With 139 million subscribers across the globe, Netflix keeps growing by making sure it offers something for everyone. In addition to a varied selection of horror, sci-fi, documentaries, and dramas, the service also curates a solid library of action films. If you’re in the mood for some kinetic thrills, check out 10 of the best action movies you can stream right now.
1. The River Wild (1994)
Yes, Netflix has a category for "nightmare vacation" movies. And yes, this one qualifies. Meryl Streep stars as a strong-willed white water rafter who crosses paths with a criminal gang led by Kevin Bacon during a family excursion. Steep is predictably excellent, and so are the rafting scenes, a white-knuckle experience that should leave you grateful for solid ground.
2. Triple Frontier (2019)
A tight-knit squad of ex-military operatives decide to round up their own pension plan and steal the cash of a drug lord hiding out in South America. The heist puts the soldiers (Ben Affleck, Pedro Pascal, and Oscar Issac among them) into convoluted territory, both literally and morally.
A decade after he revolutionized independent filmmaking with Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino filmed a two-part homage to the kung-fu genre with Kill Bill. Martial arts and weapons-equipped Bride (Uma Thurman) pursues her mentor, Bill (David Carradine), after his betrayal left her comatose on her wedding day. Swords cross, enemies collide, and Thurman earns her stripes in the yellow tracksuit made famous by Bruce Lee.
4. Wheelman (2017)
Frank Grillo stars in this claustrophobic action-thriller about a getaway driver who leaves the dirty work to the criminals who retain his services. When things go awry during a bank heist and a mysterious caller begins ordering him to reroute the money, Grillo is left to navigate the streets—and an increasingly dangerous double-cross—by himself.
All four Indiana Jones films are on Netflix, but the first still stands its ground as the best in the series and one of the finest action movies ever made. Indy (Harrison Ford) pursues the Lost Ark of the Covenant while evading and diverting Nazis chasing the power the Ark is believed to contain.
6. The Legend of Drunken Master (1994)
Purists may scoff at the dubbed and edited American version of this Hong Kong martial arts classic, but there’s no diluting the masterful choreography of Jackie Chan. The actor plays to his strengths in both comedy and action as a martial artist who becomes more proficient the more he drinks. If you’ve ever wondered why fans compare Chan to silent-film stars like Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, this film provides all the explanation you need.
7. The Terminator (1984)
Arnold Schwarzenegger has made good on his promise to come back in three—soon to be four—sequels and a theme park attraction. But the original The Terminator didn’t have any ambition to become a franchise. It’s a tight, lean thriller about a cyborg (Schwarzenegger) traveling through time to kill the mother of the man who will lead the resistance against the machines.
8. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Netflix will host a handful of Marvel Studios movies before their inevitable movie to the upcoming Disney + streaming service. Until then, the standout on Netflix remains Thor: Ragnarok, a hybrid comedy-action movie that plays Thor's serious mythology for laughs. It's like a heavy metal album cover come to life, and we meant that in the best possible way.
9. The Night Comes for Us (2018)
Fans of The Raid series will find a similar approach in this hyperactive Indonesian action film about an assassin who has to navigate a small army of Triad killers in order to protect a young girl. The violence approaches horror movie letters of splatter, but if that’s to your taste, you’ll have a satisfying evening.
10. The Debt Collector (2018)
With screen senseis Van Damme and Seagal in the twilight of their careers, the martial arts leading man is on the wane. One of the few to keep the genre alive is Scott Adkins. Here, he's a martial arts instructor forced to take up duties as a bill collector for organized crime. The plot, however, is irrelevant. Watch it for Adkins and his go-for-broke fight scenes.