Top 20 Most Action Packed Action Movies

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Top 20 Most Action Packed Action Movies

VOICE OVER: Tom Aglio WRITTEN BY: Andy Hammersmith
If you want action, look no further than these action-packed action flicks! For this list, we'll be looking at any films that are fully loaded with chases, shootouts, and/or death-defying stunts. Our countdown includes “No Time to Die”, “Kill Bill: Volume 1”, "The Raid 2", “Mission: Impossible - Fallout”, "Hardcore Henry”, and more!
Transcript

Top 20 Action Movies with the Most Action


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Action Movies with the Most Action.

For this list, we’ll be looking at any films that are fully loaded with chases, shootouts, and/or death-defying stunts. While a movie like “The Dark Knight” has great action scenes, it deserves its own spot on a list of superhero films. Just in case, there’s a spoiler warning in place for the following entries.

Did we miss your favorite action movie? Let us know in the comments below.

#20: “Commando” (1985)

One of the defining stars of the 1980s, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career got another high-octane boost from the endlessly violent “Commando.” Betrayed by rogue mercenaries, the leading man uses any and all weapons at his disposal to find his kidnapped daughter. Along the way, he snaps necks and drops people off cliffs for good measure. His character boasts a considerable body count in this film, as he wields an array of machine guns and rocket launchers to subdue them all. As a one-man wrecking crew, Schwarzenegger blasts his way through the movie with little to nothing stopping him. For its classic 80s flair and intensity, “Commando” proudly asserts itself as a macho action extravaganza.

#19: “No Time to Die” (2021)

With “No Time to Die,” Daniel Craig’s last outing as James Bond was also among his most action packed. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga packed in a slew of entertaining and heart-pumping scenes, rarely giving 007 a moment to breathe. Beginning with a motorcycle and car chase in Italy, the film wastes no time getting the secret agent back in action. As the film shifts to Cuba, Bond and his allies thwart an evil party with a rousing gunfight that nearly steals the film. This doesn't even count the hugely entertaining climax at the villain's island lair. Owing its success to a number of stellar pursuits and tense standoffs, Craig got a proper send off in this fully-loaded thrill ride.


#18: “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

Director James Cameron achieved a rare feat with “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” he made an action movie sequel that was arguably better than the original. This time Schwarzenegger’s android travels back in time to save a young John Connor from the new model T-1000. Through a series of exciting set pieces, Connor and his mother fend off assassination with the help of their friendly neighborhood Terminator. Among the many entertaining combat scenes, the iconic truck chase through Los Angeles stands as one of the best of its decade. Powered by the momentum of an urgent plot and fierce villain, "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" has enough action to rival any sci-fi film of the last fifty years.

#17: “The Protector” (2005)

Thai fighting sensation Tony Jaa tracks down elephant poachers in one of his most acclaimed films. The centerpiece of the movie revolves around a four-minute take, where the camera follows the leading man up a staircase as he dispatches guards. Jaa doesn't let anyone off the hook as he breaks bones with ease. The mind-boggling fights never stop as the star takes on opponents of all sizes, some of whom try to chase him down with motorcycles. On a number of occasions, the fighter pulls off a maneuver that will make your jaw drop. For fans of practical stunts and pristine choreography, there's few martial arts films as satisfying as "The Protector."


#16: “Kill Bill: Volume 1” (2003)

In an ode to martial arts films, Tarantino made the first “Kill Bill” the more action heavy of the two. With no shortage of blood, the film allows the lead character to dish out her revenge with her trusty katana. Along with an intense kitchen fight, the second half centers around a showdown in a Japanese restaurant. Much of the ensuing sequence involves a fight scene between the Bride and the Crazy 88s. As swords clash, the battle crescendos with amazing stunt and wire work. Not long afterwards, the climactic fight with O-Ren switches gears for a stylish fight in the snow. As entertaining as it is violent, the bulk of “Kill Bill: Vol. 1” would satisfy any martial arts fan.


#15: “The Night Comes for Us” (2018)

With the success of "The Raid" series, Indonesian cinema received an international boost that paved the way for "The Night Comes for Us." Talented performers like Iko Uwais bring this Netflix crime story to life with a bang. Bringing a gritty martial arts film to a streaming audience, this story about a gangster trying to save a girl from trained brawlers feels fresh and ruthless. The movie has fight scenes for days, with each one allowing actors like Joe Taslim to let loose in grisly encounters. Even jaded action fans can find something to cheer for in "The Night Comes for Us," a film with a stacked deck of clashes and blood-soaked rooms.


