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3 great action movies to watch on Christmas Day

There are far more Christmas romances, comedies, and dramas than Christmas action movies. But it’s a subgenre that’s only gotten more popular since Die Hard lit the way back in 1988. This year, if you and your family are tired of watching A Christmas Story and It’s a Wonderful Life for the thousandth time, then we’ve got a few recommendations for some appropriately Christmassy action films.

It would be too easy to pick Die Hard, or even the original Lethal Weapon, for this list. So instead, we’re going with a superhero flick, a graphic novel adaptation, and a film that may be one of the most violent Christmas movies ever made. These are the three great action movies to watch on Christmas Day.

Need more holiday viewing suggestions? Then please check out the best Christmas movies to stream right now, the best Christmas movies on Netflix, the best Christmas movies on Hulu, the best Christmas movies on Max, the best Christmas movies on Disney+, the best Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel, 7 great Christmas movies you can watch for free, and the 7 best funny Christmas movies you should watch this season.

Iron Man 3 (2013)

The Iron Man armor and Tony Stark share a couch in Iron Man 3.
Marvel Studios

We said we wouldn’t pick Lethal Weapon, but we never said we wouldn’t pick a Shane Black film! And Iron Man 3 just wouldn’t be a Shane Black film if it wasn’t set during Christmastime. This is unique among the Marvel movies because Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) actually has PTSD after his ordeal in space during The Avengers. That means Tony is prone to anxiety and panic attacks at inopportune times.

When Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is nearly killed in a terrorist attack, Tony calls out the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) on TV and challenges him. This backfires on Tony when the Mandarin’s forces destroy his home and leave him on the run with a suit of armor that’s no longer working.  You may also notice that a very young Jenna Ortega has a small role in this film as the vice president’s daughter. Somehow, we suspect that it won’t be her last Marvel movie.

Watch Iron Man 3 on Disney+.

Snowpiercer (2013)

Chris Evans and Ko Asung in Snowpiercer.
CJ Entertainment

There’s a lot of snow in Snowpiercer, but this is no holiday flick. Parasite director Bong Joon-ho helmed this adaptation of the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige. In the near future, an attempt to fix global warming went horribly wrong. Now, the planet is stuck in a new ice age, and the last survivors of humanity are trapped together on a perpetually moving train known as Snowpiercer.

Even at the end of the world, the rich people devour resourses and live in luxury while the poor people starve in the back cars of the train. Curtis Everett (Chris Evans) has had enough of that, which is why he leads a revolution alongside Namgoong Minsoo (Song Kang-ho), and Minsoo’s daughter, Namgoong Yona (Ko Asung). However, Minister Mason (Asteroid City‘s Tilda Swinton) and the others in charge of the train won’t give up their power without a vicious fight.

Watch Snowpiercer on Netflix.

Violent Night (2022)

David Harbour is Santa Claus in Violent Night.
Universal Pictures

Trust us, you don’t want to be on this Santa’s naughty list in Violent Night. Stranger Things‘ David Harbour stars as a very jaded Santa Claus who was once a Viking warrior. In the present, Santa is over Christmas and ready to leave it behind for good after making one last holiday trip. But before Santa can truly contemplate retirement, he finds himself trapped at the Lightstone mansion when Scrooge (John Leguizamo) and his mercenaries take the family hostage.

Santa is initially just as afraid as the Lightstones are, but he also feels the faith that young Trudy Lightstone (Leah Brady) has in both Christmas and himself. That’s why Santa finds it within himself to transform his Christmas presents into weapons of warin an attempt to save the Lightstones. By the time that Santa is finished with these crooks, you may never look at candy canes the same way again.

Watch Violent Night on Prime Video.

Editors' Recommendations

Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
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