama in the main thoroughfare, all under the piercing stare of tyrant John Herod (Gene Hackman). Rolling through like furious tumbleweeds are a cast of colorful characters, from young guns to battered pacifists to surly straight shooters, played by the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Keith David, Lance Henriksen, Tobin Bell, and Gary Sinise. If that cast list alone doesn't have you adding this one to your queue, then we're very different people, pardner. But maybe the promise of a string of suspenseful shoot outs will win you over? —K.P.

How to watch: The Quick and the Dead is now streaming on Netflix.

18. Bleach

If you like your monsters gigantic and your fight scenes packed with hectic swordplay, Shinsuke Sato's Bleach — which is based on Tite Kubo's manga series — may be the one for you.

The story pulls back the curtain on an invisible war being played out between "reapers" (spirits responsible for guiding departed souls to the afterlife) and "hollows" (monstrous creatures hell-bent on consuming the souls of the innocent). At the center of all this is high school student Ichigo Kurosaki (Sôta Fukushi), who gets caught up in the middle of the battle after a chance meeting with the mysterious Rukia (Hana Sugisaki). This movie is worth checking out for the sword-fighting sequences alone — the one at the film's conclusion is awesome — and the creepy mask-wearing hollows, which really are the stuff of nightmares.*Sam Haysom, Deputy UK Editor

Where to watch: Bleach is currently streaming on Netflix.

17. RRR

You've never seen an action movie quite as bombastic or as bromantic as RRR. Director S.S. Rajamouli draws loosely from history to tell the story of Indian freedom fighters Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (N. T. Rama Rao Jr.). Over the film's three-hour runtime, the two unwittingly face off in the search for a kidnapped girl, become best of friends, and square off against villainous English colonizers.

Any of RRR's action sequences would be the pinnacle of a lesser action movie, but the film seems determined to outdo itself with show-stopper after show-stopper. Take when Raju faces down hundreds of protesters and wins, or when Bheem fights a tiger bare-handed. Would you believe me if I told you those happen within the first 20 minutes? The action — and the movie — only get more awesome from there. — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter

Where to watch: RRR is currently streaming on Netflix.

16. The Harder They Fall

Regina King in
Credit: David Lee/Netflix

Put 'em up, as this is hands down one of the best action movies in the Wild West.

Directed by Jeymes Samuel, The Harder They Fall defiantly redefines the predominantly white Western, boasting an incredible cast of Black stars: Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Regina King, Zazie Beetz, LaKeith Stanfield, and Delroy Lindo. A tale of heroes and villains, the film follows Nat Love (Majors) on his quest for revenge against the formidable Rufus Buck (Elba). But he'll have to make his gunslinging way through "Treacherous" Trudy Smith (Regina King) and Cherokee Bill (Stanfield) first. Even before the opening credits roll, you'll fall hard for this one. —S.C.

How to watch: The Harder They Fall is now streaming on Netflix.

15. Bad Boys

No list of excellent action movies is complete without something from the ka-boom master, Michael Bay. Among his most beloved blockbusters is this buddy-cop spectacular. Fronted by Martin Lawerence and Will Smith, Bad Boys follows two Miami detectives looking to close the case of $100 million in stolen heroin, a horrid homicide, and a terrified witness wanted by the mafia. There will be roaring gunfire, bombastic explosions, biting banter, dazzling star power, and cinematography that treats action heroes like monuments of awe-inspiring masculinity. And if that's not enough for you, make it a double feature with Bad Boys II. —K.P.

How to watch: Bad Boys is now streaming on Netflix.

14. Enola Holmes

Millie Bobby Brown in
Credit: Netflix

Sherlock Holmes's much cooler little sister is an overlooked young action hero in Enola Holmes. Based on author Nancy Springer's popular book series The Enola Holmes Mysteries, the film puts the great detective's savvy 16-year-old sibling on the case, played with energetic spoonfuls of gumption by Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown. She's set to solve the greatest mystery of her young life: to find her missing mother (Helena Bonham-Carter) through a series of deliberately cryptic clues — all while breaking the fourth wall and confiding in the audience, thanks to Fleabag director Harry Bradbeer and His Dark Materials' Jack Thorne's sharp screenplay.