#14: “The Expendables” (2010)

"The Expendables" compiles the biggest action stars together into the most epic team up in history. The cast features everyone from Sylvester Stallone to Jet Li, among others. With this many heroes, the filmmakers take every chance they get them in combat scenarios. It would be entertaining enough to see the group go to the beach, let alone have them operate various weapons and large vehicles. Stallone leads the group, flies a plane in one scene, and unleashes beatdowns that harken back to his primetime 80s films. Many of these moments, including a few merciless shootouts, really intensify with the hard R-rating. In the end, watching these legends beat each other up is worth the price of admission.

#13: “Dredd” (2012)

Instead of remaking "Judge Dredd," director Pete Travis and writer Alex Garland went back to reinterpret the graphic novel. With this new version, the filmmakers leaned into the brutality of the material. It doesn't take long for the future cop to start chasing down gang members, in a number of violent shootouts and raids. A few choice scenes feature a mix of inventive camera work, slow-motion, and lots of blood. Pulling no punches, the raw intensity of the fight scenes makes this a rare film for the sci-fi genre. Trading in the broad sci-fi of Stallone's film for hyper-violence, "Dredd" reinvents the material for the 21st century.

#12: “Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior” (2003)

The first of a trilogy, "Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior" made the world take notice of Tony Jaa's formidable fighting talents. His skills are on full display as he evades gang members and conducts underground fights. The performer also wards off a man with a fridge, in one of several inventive and effortless action moments. There's even a chance for the actor to engage in a three-wheeled taxi chase, which turns the traditional car chase on its head and ends in a climactic explosion. If that wasn't enough, the leading man does the impossible and fights someone despite his legs being on fire. Willing to go the extra mile, Jaa shines in one of the best examples of a fully-loaded Muay Thai film.


#11: “The Matrix Reloaded” (2003)

The sequel to the groundbreaking sci-fi film spent more quality time in the simulation to have more crazy fights and stunts. The highway chase scene, one of the best action sequences of the entire series, makes for a chaotic and wild ride. Putting some of the first films' stunts to shame, "Reloaded" decided to spend more time showcasing the hero's "bullet time" capabilities and kung-fu skills. The Wachowskis cap off the exciting moments with an epic fight between Neo and dozens of Agent Smith clones. While some people knock the film for its story, "The Matrix Reloaded" deserves a re-watch for its entertaining action scenes.


#10: “Mission: Impossible - Fallout” (2018)

As he gets older, Tom Cruise's daredevil instincts don't show any signs of slowing down. This sixth entry in the "Mission" series is no exception. The actor trained for a specialized skydive known as a HALO jump, along with mastering his pilot skills for genuine stunts. Both on foot and on wheels, the varied stunts bring out the best in the star's eclectic talents. This isn't even counting the climax, which features a helicopter stunt for the ages. It's hard to fathom the star put himself in harm's way multiple times, refusing to let even serious leg injury stop him. Ultimately, his work ethic paid off, as "Mission: Impossible - Fallout'' solidified the performer's commitment to increasingly impressive stunts.

#9: “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” (2019)

After three films, Keanu Reeves' hero became a cinematic juggernaut that raised the bar for action cinema. Even though the first "John Wick" started it all, it's the third film that really delivered on the promise of stunts and shootouts. From knife fights to gun combat, the unstoppable assassin battles his way through henchmen. Forgoing a typical car chase, Wick hops on a horse and takes it through the streets for a unique getaway. If that wasn’t enough, the introduction of Halle Berry makes for another memorable fight where she more than holds her own. Culminating in a hand-to-hand beatdown, “John Wick: Chapter 3” pushes its star to his limit with awesome practical stunts and expertly choreographed duels.

#8: “Furious 7” (2015)

After six films, the "Fast and Furious" franchise was still able to dish out never before seen stunts. Somehow dropping cars out of a plane isn't the craziest thing that happens in this movie. As skydiving turns into car chases, the ragtag family of superhero drivers hunt down Jason Statham. There's a collection of exciting moments in Abu Dhabi, led by the unforgettable sequence of Dom and Brian driving a sports car between skyscrapers. Finally, when all the racing around stops there's a fist fight between Diesel and Statham to sell a thrilling climax. If it wasn't for the success and densely packed action of "Furious 7," the series might've lost its way completely.

