Explosions, drama, hand-to-hand combat, romance—the action movie has it all. Though rarely recognized by the Academy outside of awards for visual effects or sound design, action movies are always there to guarantee audiences a good time.
They may not always be cinematic triumphs, but you know what to expect with an action film and so rarely do they ever let you down. Outlandish adventures, daredevil stunts, and cheesy, righteous heroes—nothing draws audiences to the movie theaters like a good old fashioned blockbuster. (Seriously though: Fans were swinging fists at the ticket booth just to get a presale ticket to Spider-Man: No Way Home last year, and now it’s one the top ten highest-grossing films of all time.)
Netflix put a boatload of cash into The Gray Man—a Russo brothers-directed spy/action thriller starring Ryan Gosling vs. Chris Evans—and it seems to have paid off. Their standoff sends them all over the world and Gosling’s Fast & Furious-esque heroics put him as close to a superhero role as the actor has seen in his career yet.
Jurassic World: Dominion (In Theaters)
In this supposedly final installment to the Jurassic World trilogy, the dinosaurs are now living among humans and causing havoc worldwide. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard set out on rescue missions to relocate and wrangle strays, but everything changes when the company Biosyn Genetics creates yet another Jurassic wildlife preserve and dips their toes back into the science of cloning.
A prequel of sorts to the original Predator from the late 80s, Prey also serves as a reboot for the franchise and a reestablishing of the Predator and what he wants. Amber Midthunder stars as a Comanche warrior out to prove to her community that she can hunt with the best of men, and a dangerous alien on a killing spree is the perfect test.
Bullet Train (In Theaters)
Directed by Deadpool 2‘s David Leitch, Bullet Train features a high-speeding locomotive full of deadly assassins who are after the contents of a specific briefcase on board. Brad Pitt stars as “Ladybug,” an American mercenary, with Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Hiroyuki Sanada, Zazie Beetz, and Bad Bunny appearing as the titular train’s assassins.
Disney gave Toy Story fans another animated romp for the whole family with Lightyear, a story that delves into Buzz Lightyear’s backstory as an outer space explorer. This Buzz Lightyear has no idea that he’s being sold in the outside world as a collectible action figure, however, since Lightyear focuses on the fictional movie in the Toy Story universe that would go on to make Buzz such a popular figurine.
Beast stars Idris Elba as Dr. Nate Samuels, a widower on a family vacation to a natural game preserve in South Africa. When a ferocious lion starts killing everyone in its path, it’s up to the doctor and his family to figure out how to survive and tame the beast.
A teenage boy and his friends discover that his father has a secret superhero lair under their house in Secret Headquarters, an original action-comedy film for Paramount+. Owen Wilson stars as an Iron Man-like hero hunted by criminals trying to steal his technology, while also protecting four teenagers who know his secret from danger.
It took a second movie to get there, but Sonic the Hedgehog’s friends Tails and Knuckles are finally along for the ride. Sonic is no longer the only non-human being on Earth, but it’s bad timing because the evil Dr. Robotnik conspires to defeat Sonic by finding the dangerously powerful Chaos Emerald.
The Man from Toronto, played by Woody Harrelson, is an international assassin hired by criminal organizations to extract information in brutal interrogations. When a case of mistaken identity leaves everyone to believe that a Virginia fitness instructor (Kevin Hart) is the Man from Toronto, the scared comedian must help Harrelson finish his latest dangerous mission.
Liam Neeson plays an off-the-books FBI “fixer” in Blacklight, an action thriller about the guy who cleans up the U.S. government’s messes that it doesn’t want to you know about. When he finds out that the FBI is secretly assassinating whistleblowers and left-wing politicians, however, he turns his sights back toward taking down his own organization.
Jamie Foxx stars in this Los Angeles vampire hunting flick for Netflix, mixing Blade with humor and Snoop Dogg cameos. Dave Franco also stars as Foxx’s trainee and buddy bounty hunter.
Free Guy director Shawn Levy teamed up with Ryan Reynolds once again for The Adam Project on Netflix, a sci-fi/action film about a pilot who goes back in time to meet his younger self and stop time travel from ever being invented.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Nicolas Cage, playing himself, receives an offer to attend a billionaire playboy Javi Gutierrez’s birthday party for one million dollars. He’s thinking about retiring, but Javi is a major fan of his work. However, the U.S. government informs Cage that Javi is one of the most ruthless criminals on the planet, and they want his help to take him down.
RRR is an epic action drama from India about two real-life revolutionaries and their fight against British rule. Made on a budget of around $72 million, RRR is the most expensive Indian film to date, featuring tiger fights, insane motorcycle stunts, and heavily dramatized history.
Everything Everywhere All at Once
A zany action comedy and indie favorite from this year’s SXSW Film Festival, Everything Everywhere All at Once features the legendary Michelle Yeoh in one of her greatest starring roles yet. A multiverse adventure that’s simultaneously a layered family drama, Everything Everywhere is quite literally all things at once—action-packed, humorous, bizarre, and heartwarming.
Read our full review.
The DC hero is back and grittier than ever in Matt Reeves’ dark, punishing The Batman, featuring Robert Pattinson as a young, emo Bruce Wayne just beginning to navigate the deadly streets of Gotham. Over the film’s nearly three-hour runtime, Batman revs his Batmobile, cozies up with Zoe Kravitz’s Catwoman, and beats down baddies like Colin Farrell’s Penguin and Paul Dano’s Riddler.
Read our full review.
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Ambulance sees director Michael Bay in peak action movie mindset. The Armageddon and Transformers franchise filmmaker returns for a nonstop ride about two bank robbers who hijack an ambulance as a means of escape.
While on a book tour with her Fabio-parody cover model (Channing Tatum), a romance novelist (Sandra Bullock) is kidnapped when a deranged billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) believes her titular “Lost City” is not only real but full of gold. Brad Pitt also makes a hilarious cameo as a CIA operative tasked with rescuing them from a remote volcanic island.
A brooding and violent Viking tale, Robert Eggers’ The Northman is a brutal tale of revenge and folk savagery. The film stars an absolutely raging Alexander Skarsgård alongside Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, Anya Taylor-Joy, Willem Dafoe, and Icelandic singing sensation Björk as the Seeress.
Based on the popular PlayStation video game franchise, Uncharted partners Mark Wahlberg with Tom Holland as a seasoned fortune hunter and his young protege. Like National Treasure, but with more falling out of planes and less historical puzzle solving, the two adventurers embark on a perilous journey to uncover a hidden fortune that would make Indiana Jones’s head spin.
Read our full review.