Stepping into the footsteps of her famous brother Sherlock (Henry Cavill) and avoiding those of her stuffier misogynist brother Mycroft (Sam Claflin), Enola's case leads her on a wild ride through Victorian-era England, with more than a few fistfights and butts to kick along the way. And lucky for you, the sequel is even better. —S.C.

How to watch: Enola Holmes is now streaming on Netflix.

13. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Ramona Flowers in
Credit: Big Talk Productions/Kobal/Shutterstock

First off, Scott Pilgrim's friends are right to give him shit for dating a high schooler, even if they haven't even held hands. He is 23 and she is 17, and much too cool for him anyway. With that out of the way, Edgar Wright's whip-smart adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malley's beloved graphic novels is riotous fun, and makes a freezing winter in Toronto's indie rock slacker scene come colourfully alive.

It's packed right to the margins with stars — from a pre-Marvel Chris Evans and Brie Larson, to an early-career Aubrey Plaza at her glorious meanest and a note-perfect Kieran Culkin performance that now reads as a proto-Roman Roy — soundtracked by original songs from Beck and other indie favourites, and punctuated by a series of over-the-top fights that put your favorite arcade games to shame. It's endlessly rewatchable, quotable, and loveable. —Caitlin Welsh, Australia Editor

How to watch: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is now streaming on Netflix.

12. Road House

"Pain don't hurt." A beautifully meaningless Zen koan from the thinking man's action hero, known only as Dalton (Patrick Swayze). A legendary "cooler" — a head bouncer who tells his staff "be nice until it's time to not be nice" — Dalton's also a philosophy major who does Tai Chi in white jeans at sunrise, is as gentlemanly as he is taciturn, and also once ripped a man's throat out with his bare hands. (In self defense, of course.)

A silly little B-movie with the soul of a Western, anchored by Swayze's iron-fist-in-velvet-glove gravitas, the supporting cast includes the legendary Ben Gazzara, Kelly Lynch as the luminous, no-BS local doctor and love interest, and Sam Elliott as Dalton's mentor Garrett, who could kill a man with the pure force of his sexual charisma and beautiful hair but just uses his fists instead. The killer live blues band only adds to the atmosphere. Very violent, exquisitely horny, and somehow both incredibly '80s and weirdly timeless. —C.W.

How to watch: Road House is now streaming on Netflix.

11. Hardcore Henry

Want a turn-your-brain-off-and-enjoy movie? Awesome. Then you'll love every pulse-pounding moment of writer/director Ilya Naishuller's high-concept, balls-to-the-wall action epic.

The barely-there plotline of Hardcore Henry is that its titular rampager has lost his memory but knows he needs to rescue his beautiful wife (Haley Bennett) from a telekinetic warlord with evil plans. You know, that old chestnut. Sure, along they way he'll make plenty of enemies and an eccentric acquaintance in District 9's Sharlto Copley. But the real reason to hit play on this one is how it puts you in the front row of all its absolutely bonkers action. See, all of Hardcore Henry is shot in first person (shooter) perspective. So every blow, every gunshot, every impossible stunt makes you feel like you're in the driver's seat, even if you're just along for a truly wild ride. —K.P.

How to watch: Hardcore Henry is now streaming on Netflix.

10. Bullet Train

If you like your comedy with in-your-face action, you should race to check out this 2022 romp from Deadpool 2 director David Leitch. It's a high-octane film that asks the classic question: "What happens if you pile a bunch of assassins onto one bullet train through Japan?" The answer is delightfully daffy carnage.

