The best action movies on Netflix right now (October 2018)

Get your pulse racing with some of the best action movies on Netflix right now

best action movies on netflix slow west head

Netflix isn’t just a great place to find high-quality TV shows like Mindhunter, Stranger Things, and Jessica Jones. The popular streaming service also has a treasure trove of excellent and underrated films, some of which have flown under the radar in recent years. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the action-adventure category, a genre built on hair-raising explosions and the harrowing exploits of a select few.

Whether you prefer the gritty films of the ’80s or the charm of modern superhero films, the premium streaming service has it all. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of action films on Netflix you may want to avoid — including a shocking number of late-period Steven Seagal films — so we’ve curated a list of the best action movies currently on Netflix, in addition to those outlined in our guide to the best movies on Netflix.

‘The Castle of Cagliostro’

Years before founding Studio Ghibli, animation legend Hayao Miyazaki made his feature debut with The Castle of Cagliostro, a film in the Lupin III franchise. For those not familiar with the franchise, The Castle of Cagliostro follows the thief Arsène Lupin III, grandson of Maurice Leblanc’s iconic gentleman thief. The film opens as Lupin and his partner, Jigen, rob a casino, getting away only to discover that the cash they stole is counterfeit. They trace the counterfeit money to the country of Cagliostro, a country whose ruler, Count Cagliostro, is planning to marry Princess Clarisse, giving him total control over the country and its hidden treasure. The Castle of Cagliostro gallops from scene to scene, with daring set pieces and smooth animation. Although hardcore Lupin fans may dislike Miyazaki’s lighter, more heroic interpretation of the character, viewers open to Miyazaki’s vision will find this a fun adventure.

Watch now

‘Heat’

Michael Mann’s 1995 heist film Heat was billed as a showdown between two legendary actors — Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, who both appeared in The Godfather II, though never on screen together — and while the novelty of that may no longer hold up today, Heat remains a superb action movie. The film follows two men playing a game of cat-and-mouse: Neil McCauley (De Niro) is a professional thief who tries never to get attached to anyone or anything, and Lt. Vincent Hanna is a detective who chases criminals with a zealous obsession, to the point that it strains his marriage. As McCauley and his crew gear up for one last job, Hanna will stop at nothing to bring them down. Heat is a superb action film, with dazzling heists and gunfights, but the real meat of the film is in the quieter moments, where two men who live only for the thrill of their jobs wonder where it all ends.

Watch now

‘Battle Royale’

Long before The Hunger Games, the Japanese film Battle Royale followed a group of teens forced to kill each other to satisfy the whims of the government. The movie takes place in a dystopian Japan; in order to crack down on the youth, the government rounds up a class of high schoolers each year, taking them to a remote island and giving them supplies and weapons. Their former teacher informs them that only the last student alive will leave the island. While some students band together for support, others revel in the carnage. Battle Royale is a skillfully made action film, and even if some of the movie’s cultural commentary is lost in translation, viewers of any nation should be able to appreciate the tension and mayhem.

Watch now

‘Kill Bill: Volume 1’ and ‘Kill Bill: Volume 2’

Quentin Tarantino has always been a master of pastiche and his fourth film, Kill Bill (broken up into two parts), shows off the director’s passion for old-school grindhouse cinema. The film follows a woman known as The Bride (Uma Thurman), a former assassin who awakens from a coma. Years earlier, her former comrades, the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, and her boss, Bill (David Carradine), shot her in the head at her wedding rehearsal. Now she’s out for revenge, traveling the world to hunt her former comrades in what she describes as a “roaring rampage of revenge,” a name the film lives up to. These are violent films, with slick fight choreography and barrels of gore, as Tarantino draws on martial arts films, Westerns, and more.

Watch now (Volume 1) Watch now (Volume 2)

‘Slow West’

The first thing viewers may notice about John Maclean’s Slow West is just how bright it is. The greens of the trees, the vast blue of the Western sky, everything pops with such striking color. Maclean has captured the raw beauty of the Old West, but the bright palette doesn’t mean this is a happy film. As Jay Cavendish (Kodi Smit-McPhee) leads his horse through a burned-down village, the movie reminds viewers that this was a land where death was never far from your trail. Jay is searching for a young woman he loved back in Scotland, who fled with her father to America after an unfortunate incident. Following a run-in with some soldiers, Jay finds help in the form of a bounty hunter, Silas Selleck (Michael Fassbender), who offers to be his bodyguard. Silas isn’t being honest with the naive Jay, however, and as they venture west, their interests, and those of a rival gang of bounty hunters, are at odds.