#7: “Hard Boiled” (1992)

Director John Woo is synonymous with action filmmaking, directing some of the biggest and most bombastic shootouts in cinema history. There’s arguably no movie he made that was as explosive or bullet ridden as “Hard Boiled.” Hong Kong legend Chow Yun-Fat stars as a detective hellbent on rooting out local smugglers. The star frequently finds himself with two guns, shooting an unlimited number of bullets in elaborately staged fights. Leave it to a director like Woo to craft a hospital shootout that not only functions as a long take, but captivates with its twists and turns. It wasn't long before "Hard Boiled" became internationally acclaimed, forcing Hollywood to up their game in the action genre.

#6: “Speed” (1994)

"Speed" is a film with a simple concept: keep a bus over fifty miles an hour or it’ll explode. Keanu Reeves boards the bus to help, with Sandra Bullock taking the wheel in a high speed chase that’s wall-to-wall excitement. With a majority of the movie happening in motion, the urgency of the moment keeps the ride as tense and action packed as any of its kind. Few sequences feel as gripping as the main events surrounding the bus and its passengers. Even after the bus, the movie finds its way back onto a moving vehicle as the climax happens on a runaway subway car. Altogether, “Speed” fulfills the promise of so many amusement park rides without having to leave the house.

#5: “Shoot ‘Em Up” (2007)

In a series of progressively absurd action scenes, "Shoot 'Em Up" never lets you forget its title. Tongue-in-cheek and proud of it, the film keeps the bullets flying as Clive Owen protects a baby from assassins. Armed with an arsenal of weapons and a carrot, the leading man squares up against Paul Giamatti's villain in some explosively violent moments. Perhaps the best example of the film's style and tone would be when Owen skydives, shooting people on his way down. Packed with fantastically bizarre fights, "Shoot 'Em Up" has much more unique and unrelenting energy than any action film of its day.

#4: “Hardcore Henry” (2015)

Several movies have adapted video games, but few have been able to replicate the experience of playing one. Enter “Hardcore Henry,” a nonstop action film that takes place entirely from the first-person perspective of the main character. Through the eyes of an FPS protagonist, audiences follow along as if they were playing a “Call of Duty” game. By restricting the focus of the camera, every high-powered moment plays out as a visceral encounter. Exciting moments like an apartment gun battle and a rooftop fight feel as jarring as they ever have onscreen. There’s few films that can compete with the experimental nature of “Hardcore Henry,” making the audience feel like they’re the hero.

#3: “Crank: High Voltage” (2009)

The sequel to an already insane film, “Crank: High Voltage” takes a wild premise and literally turns up the electricity. Jason Statham returns as the anti-hero, hellbent on staying alive at all costs. With a limited premise, the film is fueled entirely by the lead's attempts to keep his battery-powered heart beating. Exceeding the limits of good taste and the laws of physics, the movie lets Statham achieve the impossible in the most outlandish moments put to film. Put realism aside as you watch the star zap himself, fly through windshields, and become an electrified superhuman. By the finale, “Crank: High Voltage” defies all logic with action scenes that make you question your own sanity.

#2: “The Raid 2” (2014)

Considering the stiff competition, "The Raid 2" still takes its place firmly among the best sequels of its kind. The film's conflicted hero goes undercover in order to thwart a criminal syndicate, only to fight his way through an endless series of worthy foes. Beginning with a stint in prison, Rama finds himself dealing with dozens of violent offenders. Actor Iko Uwais showcases his fists of fury in a prison riot and later against a hammer-wielding assassin. Despite the amazing fight scenes in “The Raid: Redemption,” part two features more varied and dynamic sequences that push it over the edge. Led by Uwais' craftsmanship, this film stakes its claim as one of the best and most satisfying martial arts films ever.


#1: “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015)

Decades after the last "Mad Max" film, George Miller returned to his post-apocalyptic universe for another stellar entry in the series. In its own way, "Mad Max: Fury Road" could be considered one long chase scene. However, it's much more than a few trucks in hot pursuit. Using practical effects and an expert stunt team, the high-speed action feels as frenetic and impressive as anything ever put to film. Keeping dialogue to a minimum, the script only concerns itself with putting characters into nail-biting situations. Devoting itself unashamedly to high-quality entertainment, this instant classic landed near the top of fan and critic's lists alike. Among the great achievements of the century thus far, “Mad Max: Fury Road” holds an unbeatable pace with grade-A thrills.
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