Brad Pitt leads a star-studded cast as a merc who's lost his bloodlust. What's supposed to be a simple snatch-and-go job turns dangerously complicated as he crosses paths with a cavalcade of curious characters all rocking code names like Tangerine, Lemon, Wolf, The Prince, The Hornet, and White Death. Rapid-fire wit is wielded by the likes of Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael Shannon, Bad Bunny, Andrew Koji, Hiroyuki Sanada, Joey King, Zazie Beetz, and Sandra Bullock. Also wielded? Every form of weapon you can imagine, from guns and knives to poison, wild animals, and even a well-traveled water bottle. Sound cool? Catch it while you can. —K.P.

How to watch: Bullet Train is now streaming on Netflix.

9. The Nice Guys

If you're a sucker for black comedy, witty dialogue, '70s style action, and/or odd-couple comedic duos, it doesn't get much nicer than The Nice Guys.

Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling play a pair of washed-up private investigators who reluctantly join forces to search for a missing woman (Margaret Qualley) in 1977 Los Angeles — with occasional assistance from the former's clever teenage daughter, played by Angourie Rice. Though the mystery takes the gang to the farthest reaches of the city, burrowing deep into rabbit holes and brushing up against all manner of eccentrics, it's the unexpected chemistry between Crowe and Gosling that really keeps this engine running, and it'll leave you wishing for more where that came from.* — Angie Han, Deputy Entertainment Editor

How to watch: The Nice Guys is now streaming on Netflix.

8. Triple Frontier

Oscar Isaac and Ben Affleck in a scene from 'Triple Frontier'
Credit: Netflix

This Netflix adventure has Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, and Pedro Pascal coming together as a group of former Special Forces who plan an elaborate heist in South America. But after things get out of hand, their survival skills are put to the ultimate test.

Putting a talented cast in a tension-filled scenario, Triple Frontier is the type of gritty thriller that's hard to turn away from. —Brooke Bajgrowicz, Entertainment Fellow

How to watch: Triple Frontier is now streaming on Netflix.

7. Okja

Masked fighter in a scene from 'Okja'
Credit: Netflix

Blending drama with fantasy/adventure and weaving in a very real message about the horrors of the meat industry, Bong Joon-ho's Okja is a beautifully unique creature feature, striped with action.

The film follows Mina (Ahn Seo-hyun), the granddaughter of a farmer in South Korea who has spent the last 10 years rearing a genetically-modified super-pig called Okja as part of a breeding project spearheaded by a grim U.S. corporation. This movie is dark in places, magical in others, and poignant overall, asking us to stop and reflect on the dark side of an industry the majority of us are complicit in. Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal make for an entertaining pair of villains, too.* S.H.

How to watch: Okja is now streaming on Netflix.

6. Rush

There are plenty of good reasons to watch Rush, including the charismatic performances by Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl as rival Formula One drivers, the dramatic story beats pulled from actual history, and the fabulous sets and costumes steeped in ’70s style (especially everything Olivia Wilde's character wears). But the best reason of all is the racing scenes, which director Ron Howard imbues with such a propulsive thrill that you may find yourself making race car noises (vroom, vroom) for hours afterward, like a little kid tearing into a new box of Hot Wheels on Christmas morning. Uh, not that I’d know from personal experience or anything. —A.H.

How to watch: Rush is now streaming on Netflix.

5. Da 5 Bloods

Jonathan Majors and Delroy Lindo in 'Da 5 Bloods' from Spike Lee
Credit: Netflix

Spike Lee copters audiences back to the Vietnam War with Da 5 Bloods, a daring film that's part drama, part war movie, and part heist flick. Named for a squad of Black U.S. Army soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division, Lee's critically heralded 2020 joint follows this band of brothers through a treacherous war zone, then rediscovers them in a present where they're seeking to uncover the past — and a big payday.

Sequences of brutal battles, narrow escapes, and high-tension hijinks make Da 5 Bloods an enthralling watch. Though inspired by history, it's impossible to predict where Lee's story will lead. Our guides on this intense journey through time, loss, war, and brotherhood are Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr., and the late Chadwick Boseman. Together, they and Lee create an American war film that can't be missed. —K.P.