Watch now

‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’

When Scott (Michael Cera) falls for the new girl in town, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), he realizes that she has a bit of baggage. That baggage being seven ex-boyfriends, whom he must literally battle to the death in order to win her heart. Much like the graphic novel series on which it is based, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is part video game, part love story — an inventive pairing that should sit well with anyone who grew up amid the SNES craze of the early-’90s. The splashy visuals, deadpan dialogue, and numerous speech bubbles just add to the film’s comedic charm.

Available September 16

‘Trollhunter’

A found-footage movie that doesn’t rely on the same old, cliché scares, Trollhunter follows a trio of young filmmakers as they seek out an alleged poacher. When they meet their subject, Hans (Otto Jespersen), he claims that he is not hunting bears as they thought, but trolls. The three accompany Hans on one of his hunts, and learn, to their fascination and horror, that trolls are real and very dangerous. Trollhunter is a brisk film, with striking creature designs that draw on Scandinavian folklore.

Watch now

‘Face/Off’

A polarizing film in our office, as well as among many film buffs, John Woo’s 1997 sci-fi thriller Face/Off is definitely worth watching if you haven’t seen it before. FBI Agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) must assume the physical appearance of terrorist Caster Troy (Nicholas Cage) to gather information needed to disarm a bomb hidden somewhere in Los Angeles. When Troy awakens from a coma and realizes Archer has literally taken his face, he forces the doctor who performed the original surgery to transplant Archer’s face onto his own. Full of gravity-defying action sequences and ridiculous plot twists, Face/Off is an entertaining film if you can look past the often over-the-top acting.

Watch Now

‘National Treasure’

Nicolas Cage has been languishing so long in the dungeons of bad B-movies that it’s easy to forget he was once one of Hollywood’s most dynamic leading men, headlining a variety of wild, big-budget action films like 2004’s National Treasure. The film starts Cage as Benjamin Franklin Gates, a historian who, hailing from the Indiana Jones school of academia, moonlights as a treasure hunter. Ever since he was a kid, Gates has sought one treasure above all others: A mythical object found by the Knights Templar and passed down through the ages to America’s Founding Fathers, who, it turns out, hid clues to its location in the Declaration of Independence. When Gates’ former comrade, the nefarious, British treasure hunter Ian Howe (Sean Bean), attempts to steal the Declaration, Ben decides to steal it first. National Treasure is a delightful romp, as Gates and his companions traverse the world in search of more clues and hidden secrets. If you’re seeking an adventure film about secret societies and historical conspiracies, this will do nicely.

Watch Now

Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (October 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

Stream till you scream with the best scary movies on Netflix, Hulu, and more

Need some ghoulish entertainment to get in the Halloween spirit? Check out some of the best horror movies streaming now. Whether you like creepy atmosphere or bloody jump scares, you'll find something to spook you.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in October, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Black Panther’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix in October, from 'Mindhunter’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this summer with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Castle Rock'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we've put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

‘Venom’ devours the box office competition with monstrous second weekend

Sony Pictures anti-superhero movie Venom won the weekend box office for the second straight week, beating musical drama A Star is Born, as well as three new releases that made it into the weekend's top ten movies.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: ‘Glass,’ ‘Mortal Engines,’ ‘Pet Sematary’ and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. To simplify things, we round up the best ones each week. On tap this week: New trailers for Pet Sematary, Glass, Mortal Engines, and other upcoming films.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: The Haunting of Hill House season 1, The Romanoffs, and more.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.
Home Theater

Dish Network or DirecTV: Which is the better choice for you?

So, you’ve chosen to go with a satellite television provider. Check out our quick rundown of what both Dish Network and DirecTV offer in terms of content, hardware, and pricing, and why you might choose them over streaming services.
Movies & TV

New 'Mandalorian' photo links series to Boba Fett and 'Star Wars Holiday Special'

Jon Favreau's live-action Star Wars series planned for Disney's streaming video service will be titled The Mandalorian. The series will be one of the most expensive television shows ever made. Here's everything we know about it so far.
Movies & TV

'Avengers 4' directors signal the end of reshoots with mysterious photo

The events of Avengers: Infinity War changed the Marvel Cinematic Universe in some big ways and left fans wondering how its heroes can possibly recover. Here's everything we know about Avengers 4, the sequel to Infinity War.