If you time things just right, you can set almost any milestone to Hans Gruber falling off of Nakatomi Plaza at the end of Die Hard. But that’s more of a Christmas tradition. When it comes to New Year’s Day, we prefer to kick off the incoming year with a bang by binge-watching a selection of great action movies.
All of our picks for the three great action movies to watch on New Year’s Day take place during New Year’s Eve. These films work well year-round, but there is something fun about watching holiday films on an actual holiday.
For more New Year’s Eve selections, check out 5 movies that are perfect to watch on New Year’s Eve, 3 great Netflix shows you need to watch on New Year’s Eve, 10 best Netflix movies to watch on New Year’s Eve, 3 great thrillers to watch on New Year’s Eve, 3 great Netflix horror movies to watch on New Year’s Eve, and 3 great sci-fi movies you need to watch on New Year’s Eve.
For New Year’s Day suggestions, try 3 great Hulu shows you need to watch on New Year’s Day and 3 great Prime Video movies to watch on New Year’s Day.
The cinema of the ’70s embraced epic disaster films, and few were better than The Poseidon Adventure. On New Year’s Eve, the luxury cruise ship Poseidon is rocked by an undersea earthquake that leaves the ship floating upside down in the water.
A cynical reverend, Frank Scott (Gene Hackman), convinces a handful of survivors that they are doomed if they go down further into the ship. Instead, Scott proposes that they travel up to the bottom of the capsized ship. Only a handful of guests heed Scott’s warning, including Detective Lieutenant Mike Rogo (Ernest Borgnine) and his wife, Linda (Stella Stevens), an elderly couple, Manny (Jack Albertson) and Belle Rosen (Shelley Winters), and more. However, the trip is more perilous than Scott realizes, and not everyone in his party will survive to see the new year.
Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson’s appearance in White Men Can’t Jump has largely overshadowed their action team-up, Money Train. But this is definitely worth a look on New Year’s Eve, and one of the movie’s signature sequences is set on that night.
Snipes and Harrelson portray foster brothers John and Charlie Robinson, who work as transit cops for the New York subway, respectively. Because Charlie is deeply in debt to a local crime boss, he floats the idea that he and John should rob the subway’s money train on New Year’s. Charlie’s ambitions are threatened when another transit cop, Grace Santiago (Jennifer Lopez), comes between them. As the brothers’ relationship falls apart, they must also track down a serial killer called The Torch (Chris Cooper).
Better Luck Tomorrow is unofficially a part of the Fast and Furious franchise through director Justin Lin and Sung Kang, who originated his role as Han Lue before appearing in Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and additional sequels. There’s not as much action in this movie compared to the Fast and Furious flicks, but it does have a New Year’s Eve connection as the backdrop to a robbery gone wrong.
The film stars Parry Shen as Ben Manibag, Jason Tobin as Virgil Hu, and Roger Fan as Daric Loo. Together with Han, these overachievers go from honor roll students to petty criminals and minor-league drug dealers. But when Ben’s romantic rival, Steve Choe (John Cho), approaches them with a potential score, the group makes a very serious error that irrevocably changes their lives.
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