How to watch: Da 5 Bloods is now streaming on Netflix.

4. A Knight's Tale

Heath Ledger in 'A Knight's Tale.'
Credit: Moviestore/Shutterstock

Hot off the success of the contemporary Shakespearean adaptation 10 Things I Hate About You, Heath Ledger returned to the spotlight in another anachronistic mash-up of love and romance. And it had plenty of action to boot!

Born a humble thatcher's son, Will (Ledger) seems destined to live a life of poverty and no consequence. Well, that is until he masquerades as a knight with a little help from his friends (Alan Tudyk, Mark Addy, and Paul Bettany). Together, they build a legend of a champion, pitching Will into jousting competitions for money and love. Because of course amid scenes of horse-striding battle, there's also time for romance with a devastatingly chic princess (Shannyn Sossamon).

Written and directed by Brian Helgeland, A Knight's Tale blends a medieval fable with modern sensibilities, a rockin' soundtrack, and the vibes of a teen comedy with a rousing sports epic. It's an intoxicating blend that's sure to make your heart race and your belly rock with laughter. –K.P.

Where to watch: A Knight's Tale is streaming on Netflix.

3. Army of the Dead

A shot of the city at night in 'Army of the Dead'
Credit: Netflix

Sometimes all you want is to grab hold of that action-o-meter and crank the dial, hard, to a solid 11. Army of the Dead more than delivers on this front, opening with a musical montage of guns and exploding body parts — and it only gets gorier from there. Zack Snyder's story follows a band of mercenaries hired to steal $200 million from a casino in Las Vegas. The problem? Vegas has been invaded by zombies, the city is quarantined, and the military is planning to blow the entire thing up with a tactical nuclear strike. The sprawling cast includes Dave Bautista, Omari Hardwick, Hiroyuki Sanada, Garret Dillahunt, and Ana de la Reguera, as well as a digitally-inserted Tig Notaro.

What follows is a gloriously silly romp that refuses to take itself too seriously, propelling us through a series of explosions and bullets while the story twists and turns through a 148-minute runtime that feels oh, so much shorter. —S.H.

How to watch: Army of the Dead is now streaming on Netflix.

2. Ip Man

Ip Man is an exciting Hong Kong martial arts biopic about the extraordinary life of the Wing Chun grandmaster who was Bruce Lee's martial arts teacher. The film tracks Ip Man's journey from the Southern Chinese village where he was well known as a skilled martial artist, to his family's displacement during the Japanese occupation of the Second Sino-Japanese War, to his eventual rise as a fighter, and his establishment of a school in Hong Kong.

Starring the skillful Donnie Yen, Ip Man doesn't skimp on character development; it's an electrifying rumination on philosophy, power, and honor in addition to its stunning action. Ip Man is a deeply influential film in the martial arts genre and, to everyone’s delight, has inspired three equally stirring sequels.*Kristina Grosspietsch, Freelance Contributor

How to watch: Ip Man is now streaming on Netflix.

1. The Old Guard

Charlize Theron and others in 'The Old Guard'
Credit: Netflix

Folks looking for that summer blockbuster thrill, search no further than The Old Guard. Based on the superhero comic books of the same name, director Gina Prince-Bythewood's movie sucks viewers into a slick, well-crafted world of action and narrative that isn't particularly unique but delivers its formulaic pieces with enough precision to keep you invested.

Charlize Theron crushes as the ass-kicking leader of an immortal warrior fight crew, with performances by Harry Melling, Marwan Kenzari, KiKi Layne, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Veronica Ngo, Matthias Schoenaerts, and more.* —Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter 

How to watch: The Old Guard is now streaming on Netflix.

Asterisks (*) indicate the entry comes from a previous Mashable list.

UPDATE: Mar. 24, 2023, 4:32 a.m. EDT This post has been updated to reflect the current selection on Netflix.

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